Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mary Pickford Visits the "Bomb Girls"

Picture from the Archives of Ontario
Whenever I hear Mary Pickford's name mentioned anywhere, my ears naturally perk up.

I was watching the first episode of Global Television's new series, The Bomb Girls, when Mary's name came up in the dialogue between the actors. The setting was a munitions plant, presumably in Toronto, early in World War II. The female employees were chatting about the possibility of Hollywood movie star Mary Pickford paying a visit to the plant. The women in the show are employed in the making of bombs that will be used against the enemy overseas, serving a role every bit as important as the soldiers themselves.

A strong supporter of the Canadian war effort, Mary did visit the General Engineering Company's munitions plant in Scarborough on May 24, 1943, when the above photograph was taken. She spoke to a large crowd of enthusiastic women workers—real-life "bomb girls"—in the plant's cafeteria.

Her visit to her Toronto was under the auspices of the Lions' Club and the Gerrard  Businessmen's Association, co-sponsors of the Mary Pickford Bungalow project. You will find more on that project and the story of Mary's life in my book Mary Pickford, Canada's Silent Siren, America's Sweetheart.

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