Thursday, 14 December 2006

Windsor Mafia

What was it about Windsor that produced so many talented Windsor Star reporters way back when? Whatever it was, the Toronto Sun reaped the rewards by enticing at least 10 of those reporters to Toronto in the 1970's.

The Windsor imports - Les Pyette, Ron Base, Bruce Blackadar, Brian Vallee, Mark Bonokoski, Greg Parent, Lloyd Kemp, Ben Grant, Bob Burt, and Cam Norton, - were hired in the 1970's and soon became known as The Windsor Mafia.

Much like the success stories among members of The Chatham Mafia at the Globe and Mail - Richard Doyle, J.D. MacFarlane, Clark Davey etc. - each and every Windsor import became a major contributor to the success of the Sun newsroom.

Mark Bonokoski is the sole survivor of The Windsor Mafia. Les Pyette is now semi-retired after a brief stint with the National Post; Ron Base moved on into movie circles; Brian Vallee left to pursue a TV documentary and writing career, a decision that earned him acclaim for several TV productions and best-selling books; Bob Burt ventured into government work.

And sadly, we said our farewells much too soon to Bruce Blackadar, Greg Parent. Cam Norton, Lloyd Kemp and Ben Grant. We miss their newspaper savvy, their kind hearts and, for Bruce, Greg and Lloyd, their poker skills.

The Toronto Sun owes a big debt to The Windsor Mafia.

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