Thursday, 5 April 2007

"30" for Red's diner

Well, it looks like it's closing time for Big Red's diner at the ever-shrinking Toronto Sun.

Employees in the Sun's ground floor cafeteria learned Friday their contract will not be renewed.

"It would appear that management is planning on gutting the first floor of 333 King Street East and leasing out space to retail businesses," one source told Toronto Sun Family.

Another tipster said employees in the ground floor offices - circulation, creative, classified etc. - will be moved upstairs. Why not, there is plenty of space on the upper five floors after eight years of cutbacks, firings, layoffs and resignations.

Red's was the pride of hundreds of employees when the new Sun building opened in the summer of 1975. It wasn't just a cafeteria, it was a measure of success for the four-year-old tabloid.

Fittingly, it was named Red's as a salute to founding publisher Doug Creighton, the tall, redheaded giant of a man who was responsible for much of that success.

Employees from all departments mingled there during coffee breaks, dined there for breakfast, lunch and dinner, enjoyed smoke breaks (until smoking was banned in the building.) Visiting VIPs and celebrities were occasionally interviewed there over coffee.

James Sikking sat in Red's during an interview and smiled at passing employees who recognized the actor as Lt. Howard Hunter from TV's Hill Street Blues.

Ed Asner dropped in during his Lou Grant stint as Sun city editor.

While some people might say it's just a cafeteria, Toronto Sun Family members fondly remember it as one of the many thank yous to staff from Big Red.

So another link to the Sun's glory days bites the dust.

Posting a For Sale sign after Quebecor's new printing plant in Rexdale makes the presses at 333 King Street East obsolete is all but a done deal.

Merge the Sun and 24 Hours and the extreme makeover will be complete.

Speaking of skunks . . .

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