Thursday, 12 April 2007

Re Andy Donato

The Toronto Sun without Andy Donato?


But the award-winning editorial cartoonist, consistently as creative and witty as he was as a Day Oner in 1971, mentions in his tribute to John Downing he might be next at the departure gate.

Perhaps there are more days when Andy would rather be golfing, or painting another of his favourite landscapes, instead of witnessing the dismantling of the tabloid he dearly loves.

Perhaps he has seen too many Toronto Sun veterans being treated as yesterday's news, exiting the building for good without a much-deserved mention in the tabloid they helped build.

Andy says in his tribute that John Downing was "treated pretty shabby when he left, as so many others have."

As a Day Oner, one of the 62 Tely staffers who launched the Toronto Sun on Nov. 1, 1971, witnessing the gutting of the tabloid he helped build must be devastating.

This blogger worked with Andy for 19 years and hands down, you could not ask for a more creative, loyal, good-natured and generous colleague.

And if we were asked to draw a sketch of "the perfect couple," Andy and his wife, artist and former Sun staffer Dianne Jackson-Donato, would be the perfect subjects.

Our respect for Andy had no limit after what he did when Doug Creighton, a longtime friend and the Sun's CEO and founding publisher, was suddenly ousted in 1992.

Christie Blatchford and other Sun columnists denounced the board of directors for removing Doug, 64, the "heart and soul" of the Sun.

(Those were the days, when freedom of speech meant something within 333 King Street East.)

Andy voiced his opposition by vowing to include Doug's image in every one of his editorial cartoons until Doug's 65th birthday. And he did. His 12-month tribute to Doug was capped by a classic deck and chair cottage scene.

Andy also designed the "WHY?" button worn by employees seeking an answer for Doug's ouster. It was a question that was never answered.

So that is Andy Donato, loyal to friends, loyal to Doug and all of the Sun pioneers.

A man who put mittens on Joe Clark, a flag in a tyrant where the sun don't shine and countless broad smiles on the faces of Sun readers for more than 35 years.

The Sun without Andy Donato?

Yes, it is unthinkable.

But when the Sun does eventually set on Donato and his bird, hopefully access to his cartoons will continue in another newspaper or magazine.

For now, if we wish anything for Andy and the Toronto Sun, it is for an immediate detour from the tabloid's current path, or for a new owner who recognizes the Sun for what it was and could still be.

One parting note.

When Andy e-mailed his John Downing tribute, we double checked and asked if it was okay to post all of his refreshingly honest comments and observations.

"Hell yes, sure you can post them," said Andy, one of the few Day Oners still working at the Sun.

That is our kind of Sun newspaperman.


  1. I miss looking forward to the daily paper to see what Trudeau and the boys were up to, thanks to Donato cartoons. They are some of my best childhood memories, along with Hockey Night in Canada, ofcourse:)

    Thanks Andy!!!

    Suzan Gough, of North York, ON
    Hometown: Steady Brook, NL

  2. I'm still looking for a cartoon I'm sure was in the Sun the day after the Quebec referendum in '81 with the caption "There There Now, Daddy's Going To Kiss It And Make It All Better - Trudeau holding Levesque wearing a diaper with a bootprint on it. The files in the Tor Library have a cartoon about Castro and Cuba wouldn't have been the main story that day. And the cartoon I'm looking for is not in Andy's books from back then - I have 'em. So where did that cartoon disappear to?? Any help??

    WM - Montreal

  3. Re the above - make that referendum in '80 -