Sunday, 25 May 2008

For Sale: 333

It's official, Mike Strobel says in his Sunday Sun column - 333 King Street East, the Toronto Sun's home since the summer of 1975, is for sale.

"(Newsflash: The Sun building will be listed for sale, publisher Kin-Man Lee tells staff. It's too big and he doesn't want to be a landlord. So . . . )," he writes.

We hate to gloat, but TSF has been forecasting the sale of 333 since early last year.

Take a read of Strobel's column before it is yanked and a $12 fee is imposed to read the rest of the story.

Strobel wraps up his column with:

"I wonder if the Eclipse Building is available."

Two floors of the Sun's first home at King and John Streets would probably accommodate what is left of the tabloid.

Construction of 333 a mere four years after the feisty Sun was born on Nov. 1, 1971, was a proud achievement for all involved.

Sun employees working out of the Eclipse Building were so eager to view the inside of their new three-storey home, Doug Creighton arranged for guided tours weeks before the official opening.

The Sun was on a roll and the mood was giddy. Connie Nicholson (now Woodcock) was the first to sit down to type a story in the new digs.

This blogger's story about Cameron March, a missing Burlington-area boy, was the first front page story/photo off the shiny new Goss presses.

Editors had been making nightly runs to a Mississauga print shop to get the job done, so watching the presses at 333 roll for the first time was the first of many causes for celebration.

The house that Doug, Peter and Don built was also the first real bond the Sun had with its readers. Paul Rimstead invited readers to come on down and 5,000 people showed up.

Readers lined up to take guided tours of 333. They were invited to parties at 333.

The original 333 quickly outgrew the rising Sun and it expanded upwards and outwards, swallowing the large parking lot to the west and giving Doug and other execs offices on the 6th floor. And Red's, a first floor cafeteria named for Doug.

While the Sun at 333 was an open house for a few years, security was tightened following demonstrations by groups opposed to Sun content and a few thefts in the building.

Life at 333 was never dull. Lou Grant showed up for a day as senior city editor; Peter Worthington's office was raided by the RCMP; TV and movie stars arrived for interviews; Barbara Amiel did her thing as editor-in-chief long before she met Conrad.

But most of all, 333 was filled with fiercely loyal and competent employees who did Doug, Peter and Don proud and they were rewarded with bonuses, sabbaticals, parties etc. The Sun never needed a union with Doug at the helm.

The saddest day for 333 was the day employees gathered in the second floor atrium in 1992 to hear Doug had been ousted from the paper he loved. It was the day the music died

And then along came Quebecor in 1999.

The Miracle on King turned into a lingering nightmare.

Putting a For Sale sign up at 333 is another nail in the coffin.

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