Thursday, 12 June 2008

Sun boxes

When Quebecor confirmed it was selling the Toronto Sun headquarters at 333 King Street East, we thought what more can the tabloid lose in self esteem?

This week, we learned the iconic red newspaper boxes, highly visible throughout Toronto since the 1970s, are an endangered species, thanks to city hall.

There were, no doubt, more cheers than boos when the city unveiled its new line of street furniture that will include 500 grey, multi-publication boxes. (Above photo from

Cheers because the Sun's red newspaper boxes, once the pride of co-founders Doug Creighton, Peter Worthington and Don Hunt and dedicated staffers, have largely become embarrassing, rusty eyesores since Quebecor arrived in 1999.

Creighton, always one to check for well-shined shoes, felt the same way about the hundreds of Sun boxes in the public eye. Keep 'em clean and fully operational and that will reflect the tabloid's commitment to efficient reader service.

For the launching of the Sun in November of 1971, the 62 Day Oners hustled to position former Telegram boxes at transit stops around the city. New generations of Sun boxes followed and boxes past their time, or mangled in traffic accidents, were quickly replaced.

Sun box maintenance is no longer a priority and with the proliferation of other boxes for free papers and speciality publications, along with the Star, Globe and Post, city hall cried uncle.

And rightly so.

As Mayor David Miller said of today's newspaper boxes: "They're rusting, chained to poles all over the place. That's one of the reasons we're bringing in the new ones to create less clutter. They're raised so you can clean underneath. They're extremely well designed."

But removing the iconic red Sun boxes from the landscape eliminates another memorable link to the glory days of the Little Paper That Grew. Ask Sun vets how they felt in the early years while driving by one sold-out Sun box after another.

Spotting Suns in the new multi-publication boxes from a distance will be more difficult.

We don't condone stealing, but wouldn't one of those red Sun boxes be a rec room or patio conversation piece?

Perhaps Quebecor should sell the outdated Sun boxes, or auction them for charity.

We'd leave a bid.

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