Saturday, 25 October 2008

Day Oners 1

The Toronto Sun turns 37 next Saturday, a pup compared to the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail, but well-seasoned compared to the National Post, which turns 10 on Monday.

The next few TSF postings are a salute to the Day Oners, an optimistic band of brothers and sisters who didn't take the closing of the Toronto Telegram sitting down.

Thousands who followed owe them big-time.

First, the executives, the three co-founders who braved the chilly accommodations, the hazardous electrical appliances and cranky old elevator to get the job done.

If TSF readers can provide updates on any staffers we haven't profiled, we'd be glad to hear from them by e-mail.

The Executives:

(1) J. Douglas Creighton, founding publisher: A newspaperman's newspaperman, from his Toronto Telegram police desk duties in 1948 to his death from Parkinson's at 75 on Jan. 7, 2004. Doug, from Day One, generated much of the Toronto Sun Family atmosphere by rewarding loyal employees for jobs well done. The Sun, after all, was Doug's brainchild. His baby. The roller coaster ride up for the Little Paper That Grew was with Doug at the helm. That ride for the Sun ended on Thursday, Nov. 5, 1992, when the Sun board of directors ousters Doug as CEO. Doug, an Order of Canada recipient, had covered a lot of bases in his six decades in print media, including Tely police reporter, sports editor, city editor and managing editor, and Sun publisher and CEO. He wrote about losing his home away from home a year from retirement in his 1993 book Sunburned: Memoirs of a Newspaperman. A Michael Gratton quote in the liner notes reads: "Doug Creighton was more than the boss. He is the soul of the Toronto Sun. I simply never thought of the Sun without him. I do not want to forget." Neither do we.

(2) Don Hunt, founding general manager: Of the three wise men who co-founded the Toronto Sun, Don worked mostly behind the scenes. His brother, Jim Hunt, a legendary sports writer, was far more high profile at the Tely and Sun. Don, a former public relations worker, also dabbled in sports at the Tely and was the Tely's syndicate manager when the paper folded in October 1971. Don left the Sun in 1988, moved to the U.S. to work on papers there, including the Houston Post, Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. He is now retired. (A photo of Don and an update on his post-Sun years would be appreciated.)

(3) Peter Worthington, founding editor: The accolades are voluminous and still accumulating for this prolific columnist and author. The son of a general, he is a WW2 and Korean War vet, former Toronto Telegram foreign correspondent, Sun co-founder, multiple National Newspaper Award winner, federal Conservative candidate, mountain climber, tennis player, eye witness to Jack Ruby murdering Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas in 1963 etc. etc. Peter has been rolling up his sleeves from Day One and while the original Underwoods might be history, the man at the keyboards is as relevant as he was when hired by the Telegram in 1956. He has always fought the good fight, be it a local issue or a world conflict. Ask the keepers of the Bergeron Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Picton about Peter's column clout. If you haven't read his 1984 book, Looking For Trouble, we ask "why not?" Peter is a newspaper legend in his own time and simple "thank yous" for his role at the Sun will never be adequate. Talk about lives lived . . .

Next: News, entertainment and Lifestyle Day Oners

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