Friday, 24 October 2008

Nov. 1 countdown

The 37th anniversary of the founding of the Toronto Sun is one week and a day away.

Sun anniversaries were always a time for celebration and reflection. Who can forget the mother of all Sun anniversaries - the 20th in 1991, celebrated at the SkyDome, midway and all?

It is time again to salute the Day Oners, the out-of-work Toronto Telegram employees who pilfered what they could from the defunct daily and hauled it up to the Eclipse Building at 322 King Street West.

With less than $1 million in financing, the Day Oners had full confidence in co-founders Doug Creighton, Don Hunt and Peter Worthington to make a go of it and silence the doubters.

They worked Halloween night to get out issue No. 1, all 48 pages, and the newsroom environment in the former factory was scary enough.

But Toronto's new tabloid treat was on them and instant fans ate it up and lined up for more. The first issue became an instant collector's item. All 75,000 copies of the 10-cent papers were sold.

The corpse of the Tely was still warm when the Sun rose that Monday, Nov. 1, an underdog in the shadow of the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.

(The National Post wouldn't make it a foursome until Oct. 27, 1998. Conrad's former pet paper turns 10 on Monday. Happy Birthday to them. The more the merrier.)

The number of Toronto Sun Day Oners quoted has varied over the decades, 62 being the most popular number.

But in Ron Poulton's 1976 gem, Life In A Word Factory, he listed 69 and with those figures coming from good sources only five years after the Sun's launch, we'll go with his numbers and his names.

The thousands of Toronto Sun employees hired since 1971 all owe the Day Oners a tip of the cap for their focus and determination.

Like we've said, there is a movie to be made about the Toronto Sun. All the ingredients and a large cast of true characters are there for the scriptwriting and casting.

It was a most remarkable, journalistic ride until Doug Creighton's ouster in 1992 - the day the music died. The sale to Quebecor in 1999 continued the dismantling of the dream tabloid.

The future of the Sun being somewhat vague, we'd end the movie with Doug's ouster for corporate drama tone, or the 20th anniversary party for corporate success tone.

In the next TSF posting, we will list all of the Day Oners in Life In A Word Factory and provide capsule comments and photos if available.

There is also an open invite to Day Oners from any departments to provide their information and memories of the day.

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