With March about to bite the dust, we're down to seven months before the Toronto Sun's 40th anniversary. So many stories to tell about the rising of the Sun . . .
Scott Young, the legendary Canadian sports writer and author and father of music icon Neil Young, was a drink or two away from becoming a Sun Day Oner in 1971.
As told by Ron Poulton in his 1976 Life in a Word Factory book on the tabloid's brief history, Sun co-founder Doug Creighton and Young met the day after the closure of the Tely was announced.
Scott Young was at his country home in Omemee on September 18 when Bassett announced that the Tely would close. The news travelled fast, and Young turned up at Creighton's house the following day.
"I thought he might need a drink, but I should have known better," Young recalled. "We had a talk on that back porch of his. He told me then that some of them were thinking of starting their own daily. He asked me to come in, but we never really got around to talking about what I would do. I knew (George) Gross was going to be the sports editor because he had the best contacts of anyone in Canada."
Young lasted only one day as a prospective Sun employee. One of his former editors (Dick Doyle, of The Globe and Mail) had left a message at his city home that same September weekend. Young returned Doyle's call on September 20 and took Doyle's offer of a job to write a daily column.
"I pay alimony, which means I need about $10,000 a year more than most newsmen do," Young explained. "Doyle offered me enough. I didn't even discuss money with Creighton. I figured a new paper wouldn't be able to pay me what I needed. Maybe I shouldn't have assumed. Who knows? The Sun might have matched Doyle's offer. Maybe I could be in for five or six per cent of the Sun today."
But, Poulton wrote: Young did not jump to The Globe and Mail through any fear that the Sun would fail. He always believed that the Sun would succeed.
So, apparently, did Doyle. Two weeks after the Sun began publishing, The Globe and Mail editor decided that it had become a permanent part of Toronto journalism.
(If any Toronto Sun Day Oners have favourite stories to tell during the countdown to the 40th, drop us a line. The more stories from the people who made it all possible the better.)