Friday, 30 September 2011

14 George Gross

A salute to The 62

George Gross, founding sports editor, was a man of many sports talents in his youth in native communist Czechoslovakia before fleeing to Canada in 1949. After dabbling in farm work and freelance reporting for the Toronto Telegram, he was hired by the Tely full-time in 1959. For almost 50 years - 12 at the Tely and 37 at the Sun - The Baron, as he was affectionately called, set the bar high for competitive sportswriters and sports editors. George picked his proteges like he picked his quality suits - with a keen eye for fabric and durability. He was a tough boss, but those who stayed the course were rewarded for their dedication. George, who affectionately called colleagues "kiddo," retired as sports editor in 1986 but continued writing as corporate sports editor. The Hall of Famer and NNA winner, who helped raise $1 million for Variety Village in annual Sun Christmas appeals, was on the job researching a new column when he died from a heart attack on March 21, 2008. He was 85. Today's popular Sun sports section and awards and buildings in his name are some of his legacies.

If you are a Toronto Sun Day Oner and have a bio or memories to share, please email with a photo.

If you are one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

NADbank spin

Canadian media are spinning the latest NADbank print/web readership stats based on a survey taken from  the fall of 2010 to the spring of 2011:

TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - NADbank today released new data revealing that The Globe and Mail's redesign one year ago has resulted in a 10 percent increase in combined print and online weekly readership, to 2,284,000 readers across Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa-Gatineau, Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax. 

National Post
The National Post has seen significant readership gains nationally, and especially in the key market of Toronto, according to the latest NADbank figures released Wednesday.

The Toronto Star has boosted its dominance as the most-read newspaper in the Greater Toronto Area, according to the latest newspaper readership study released Wednesday by the Newspaper Audience Databank (NADbank). 

Toronto Sun 
TORONTO - The Toronto Sun scored a hat trick in the latest readership study of this city’s newspapers. While our chief rival continued to show stagnant newspaper readership growth, the Sun saw stellar results in our daily, Saturday and Sunday products.

A Canadian Press story
TORONTO - At least three-quarters of the adults in major Canadian cities read either a printed or online edition of a daily newspaper each week, a readership study published Wednesday by NADbank Inc. suggests.

TSF emails

A couple of readers had emails to TSF returned as undeliverable in recent weeks. 

If your emails bounced back, use this email address.

Most often, the problem is leaving the hyphen out of the-wire.

13 Ed Monteith

A salute to The 62

Edgar Earl Monteith was 14 when hired by the Toronto Telegram in 1941 as a copy boy. The early strength of Ed's character was evident when he dropped out of school to get a job to help support the family after his father died. Two newspapers would be his life for the next 50 years. He was an assistant managing editor when the Tely axe fell in 1971. Two days later, he was founding managing editor of the Sun. Ed, considered the rock of the newsroom, was a mentor to many. While the tabloid was known for pushing the envelop, the father of five daughters was there to draw the line on many occasions. When you think of Ed, you picture a newspaperman standing tall in the saddle, cigar in hand and oozing confidence. We thought his newsroom presence would never end, but in November of 1990, Ed retired to the golf course, shooting a personal best 98 just days before dying of a heart attack on Aug. 16, 1996. He was 69.

If you are a Toronto Sun Day Oner and have a bio or memories to share, please email with a photo.

If you are one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Sun milestones

  • Click on invitation for larger type
It is 35 days and counting to the Toronto Sun's 40th anniversary and not a peep about how Sun Media will mark another tabloid milestone for current and previous employees.

A couple of insiders at 333 say they have a feeling it will be beers at Betty's across from their now-rented newsroom. 

It is not that the Sun is destitute and losing money. It isn't. PKP just doesn't see any advantage in spending money to reward employees for any reason, let alone surviving the Quebecor carnage to reach year 40.

The Toronto Sun was only 20 when it marked that milestone with an anniversary party at the SkyDome, thrown by Doug Creighton, Peter Worthington and Don Hunt, that is still being talked about 20 years later.

Former Toronto Sun employees working at other Suns were flown in for the party, a surreal event that at times - think merry-go-round - felt like the set of a Fellini movie.

The glory years? You betcha.

The cost of the heart-felt thank you party must have shaken bean counters to the core. Was it a contributing factor that led to Creighton's ouster a year later? We have no doubt it was on the checklist of shareholder-obsessed board members.

Why spend money to reward employees for making the company millions? Newspaper people like Creighton and Worthington understood the dividends for rewarding the people who helped make the Sun a success. Loyalty, a sense of reward for dedication to the job etc.

Since Doug's departure, it has been a steady stream of people undermining what he and 61 other former Telegram employees and the hundreds the hundreds who followed created.

Since 1999, Quebecor has been sucking the life out of the Suns, employee by employee, benefit by benefit, building by building.

The 40th appears to be a dud, left to a few Day Oners to have brunch, not an open house affair for all who helped the Toronto Sun when it was rising.

But we do have the 20th to remember.

Worth repeating

The following posted comment by a TSF reader slams the commercialization of the Sunshine Girl, as seen  Sunday.

Talia, the Sunshine girl, is wearing a t-shirt promoting a footwear website that has an ad to the left on the same page and an ad to the right on the next page. She is also wearing the company's product.

TSF asks, what next? Placement ads in editorial cartoons? Columnist sponsorship, ie this Peter Worthington column is brought to you by Pepsi? 

Quebecor's anything-for-a-buck mentality is turning the Sun into a punchline.

Here's the posted comment: 
Speaking of the Toronto Sun crashing, it hit bottom (again) today (Sept 25). I'm not talking about the error-filled, one-sided, anti-Liberal multi-page rant (disclosure: I've never voted for Dalton McGuinty and never will). I'm not talking about the puff piece planted in the paper to boost the reputation of hamfisted city councillor Doug Ford. I'm not even talking about the Sun rerunning stories that ran earlier in the week.

I'm referring to the selling out of the Sunshine Girl.

Today's Girl was wearing a T-shirt with big logo across the front. The caption actually mentioned the brand of boots she was wearing which (surprise!) was the same brand as the t-shirt logo. And look! By sheer coincidence, right next to the Girl, there's a half-page ad for the exact same brand of boots.

There's nothing wrong with the Sunshine Girl promoting a charity or appropriate fundraiser. But turning it into an outright commercial ad?

Back in 2000, I spoke with two managers and one vice-president at the Sun: if an advertiser wanted to use the Girl to (subtlety) promote its interests, (e.g. wear a t-shirt with their logo on it), it should cost at least $10,000, with the girl getting $1,000. The Sun folks just laughed and said they would never sell the Girl.

I pointed out several examples when the Girl was used to promote commercial products, as a result of a "direct request" from either the Sun CEO, Sun publisher or other senior Sun manager. All of those were done as personal favours for friends of those Sun executives. It benefited no one but those Sun executives and their corporate friends.

Sun Media interests before readers' interest.

Let's recap: the Sun now sells out the Sunshine Girl, the front page, the homes section, the auto section, the travel section, some of the sports section and some of the news section. 

What's left?

It's time the entire Toronto Sun newspaper came with the disclaimer "Advertisement".

Saturday, 24 September 2011

12 John Downing

A salute to The 62.

John Downing had a near-death medical scare in the spring of 2011, an event that returned the Day Oner and former editor to the pages of the Toronto Sun for the first time since 2007. The Sun has published five "Hospital Hell" columns about his hospital experiences in the U.S. and Toronto and guest columns. John, who turned 75 on June 10, said he felt lost in hospital without a keyboard. After all, he has been writing since his Ryerson years in the 1950s. His daily newspaper career in Toronto began in 1958 after spending a year as editor of the Whitehorse Star in the Yukon. He covered a lot of bases at the Tely and was an assistant managing editor when it folded in 1971. John didn't skip a beat, joining 61 other Tely staffers at the Sun's launch. When he left the Sun in 2007, he had 5,400 columns and 4,000 editorials to his credit. His full biography can be read on his Downing's Views blog. 

If you are a Toronto Sun Day Oner and have a bio or memories to share, please email with a photo.

If you are one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Den Tandt out?

Michael Den Tandt, managing editor of his hometown Owen Sound Sun Times and a Sun Media op-ed columnist, is moving on, says a TSF tipster.

The tipster says the former Globe and Mail reporter is leaving his Sun ties - he is also Sun Media's regional managing editor for North Central Ontario - to write for a national news service.

Den Tandt's national affairs columns have appeared in 30 Sun Media newspapers across the chain twice a week.

His most recent column online is from Sept. 13.

Which national news service?

Stay tuned.

Authors +3

Three more Toronto Sun Family authors have surfaced, pushing the Toronto Sun's published authors list to 53.

New to the list are sportswriters  Perry Lefko, with six books; Lance Hornby, with five books; Pauline Comeau, with two books.

Truly an impressive number of published authors in the first 40 years of the tabloid and we get the feeling the list is not yet complete.

TSF will be accepting new additions and updates to the current list until Nov. 1, the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Sun and the retirement of TSF as an active blog.

If you are a published author and worked in any department of the Toronto Sun since Day One, email the title(s), year(s) of publication, publisher(s), number of pages and indicate fiction of non-fiction.

Thanks to online book sales, many of the titles published over the decades can still be purchased.  

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Cal's new book

North American crime fighters can be grateful Cal Millar, a now-retired former Toronto Sun and Star police reporter, didn't take all of his experience and tuck it in a place where cobwebs grow.

Cal's new book, I'm Missing - Please Find Me, released yesterday, updates 350 unsolved missing persons cases across North America, giving police, Crime Stoppers, relatives and friends new hope of closure.

The 448-page book includes updates of unsolved Ontario cases involving the vanishings of children, including Marianne Schuett, who was 10 when she vanished in April of 1967, and Cameron March, who was four when he vanished in 1975. Both lived in the Burlington area.

While many of the cases have been open for decades, rewards associated with the investigations still total almost $3 million.

"Got word yesterday that one of the cases in the book has been solved, so obviously there is hope for others," Cal tells TSF. 

Book notes at say: "Some of those who vanished were obviously abducted, while others may have made a conscious decision to deliberately leave. It's also likely that some missing individuals were targeted for murder, while some are possibly the victims of human trafficking gangs.

"Families of missing people are left with a void and many unanswered questions and hopefully some of those reading this book will have information that they can provide to law enforcement agencies or Crime Stoppers that will help reunite the missing with their loved ones."  

Cal's first book, Find My Killer, published in 2009, dealt with 250 unsolved North American murder cases and rewards totalling $5.5 million. It helped solve several homicides.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Bill Brioux

Memories of the Toronto Sun - Bill Brioux 

My memories of the Toronto Sun actually start well before I worked there. Back when I went to U of T, I drew editorial cartoons for The Varsity (where ex-Sun biz columnist Maryana Lewyckyj was a contributor).

After graduation, in the early '80s, I called Andy Donato and arranged to bring in a portfolio of cartoons. I remember he was very friendly and complimentary and then cheerfully pointed out that I was basically asking for his job and showed me the door. That should have been my first clue.

Many years later - 15 or so - Claire Bickley called up and asked if I wanted her job covering TV at the paper. Claire knew me from working press tours together back when I covered the beat for TV Guide. The job wasn’t really hers to give - I had to meet with Kathy Brooks and John Kryk and trick them into hiring me - but things worked out and I’ll always have Claire to thank.

This was the fall of 1999. Already everyone was starting every sentence with, “You should have been here when this place was fun.” Paul Godfrey had already fleeced the place and ran. Quebecor had taken over and folks were so relieved it wasn’t the Star.

Ah, memories.

I was there one week and our little entertainment section was invited to sit in the Sun box for a Leaf game.

“Geez,” I said to Bruce Kirkland, “This is awesome. How often does this happen?”

Kirkland said this was his second time ever. The first time he went they were still called the St. Pats.

The truth was there were always ways to score Leaf tickets and Jays tickets at the Sun. Argo tickets - hell, you got them if you came in late.

A month or so into the job, just before Christmas, we all get called up to the sixth floor. There’s an old dude there shaking hands and handing everyone envelopes stuffed with cash. I felt like Mulroney at an Airbus convention! Then these Sunshine Girls handed everyone brandy in a plastic cup. Later on there was a Christmas bonus in the mail. This place was awesome.

Back then employees were even offered a sabbatical every 10 years. Mine came after seven.

It was especially fun being tucked way back in entertainment. I always thought the Sun got less and less impressive the closer you got to my desk. There was a pretty grand reception area, a fancy staircase, then a series of doors like on Get Smart, then a bunch of people working on old metal desks that had fallen off a truck around 1973. The desks, not the people.

I never even knew there were other sections of the paper. Every now and then I’d spot this red-faced guy who was sort of in charge over there. There was a nice man with a beard who was editor for a while; he used to hand out free submarine sandwiches.

It was a time of great transition at the paper. The first year I arrived, everybody smoked. Two years later, nobody smoked. I missed all the drinking and sex, too. What the hell, I was promised sex with Barbara Amiel (even though she had left the paper by then; it was still supposed to happen). I didn’t even get groped by Valerie Gibson.

Although I did get to interview the Naked News chicks. Any hot babe with a TV show was always gold at the Sun. It was such an adjustment later when I'd send copy to the Canadian Press and see Sun phrases such as "balloon-breasted bimbo Pamela Anderson" changed to "Canadian-born actress Pamela Anderson."

It was great fun camping in that forgotten corner of the office with Claire, Kirkland, Jim Slotek, Liz Braun, Bobby Thompson, Jane Stevenson, John Coulbourn (holy cow could he rip a publicist in two on the phone) and, later, Bill Harris and Steve Tilley. It was like being in detention with all the smart people. Liz made me laugh the entire 90 minutes she came in every day.

The layout guys were pretty cool too. I see half of them now every time I walk into the Star newsroom. Bob Bishop and Derek Tse made that weekend magazine sing; Kryk threw himself into it too. It was the best entertainment magazine in the city no one outside of Sun readers ever saw.

Kathy Brooks was gold, just the best copy editor ever, fixed everything I wrote. If she had edited this she would have taken out the Amiel reference. Beyond that, she was a great listener, a smart cookie and had all those stories. She brought a lot of heart to the place.

Later on, Sherri Wood stole all our hearts and then, so soon, broke them. Boy she was special. I really wanted to see what was going to happen for her next.

Wish I had had more time to get to know Jerry Gladman too, he was always a great read and died with such remarkable courage.

I learned a lot at the Sun and will always be grateful for being given such freedom to find my voice. I have also found there was great value having worked there; it upped my street cred, as the kids say, strengthened my brand.

In some ways, though, I only really felt part of the Sun once I was fired.

That was the little paper I remembered reading as a high school student. Every other day, Peter Worthington would fire Paul Rimstead. I wanted to get fired by Peter Worthington. He would have hired me back. 

Bill Brioux

If you are a Day Oner or one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Steve Payne

Memories of the Toronto Sun - Steve Payne

My last memory of the Toronto Sun is bittersweet, having been unceremoniously dumped along with a number of others on a Monday morning (who would have driven in knowing that)?

But I will diplomatically move on to a better recollection of the time photographer Norm Betts and I visited the Soviet army for several weeks before the breakup of the communist empire.

I had contacted the Soviet embassy in Ottawa asking if I could spend time as a recruit in their army. My wife thought I was nuts and, to be honest, I did not expect anything to happen. Then, suddenly, a Soviet official called me and said it would be possible if our forces would reciprocate for two Soviet journalists.

To cut a long story short, I contacted our forces and was put in touch with a major. He and I subsequently met up with the Soviets and the exchange was set up. (I must say that much more went on behind the scenes while this was being organized, but I will let that remain a secret).

Anyway, in the deep of winter, Norm and I travelled to Gorky (where few westerners had ventured as it was off-limits) and I was recruited into an artillery unit for more than two weeks of basic training, helped by an interpreter.

It was quite something, especially being allowed to fire all kinds of high tech weaponry; I hit the gym; learned how to goosestep; slogged through early morning runs; ate basic rations; skied and listened to the Soviet army doctrine in the classroom.

The officers and fellow recruits, who came from all over the Soviet Union, were great. Frankly, they were the same as us Canadians. They loved sport, had a similar sense of humour, liked to have fun, liked to talk about all subjects under the sun and had no wish to go to war, even though it was clear that they would be a formidable foe.

The base commander told me, quite emphatically, "We will fight if we have to, but I would rather sit with you and have a vodka."

We did have a few drinks one night, as Norm will remember, as he had to be rescued from unconsciousness in the snow after getting lost on the way to a toilet. That night, his snoring was so loud the awoken recruits took it in turns to come to his bedside and look at his beard going up and down.

"Norm was so ill the following morning the doctor was called and he gave him some medicine to swallow. Trouble is, the medicine was actually another shot of vodka and Norm promptly vomited on him. The hair of the dog that bit Norm came up with one hell of a growl. 

Bloody hell, that was funny.

To this day, I wonder where my platoon members ended up, especially my immediate superior, who was a tugboat operator somewhere in Siberia. Another lad was from close to the border with Mongolia and another was from an intellectual family, as he described it.

I also discovered a few things about myself, one of them being that I turned out to be such a crack shot on the pistol range (number 1 in fact) that the Soviet officers instructing me could not be convinced that I had actually never fired a pistol before.

"You come from the army," one of them kept saying.

I also remember preferring to throw grenades barehanded despite the cold rather than wear gloves. I had no doubt in my mind that I would not drop the thing if I took the gloves off.

Here at home, I still have every piece of uniform the Soviets provided, including winter combat jacket and pants, the boots (which I often use when shovelling the driveway) dress coat, achievement pins, a photo album presented to us, a perspex model of an artillery weapon made by the soldiers, even my Soviet Army identity card. I reckon they would have given me my Kalashnikov had I asked.

Back home, the adventure was turned into a week of features put together by Luke Betts.

And yes, the Soviets did send a pair of journalists over and they spent some time at Cornwallis. It was rumored one of them was more a spy than a journalist, but who knows and frankly, who cares. Both of them were great guys and the Canadians gave them a great reception.

They did not get to go home with anywhere near as much stuff as Norm and I did, but soldiers got together to send them home with gifts for their entire families.


If you are a Day Oner or one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th

Monday, 19 September 2011

Sean McCann Sr.

Memories of the Toronto Sun - Sean McCann Sr.

The years I spent at the Toronto Sun were among the best of my life. Great job, great people, great fun. 

What more can be said?
Calgary, Alberta

If you are a Day Oner or one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th

Ian Harvey

Memories of the Toronto Sun - Ian Harvey:  

The Sun newsroom was my home for 23 years.

I was hired after an interview with Les Pyette in December 1978. He looked at my clips then asked the critical question: Do you have a car and a
camera? Yes, I said. "Okay, you'll start at $275 a week," he said. 

I followed Lorrie Goldstein over from the Scarborough Mirror (and later Jean Sonmor followed me. Alan Parker and Gord Walsh were also part of the Mirror Mafia).

My friends and I had rented a chalet in ski country for the season so I
spent New Years up there partying and then was to report for work at 2 p.m. on Jan. 1, 1979. I drove through a massive snowstorm from Collingwood, talking my way past OPP roadblocks and down into the city where Lee Lester was on the city desk.

My first assignment was to take a tip from Norm Bettswho was calling in from the airport, either on his way to Jamaica or on his way back. At some point I was also told to call John Downing at home. 

"I was making love to my wife and you've disturbed me," boomed Downing. 

Of course, I was a tad taken back but I soon realized he was winding me up.  

Anyway, the point of the story is that I had joined an incestuous little family and despite my plan to stay for five years and head to the Star, I ended up living at home for 23 years.

There are so many memories of growing up there. Getting married, having
kids, getting divorced . . . doing stupid things I wish I hadn't, struggling to keep my mouth shut and my temper under control, neither of which I was very good at.

Working with some great people along the way: Mike Simpson, Bob Burt, Cam
Norton, Lloyd Kemp, Bob Vezina, David Kendall, Bill Dunphy, Peter Young, Linda B, the photogs. I might as well just name the entire roster over the years.

I remember typing (!) a letter to Doug Creighton complaining the newsroom
raise that year - somewhere around 1982 - was a little meagre and cited the Star's package and, of course, the famous promise: The smallest and best paid newsroom. He wrote back and agreed and threw all of us some extra dough.

Try that today. Or Doug taking Heather Bird and I to lunch at Winston's
for no reason other than we'd flippantly mentioned at some event we'd never been to Winston's.  

I remember making mischief at the annual editorial review meetings, butting heads with editors, writing an expose about WWF wrestlers, strippers and steroids when I was supposed to write a puff piece. 

Getting kicked out of the newsroom and banished to City Hall as the transit columnist, hanging out at the Press Club on Thursday nights, having Fridays off, getting stuck working 7 to 2s because only five of us on GA had cars. 

More than a job, it was a privilege and an honour. And yes, it was a dysfunctional family, but it was still family.

PS, thank you for undertaking the TSF site. I always check in and I
hope you'll call out for someone to take it over from you. You've done a wonderful thing these past five years.

Ian Harvey
416-930-2149 m
"Bark with Byte"

If you are Day Oner or one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary.

Donato art show

Fall Andy Donato art exhibits at the Columbus Centre in Toronto are almost a given, much to the delight of collectors of his work.

This fall, circle Oct. 5 through Nov. 1 for an exhibit called From Toronto to Tuscany, From Tybee to Twillingate, by Andy Donato.

Andy will be at the Oct. 5 opening reception from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., with Roy McMurtry, chancellor of York University and former chief justice of Ontario, officially opening the exhibit at 7:30 p.m. 

It is an open invite.

The veteran Toronto Sun editorial cartoonist spends much of his vacation time travelling with easel and paint brushes, preparing for his next exhibit.

BTW: Tuscany is in Italy; Tybee Island is in Georgia; Twillingate is in Newfoundland.

The man gets around.

The day this show, in the Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery at the centre, ends is the same day the award-winning Sun Day Oner marks his 40th year with the tabloid.

The Columbus Centre is at 901 Lawrence Ave. W. Gallery hours after opening night are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. 

Visit for more information.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Bill Sandford

Memories of the Toronto Sun - Bill Sandford:

As the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Sun approaches, I feel a sense of dread and euphoria. It would have been nice to have a celebration to look forward to.

Although not a day one photographer, I was around for the launch, cruising downtown with a scanner, hoping for the big one.

It was five years later that I joined the staff of the Sun, now located on King St. E., starting out as a two-way on the police desk, replacing Al Craig, who had decided to join the Toronto Fire Department.

A year later, I was a full-time photographer and enjoyed the freedom of working out of my car. I found out that being a reporter left you chained to a desk too much.

The dread I mentioned comes from the fact that the paper could be gone at any moment, the massive newsroom we had in the early years squeezed into a much smaller space. Euphoria comes from remembering the days of big stories and scooping the Star, which was often.

I have just come back from a lunch with the Toronto EMS pioneers. This is a group of retirees and those with long service. I was inducted as an honourary member because of the special relationship I had built up over many years.

I started meeting up with the EMS supervisors for coffee when working the night shift, or whenever we could meet up during a day shift. We usually got together at any big incidents and that relationship paid off in spades.

There were many stories I fed to the newsroom, with information from a supervisor, something that wasn’t on the radios.

I enjoyed chasing news, as it was the foundation of our tabloid roots.

I garnered over 20 awards during my time at the Sun, including the first NNA for photography in 1979.

And I enjoyed working with a great bunch of photographers and reporters too numerous to mention. You know who you are. 

Bill Sandford
London, Ont.

If you are a Day Oner or one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

24 Hour boxes

Today is the day the 24 Hour Box Makeover Project set as a deadline for Sun Media to clean up its tawdry newspaper box act. 

“Over the past two weeks we have seen many of the dirty and abandoned 24 Hour newspaper boxes that have been posted on our blog replaced with brand new ones,” Rolyn Chambers, movement founder, says in a blog posting.

“I think we have lit a fire under their collective asses. The countdown is on to see how many boxes will be cleaned up or replaced by the September 17th deadline.”

Volunteer artists were prepared to makeover unsightly boxes after the deadline.

Author No. 50

Mark Bourrie, who has 10 books to his credit, becomes the  50th Toronto Sun Family member on our list of  published authors.

The most recent book for Bourrie, who called the newsroom home from 1979 into the 1980s, is Fog of War: Censorship of Canada's Media in World War II, published by Douglas & McIntyre.

It is the 10th book since 1993 for the Ottawa-based writer.

The TSF author list is for any current or former Toronto Sun employee who is a published author.  

The list will be updated for new authors, additions and corrections until Nov. 1, 2011. To be added to the list, email the title, year of publication, publisher, number of pages and fiction or non-fiction.

Fifty authors and counting from one newspaper is impressive.

Friday, 16 September 2011

TorSun crash crashed tonight.

At 10:59 p.m., we got this message:

Oops! This page appears broken. DNS Error - Server cannot be found. 

The other Suns were not down.

It was still down at 4.20 a.m.

Major down time.

The LFP memo

The "visit from the boss" email memo sent Aug. 26 to members of the ‘LFP Editorial Department’ by Joe Ruscitti, editor-in-chief of the London Free Press.

Used by TSF with the permission of The McLeod Report blogger, Phil McLeod: 

“Monday morning Aug. 29 930-11ish, PKP will be in the building and it’s my understanding he aims to have a walk about in the newsroom, including chats with staff.

“This would be a good time to look and act sharp.

“This would probably not be a good time to tell the boss how much better we would be if we had this many more reporters or this or that piece of equipment, etc.

“At least for those 90 minutes, you like the new emphasis on the mobile newsroom and the concept of the mobile multimedia journalist. You think the newsroom redesign will help us be that kind of newsroom. Etc.

“Which brings me around to a couple of bits of non-boss-visit news: Laptops have been approved for reporters and the re-do of the newsroom is slated for the weekend of Sept. 24-5, more details to come on that and the weekend may yet change.


We get links

The once proud London Free Press is about to undergo a newsroom makeover.

It might not be want PKP wants to hear, but insiders aren't too happy.

A TSF tipster sent this link:

"You'll be interested in Philip McLeod's latest blog post regarding The London Free Press," says the tipster. "Phil is a former editor-in-chief of the LFP during the late 1980s and to about 1997.

"He then co-founded the community newspaper The Londoner and was its editor for several years before it was purchased by Sun Media."

With all of the talk of "freedom" in the Sun and on Sun News, take the time to read the jaw-dropping, shameful  leaked LFP management memo to newsroom employees about what they should say - and not say - during a pending visit by PKP.

McLeod says in his blog PKP's scheduled visit in late August was cancelled, so the newsroom didn't get the opportunity to say only what PKP wants to hear.

He writes:

"What’s this? PKP, owner of more Canadian newspapers than any other person in this country, doesn’t like to hear the other side, get all the facts, engage in a little debate?"

Yes, dear TSF readers, that is why we chuckle whenever Sun columnists and the Sun News hordes spout "freedom" as if they have it as employees of Sun Media.

24 boxes creepy

Remember when the Toronto Sun encouraged its readers to report faulty or damaged boxes so the iconic red representatives of the rising tabloid could be repaired or replaced?

We do.

Well, take a look at this collection of Sun Media's 24 Hour boxes across Toronto in a video produced by a group threatening to do makeovers starting tomorrow.

The 24 Hour Box Guerilla Art Makeover project says Sun Media has been shamed into removing some abused boxes, but there are many more eyesores still on the streets. 

We're not sure who these makeover campaign people are, so if any TSF tipsters are in the know, drop us an email.

Crime does pay

Michele Mandel's crime and justice columns are keeping the tabloid spirit alive at the Toronto Sun and Thursday's piece about the lonely hearts shoeshine boy killer is a prime example.

While a new generation of Sun readers might not recognize the name Saul Betesh, readers who were around in 1977 haven't forgotten his involvement in the sex slaying of 12-year-old Emanuel Jaques

Sun  Media lost a great crime writer in Rob Tripp at the Kingston Whig-Standard, who briefly raised the Betesh prison Internet use issue in a Sept. 8 posting on his CanCrime site.

But the Sun  still has Michele to remind print readers of current and vintage cases of justice and injustice.  

(Peter Worthington helped curb pension payments to mass murderer Clifford Olson, perhaps Michele and her readers can campaign for an end to the Internet in prisons.) 

The Toronto Sun has all but abandoned the crime-dominated formula, with a dash of T&A and the unexpected, that made it a success in favour of wall-to-wall politics and self-promotion. 

Michele's columns put us in a vintage Sun state of mind.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

9/10/11 Where now?

Joining Christina Smales on the secretarial roster on Day One were:

9 - Ann Rankin

10 - Susan Turpin

11 - Linda Bone

Where are they now?

We'll save space for any updates and photos provided for Ann, Susan and Linda.

8 Christina Blizzard

A salute to The 62

Christina Smales, the future bride of Sun colleague Dave Blizzard, worked for the Guardian in her native England before coming to Canada and landing a job at the Telegram. Her early Sun duties were secretarial, helping out the editor, Peter Worthington, who proved to be a worthy mentor. Peter's assistant for 11 years eventually ventured into the newsroom as a reporter. She covered education for three years and was a city hall columnist for four years. Assigned to Queen's Park in 1994, the author of two books and former Legislative Press Gallery president has covered four premiers - Bob Rae, Mike Harris, Ernie Eves and Dalton McGuinty. But Christina gets out vote for her coverage of First Nations affairs. In her memories of Day One for TSF, Christina, still on the job, said getting that first  Sun out was "hectic and challenging and rewarding - and one of the most fun adventures I've ever had."

If you are a Toronto Sun Day Oner and have a bio or memories to share, please email with a photo.

If you are one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

7 David Cooper

A salute to The 62

David Cooper: In the early years of the Toronto Sun, turnover was minimal. A few moved on for various reasons, including David, one of three Day One photographers catered to by darkroom chief Wasyl Kowalishen. David left in 1977 for the Toronto Star, where he would win a 2007 National Newspaper Award for sports photography. He is still at the Star 34 years later. David fondly recalls the Sun launch. After the Telegram folded, David, Norm Betts and Jac Holland went shopping for darkroom equipment to be ready for the Sun launch two days later. His first SUNshine Girl, Tiiu Poder, 18, snapped in black and white and fully clothed while shopping for a camera at Henry’s, was also the first in the Sun. She was on Page 16, not Page 3, the more popular placement once the clothes started to come off.
If you are a Toronto Sun Day Oner and have a bio or memories to share, please email with a photo.

If you are one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Peter and Brian

Two recommended reads involving Toronto Sun people, present and past.

Peter Worthington will soon be jetting off to Moscow, this time for a vacation:

George James remembers the late Brian Vallee in the Globe and Mail:

Sloppy ad biz

A lack of ad department focus down Niagara way ticked off a lot of people who had functions planned.

A TSF reader writes:

"My sister booked a celebration ad for my brother-in-law's 65th birthday with the (St. Catharines) Standard and the Niagara Falls Review. It is in the Standard, but not the web. It is on the Review's web page, but not in the paper. 

"When she got the  rep in charge of it, she was outraged she was called on her cell phone at home. As it turned out, the whole celebration was left out.

"All those people having open houses and parties - just lost. No one seems to concerned. Is this how Sun Media does business?"

Sunday, 11 September 2011

6 Paul Rimstead

A salute to The 62

Paul Rimstead died 24 years ago, but tell people you worked for the Toronto Sun back in the day and chances are they will ask about Rimmer. From Day One, the affable and gifted Sudbury-born columnist had a faithful following with his tales of Flashbulb Freddy, Rusty Rita, (his car) Miss Hinky (his wife, Myrna) etc. When not on the phone to rewrite, he was on stage drumming, holding court telling stories or writing a book. The high school dropout's first taste of journalism was at 11 as editor/publisher of the Beatrice Bugle in Beatrice, Ont., Pop 37. His later years as a pool hustler, burlesque house usher, Fuller Brush man etc. provided colour for his Tely and Sun columns. Readers loved him, but not enough voted for him in his 1972 bid for mayor. We lost Paul on May 26, 1987, at age 52. One of the Sun's true legends is missed, dammit.

If you are a Toronto Sun Day Oner and have a bio or memories to share, please email with a photo.

If you are one of the hundreds of men and women in all departments who followed The 62 and want to share your memories of the Toronto Sun in the next few weeks, email TSF.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

24 Hour video

Are you sure Sun Media is not behind this elaborate 24 Hour makeover project? Cheap way to have the blight removed. 

If not, will the volunteer artists be doing their makeovers in the dead of night to avoid being charged with tampering with private property?