Monday, 30 September 2013

Paul Heming gone 20 years ago today

Toronto Sun newsroom staffers arriving at work on Sept. 30, 1993, were told about the sudden death of 13-year copy desk vet Paul Heming.

Paul was only 53 when he died of a heart attack, gone too soon like many others at the Sun, including Ben Grant, Greg Parent, Lloyd Kemp, Del Bell, Paul Henry, Jamie Westcott, Ray Smith, Mark Stewart, Paul Rimstead, Jerry Gladman.

The Ryerson grad worked at the Guelph Mercury, Toronto Telegram, the Guardian and other publications in England, and the Globe and Mail before arriving at the Sun in 1980.

Paul was a huge part of the Sun newsroom chemistry that made going to work seem more like you were going to a party. His love of baseball was contagious.

Gone, but not forgotten.

Oct. 17 - a gathering for Les Pyette, Peter O'Sullivan

You are invited to an evening of celebration of Les Pyette’s induction into the Canadian News Hall of Fame and remembrance of the late, great Peter O'Sullivan.

When: Thursday, October 17, 7 p.m. to ?

Where: The lounge room at P.J. O’Brien Irish Pub & Restaurant, 39 Colborne Street (Behind the King Edward Hotel)

Cash bar, with “nibblies” courtesy of Pat Quinn.

Former Sun colleagues, family and friends are invited to mingle, congratulate Les for being inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame and to remember Peter O’Sullivan.

Both men were key players in the rise of the Toronto Sun during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Their newsroom skills and eye-catching front pages raised the bar for tabloid fare.

If you are not able to attend the P.J. O’Brien gathering, feel free to post comments about Les and Peter here or on the Toronto Sun Family Facebook page.

Les, a newsroom vet from the Soo, and photo legend Boris Spremo will be inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame the previous night during a $200-a-plate dinner.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Jennie Marks, a 36-year TorSun vet, dies at 63

Jennie Marks, a dedicated Toronto Sun circulation staffer for 36 years, died suddenly on Sept. 19, leaving a legacy of family, friends and satisfied Sun readers. She was 63.

Jennie, just one of the hundreds of Sun vets who made a difference at 333 during its growth in the 70s, 80s and 90s, is remembered for her effervescence on the job and off.   

Hired in 1977, Jennie made a difference from the day she arrived at the Sun after working for the Montreal Gazette. She was a native of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

It has been estimated she talked to more than a million Sun subscribers in her 36 years at the Sun, all the while keeping her cool and not losing her love of the job.

The Jennies of the Toronto Sun, the unsung heroes of the Little Paper That Grew, were always the pride of co-founders Doug Creighton and Peter Worthington. 

This blogger remembers Jennie's good nature during office-to-office sports pools throughout the building. She was always a delight to talk to during visits to circulation. 
Jennifer Patricia Marks is survived by Liston, her husband for 35 years, daughter Kerin, son Brad and his wife, Marthese, and numerous brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and her Toronto Sun family.

“The Sun was her family apart from the blood family; she loved everyone she worked with, especially going back to the old days,” Brad said in a Toronto Sun story.

She was known as "Mom" to many.

Viewing will be held on Thursday Sept. 26, between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Newediuk Funeral Home, Kipling Chapel, 2058 Kipling Ave., Toronto. Funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday, Sept. 27, at 10 a.m. at St. Andrew’s RC Church, 2547 Kipling Ave., Toronto.

Interment will be held at Assumption Catholic Cemetery, 6933 Tomken Rd., Mississauga. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Canadian Cancer Society, or to the Ontario Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, in memory of Jennifer Marks, would be appreciated by the family.

Online condolences at

Memories of Jennie Marks can be emailed to

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Paper - Ontario's new monthly independent

Another former Sun Media staffer has launched a free newspaper, this time a Clinton-based monthly print/online edition to serve the Huron Region.

As a TSF blog poster says: "There is a new newspaper in Huron County, which is founded by (Cheryl Heath) a Sun Media castaway. Check out The Paper on Facebook)"

The Paper's website reads:

The Paper is an independent monthly publication, which is dedicated to bringing local businesses, services, retailers, and community-service organizations together with the region’s readership. 

It is designed with those age 40+ in mind, and is distributed to a number of targeted 55+ communities and seniors homes in Huron County. It is also available at a number of independent convenience stores and one book store.

Its editorial content is produced by local writers, and is edited by Cheryl Heath, a veteran print journalist with more than 20 years of experience in the field. Cheryl, a Windsor native, has worked in weekly, biweekly and daily newspapers in Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta. 

Cheryl and her husband, Russell, moved to the area in 2003, out of a keen desire to enjoy life in a circa 1864 Georgian home in the small community of Clinton, while working at a corporate publication. That corporation restructured in 2012, casting Cheryl adrift. She chose The Paper out of a firm belief that despite protestations to the contrary, there are still people out there – though granted mostly those 40-plus – who appreciate the printed word. And for those who don’t, there is always thus, the online edition. 

The Paper is aimed at those who are seeking locally sourced and produced features, photography, opinion pieces, stories, recipes and comments, and more information on locally operated businesses, restaurants, and retailers. 

The Paper is also an advocate for the county, its residents, and economic development. The Paper strives to promote the interests and goals of Huron County’s residents and business community. As such, The Paper strives to promote businesses and services in Huron County, while also sharing the stories of those who choose to call Huron County home, meaning both those with long proud roots in the community, like sixth-generation dairy farmers, to the former city folk who chose to say “goodbye, city life!” and with the green acres they now are  here.

The Paper welcomes you, the reader, to get involved, and perhaps more importantly, invest your time, if not your only yours dollars, in God’s country, which is also promoted through the Huron Tourism Association as Ontario’s West Coast. 

TSF welcomes another new Ontario independent.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

PC's Hudak hires Bonokoski

We didn't think Mark Bonokoski would be idle for long after being ousted from Sun Media in July after an  award-winning run since 1974. 
As the Toronto Star announced Friday: In other staffing changes at Queen’s Park, Tory Leader Tim Hudak has named legendary former Toronto Sun columnist Mark Bonokoski to be his director of communications.

The seasoned journalist in 2000 made an unsuccessful bid for the Canadian Alliance nomination in the federal riding of Nepean-Carleton, but was seen as too moderate by right-wing Reformers in the local association.

TSF agrees with the "legendary" part and he is the right man for the job. Our only hope is Mark will continue to pen the occasional, non-political Bono whimsy on his blog.

Congrats, Mark.
BTW: Perhaps the Star beat the Conservatives to the punch in announcing Bonokoski's appointment. We couldn't find a press release from Hudak's office anywhere online into early Saturday. 
It was Tweeted, but no official press release that we could find.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

New paper for Petrolia

Another new independent free Ontario newspaper was born today in Petrolia, competition for Sun Media's Petrolia Topic. It is appropriately called the Independent.

Update on the launch by Heather Wright, a former Sun Media freelance writer: A CTV report:

TSF received these anonymous postings today:

"The Independent in Petrolia launched today. Respected journalist who once freelanced for Sun before those funds began drying out. In competition with the Sun's Petrolia Topic which has been sliding badly. Wonder if the Independent will publish the Topic's obit soon."


"Just heard her that a new newspaper is opening in Petrolia (southwest Ontario) to compete with the Sun Media Petrolia Topic. Haven't lived in Lambton County for years, but I know my mother sure is happy to see another newspaper in her town. Guess she won't need to renew her Topic again, this is a free paper to every household in Petrolia and area.

"Anyone hear more about who is running the paper? I would guess former Sun Media folks, there certainly are a few in the neck of the woods."