Friday 8 December 2006

Day Oners Club

There were 62 Toronto Sun employees on Nov. 1, 1971 - the day the underdog tabloid newspaper was introduced to a receptive public.

The Day Oners, as they would affectionately be called years later, had partied into the wee hours after the final Toronto Telegram rolled off the presses on Oct. 30, 1971. Two days later, they were celebrating the birth of their Sun.

Out of the starting gate, Toronto readers took to the tabloid like bears to honey. All 75,000 copies of the first 48-page newspaper were sold. The next day, with a press run of 126,000, all but 400 were sold.

Three months later, Lord Thomson of Fleet said of the Sun: "In my opinion, it can't succeed. I wish them well, but there is no field here for a third newspaper."

But cynics be damned. The Sun was here to stay, for better and for worse.

For the first few years, they worked out of two floors in the Eclipse Building at King and John Streets, next door to Farb's Car Wash and across the street from Kingsplate Open Kitchen. A factory setting, with faulty electrical wiring, but they coped by being positive - and by using a pop machine for beer.

Less than two years after its launch, the Toronto Sun introduced the city's first Sunday newspaper. The Sunday Sun made its debut on Sept, 16, 1973. (The Saturday Sun made its debut on Sept. 13, 1986.)

The Sun was printed at Island Press in Mississauga until the Sun's move to a spanking new building at 333 King Street East in May of 1975, which had its own presses.

 While the Day Oners Club is a ghost of itself through retirements and deaths, the 62 originals got the job done, clearing the way for the benefit of thousands of future employees.

The Day Oners Club members, from the pages of Life In A Word Factory, by Ron Poulton, published in 1976 by Toronto Sun Publishing Ltd.:

Names in bold indicate employees still at the Sun. A (d) indicates known deceased Day Oners. 
Executives: Doug Creighton (d), Don Hunt and Peter Worthington

Editorial staff: Ed Monteith (d), managing editor; Ray Biggart, city editor; plus Bob McMillan, David Farrer, Bill Hay (d), John Jursa, John Downing, Bob MacDonald (d), Helen Bourke, George Anthony, Joan Sutton, Jim Yates (d), Kathy Brooks, Jim Cowan, Grant Maxwell, Ken Robertson (d), Cal Millar, Paul Rimstead (d), Olive Collins, Larry Collins, Glen Woodcock, Douglas Fisher (d)

Photographers: Jac Holland, Norm Betts, Dave Cooper, Wasyl Kowalishen (d)

Sports: George Gross (d), Kaye Corbett, Ken Adachi (d), John Iaboni, Eaton Howitt (d)

Art department: Andy Donato, Jeff Crawford

Library: Bill Nicholson (d), Frank Eames 

Circulation: John LeMay, Mike McCabe (d), Ron Tonks, William King 

Display advertising: Bruce Tuttle, Dick Shatto, Gord Jackson, Norm Milne, John McKay, Noel Ing, Domenica Farella 

Syndicate department: Ron Cornell, Paul Gillespie, Bruce Borland, Mary Buchanan, Sandra D'Cruz 

Business office: Art Holland (d), Jim Brown, Howard Hayes, Bruce Rae, Mary Zelezinksy 

Secretarial: Ann Rankin, Chris Smales (the future Christina Blizzard), Susan Turpin, Linda Bone 

Switchboard: Margaret Kmiciewicz, Jean Osborne 

Messengers: Jim Thomson, Jim Walsh, Graham Evoy, Frank Benedetti


  1. A surprising omission from this list of Day Oners is Douglas Fisher, who may have written more copy for the Sun than any other writer. Mr. Creighton recruited Doug as the lead political columnist after his 10-year old column with the Tely ended when it folded. Despite many offers to join the Globe and the Star, Doug remained a fixture on the Sun's editorial pages from 1971 to 2006, writing more than 5,000 columns for the chain before retiring two weeks shy of his 87th birthday. Now in his 89th year and living just outside Ottawa, he remains an avid reader and keen follower of politics. He is working on his memoirs as a soldier, librarian, teacher, Member of Parliament, television host, journalist and Hockey Canada co-founder. This squib has been contributed by his son, Matthew, who also was a columnist for the Sun for 10 years.

  2. My Great Uncle was Bill NICHOLSON(Library: (30) Bill Nicholson)
    He is deceased, i am researching family history of NICHOLSON, any photos or stories about My Uncle Bill greatly appreciated.