Friday 8 December 2006

Hired: 1980s

When the Toronto Sun was launched Nov. 1, 1971, there were 62 employees. As the circulation steadily grew, more people were hired in all departments.

This blog will follow employees who were hired in the 1980s, from their first day on the job to where they are today. (Read our The Departed blog tributes to those employees who are gone, but not forgotten.)

(For 1980s bio and photo submissions or corrections, e-mail us)

The 1980s:

Bruce Huff
"I should have known my days around the Toronto Sun sports desk would be unique when George Gross gave me the day off on my first day on the job. You see, I would have started on Friday the 13th but The Baron thought that would have brought me bad luck. Not so. My 14 years at the Sun were an event-filled segment of my life. Never a dull moment when George was around. One regret. Nobody informed me of the Sun retirees party two years ago. Anyway, life in London has been good. I've written for the Star and the Free Press (sadly it has lost touch with the community. Many folks remember when it WAS a newspaper), plus several smaller papers, periodicals and programs. I'm putting together a book of Off The Cuff columns. Away from the keyboard since retirement, I have played some 1,400 oldtimer hockey games across North America and Europe, including the recent World Cup in Quebec City. I am a member of the Canadian Oldtimers Hockey Hall of Fame, the London Sports Hall of Fame, Dresden (hometown) Sports Hall of Fame and the Ontario Legends of fastball. Was London's sportsperson of 2003. Also in the Who's Who of Canadian Sports for writing. Currently, I chair the London Sports Hall of Fame committee, am founding chairman of the London Oldtimers Sports Association, head a group that secured Labatt Park as the permanent home for the Intercounty Baseball League hall of fame and sports interpretive centre. I have chaired reunions of Ontario Arena, London Gardens, London fastball, oldtimers baseball, London Nationals hockey and a Hockey Day in Canada segment. And, I am player/manager of an elite seniors slo-pitch team that plays across North America. Sun times were fun times. Laughter amid chaos. Pride amid crisis. Thanks for the memories."

Sandra Macklin
1982 - 1994
"Worked at the Sun from 1982 to 1994. Went away, missed everyone terribly. I became an Internet Service Provider in 1994, back when people didn't know what email or the web was … and they thought I did? But damn, it was a little gold mine: until the mine caved in. I was a Day-Oner at the National Post. I knew what “Day-Oner" meant, I thought it would make me as rich, as did everyone else in this room. Now I am a real estate agent selling cottages on Rice Lake; six people drowned on the lake this year. I never had to wear a life jacket on the Sun news desk - I always knew I was swimming with the best of the best."

Valerie Gibson
1983 - 2007
Valerie Gibson revved the engines of male and female Toronto Sun readers from her arrival in 1983 to her departure in 2007. Valerie was a journalist in Europe before settling in Canada and landing a job in the Sun's Lifestyle department. She certainly put more "life" in Lifestyle in her 24 years at the Sun. She broke new ground in newspapers a decade ago with her Intimacies column. As Valerie says, "it was the first column dedicated to sex and relationships written by a woman in Canada and one of only three similar columns in North America. Thanks to a book or two, she also made the term "cougar" (as in older women dating younger men) a buzz word in North American sexual relations discussions. The award-winning sex and relationships columnist and best-selling author has also appeared on numerous TV documentaries and news and talk shows, including Dr. Phil, Prime Time Live, Geraldo-at-Large, The Big Idea etc. Her Canadian TV exposure includes a Sun TV show Monday evenings. She is also a celebrity personality for new websites and Her Monday S&M (Sex and Money) column she shared with business editor Linda Leatherdale and her Dear Val column on Fridays came to an end in the spring of 2007 when her Sun contract wasn't renewed. Now, she is working on another book on dating when older. Valerie describes herself as "a vocal advocate for the wonderful benefits of joyful sex and the pleasure of men." Married and divorced five times, the mother of an adult disabled daughter says "love is everything." For everything Valerie Gibson, you can visit her personal website at

Maryanna Lewyckyj
Maryanna Lewyckyj was a Toronto Sun trooper since the day she walked into 333 King Street East in 1984. She was a SUNshine Boy photographer; dabbled in freelance writing for the sports department; was a classified ads taker; worked as an Op-Ed "Gal Friday"; wrote the popular Action Line column etc. She had worked her way up to associate money editor when her name appeared in Quebecor's fall 2006 layoff list. She made her exit in late January, 2007. Little did she know when she attended a Nov. 18, 2006, reunion of 150 former and current Toronto Sun staffers that she would soon become an ex-staffer. Is it just a coincidence this outspoken Unit Chair for the Toronto Sun's first collective agreement is being shown the door? Fat chance, but not surprising. Maryanna says she has been a "proud member" of the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild bargaining team and her heart is with the Toronto Sun Family. With her competitive nature - she once held the Toronto district high school record for javelin throwing - we are sure Maryanna will land on her feet with a new newspaper job and an appreciative boss.

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