Sunday 4 November 2007

Day 1: George Gross

Memories of Day Oners, a unique group of 62 unemployed men and women from the defunct Toronto Telegram who spent Halloween of 1971 putting out that first 48-page Toronto Sun.

They succeeded despite Tely Wake hangovers, occasional blackouts and primitive working conditions in converted Eclipse Building factory space at 322 King Street West.

George Gross, sports editor:

George "The Baron" Gross decided to hold onto his memories of Oct. 31, 1971, and share them with his Sunday Sun readers.

A good read, especially his memories of the newsroom atmosphere and the eyewitness reaction of those who trekked to Mississauga in the wee hours of Nov. 1, 1971, to watch the first Suns roll off the presses.

The newsroom chaos:

"Only the founding publisher, Douglas Creighton, and general manager Don Hunt had desks," George said. "The rest of us had to be satisfied with orange crates serving as typewriter desks."

Watching the first Toronto Suns roll off the presses:

"Tears rolled down the cheeks of most of the assembled Sun directors, their wives and practically all staffers who made it to the printing plant."

George, who also wrote about the Sun's launch for the 30th anniversary edition in 2001, says he still enjoys that moment 36 years later.

Earlier Day Oner postings by Christina Blizzard, Kaye Corbett, John Downing, John Iaboni and Ken Robertson.

Speaking of Day Oners, the Toronto Sun published a photo of 20-year staffers today, but we haven't seen a photo of the five surviving Day Oners: Peter Worthington, Andy Donato, George Gross, Christina Blizzard and Jim Thompson.

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