Thursday, December 19, 2013

tales from the santa claus trenches of north york, 1972

Source: the Mirror, December 13, 1972. Click on image for larger, readable version.
Now that my apartment has more or less been cleaned up, time to sift through the mess of files on my computer. Buried in folders with titles like "Future Story Ideas," "Toronto Ads," and the vague "Misc.," are loose ends I've collected over years of research, waiting for their moment in the spotlight. Sometimes, the news cycle rewards the long waits these .jpg and .pdf files endure in the bowels of the Warehouse-o-matic 3000. Others are useless until the right time of the year rolls around.

Take the story above, a 1972 profile of North York's finest Santas. I suspect that any jolly old St. Nick 40 years on who gently but firmly tells a kid they're a greedy brat would receive a warning at the minimum, an escort by the security guard elves at the maximum.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

charming old codger department

Vintage Ad #530: Get that Jem Dandy Bounce with Geratex! 
Advertisement, Safari, March 1957.

There are standard tropes generations of newspapers have relied upon to fill up that tiny piece of front page real estate which no other story can stretch into. One is the "aw, isn't that 100-year-old-person cute!" trope. These tales often came over the wires, and had zilch to do with the city it was published in.

For example, take this tale pasted in the middle of the March 27, 1952 edition of the Telegram:

'Eye For Girls'
He's Not Old At 102

Galesburg, Mich - March 27 (AP) - "I still get a kick out of seeing a pretty girl," mused William Ridler as he observed his 102nd birthday today.

"When I don't any more, I'll know I'm getting old."
Imagine the Upworthy-esque headline were this published today: "If You Fear That Lust Fades With Age, This 102-Year-Old Man Will Change Your Mind."

Friday, December 06, 2013

bonus features: "we are confident that victory is in sight"

This post offers supplementary material for a Torontoist post I wrote several months ago, which I am revisiting in light of the passing of Nelson Mandela.

Front page, the Toronto Star, February 11, 1990. Click on image for larger version.
Note that amid the history-making headlines about Mandela's release from prison, a Toronto buffoon made his way to the front page. In this case, it's Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard, who would pass away two months after this edition. 

Advertisement, Now, May 29, 1986.
The Toronto Arts Against Apartheid Festival proved controversial during its organizational stages. When the United Way announced the event in November 1985, it gained support from local business leaders. "Here's the time for this city to show where it stands," noted Xerox Canada president David McCamus. Yet there were criticisms that such an event over-politicized the United Way, stretching its mandate beyond distributing funding to organizations within Metro Toronto. "The festival is certainly a worthy cause," observed Star columnist David Lewis Stein. "But those who want to participate should do so as individuals and leave the United Way out. The United Way cannot be all things to all people." The Sun encouraged a backlash against the agency, who reduced its role from co-sponsor to supporter.

Also controversial was an anti-apartheid conference organized by the Toronto Board of Education in March 1986. Within the board, some trustees were uneasy about holding a conference based around the issue. Worried that the event would portray "whites as racists," trustee Nola Crewe was bothered about "teaching our children that it's only white people who do these things." Alternately, fellow trustee Fran Endicott criticized board chair Ann Vanstone for allowing a letter from South African ambassador Glenn Babb onto the board's agenda. Babb demanded equal time to present his government's point of view, hoping at a minimum the board would show a pro-government film. The board rightly refused to recognize the letter. Over the next two years, the left and right wings of the board battled over the content of similar conferences.