Monday, October 12, 2015

an editorial about bigotry and federal election campaigns, 1904

The [Toronto] News, October 28, 1904. 
Given the ugliness of the 2015 federal election campaign, especially regarding bigotry and excessive partisanship, it's unfortunate that comments within this 1904 Toronto newspaper editorial are still relevant. Only a few words require adjustment to reflect the present situation.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

early adventures in the journalism trade department: destination downtown

Packing for a move inevitably causes glimpses of your past to resurface, especially when you have packrat tendencies. Sifting through a pile of papers atop my record shelf, I found a golden yellow folder cover in newsprint-smudged fingerprints. Inside were multiple copies of several stories I wrote for the University of Guelph's newspaper, the Ontarion, during my final year in academia. I suspect the articles in the folder were intended to be attached to job applications, which I sent plenty of as I tried to sort out my future and avoid a forced return to the Windsor area.

Among the clips was this piece, my first feature-length foray into urban issues, published during the summer semester after I graduated. My work for the Ontarion had been almost exclusively arts-related or the weekly archival roundup, though I had started to slip in the odd news story (such as covering hearings for a student occupation which occurred while I had been abroad). When this article was published, I still had no idea what the future held. By summer's end, I became the arts and culture editor after the initial hire left. 

Little did I know that two decades later covering urban revitalization would still be on my professional radar. 

Click on the images for larger versions. 
ontariondowntown1

ontariondowntown2
The Ontarion, May 26-June 8, 1998.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

off the grid: retro t.o. cbc's black wednesday (and the impact in windsor)

This installment of my "Retro T.O." column for The Grid was originally published on April 10, 2012.

Cartoon by Patrick Corrigan, Toronto Star, December 7, 1990.
It was an evening that should have been joyous for Canadian television. But as the Gemini Awards ceremony ended on December 4, 1990, the audience learned of an ominous announcement on that night’s edition of The National. The hosts of Monitor—the Gemini-nominated investigative-news series that aired on Toronto’s CBC affiliate, CBLT—stood arm-in-arm as they watched a story indicating that CBC would slash $110 million from its budget by closing 10 regional TV stations and cutting 1,200 employees. It was believed that Monitor was among the shows that would get the axe, an event for which co-host Jeffrey Kofman seemed prepared. “Toronto is already well served by the media,” he told the Star. “I’ve had five great years. I’ll survive.” The punctured mood was summed up by Peter Mansbridge, who found it difficult to enjoy his Best Broadcast Journalist award “when I know a lot of my colleagues will be losing their jobs.”

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

off the grid: the choosing of an interim toronto mayor, 1978

Looking through my files recently, I found this story, which was published by The Grid toward the end of 2012. Details are sketchy - I suspect it was one of those pieces which fell off the website before the publication folded. I don't remember what the original title of this article was, though the sub-head likely mentioned Rob Ford during a time when it appeared he might be tossed from office.

ts 78-08-27 johnston beavis title fight
Toronto Star, August 27, 1978, Click on image for larger version.
When Toronto city councillors voted for an interim mayor on September 1, 1978, the deadlock the media predicted came to pass. Candidates Fred Beavis and Anne Johnston had 11 votes each. Under the law, there was one solution to determine who would fill the last three months of David Crombie’s term: placing the contenders’ names in a cardboard box.

Monday, October 05, 2015

off the grid: ghost city 1172 dundas street west

This installment of my "Ghost City" column for The Grid was originally published on May 2, 2013.

Dempster's Staff of Life Bakery is visible in the background of this streetcar track construction shot taken along Dundas Street on July 19, 1917. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 58, Item 681.
During the last decades of the 19th century, the Toronto bread market was a battleground. Bakers faced resistance from housewives used to making their own loaves and tough battles for customers with an increasing supply of commercial competitors. When teenager George Weston entered the business in the early 1880s, the future food mogul joined nearly 60 other city bakers and nearly 60 more confectioneries.