Showing posts with label toronto sun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toronto sun. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2013

bonus features: "bravo for the women of canada"

This post offers supplementary material for a recent Torontoist article, which you should read first before diving into this post.
Cartoon by Andy Donato, the Toronto Sun, January 30, 1988.
One of the pleasant surprises I discovered while researching this story was that all of Toronto’s major newspapers agreed that the Supreme Court of Canada made the right decision to kill the existing federal abortion law. There were notes of caution (the Sun’s editorial strongly recommended counselling on alternatives and birth control, while the Star suggested some controls would be necessary), but they weren’t accompanied by troglodytic language.

I was impressed by the Sun’s coverage—it was very even-handed, to the extent of a point/counterpoint piece where representatives from pro-choice and anti-abortion groups were given space to state their views side-by-side. There was one exception, and it’s a doozy.

Friday, February 08, 2013

bonus features: when mel freezes over...

This post provides supplementary material for an article in The Grid regarding the time the army was called in to help Toronto cope with a major snowstorm in 1999, which you should read before diving into the following text.

Front page, Toronto Sun, January 15, 1999.

Confession time: I’m drawing a blank as to what I did during the Snowmageddon of January 1999.

I definitely experienced it—at the time I was living in Guelph, working at the campus paper. Given the regular dumpings Guelph received, the storm likely didn’t seem unusual. It was probably just another snowy day, albeit one with greater accumulation. My guess is that either I curled up with a pile of library books or headed over to the Ontarion office to work, surf the net, or play endless games of Civilization II. It was around this time that staff relations within the office settled into a permanent deep-freeze, sparked by deep disagreements about the cover of that week’s issue. The only story about the storm in the following week’s edition noted there were no plans to shut down the U of G campus, and that students were encouraged to take advantage of increased Guelph Transit service as parking lots turned into mountains of cleared snow.

As for Lastman’s call for the army—it was Mel. Given his bombastic style, it would have been hard not to expect anything else.

Monday, November 12, 2012

e.t. phoned home, then complained to the toronto sun


As I once wrote in a Historicist column, it was hard to tell if longtime Toronto newspaper columnist McKenzie Porter believed everything he wrote or pulled the legs of innocent readers. His columns for the Telegram and the Toronto Sun are full of head-scratching passages that are hopefully meant to be satirical. Ranting about pooping is definitely humorous, defending apartheid in South Africa less so. The absurdity of Porter's columns fits comfortably with the contrarion streak that has always filled the Sun's pages.

While researching an upcoming article, I came across this beaut of a Porter column about the movie E.T. It’s one of the oddest attacks of the Steven Spielberg classic I’ve ever read. The film’s problem? It caters to idiots who project human qualities onto animals and other beings!

Source: the Toronto Sun, August 6, 1982
Please, please tell me that last line about eugenics was a joke…

Monday, September 12, 2011

vintage toronto sun letter of the day

anti-monty python letter

Monty Python's Flying Circus has offended plenty of people over the years. Sometimes, as in this letter, one's outrage at the show could easily be a sketch from the show. All that's missing from this letter is a "Dear Sir" salutation rendered in pompous tones.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

1,606: sun on the run: bonus features

Before reading this post, check out the original article on Torontoist.

In case the fine print is too fine—left to right: Ben Wicks, Paul Rimstead, Peter Worthington. Photo by Norm Betts. The Toronto Sun, October 24, 1972.

Paul Rimstead wasn't kidding when he said the other papers paid next-to-no attention to his mayoral campaign. Passing references were made to him in the Globe and Mail, while the Star couldn't resist a potshot or two. Case in point: Jack Miller's television column from the December 1, 1972 Star, which noted Rimstead's appearances on CITY:

The station even managed to present him in a suit—a nice blue suit—as part of a male fashion show on the afternoon Sweet City Woman series this week. It’s rumoured he’ll be wearing a suit again for tonight’s debate, indicating he takes CITY even more seriously than they take him (which is more seriously than most people take him).

This attitude may partly explain why Rimstead was not thrilled when the Star asked him for a three hundred word summary of his platform instead of a spot on a candidates forum beside David Crombie, Tony O'Donohue and David Rotenberg.

From the November 23, 1972 edition of the Star:

The Toronto Star asked me if I would like to outline my platform today in 300 words. I have declined, because it would not have nearly the impact of fair treatment and an invitation to last night's forum.

Oh well, that's show business. The Empire Club excluded me, too.

1972 Mayoral Logos
Logos for the three frontrunners in the 1972 mayoral race. The Toronto Sun, December 4, 1972.

The 1972 mayoral race will probably pop up in a future installment of Historicist, as it was one of the key elections in Toronto's history. The Toronto Life covers from the campaign alone are worth an article.


It shouldn't come as a shock that I wrote an archive column for my university newspaper. I loved leafing through the bound copies of back issues and seeing how student attitudes had changed over time, or which political columnists and figures writers loved to take pot shots at. Through the 1970s and 1980s Lubor Zink's columns were a favourite target due his zealous Cold Warrior persona. Since Guelph didn't have the Sun on microfilm, I asked Dad about Zink's writings. His assessment was that Zink was overzealous in his battle against Communist states and sympathizers, but felt that a few of his criticisms proved correct in the long run.

Still, any long-term truths are buried in an onslaught of unceasing vitriol that may provoke laughter in anyone other than die-hard Commie hunters. As former Telegram colleague Fraser Kelly summed up Zink in a July 1, 1972 column for the Star: “Those of us who know him well find him to be warm, kind and clever. We also consider him to be obsessed by the Communist menace.”

As for Zink's campaign against "Trudeaucracy"...hoo boy. Read for yourself. If you hate PET, you're in for a treat. If you love/respect PET, you're in for a comical treat.

Zink's stronger-than-expected result in the 1972 election was helped by chaos in the NDP camp. Economist/political activist Mel Watkins was slated to run in Parkdale until the party gave the boot to Watkins' Waffle faction. A last-minute scramble for a replacement candidate ensued.


As for Peter Worthington, the strong feelings that his campaigns evoked are best summed up in a photo:

We Want W
Photo by Nancy Ackerman. Source: The Globe and Mail, August 29, 1984.

Nearly all of Worthington's fellow Sun columnists were effusive in their praise during his runs (only Douglas Fisher was willing to admit his chances of victory was less than 100% certain). Here are a few words from Worthington's successor as Sun EIC, Barbara Amiel that appeared October 10, 1982:

What distinguishes the B-G campaign is not the facr of an independent candidate—Peter Worthington—running for office, but a candidate with independent ideas. For whatever the voters of [Broadview-Greenwood] may think of Worthington’s free-market, free-enterprise support of individual initiative and responsibility, there is no quibbling with the absolute fact that he offers a clearcut alternative to the various shades of state socialism now offered by all political parties...The party system will survive. But it will survive more strongly if the voters in Broadview-Greenwood, that strange amalgam if a thousand-and-one Canadians of every political shading, put down their ideological differences and personal animosities in favour of telling politicians of every hue and persuasion that the time has come to give meaning to the diversity of ideas.

Sorry to you inform you Barbara, but that byelection didn't alter the face of the political landscape, though Worthington was within two thousand votes of victory. The seat was up for grabs after Bob Rae switched from federal to provincial politics upon his victory in the Ontario NDP leadership race. Most of the riding had voted NDP since 1965 (when it was part of Broadview) and continued to until Liberal Dennis Mills won in 1988. Following a renaming to Toronto-Danforth around 2000, the riding returned to NDP hands when Jack Layton defeated Mills in 2004. - JB