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Story of The Wall


November 1, 2001

The Rimmer

Through the '70s and '80s, Paul Rimstead was The Sun's resident character. From his perch as the Page 5 columnist, the Rimmer played out his home-spun adventures and opinions to a loyal family of readers. Here are his musings from Day 1, 1971:

By PAUL RIMSTEAD -- Toronto Sun

 From the outside, it does not look so hot. And, frankly, it is even worse on the inside. But it is the home of The Sun, right next door to Farb's Car Wash and across the street from the King's Plate Open Kitchen, where you can buy a beef steak pie for 50c.

 Another publishing empire has opened on King St.

 Mind you, we are a long way west from the Globe and Mail and the Star.

 You can get to those places by streamlined subway.

 We have got to get off the streetcar at John St.

 It is called the Eclipse Whitewear Company Ltd. building and you have got to watch for that sign over the sidewalk.

 You will notice, however, that the last E in Eclipse is broken and hanging kind of crooked.

 "It is right across the street from the Uxbridge Foundry," somebody told me. "Number 322."

 There, sharing the fourth floor with something called the Tail A Belt Company, is the newsroom and executive office of The Sun.

 "Gee, it's dark, huh?" a guy said to me as we walked through the front door.

 It is dirty, too, if the Eclipse people do not mind me saying so.

 The wooden stairs have worn grooves in them and the elevator will carry as many as three people at one time.

 We should apologize for the squeaking sound of the elevator but we have assurance that there is really no need to worry.

 And, if it ever fails to make the trip, there is a set of steel fire stairs built onto an outside wall.

 Frankly, the fire stairs might be quicker.

 When the elevator finally stopped, I did not know whether to turn to the right or climb the steel ladder which leads to a loft above.

 You turn right.

 Now, the scene might startle you for a moment.

 People are sitting around on cardboard cartons and the decor is, well, sort of Canadian factory.

 Publisher Doug Creighton, our old managing editor at the Telegram, shares his office with executive editor Peter Worthington, who played second base of the Tely ball team.

 It was not designed the same as John Bassett's office at the old place.

 There is no rug. Just a wooden floor.

 It is spacious, however, about 12 feet by 14 feet, and the walls are genuine brick, painted a rather sickly green with long dust streaks to break the monotony.

 As far as I could tell, there was no executive washroom.

 I guess they will have to use the same two yellow-stained bowls as the rest of the staff.

 In the large outer office, desks are hidden behind piles of cardboard and equipment that belonged to a printing firm or something.

 At the old place, when I was tired, I could sleep on a cot in the women's washroom.

 Here I had to climb up on a stack of flattened cardboard boxes, about six feet high, and it was not nearly as comfortable.

 A major discovery was made early yesterday morning when someone found a dusty old electric kettle among some other junk.

 A guy made a quick trip to a Mac's Milk store and, eureka -- we had coffee.

 This was especially

 important yesterday morning seeing as how this was the morning following the Telegram wake at the Press Club.

 The Sun, of course, is staffed entirely by former Tely employees, which means that every person who worked on this first issue was hung over.

 A coffee table was set up yesterday and someone wisely put out a large bottle of Aspirin tablets and some Alka Seltzer.

 The guys in the photo department, which matches the rest of the office, ceremoniously hung the first picture ever developed on the premises on their door.

 It shows the three of them -- Jac Holland, Dave Cooper and Norm Betts -- standing there, their arms around one another.

 If you happen to call the office, by the way, the noise in the background is from the UPI teletype machine which is located only three feet from the switchboard.

 Margaret Kmiciewicz, who, for obvious reasons, we call Margaret K., came over with us from the Telegram where she was the senior switchboard operator for eight years.

 She is the entire switchboard staff here.

 Doug Payne and Don Nixon are here, too. They are the maintenance men, both longtime Telegram employees, who face the enormous task of having to clean this joint up.

 This is going to be the most exciting experience any of us have had and it gives you a good feeling to sit amid the debris and think about it.

 You can put your feet up and look into Editor Worthington's office where there is a clean spot on one window just large enough to see the view.

 This, of course, is not the Toronto skyline the way those other papers down the street have it.

 But you can watch the people of Toronto, out in their backyards hanging out their laundry.

 And that is what The Sun is going to be all about.

 If, indeed, the world likes an underdog, then Toronto should have a love affair with this one.

Celebrating 30 years of the Toronto Sun



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