Toronto Star celebrates 80 years of showing you the news
The beauty of treasure is that for many years it often goes unnoticed, quietly blanketed in the dust of time. In an industry in which the pressure to produce is omnipresent, yesterday’s paper is destined to line the bin and yesterday’s photographs, even if they’re lucky to have been exhibited for a while, eventually end up in a box with their brethren behind a locked door no one really knows about. It’s no different here.
But some Star staff recently went digging.
Their mission was rewarded with the unlocking of a veritable trove of photographic goodies spanning as far back as the Thirties. Some of the people behind those images are dead, retired or working in other parts of the world. Combined, the images are the Star's visual annals. It would have been an injustice to leave them where they were. They deserved to be seen … dusted off, straightened out, spruced up and put on sale. So they were.
There were photos of birth, death, grit and glory.
Paul Henderson marinading in the sweet, succulent juices of victory and the moment perfectly recorded by photographer Frank Lennon. A mother mirroring her newborn’s overwhelmed cry as they met for the first time. Peter Ustinov posing awkwardly — but as only he could — with a ballerina. Pierre Trudeau about to flick a rubber band at a staffer the day after an election campaign. Decisive moments, all captured with skill, tenderness, aggression and humour by a wide spectrum of Star photographers.
Many peppered with that gorgeous grain you only get from film.
Despite the fact that many could be paid for with shrapnel, our collective enthusiasm meant $3,743.25 was raised for the United Way and Fresh Air Fund. But if nothing else, this was a prime opportunity for staffers young and old to get a glimpse into the Star’s way of showing the news for the best part of 80 years. Boris Spremo was also on hand to sign photographs (including one I picked up) and explain the story behind the story.
“How does this make you feel, going through all these?” I asked him.
“It’s wonderful. It brings back so many memories and reminds me of the experience I had shooting each one.”
The experience may not be mine, but the print is.
And today, that's enough.
Lauren Crothers is a Star copy editor with one eye behind a lens. firstname.lastname@example.org