May 17, 2013

Conservative champion gone

One of the worthless but sentimental things I’ve collected over the years is a copy of the final edition of the Toronto Telegram, dated Oct. 30, 1971.

The Tely was my parents’ newspaper of choice, arriving by train a day late where we lived in the wilds of Northern Ontario.

When the Tely shut down, due to a looming strike, my parents reluctantly switched to the Toronto Star, which was then and is still now, a liberal-leaning paper. The Tely had been the voice of the moderate right, which had deep roots in a province riddled with Orangemen.

With the death of the Telegram, the right sought a new vehicle, and in short order some former employees of the paper started up the Toronto Sun, which would spawn a successful media empire and launch into the spotlight its founding editor Peter J. Worthington.

One of the most outspoken, controversial and honored journalists in Canada, Worthington died this week at age 86. To sum up the flood of tributes, Worthington was a hero for a certain post-war generation of conservatives in this country, a balance to the surge of liberalism stemming from the 1960s.

Before Worthington took the helm of the Toronto Sun, he had racked up an extraordinary career as a globe-trotting reporter with the Tely, hopping from hot spot to hot spot, including being at the Dallas police station when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

He dismissed that Zelig appearance (he’s in the TV footage) as “not a watershed moment” in his career compared to the turbulent news reel of human conflict that he had witnessed and chronicled.

The Sun was a tabloid, modeled on the style pioneered by the Brits, and its racy format of Sunshine Girls and heavy diet of sports and brazen opinions was previously unknown to staid Canadians. But the formula worked, and eventually Sun-style papers sprung up around the country, notably in Calgary, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Trench warfare in Quebec elections

    I've seen many a Quebec election in my day (I'll skip the "by cracky"), writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Dr. Phil's election prescription Philippe Couillard is a brain surgeon, not a psychiatrist, so his expertise is not necessarily understanding the collective mind of Quebecers, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Party's charter flight to majority

    It's not surprising the political maneuvering in recent weeks in Quebec City has been dubbed the "winter games," writes Canadian columnist Peter Black

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Joe Ryan's mountain vision

    Eventually someone surely would have taken the initiative to turn what the Algonquins called Manitonga Soutana and the locals called Mont Tremblant into a popular outdoor recreational destination, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    February 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Montreal's Genie on the courts

    In a land where raquettes de neige (snowshoes) are more popular than raquets (tennis), a young Canadian with classic California surfer girl looks is turning heads on the court.

    January 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Columnist's Canada in 1954

    I will depart from my usual discreet journalistic anonymity just this once and offer a few personal reflections on my life as a Canadian, writes columnist Peter Black.

    January 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • peter_black.jpg Prime minister's hockey history

    By my count, President Barack Obama has written three books under his own pen, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    December 27, 2013 1 Photo

  • peter_black.jpg Quebec City displays Holy Door

    It's the first and only such thing in North America: a Holy Door, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    December 13, 2013 1 Photo

Videos: Editor Picks