Volunteer Eric Morse looks back to January 1978.
Seven News was an activist and outspoken newspaper in the middle years of social activism in downtown Toronto. The lead for the first issue of 1978: “Canada Works: Crumbs for the Lucky Few”, with three satellite stories, all by Tom Corbett, was a lament on the scarcity of Canada Works grants for the federal constituency (then known as Rosedale).
One hundred thousand dollars had been allocated to two community-service groups based at the then-as-now socially and economically challenged area around Sherbourne and Dundas, plus a youth employment service operated by Dixon Hall, and the Regent Park Community Improvement Association. As the paper went to press, the editorial mood was presumably lightened by the announcement of a further $94,000 in grants, which included two paid jobs at Seven News.
Far darker news was found on Page Two. In 1978, Toronto (and Ontario) were far from being a welcoming place for the LGBTQ community, and there was a major editorial on a police raid and document seizure at on The Body Politic (1971 to 1987) instigated, as the editorial contends, by the Toronto Sun. The Body Politic was charged with obscenity. The article is reproduced here in full because it was an important moment in the battle for human rights in Toronto.
Back on Page One, a far more heartwarming story about a pre-Christmas carolling endeavour at Anniversary Park by the Cabbagetown BIA and Sprucecourt Public School. Weird weather and Local Characters we have with us always. But remember when you had to staple flyers onto telephone poles to get the word out about your events?
The brand-new Young People’s Theatre (YPT) had one of its first productions. Following up a story in an earlier issue, News Briefs notes that Toronto Dance Theatre has received municipal approval to take over St. Enoch’s Church at Winchester and Metcalfe (2010 photo from the Eric Morse Archive).
As the years went by, of course, the theatre did gain community acceptance as a performance space, and, among other activities, was the long-time home of the Cabbagetown Film Festival.
The tenants of the Ontario Housing Corporation (TCHC’s predecessor) housing units in Regent Park were mad as hell over undue bureaucracy in unit transfers and unjustified evictions and they weren’t going to take it any more. The area supervisor’s office was duly occupied. A side story noted that the washing machines weren’t working either. “Hamsters” had an appropriate comment.
And where would we be without fresh poop on the Ongoing Saga of John Sewell’s Dogs?? This is the kind of scoop that the major dailies just don’t stoop to.
The full stories introduced above are available at http://www.connexions.org/SevenNews/Docs/7News-Volume08-Number16.pdf . The PDF archive is a remarkable achievement by Connexions, a collective dedicated to preserving social activism, of which 7 News is surely a shining example.