Throwback 40 years: August 1977 from The 7 News

Throwback Thursday

Throwback 40 years: August 1977 from The 7 News

Communications volunteer Eric Morse shares news from four decades ago.

The 7 News (1970-1985), being a volunteer-based community paper, came out twice monthly. Summer being community festival season then as now, its mid-August 1977 issue featured the Multicultural Summer Festival at Harbourfront, sponsored by the Riverdale Intercultural Council. In 1977, “multicultural” tended to be somewhat more Eurocentric than it is now, but the performing groups named included Bavarian, Korean, Latin-American, Chinese, Afro-Cuban, Irish, Greek, and Highland (Scots, that is). The Ethnic Eats table was likewise a trifle more carnivore-friendly than it might be 40 years after.

The photographer’s eye catches the Highland dancer. Photographer Cherry Hassard had her work cut out for her – literally – masking that dancer out of the background in the days before Photoshop. (In the same issue, Cherry won first and second prizes in Jeremiah’s Ice Cream Store Photo Contest – FIX!!)

We have been informed of a rather important boo-boo In our last Throwback Thursday: the 1977 Cabbagetown Festival was NOT the first as reported. The first one took place in 1975. The second one, in 1976, was planned for September but slipped into mid-October, and participating merchants were encouraged to create their displays and dress on an 1880s’ theme…one of the feature attractions was a “pet and pet rock show”. Judging by the coverage in the next issue of Seven News, the prevailing theme seems to have been more Hallowe’enish.

Returning to 1977 (and the third Festival), then as now there were multiple community groups active in Cabbagetown, and the announcement of the Festival in the previous issue seems to have created some confusion. A letter from the Co-ordinator of the Old Cabbagetown BIA strives to set the record straight, to what effect we leave it to readers to deduce (it looks like the wrong someone had been getting a deluge of phone calls). At any rate, whoever instigated it, the organizers names (and quaint old – if you live in the GTA – seven-digit phone numbers) are provided, and everyone is informed who was putting up the cash.

(QUICK THROWBACK THURSDAY QUESTION: when did the old letter exchange names (Anchovy 8-2345) go out of use, and what was/were Cabbagetown’s exchange name/s? Tweet your answer to @cabbagetowner )

The venerable 519 has been the centre of the LGBTQ community in Toronto for as long as many of us can remember but in 1977 was just getting started, having been rescued from demolition and acquired by the City in 1975. By 1977 it had a thriving food co-op, which seems to have been overlooked in the July 30 edition.

George Rust D‘Eye has been a Cabbagetown resident since forever, and was a regular feature contributor to 7 News for some years. He appears in this issue with a piece on the history of brewing in Downtown.

Forty years ago is a long time, but not that long after all. Like George, there must still be many contributors to 7 News who are still active members of the community. Wherever you are, we’d like to hear from you with reminiscences (and corrections!)

And an op-ed by Ulli Diemer on reactions to the murder of shoeshine boy Emanuel Jacques on Yonge Street reminds us that the LGBTQ community was still very far from accepted in Toronto.

In the advertising department, Pimblett’s restaurant on Gerrard was well-loved in Cabbagetown for many years, and one of the first that your correspondent frequented on arrival in 1986.

The full stories introduced above are available at 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.


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