That time when the Provincial lottery did blackface

Yesterday’s toppling of the OLG house of cards, accompanied by the feint whiff of an oncoming category 5 scandal presents us with yet another blunder in a long line of embarrassing, OLG related palavers. Did you ever hear the one about the Al Jolson lottery commercial? In 1978, Ontario based …

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That time when the SkyDome landed in Toronto

Some might say that the Rogers Centre SkyDome was born under a bad sign: After the 1982 Grey Cup relayed broadcast to an audience of over 7 million Canadian viewers (at the time, a whopping record) embarrassing images of sullen Argos fans at Exhibition Stadium soaked to the bone, frozen …

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That time when Record Store Day was everyday

Tomorrow is Record Store Day, a special occasion to celebrate local record shops, and the seemingly Teflon vinyl format. There’s a lot of noise about why vinyl is still en vogue, whether it is the undying physicality of the medium – those liner notes and photographs, the human need to …

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That time when life in the city started at the Centre

The Eaton Centre may fall in and out of fashion, but it has always enjoyed top tier status in the pantheon of Hogtown iconography for good reason. While the last decade or so may not have been so kind – last summer’s Food Court shooting being a particularly barmy blight …

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That time when puppets taught us about danger

For too long fatal dangers in the average Canadian home were left unchecked. Aside from the occasional in-school 16mm horror shows warning of poison and dangerous strangers, there was little effort to educate kids about the severe repercussions of messing around with unknown substances. So after the sweeping Hazardous Products …

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That time when a clucking bunny meant Happy Easter

The Eastertime resurrection of the Cadbury Clucking Bunny was annually guaranteed to raise a smile. Like the trusted barrel collared St. Bernard dog from Neo Citron commercials, the Clucking Bunny was a loveable mascot of industry: a signifier of not only delicious chocolate covered crème egg yolk ecstasy but also …

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That time when the Toothbrush family came to life

In the 1980s and 90s, waking up too early for your favourite cartoon lineup was a surreal experience. Local stations signed on the air around 5:00am then played time-killers which both counted towards their Cancon requirements and kept the seats warm until they began broadcasting the proper blue chip stuff …

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That time when a Toronto ad man dreamed up the Caramilk mystery

Last week we lost towering legend of intellect, advertising genius and all around Toronto hero, Gary Prouk. While you may not instantly recognize his name, you’ve no doubt been directly or indirectly influenced by his advertising campaigns, visually seduced by his many television commercials, bus shelter ads, billboards and transit …

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That time when Honest Eds made honest ads

Target’s segue into Canada cheerfully soundtracked by a slightly blasphemous rinse of Mr. Roger’s signature tune pays deference to the belief that TV advertising shapes consumers appreciation of retailers more than anything else. No one understood and harnessed that better than Honest Edwin “Ed” Mirvish, whose bargain basement TV spots …

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That time when the Prince of Love ruled late night Toronto TV

The bionic Borscht Belt antics of David Bronstein, a.k.a “The Prince of Love,” left an indelible mark on anyone flipping TV channels in the middle of the night circa mid-1990s. Whether you had stayed up watching a movie and fallen asleep on the couch, were an insomniac, or had just …

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