RETRONTARIO

Articles

That time when the stubby reigned supreme

2012622-labatt-stubby2

Ice cold beer: three words that can bring instant solace to a dry throat on a scorching hot summer’s day. But what about ice cold beer in a stubby bottle? The stubby was Canada’s preferred suds delivery system, up until the buzz killers at Carling O’Keefe launched that Yankee swill Miller in a long neck bottle, thereby triggering the demise of our once-trusted stout brown bottles. By 1986, they were all but a distant memory.

By 2002, stubby nostalgia brought a reprieve from craft brewers like Brick, and of course Red Stripe, who never abandoned their faith in the design. Here are a few of our favourite beer commercials starring the stubby bottle from the 1980s.

Labatt 50’s “Cutting Out” campaign was pure macho ’80s stuff, with its emphasis on workin’ boys getting together and the freeze frame on shades outros. Watch out for slap-head legend Don Lake in the first spot, a ubiquitous TV commercial actor in the ’80s who went on to star in Terminator 2, Super Mario Bros. and Best in Show.

Labatt Blue’s “Smiles Along With You” was a more inclusive campaign aimed at everyone, and of course anyone who saw these ads will doubtless recall the omniscient blue balloons, which one presumes are piloted by the Labatt Gods, smiling along with all of us as we down our Blue.

Finally we have Molson Light’s touching “You Gotta Have Heart” series, which ran through the 1970s and early ’80s, only disappearing when mid-decade Molson pitched their Export brand to blue collar workers (“Ex Says It All” ) and their Canadian brand to yuppie assholes (“This Magic Moment”).

So, the next time you’re enjoying a cool malt pop on a molten hot day, raise a toast to the fallen wee stubbies, a true icon of Canadiana brew lore.

2012622-labbat-50-long

Writing by Ed Conroy

Retrontario plumbs the seedy depths of Toronto flea markets, flooded basements, thrift shops and garage sales, mining old VHS and Betamax tapes that less than often contain incredible moments of history that were accidentally recorded but somehow survived the ravages of time. You can find more amazing discoveries at www.retrontario.com.

Retrontario revisits the birth of the Blue Box in Toronto

FeedBlue1992-crop

While it may be a mundane part of everyday life now, the blue recycling box was once a shiny new innovation that needed a campaign and a canine personality to sell it to the Toronto masses in the fall of 1988. Invented and championed by Toronto’s chain-smoking environmentalist guru Jack McGinnis, the City came up with the concept to “Feed Blue,” portraying the blue box as a hungry dog that just wanted to be fed, a surefire strategy to keep those boxes brimming with the right stuff – plastic, glass and pop cans (although sadly, as it was then and now, no VHS tapes).

Feeding “Blue” worked. By the fall of 1989, over half of Metro households were using the box, and Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley was gladly accepting a United Nations environmental award for the Blue Box recycling program. Amazing that the last time someone bolted big eyes and a face to an ordinary household object in the name of environmental progress, it mentally scarred a generation.

Print ads and more commercials followed, but “Feed Blue” was retired in 1992, and now 24 years later, we have Chuck and Vince — “We Want It!” instead. Our pop cans are bigger, too. Progress? Maybe.

2012615-FeedBlue1992

Written and compiled by Ed Conroy

Retrontario plumbs the seedy depths of Toronto flea markets, flooded basements, thrift shops and garage sales, mining old VHS and Betamax tapes that less than often contain incredible moments of history that were accidentally recorded but somehow survived the ravages of time. You can find more amazing discoveries at www.retrontario.com.

Welcome to our Brand New Website!

We hope you enjoy our new site! We’ve got a lot in store for 2012, including a tonne of new, rare as hen’s teeth retro television footage, live and direct from analogue heaven. Take a few minutes to browse our online collection. We will be adding more videos to this site as the weeks unfold, including a huge dose of exclusive content that will ONLY be available right here at Retrontario.com. For all of our other videos, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Also: don’t forget to visit our Forum to interact with other RETRONTARIO users. No separate registration is required: just sign in with your existing Twitter, Google, or Facebook username and password.

We hope you enjoy and look forward to hearing your feedback!