Showing 111 results

People and organizations
University of Toronto Media Commons Archives

William Harry Petts

  • Person
  • 1954 – 2014

William Harry Petts (1954 – 2014) was a film collector and member of Toronto’s vintage film community. He had a life-long passion for film and collected films for many years. Until his death, Petts was a staff member at East York Collegiate Institute, where he was active in the school’s AV club.

Shirley Hughes

  • Person
  • 1960 -

Shirley Hughes (b. 1960) is a high-profile member of Toronto’s vintage film community. She has been active in the Toronto Film Society since 1979 and served as vice-president for nearly a decade. In the late 1990s, Hughes co-founded Goddess Film & Entertainment Inc. which produced and marketed art videos, feature films, and shorts. In 2010, Hughes co-founded the Toronto Silent Film Festival and has programmed the Toronto Film Noir Syndicate since 2012. A long-time collector of films on home video formats, Hughes began collecting film prints in the early 2000s.

Kerr, Robert

  • Person
  • 1930-2010

Robert Kerr was born and raised in Galt, Ontario, and as a young man he established and operated the printing company John Kerr and Son with his father.
Kerr was drawn to politics as a young man, and in 1964 became the youngest mayor in the history of the City of Galt. In 1975 he was elected mayor again, representing the City of Cambridge, which had recently been formed by the amalgamation of the towns of Galt, Preston, and Hespeler. He retired from that role in 1976 to devote himself full-time to work on IMAX.
IMAX corporation (originally named Omnimax, then IMAX Entertainment Limited, and finally IMAX Systems Corporation) emerged from large-screen and multiple-screen displays that Robert Kerr, Graeme Ferguson, and Roman Kroitor did at Montreal’s Expo 67. Together with engineer William Shaw, they developed a camera system that allowed for high-resolution images and enlarged projection. The Rolling Loop Projection System invented by Ron Jones allows the projection of 70mm film to create a projection area ten times the size of a standard projection area.
After debuting the IMAX film Tiger Child, dir. Donald Brittain, in 1970 at Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan, the IMAX format took off, and construction began on permanent IMAX theatres around the world.
Robert Kerr worked for IMAX from 1967 to 1994 as Chairman, then Chairman Emeritus and finally President and Chief Executive Officer.
IMAX received an Academy Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for technological innovation and excellence (1986), a Canada Export Award from the Department of External Affairs (1988) and an Award of Excellence for contributions to Canadian culture from the Department of Communications (1991). In 1997, IMAX received an additional Academy Award for scientific and technical achievement.
IMAX corporation was sold to a US investment group, WGIM Acquisition Corporation, in 1994. It was then restructured and merged with Trumbull Company Inc. Douglas Turnbull now serves as Vice Chariman of IMAX and President of its Ridefilm Division.

In Robert Kerr’s retirement he took an interest in local arts education, and in 1997 he endowed the University of Waterloo's Stanley Knowles Visiting Professorship in Canadian Studies and bestowed bursaries at all of the Cambridge high schools. In his later years he enjoyed spending time at the Lake of Bays, Ont., which Graeme Ferguson dubbed “Lake IMAX,” because he, Kerr and other IMAX founders kept cottages on the lake.

Creative Anarchy

  • Corporate body
  • 1997-2008

Creative Anarchy is a Toronto-based film production company. Creative Anarchy co-produced the crime documentary series Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science with Kensington Communications, and co-produced a similar series, 72 Hours: True Crime with Kensington Communications and Meech-Grant Productions.

Lang, Robert

  • Person
  • Floruit 1972-

ROBERT LANG is an internationally recognized, award-winning filmmaker and television producer whose work has covered many documentary topics, from music programs and interactive media to science and social documentaries.

Lang founded the production company Kensington Communications in 1980, and in that role he has been responsible for hundreds of television programs, including: 3 seasons of 72 Hours: True Crime; the acclaimed four-part television series The Sacred Balance with David Suzuki; 5 seasons of the true crime series Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science; the Gemini Award-winning 3-part series Diamond Road; the 5-part series Shameless Idealists; and 3 seasons of the hit documentary program Museum Secrets.

He has worked as a director on many music productions with artists such as Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, Jackie Richardson, Toumani Diabate and Ali Farka Toure.

Among his many award-winning documentaries and TV specials are the Gemini-winning Separate Lives, One Warm Line: the Legacy of Stan Rogers, Diamond Road, and The Equalizer (Canadian Screen Award).

Lang has produced many interactive digital projects over the years, from River of Sand interactive website (1998), to The Sacred Balance online (2003), Diamond Road interactive documentary (2007), Museum Secrets Interactive (2011), ScopifyROM, a mobile app to enhance the museum experience at the Royal Ontario Museum (2013) and Risk Navigator mobile app (2017).

Kensington Communications Inc.

  • Corporate body
  • 1980-

Kensington Communications is a production company founded in 1980 in Toronto’s Kensington Market that has produced documentary and factual films, television shows, and multimedia projects for more than 40 years. Kensington has produced documentaries and series for the CBC and NFB, and its productions have been broadcast internationally on Discovery Channel, TLC, BBC, ZDF Arte, and other networks.
Early productions in the 1980s focused on social issues such as blended families (Stepdancing, 1986), youth suicide (Childhood’s End, 1981), and addiction (Out of the Past, 1989).
Many of Kensington’s productions have featured Earth’s natural environment and human activities that threaten it: Fragile Harvest (1986, the Nature of Things), Sacred Rhythm (1990), Sacred Balance with David Suzuki (2002), and Port Hope: A Question of Power (2005, The Nature of Things).
Kensington also has a history of producing iconic music documentaries. One Warm Line: The Legacy of Stan Rogers (1990), Mariposa: Under a Stormy Sky (1990), My Beat: The Life & Times of Bruce Cockburn (2001), and the City Sonic App (2009) all highlight Canadian music and musicians.
Kensington Communications worked with Bruce Cockburn over decades from the 1980s to the 2010s to produce short documentaries and advertisements for USC (formerly known as the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada) about their work in Nepal.
Kensington produced two successful crime series that focused on the role of forensics in solving real crimes – Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science, and 72 Hours: True Crime.
Recent TV productions include The Shadow Of Gold (2019), Risk Factor (2017), The Equalizer (2016), and three seasons of the popular international TV series Museum Secrets, which goes behind the scenes at great museums of the world.
Kensington Communications has also been a leader in using multimedia websites to enhance documentary and television content. River of Sand, Sacred Balance, Diamond Road, Raw Opium, and Museum Secrets all included website content. Museum Secrets included a tie-in app called Scopify to help visitors navigate the Royal Ontario Museum, and the documentary Risk Factor was accompanied by the Risk Navigator app.

Stephen Ellis

  • Person

Ralph C. Ellis, father of Stephen, was born July 11, 1924, in Milton, Nova Scotia. After serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, he began his career at the National Film Board as a field representative working out of the Halifax, Ottawa, and New York offices. In 1956, he formed Fremantle of Canada with Paul Talbot and Saul Turell, distributing television programs for Freemantle International. In 1963, in partnership with filmmakers Gerry S. Kedey and Dan Gibson, Ellis established KEG Productions, a production company specializing in wildlife and environmental documentaries (including the series Audubon Wildlife Theatre, 1968-1974, for the CBC). The company became the largest producer of wildlife programming in Canada. In 1964, he founded Ellis Enterprises, which went on to become the most prominent distributor of British programs in Canada (including the series Coronation Street, Upstairs Downstairs, The Two Ronnies, Doctor in the House, The Jewel in the Crown, and Sherlock Holmes). In 1969, Ellis established Manitou Productions, with William Davidson, to produce dramas, resulting in children’s programs such as the Adventures in Rainbow Country (1970-71) for the CBC and Matt and Jenny (1979-1980) for Global Television. Ellis helped to organize the Canadian Television Program Distributors Association, served on the Children’s Broadcast Institute Board, and was a member of the Broadcast Executives Society. He was appointed to the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario in 1997 and retired in 2002. Ellis died in 2016.

In 1973, Maclean-Hunter acquired a 50% stake in KEG Productions. By the 1990s, Ellis Entertainment Corporation had re-acquired 100% of the production group, re-branding its productions and distribution arms as Ellis Vision Inc. and Ellis Releasing. Ellis Enterprises had an early deal with Discovery Channel in 1986 and was a co-founder of the Outdoor Life Network in Canada in 1996. In 2009, Ellis Entertainment merged with Knightscove Media Corp., creating the Knightscove-Ellis International television division. In 2015, the 600-title library of material produced by Ralph and Stephen Ellis was acquired by Stellis Media Inc.

Stephen Ellis, Ralph’s son, began working for Ellis Enterprises as a shipping clerk in 1973 while he was in university. In 1983, Stephen became Managing Director of KEG after Ralph bought out the original partners. In 1986, Stephen became president of Ellis Enterprises. Stephen joined the CFTA board in 1980 (serving as president in 1984), was secretary-treasurer for the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, and in 1989 was founding president of the Canadian Retransmission Collective (CRC). In 2002, Stephen took over Ellis Entertainment upon his father’s retirement, and continued producing until 2011. In 2015, Stephen founded Stellis Media, naming his father chairman emeritus. As of 2020, Stephen Ellis is president of RocketFuel Media Inc. (launched in 2012 with Gina Lijoi), a principal with the consultancy Media Cattellist Solutions, chair of the CRC, and chair of ISAN Canada.

Alert Music

  • 2005.006
  • Corporate body
  • 1984-2006

Alert Music was founded in 1984 by Toronto’s W. Tom Berry and Montreal’s Marc Durand. From 1975-1983, Berry had been managing director at Anthem Records whose roster included Rush, Max Webster and Bob and Doug Mackenzie. Durand was the manager and producer of the Montreal rock band Men Without Hats. Alert’s mission was to create a unique label that could bridge the “two solitudes” of Canada, hopefully turning regional hits into national ones; the Toronto office would sign English language artists that the Montreal office would attempt to promote in French Canada, and vice versa. The Montreal office immediately signed The Box, while the Toronto office signed Kim Mitchell (who had recently begun a solo career).

In the late 1980s, Berry decided that his interest in rock music was waning and he and Durand agreed to go their separate ways. Berry kept the name Alert and all the English language artists currently signed to the label, while Durand kept The Box and the company’s Montreal office. Sometime after, Berry discovered jazz singer Holly Cole performing with pianist Aaron David and bass player David Piltch. He signed the trio and immediately set out to create a distinctive image and style for Cole. Her album Girl Talk caught the attention of jazz label Blue Note Records, and they released Cole’s next five albums in the American market. The majority of Alert’s efforts since the mid1990s have revolved around recording and marketing Cole. The label also continues to record and market other Canadian jazz, blues and roots-oriented music including Roxanne Potvin, Michael Kaeshammer and Cole’s accompanists, Piltch and Davis.

Barna-Alper Productions

  • Corporate body
  • 1979-2004

Born to Hungarian Holocaust survivors in 1949, Laszlo Barna arrived in Montreal shortly after the Soviet Union’s Red Army suppressed the 1956 Hungarian democratic revolt. He attended McGill University in the late 1960s and, after a brief period as an academic, he became an independent filmmaker. In the late 1970s, he moved with his partner (Laura Alper) and their daughter to Toronto, where they established BarnaAlper Productions.

Initially, the company produced industrial films (primarily for unions, including the Canadian Auto Workers). Later, they produced small documentaries at the National Film Board, but their big break came in 1989 when CBC introduced the all-news channel Newsworld. Barna pitched a weekly current affairs, called Workweek, which became their first broadcast series. Over the next decade, BarnaAlper continued to produce factual series (including Frontiers of Construction, one of the first shows commissioned by Discovery Canada, and Turning Points of History, one of the first programs commissioned by History Television in 1997). Through this period, Alper began to take a less active role in the day-to-day affairs of the company, and she now serves as a consultant. In 1996, BarnaAlper entered the field of dramatic programming with the story of Teamster leader Diana Kilmury. The movie-of-the-week met with critical success in Canada and the United States, and the company began developing a slate of new dramatic projects. In 2008, BarnaAlper was acquired by Entertainment One (E1).

The company has won numerous awards, among them Geminis for Best Dramatic Series, Best Documentary Series, Best Sports Program or Series, Best Science, Technology, Nature and Environment Documentary Program, and Best History Documentary Program. They have also been recognized at prestigious TV festivals in the United States, including the Columbus International Film and Video Festival, Double Take, and the Chicago International TV Festival.

Delaney & Friends Productions

  • Corporate body
  • 1993-1998

Delaney & Friends was incorporated by Christopher Delaney in Vancouver in 1984. Delaney was joined by his brother, animation designer and comic book artist John Delaney, in 1992. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the company produced several television commercials for such clients as 711, Purex and the Vancouver Province, and they garnered a number of awards for these (including two TVB Awards, three Bessie Awards, and an IBA Award).

In 1993, Delaney & Friends produced an animated Christmas special, Christopher the Christmas Tree (the special was based on a record album of the same name, produced by George T. Bowers in 1969). The program premiered on the FOX Kids network in the United States and YTV in Canada. Over the years, several stations around the world have picked up the broadcasting rights to the special, and as of 2007 Christopher the Christmas Tree had been shown in over 35 countries while the commercially released DVD had sold over 50,000 copies.
Beginning in 1995, Delaney produced the first of two full seasons of the animated series Nilus the Sandman. Created by Michael Fawkes, each season consisted of 13 episodes; these were all either written or edited by Michael Mercer and employed the voices of Donny Osmond and Holly Cole. The first season was co-produced with Cambium Entertainment of Toronto at a studio in Manila. The studio (Typhoon Toons) employed a staff of 400 animators, though it failed due to interference from customs agents and the difficulty of managing such a large operation from afar. When production of the second season began in 1998, Delaney subcontracted production work to Morning Sun Animation studio in Shanghai. The Nilus series was recognized with numerous nominations and awards, including two Geminis, three Worldfest awards, two U.S. International Film and Video Festival awards and a Golden Sheaf Award from the Yorkton Short Film Festival.

In 1996, Delaney & Friends produced The Littlest Angel, based on the children’s book originally published in 1940. In addition to the material produced through Delaney & Friends, Chris Delaney has created such well-known animation programs as The Care Bears, Detective Dog, Tales of the Mouse Hockey League, Leonard Lemming’s Lament, The Legend of the Candy Cane and Phish and Chip.

In 2003, Vancouver videogame developer Radical Entertainment agreed to purchase the assets of Delaney & Company, which was no longer operational. Two years later, Radical was acquired by Vivendi Universal Games, a global games publisher.

Kessler-Colero

  • Corporate body
  • 1975-2002

Syd Kessler and Jody Colero operated a number of commercial studios from the 1970s to 2000. Hamilton born Syd Kessler began working in media in 1966 when he was hired by Chuck Blore Creative Services, a Los Angeles-based radio production company. Over the next five years, Kessler learned his way around a recording studio while also freelance writing for the prime time comedy show, Laugh-In. Returning to Toronto in 1971, Kessler obtained work writing for television shows such as Wayne and Schuster and began working on commercials with noted jingle writer and film composer Ben McPeek. Kessler joined the Cockfield Brown Advertising Agency in 1973; it was here that he met Cubby Marcus, who would become his mentor.

By 1975, Kessler had started his own company, WAMO (Words and Music Organization), which then became Kessler, Morrison, Meteskey and Giacomelli Inc. Three years later, he founded Kessler Productions (later Kessler Music Corp.), which over the next several years became the largest jingle company in Canada. In 1981, Kessler acquired Berryman Studios and Sounds Interchange and formed the Air Company and Creative Interchange. These two companies dominated the advertising business in Canada for nearly a decade, with Kessler co-writing, producing and/or directing commercials for major companies including Coca-Cola, Esso, Air Canada, McDonald’s and others. In 1988, John Labatt Ltd. merged with Kessler Music Corp, thereby forming a new entity called Supercorp. Five of Kessler’s competitors came under the Supercorp umbrella; one of these, Einstein Brothers, included Jody Colero.

Following a change in direction in 1994, Kessler sold his shares in Supercorp and started a new company called The Kessler Group. In 1997, Kessler became co-director of KPMG e-commerce practice. He retired in 2000, and published a book (called The Perfect System) in 2005, and currently lives in Toronto.

Jody Colero began his professional career in 1977, working as an engineer at Thunder Sound. He subsequently worked in A & R, signing notable Canadian pop and rock artists such as Teenage Head, Harlequin and David Bendeath while helping to develop a number of successful Canadian songwriters like Mary Margaret O’Hara and Tim Thorney. Colero also worked with such notable Canadian acts as Dr. Music and Craig Russell. In 1985, Colero formed Einstein Brothers Music Inc. with two partners that he subsequently bought out. The company was acquired by Kessler’s Supercorp in 1992. Shortly afterwards, Colero created the Einstein Brothers Record label, which enjoyed some success with Cassandra Vassik and Charlie Major. Einstein Brothers Inc. was acquired by Supercorp in 1992 and, after its dissolution, Colero became the sole owner of the company that he once co-owned. After a brief sabbatical at the end of 2001, Colero returned to the advertising business with a new company called Silent Joe. He continues to create musical products for all media.

In addition to their advertising work, both Kessler and Colero served as executive producers or worked ‘hands on’ on commercial recordings by Bob and Doug MacKenzie, Rick Moranis and Mary Margaret O’Hara, among others. Kessler and Colero’s work has been well-regarded within the advertising, music and broadcasting communities, and they have earned countless awards: AMPAC (Advertising Music Producers Association of Canada), Andys (Advertising Club of New York), Bessies, Canadian Radio Commercial Awards, Canadian TV Commercials Festival, CLIOs (International Broadcasting Awards), International Film & TV Festival awards, Toronto Art Directors Club Awards, and others.

Shaftesbury Films Inc.

  • 2007.008
  • Corporate body
  • 1987-

Shaftesbury Films was founded by Canadian Film Centre alumnus Christina Jennings 1987. The initial goal was to produce feature films with strong Canadian content and identity; their first feature, Camilla, was produced in 1992 and followed by Swann and Painted Angels. In 1996, Jennings recruited Jonathan Barker, a former IMAX Corp. executive. Due to the scarcity of funding for feature filmmaking in Canada, Shaftesbury quickly moved into television, producing their first ‘movie of the week’ (External Affairs, based on Timothy Findlay’s The Stillborn Lover) in 1998. After establishing their commitment to adapting prestigious Canadian literary works by such authors as Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields, and Mordecai Richler, Shaftesbury expanded to produce a broad range of television programming for children and adults. In 1998, Shaftesbury established a large format division (SK Films) in partnership with IMAX founder Robert Kerr. The company distributed Bugs!, Journey to Mecca, and Gold Fever, among other films. Also in 1998, Jennings and Barker further diversified their company by launching a feature-film distribution arm in partnership with Oasis Pictures. In 2008, Barker left Shaftesbury Films; he and Kerr now have sole control of SK Films.

Shaftesbury has accumulated a host of awards over its twenty-three year history, including Geminis, International Emmys, Canadian Screenwriting Awards and Directors Guild of Canada Awards. Jennings was awarded the Crystal Award for Oustanding Achievement by the Women in Film and Television organization in 2006.

S&S Productions

  • 2005.002
  • Corporate body
  • 1980-

S & S Productions was founded by husband-and-wife comedy team Steve and Morag Smith in 1980. The company was founded just as Canada’s broadcasting industry was experiencing unprecedented growth; the new cable market was just developing, and smaller companies like S & S were able to feed the demand for new content with cost-efficient and viewer-friendly programming.

The duo first achieved success with the series Smith & Smith, and subsequent series included The Comedy Mill and Me & Max. However, S & S has achieved its greatest success with The Red Green Show. Originally aired by CHCH-TV in Hamilton in March of 1990, the comedy enjoyed a fifteen year run on television. The series also aired in the United States, Australia, India and Israel. With Red Green’s success, S & S kept diversifying and expanding: more comedy like An American in Canada and History Bites as well as lifestyle programs like Balance Television for Living Well, The Gardener’s Journal and Anything I Can Do. In 2002, the company produced their first feature film, Duct Tape Forever.

Over the course of its 30 year history, S & S Productions has won three Gemini Awards and been nominated for several more. The company has also received nominations for two Rose D’Or awards, and was a finalist in the New York Festival’s International Competition for Television Film and Video Communication.

Lionsgate Entertainment

  • Corporate body
  • 1997 -

Lionsgate was founded by Frank Giustra in 1997. Giustra, the son of a nickel miner, was born in Sudbury, ON and eventually became CEO of Yorkton Securities Inc., an investment bank that specialized in funding mining ventures. A lifelong film fan, Giustra became involved with the financing for a half-dozen films before deciding to found a Canadian film company that could compete with Hollywood on its own terms. Giustra contributed $16 million of his own money to found Lion’s Gate, and secured $40 million from investors (including Yorkton, his former employer). He obtained an additional $64 million when Lion’s Gate merged with Toronto Stock Exchange listee Beringer Gold Corp. to become a publicly traded company. Beringer’s mining assets were sold off, and Lion’s Gate was soon in a position to acquire a number of existing Canadian film companies.
One of these was Cinepix Film Properties (CFP), which was founded in Montreal by John Dunning and Andre Link in 1962. Created at the height of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution, CFP quickly became the centre of risqué filmmaking with such hits as Denis Heroux’s Valerie. When this and other Cinepix titles were distributed in English Canada in the early 1970s, there was a good deal of criticism levied at the Canadian Film Development Corporation (now Telefilm Canada) for spending Canadian tax dollars on what some referred to as ‘sexploitation movies’. CFP released both English and French films, and also had an American distribution arm based in New York. The company produced 10 – 12 modestly budgeted films annually, while also distributing such arthouse titles as Hype and Buffalo 66. CFP also owned 56 percent of CineGroup, a Montreal-based animated film production company. Cinepix was renamed Lion’s Gate Films after the acquisition (though its leadership remained intact), and an offshoot, Lion’s Gate International, was later formed in Los Angeles to serve as a worldwide distribution branch.

Giustra also acquired Vancouver-based North Shore Studios in 1997. North Shore (subsequently renamed Lion’s Gate Studios) was Canada’s largest film production facility, and home to a number of American television programs (including The XFiles). Over the next several years, Lion’s Gate continued to acquire various film and television companies, including International Movie Group, Inc., Artisan, Redbus and Trimark. In addition to the feature films that they produced and/or distributed, several of these companies also brought extensive inventories of home entertainment titles. As such, Lionsgate has grown to become one of the most commercially successful independent production companies in North America.
In 2000, CEO Frank Giustra stepped down and was replaced by former Sony Pictures executive John Feltheimer. In 2005, the company changed its name from “Lion’s Gate” to “Lionsgate” across all of its divisions. Under the rebranding, division titles Lions Gate Films, Lions Gate Television, Lions Gate Documentary, Lions Gate International. Lions Gate Home Entertainment, Lions Gate Family Entertainment, Lions Gate Family Home Entertainment and Lions Gate Music disappeared.

Lionsgate currently employs ca. 800 people, and has offices in Vancouver, BC and Santa Monica, CA.

Radke Film Group

  • 2007.010
  • Corporate body
  • 1992-

The Radke Film Group was formed in Toronto in 1992 by Richard Radke (in partnership with the company Partners’ Film Company). Radke, who was raised in New York City, had come to Canada in the early 1980s and began his advertising career in 1988. The company was intended to be a director-driven enterprise with sales agents generating contracts to produce commercials for various clients. Radke enlisted several directors to his firm, which his company then represented to various clients. In addition to representing Canadian directors, the Radke Film Group also served as a sales representative for a number of the major American production companies for business in Canada.

Following Radke’s sudden death at the age of 40 in 1994, then General Manager Edie Weiss took over the company. In 1998, Partners’ sold its 30% share to Weiss and she became the company’s full owner (she continues to serve as President). In 2003, the company opened an office in Vancouver.

The Radke Film Group also encompasses a number of affiliates:
· Steam Films was launched in 2001 to enable Radke to represent a larger number of directors; in 2003, they too opened a Vancouver office. Steam also provides crew and production for American shoots.
· Soft Citizen, a dedicated music video production company, was founded in 2003 with the intention of producing videos for both Canadian and international artists. To date, the company has produced videos for such artists as Badly Drawn Boy, Broken Social Scene, Cut Copy, and Death Cab for Cutie.
· The Vapor Music Group is a full service music house based in Toronto. The company specializes in original music, sound design, film/television branding, long format licensing, radio and voice direction. Vapor is managed for former Jungle Music head Roger Harris; clients include Nissan, Purolator, AGF, Gatorade, Nike and Toyota.

Radke directors have won every major international advertising award, including Cannes Lions, Clios, AICP’s (Association of Independent Commercial Producers), Bessies and more. Amongst the best known directors are Mike Bigelow, Antoine Fugua, Zak Snyder, Martin Shewchuk and Eric Lynne; a number of these people have also worked on feature films.

Primedia Productions

  • 2006.010
  • Corporate body
  • 1981-1994

In 1981, producer/director W. Patterson Ferns and writer Richard Nielsen formed Primedia Productions Ltd. Their previous company, Nielsen-Ferns Ltd., had been created in 1972 when the two left their posts at CBC in order to focus on independent productions. In early 1985 Nielsen left Primedia to pursue his writing career and Pat Ferns took over the company.

In the years prior to Primedia’s founding, Ferns initiated several co-production arrangements with international partners; although an unusual practice in the 1970s, such co-productions have become a mainstay of the contemporary Canadian television industry. Ferns was instrumental in the creation of an independent production department within the CBC and for acceptance of independent production by private broadcasters. His arguments in front of the CRTC and other representations have been credited with sowing the seeds from which the Broadcast Fund of Telefilm Canada was born. As a result of these efforts, he has been referred to as “the father of independent production” in Canada.

Following his departure from Primedia, Neilsen founded Norflicks Productions Ltd. He has been granted a Michener Award, a Chetwynd Award and four Gemini Awards for his work. By the time Primedia folded in 1992, it had produced approximately 100 programs that had been seen around the world. Primedia’s programming falls into four general categories: performing arts programs, original TV drama, celebrity-hosted travelogues, and science programming.

In 1994, Primedia was sold to Douglas Dales, president of Production Services Ltd., one of Canada’s largest motion picture equipment rental companies.

NOW Communications

  • 2002.002
  • Corporate body
  • 1981-

NOW Magazine was founded in 1981 by Michael Hollett and Alice Klein. In many ways, NOW was modeled as a Toronto equivalent to New York’s Village Voice; a weekly newsprint publication combining progressive news coverage with extensive and literate coverage of the cultural events occurring in the city. However, one essential difference between NOW and its predecessors was that NOW was completely supported by ad revenue and thus available for free. While this was a new concept in 1981, the majority of North American cities now have at least one such publication.
Over the course of its history, NOW’s arts writers have provided in-depth coverage of the film, theatre, music, dance, poetry and visual arts scenes in Toronto. The emphasis in this coverage has been on independent and alternative artists whose work gets little or no exposure in the mainstream press. NOW’s news coverage has also been influential, providing a voice for a variety of communities that were traditionally marginalized elsewhere (including LGBT people, sex workers, labour organizers, environmental activists and so on).

In the course of its coverage of politics and the arts, NOW has published original photography by nationally and internationally renowned names such as Larry Towell, David Hlynsky, Paul Till and Chris Nichols. The magazine has also printed original art by people such as Margaret Hathaway, Buzz Burza, Thach Bui and Kris Patterson.

Insight Productions

  • Corporate body
  • 1970 -

The Insight Production Company Ltd. is an independent production company based in Toronto. It was established in 1970 by Penray "Pen" Densham and John Kingsley Watson. In 1973, the company gained recognition for the documentary film Life Times Nine, which received two Academy Award nominations. In December 1978 John McLeod Brunton, Jr., assistant editor and director with Insight, bought the rights to the company from Densham and Watson, becoming President.

Born in Toronto (ca. 1954), Brunton was the youngest of three children and attended the Ridley School in St. Catharines, ON. Upon graduating, Brunton attended York University, Guelph University and Ryerson University. After being impressed by a short film produced by Insight in the mid1970s (Dazzled), Brunton called the company and expressed interest in their work. He began working for them in 1976. Working with Executive Vice President Barbara Bowlby (who joined the company in the mid 1980s), Brunton established a company that has fostered Canada’s domestic star system. Insight has created programs in several genres (documentary, drama, sports, variety, comedy, music, reality), and has adapted to shifting tastes, technology and formats. Canadian Idol, an Insight-produced iteration of the successful international format, aired between 2004 and 2008 to record-breaking audiences. Insight is also credited with revamping Canada’s national music awards, the JUNO Awards. By moving the show from a theatre to an arena setting, Insight was ultimately able to take the show on the road to cities across the country. The company has produced a number of award-winning programs for youth, including The Truth About Alex and the dramatic series Ready or Not. Insight is also recognized for producing Canada’s first successful late-night talk show, Open Mike with Mike Bullard, for six years.

King, Susan

  • Person
  • 1954-

Born in 1954, Susan King grew up in Toronto and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Mount Allison University, and a Masters of Fine Arts degree from York University. After graduation, King opened XOX Artist’s Postcards, a retail store whose stock was comprised of a variety of art postcards designed by both Canadian and international artists. By 1981, King was commissioning, publishing and distributing her own line of artists’ postcards through the store. Since 1983, and continuing throughout her career, King has contributed photographs on a freelance basis to Now Magazine, The Globe and Mail, MacLean’s, Toronto Life, Canadian Business, Image Nation, Broadcast Week, and Elm Street. In addition to her freelance photojournalism work, King has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in galleries throughout Canada, as well as internationally in New York City, Philadelphia, Duluth, Krakow, Poland, San Juan, and Merida. Her work has been included in the collections of the National Archives of Canada, the Art Bank, The Lynnwood Art Centre, and The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.

Blum, Leonard

  • Person
  • 1951 -

Leonard Solomon Blum was born in Toronto in 1951, and raised in Toronto, Montreal and Toronto. He spent his youth playing in rock bands, including The Brass Union which had some success with a 45 rpm single (“It Won’t Be Long”). Among Blum's fellow students in high school was Dan Goldberg, who later became a scriptwriter with whom Blum was to collaborate on many projects. In 1972, Blum enrolled at McMaster University, where he worked on student film projects with Ivan Reitman, an older student who had already established himself as a budding filmmaker. Blum graduated from McMaster with a degree in sociology in 1975. He initially pursued a career in music, working as a session guitarist and producer with the Sound Canada Recording Studio in Toronto. He also wrote commercial jingles for clients such as The Bay, Chrysler, Pepsi and Labatt’s.

In 1977, Blum wrote a two man cabaret, Midnight Opera, which was produced at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. In 1978, he wrote After the Opera, which was produced by Theatre Passe Muraille. Also in 1978, Blum was contacted by Reitman to devise a scenario for a film about a summer camp. The resulting film, Meatballs, was shot in Haliburton, Ontario, with a script by Blum, Goldberg, Janis Allen, and Harold Ramis. It turned out to be an immensely popular film, setting records for the revenues it grossed, and the writers won a Genie Award for their screenplay. Blum was invited to work on Reitman's next project, Stripes, whose screenplay Blum co-wrote with Goldberg and which starred Harold Ramis and Bill Murray. At the same time, Blum and Goldberg wrote the script for Reitman's Heavy Metal, a futuristic animated film. In 1983, Goldberg and Blum began work on a script called GMen, which became the film Feds. To develop the project, they moved to Los Angeles (although Blum's wife, Heather, continued her studies in Canada). In 1986, Blum returned to Canada, while Goldberg opted to stay in the U.S. Although Blum and his family moved back to Los Angeles briefly in 1991 so that Blum could work on the Disney picture Beethoven's 2 nd ( another Ivan Reitman film), they soon returned to Canada. In 1995, Reitman asked Blum to adapt the autobiography of the controversial American radio host Howard Stern. The resulting film, Private Parts, was released in 1997. A number of other films (including The Pink Panther, Over the Hedge, and Grass) followed. In later years, Blum occasionally wrote under the pseudonym ‘Solomon Vesta’.

Between 1998 and 2001, Blum wrote a weekly Arts column (‘Going to the Movies’) for The National Post. In 2003, he became a certified Yoga teacher, and in 2005 he opened the United Yoga Studio in Montreal and he now works there fulltime. Also in 2005, Blum received a Distinguished Alumni Award from McMaster Univerity. Blum currently lives in Montreal with his wife, Dr. Heather Munroe-Blum (Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University). They have one daughter, Sydney.

Switzer, Jacob

  • 2008.010
  • Person
  • [ca. 1956]-

Jacob (Jay) Switzer was born in Calgary (ca. 1956) and raised in Lethbridge, AB and Estevan, SK. The family moved to Toronto when Switzer was in his teens. His father, Israel, was an engineer and his mother Phyllis was a journalist. In 1972, Phyllis Switzer (along with Moses Znaimer and two other partners) launched City-TV, a station that Israel Switzer had conceived as a modest UHF service designed to exploit CRTC regulations that all local broadcasters be carried by cable systems.

Jay Switzer’s first real job, at age 16, was on the switchboard at CityTV. He worked as a Media Research Analyst for The Financial Post from 1979-1981, and then, having completed his education (B.Comm from the University of Toronto, MBA from the University of Western Ontario), he returned to CityTV in 1983 as a junior program manager. Since CHUM Ltd. (the company that had bought City-TV in 1978) could not afford to compete with the networks for costly American programs, Switzer instead focused on movies and reruns of youth-oriented shows like Star Trek. In 1984, Switzer co-wrote the license application that would bring MuchMusic to air, and over the following years he was instrumental in City-TV’s expansion into other markets and innovative new services. He also presided over the exportation of such City-TV made programs as FashionTelevision and MovieTelevision to markets around the globe (CHUM was among the first Canadian broadcasters to sell its homemade programs internationally, and to license formats to partners). Throughout the 1990s, Switzer developed more specialty services such as MuchMoreMusic, Star!, Bravo!, and CablePulse24. In 1995, he was named Vice President of Programming for CHUM Television, and in 2002 he became the company’s President and CEO. CHUM was acquired by CTV-Globemedia in 2006 (with the five CityTV stations going to Rogers
Communications for regulatory reasons), and Switzer left the company in 2007.

Jay Switzer currently works as an independent Media Management Consultant. He lives in Toronto with his wife, actress Ellen Dubin.

Nevitt, Barrington

  • Person
  • 1908-1995

Throughout his life and career, as a professional engineer, international consultant, theorist, and linguist, Henry James Barrington Nevitt was associated with the phenomenon of modern communications. His interest in the theoretical aspects of mass media and communications resulted in a professional association and personal friendship with Professor Marshall McLuhan of the Centre for Culture and Technology, University of Toronto. In addition to being a prolific writer, who even experimented with science fiction, Nevitt was an international lecturer.

Nevitt was born in 1908 in St. Catharines, Ontario and spent his early years abroad, returning to Toronto from England in 1917. From 1920 to 1930, Nevitt was involved in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of radio equipment. Nevitt was employed as a radio operator for the Canadian Marconi Company on coast and ship stations between 1927 and 1928. For a year, he served as a bush pilot in training with the Ontario Provincial Air Service. In 1932 Nevitt went to Leningrad to work as a research and development engineer at Zavod Elecktropibor where he assisted in the development of VHF measurement techniques. In 1933, Nevitt returned to Canada and worked with the Northern Electric Company in Montreal as a manufacturing engineer of telecommunication equipment, remaining with the company until 1939. During WWII, Nevitt worked on various sensitive projects at Canadian Pacific and Defence Communications Ltd, and as an engineer developing radio teletype systems at RCA. He remained with RCA as an executive engineer until 1947.

Nevitt received his Bachelor of Applied Science, Electrical Engineering, from the University of Toronto in 1941 and his Master of Engineering in Telecommunications degree from McGill University in 1945. From 1947 to 1960 Nevitt worked for the Swedish international public utilities firm L.M. Ericsson of Stockholm as a telecommunications troubleshooter in various locales including Caracas, Venezuela, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the early 1960’s, Nevitt served as a consultant to the Royal Commission for Government Organization, and returned to work for the Northern Electric Company and for other private and governmental bodies. In 1963, he joined the Ontario Development Corporation as a manager in research and consultative services, rising to become the corporation’s Director of Innovations.

Nevitt’s association with Marshall McLuhan began while he was a graduate student. From 1965 until McLuhan’s death in 1980, they wrote various articles and papers together. In 1968, McLuhan invited Nevitt to collaborate on the book later published under the title Take Today; the Executive as Drop Out. For more than a decade, Nevitt assisted McLuhan in the conducting of weekly seminars at the Centre for Culture and Technology.

Nevitt published several works throughout the later portion of his career including: ABC of Prophecy, (1982), The Communication Ecology (1982), Keeping Ahead of Economic Panic (1985), Who Was Marshall McLuhan? (co-written with Maurice McLuhan 1993), and the self published science fiction work Captain Gulliver’s Interplanetary Travels.

Nevitt died in 1995.

Monk, Lorraine

  • Person
  • 1926-

Lorraine Monk was born in Montreal (ca.1926). She earned a B.A. from McGill University in 1944, and an M.A. in 1946. She worked as a writer at the National Film Board (NFB) from 1957 to 1959, and became the director of their Still Photography division (which she created) in 1960. In 1967 she inaugurated "The Photo Gallery" in Ottawa, the first gallery in the country devoted to contemporary Canadian photography. That same year, she started a program of traveling photographic exhibitions that crossed Canada and toured abroad. Monk also published several books, including Canada: A Year of the Land (1967), which won major awards for printing excellence, The Female Eye (1975), Canada (1975), which won the silver medal at the Leipzig International Book Fair, and Between Friends (1976), which won the gold medal at the Leipzig International Book Fair.

After leaving the NFB and moving to Toronto in 1980, Monk continued to organize photo exhibitions and to produce books, such as Canada with Love (1982). She established the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, and also served as its first executive director. The museum, situated in Ottawa, held its first exhibition in 1987. Monk is the recipient of several awards, including the Centennial Medal (1967) and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Order of Ontario. Monk has also been given two honorary doctorate degrees from York and Carleton Universities.

Lorraine Monk had four children with her husband, John, before he died in 1978. Her daughter Karyn Monk is a novelist. Lorraine Monk currently lives in Toronto.

Zend, Robert

  • CAN
  • Person
  • 1925 - 1985

Hungarian-Canadian poet and radio producer Robert Zend was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1929. Zend majored in Hungarian and classical literature and received a Bachelor of Arts from Péter Pázmány Science University in 1953. Zend immigrated to Canada in 1956 and commenced working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in1958. During his time at the CBC, Zend held a number of increasingly important positions including Film Librarian (1958-1966), film editor (1966-1969), and writer and radio producer for the CBC-Radio Arts and specifically for the program “Ideas” (1969-1977).
Throughout his career, Zend continued to pursue his academic and literary interests, receiving a Masters of Arts in Italian and Comparative literature from the University of Toronto in 1969 and writing, translating and publishing several works of poetry and prose. Works published by Zend include From Zero to One, My Friend Jeronimo, Arbormundi, Beyond Labels, Oāb I, The Three Roberts Premiere Performance, The Three Roberts On Love, and The Three Roberts On Childhood. Works written by Zend but unpublished include: Madouce, How Do You Doodle, Nicolette, and Key to the Cube. Works translated by Zend include: Gilgamesh, The Tragedy of Man, and Pattern Without End. Zend received numerous Ontario Arts Council Awards to help support his creative activities during the period between 1975 and 1985.
Zend died in Toronto on June 27, 1985.

Trelevean, Cameron

  • 2003.001
  • Person
  • [19-]-

In 1993, Toronto-based band The Cowboy Junkies released the album Pale Sun, Crescent Moon. The lead single was a cover of Dinosaur Jr.’s “The Post”, and the video began production in November of that year. The band commissioned Bev Wotton of Streetlight Productions Ltd, who in turn recruited John Fawcett, Peter Wellington and Thom Best to direct, edit and shoot the video. The trio later went on to feature films (The Boys Club, Ginger Snaps, Joe’s So Mean to Josephine).

Cameron Treleaven, a bookseller based in Calgary, acquired the material described here in the late 1990s when the storage facility in which it was being kept auctioned it off. Treleaven donated the material to the Media Commons Archives in 2003.

Stedman, Sam

  • 2007.002
  • Person
  • [19-]-

Dr. Sam Stedman received a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto’s Graduate Drama Centre in 2007. Since then, Dr. Stedman has worked as a sessional lecturer affiliated with the Department of English and Drama at the University of Toronto Mississauga, while also maintaining an active presence in the local theatrical community as both an actor and director. Dr. Stedman acquired this collection of tapes directly from the artistic director of the DNA Theatre Hillar Liitoja and donated the tapes to the University of Toronto Media Commons Archives in 2007.

Hillar Liitoja earned a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto in 1977 and upon graduating, worked as a concert pianist for five years. In 1982, Liitoja founded the DNA Theatre where he has served as the artistic director throughout the history of the company. As a playwright, Liitoja was awarded the Chalmers Award in 1994 and a jury prize for innovation in theatrical writing at the Festival de Theatre des Ameriques in 1987.

The DNA Theatre company is a Toronto based avant-garde theatre company known for producing difficult and often disturbing works that challenge both the audience and conventional notions related to theatrical production. The artistic mandate of the company is to “create performances that are deeply affecting, to create environmental theatre, to create unique experiences of theatre, and to create new theatrical languages.” The Sam Stedman Fonds contains a collection of videotaped recordings of DNA Theatre productions including Sick – A Chamber of Horrors, and Phalanx. Productions mounted by The DNA Theatre company throughout its operating history include: On My Knees, Glimpse, I Of The Beholder, ember, The Large Glass, The Celebration, Phalanx Walk, Phalanx, Paula and Karl, 3 Prong Attack, Falling To Pieces, Remnants, A Bartok Story, Artaud and his Doubles, Pendulum, Jata Mu Hing Rahule, This is What Happenned in Rakvere, The Last Supper Assessments, Ultimate Night, Sick– A Chamber of Horrors, Mottetult, Reede Ohtu, The Deputation, Something For Sky, Something For Ed, Give Us This Day Our Daily Pound, Silence for John Cage, The Last Pound, My Plants Came Alive and we Fell in Love, Pain(T), Pound for Pound, Pound II (Pound!), Quarter-Pound, Half-Pound, and Triptych.

Clery, Val

  • 1996.002
  • Person
  • 1925-1996

Reginald Valentine (Val) Clery was born on January 26, 1924 in Dublin. After serving as a commando in the British army during World War II, Clery worked as a radio producer for the CBC’s London bureau. Clery eventually immigrated to Canada and Toronto in 1965 where he continued to work with the CBC, pioneering the concept of the “callout” radio show as manifested in the long running show “As It Happens”. Clery is perhaps best known for his role in the creation of the independent review journal Books in Canada, which he co-founded in 1971, but during his career he also published books within a broad and esoteric variety of genres including ghost stories, picture books, and cooking books. Clery also served as a Jazz music columnist for the Toronto Star. Clery passed away in Toronto on September 29, 1996 at the age of 72.

Crelinsten, Jeffrey

  • Person
  • [19?? - ]

Jeffrey Crelinsten is a science writer and historian with over 25 years experience popularizing science for non-specialist audiences. Crelinsten studied physics at McGill University (B.Sc.), astronomy at the University of Toronto (M.Sc.), and history of science at the Université de Montréal (Ph.D.). He was a professor in Science and Human Affairs for six years at Concordia University before embarking on a science writing career. He wrote radio and television science documentaries for over ten years on topics such as stellar evolution, space exploration, artificial intelligence, and microgravity science, including two radio documentaries on relativity for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

In 1978-9, Crelinsten wrote a two-hour radio biography of Albert Einstein (for CBC and U.S. National Public Radio), which was broadcast for the centenary of Einstein's birth. He also collaborated on an animated film about special relativity for the National Film Board of Canada.

Crelinsten is co-founder and President of The Impact Group, a Toronto firm specializing in science and technology communications, education and policy. He is co-publisher of RE$EARCH MONEY, Canada's leading source of intelligence on R&D spending, and President of Research Infosource, publisher of Canada's Top 100 Corporate R&D Spenders and Canada's Top 50 Research Universities. He is a past-president of the Canadian Science Writers Association, a former Director of the Youth Science Foundation, and a founding member of the Science and Technology Awareness Network.

His book "Einstein's Jury: The Race to Test Relativity" is published by Princeton University Press. His radio biography "Albert Einstein: The Human Side of Genius" was broadcast by CBC Radio in two parts on Ideas on June 2 and 3, 2005 and is available on CD.

Siren, Paul

  • 1999.008
  • Person
  • 1917-2009

Paul Siren was born in Alppila, Ontario on July 19, 1917. Although forced to abandon his formal studies before the commencement of high school, Siren enjoyed a long and prominent career as a trade union leader and organizer. In 1942 Siren was appointed the International Representative of the United Auto Workers (UAW), a position that he held until 1960. From 1960 – 1964, Siren worked as an independent consultant for stakeholders in labour disputes.

After leaving the automobile manufacturing sector, Siren held several key positions in the creative community trade labour union movement. Posts held by Siren during this period include: General Secretary of ACTRA (1965 – 1985), member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Actors (1967 – 1985), Chairman of the English speaking group of the International Federation of Actors, (1973 – 1985), executive committee member for the International Federation of Artists, Canadian representative at UNESCO during the drafting of that group’s Recommendations on the Status of the Artist (1980), co-chairman of the Canadian Task Force on the Status of the Artist, and President of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Conference of the Arts (1988-90). Siren also served as a member of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) External review Committee from 1985-87.

Siren was the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Association of Cultural Executives (ACE) award in 1990, The Canadian Conference of the Arts’ Diplôme D’Honneur in 1992, and appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada in 1987. Siren died in Toronto on May 31, 2009.

Hirsh, Michael

  • 2003.004, 2008.014
  • Person
  • 1948 -

Michael Hirsh was born in Belgium in 1948. He arrived in Toronto at the age of three, and a decade later the family relocated once more to New York City. While a student at the Bronx School of Science, Hirsh became interested in filmmaking and spent much of his time back in Toronto at York University, working with various partners on a number of live action and animated films. One of those partners was Patrick Loubert.

After graduating, Loubert and Hirsh worked briefly for Cineplast, creating animated sequences for Sesame Street. In 1971, they founded their own company, Laff Arts, which became Nelvana one year later with the arrival of English animator Clive Smith. Nelvana’s earliest years were spent producing short ‘filler’ films (2-4 minute films that could be used to complete an hour of programming when a feature or series film was short) for CBC in addition to whatever contract work they could find. In 1977, the fledgling company produced A Cosmic Christmas; this caught the attention of George Lucas, who hired them to produce a ten-minute animated segment for a Star Wars television special. He subsequently hired Nelvana to co-produce (with his own Lucasfilm Ltd.) two ABC-TV series, Ewoks and Droids. Gradually, the partners at Nelvana evolved into their roles: Loubert became a key administrative figure and co-CEO; Smith became the director of Nelvana’s most important films, and Hirsh asserted himself as Nelvana’s co-CEO and major spokesman for the organization. Nelvana’s period of artistic success ground to a sudden halt when the heavy metal-influenced feature Rock & Rule became a financial debacle; though the film has gone on to achieve cult status, Nelvana could have folded as a result of the film’s failure.

Hirsh persuaded the owners of The Care Bears franchise to have his studio produce their feature film and television series, and The Care Bears effectively saved the company. Nelvana went on to produce some of the most popular children’s series of the 1980s and 1990s, including My Pet Monster, The Adventures of Tintin, Rupert the Bear, Pippi Longstocking, Babar, Franklin, as well as the live action T & T (starring Mr. T.).

Nelvana now has hundreds of employees all over the world, and the company’s backcatalogue includes over 1400 productions. It also now produces both 2D and 3D animation, and its productions are seen in 180 countries. Nelvana was sold to Corus Entertainment in September 2000, and Hirsh resigned his position as CEO in October 2002. Since that time, Hirsh has served as CEO of Cookie Jar Entertainment; he also serves as CEO of the company’s education division, which includes Carson-Dellosa Publishing and HighReach Learning.

Michael Hirsh is the coauthor of The Great Canadian Comics. He lives in Toronto.

Rubes, Jan

  • Person
  • 1920 - 2009

Jan Rubeš was a singer, actor and director whose career spanned more than half a century. Born in Volynĕ, Czechoslovakia in 1920, Rubeš was the second son of a local bank manager. Although he had planned to follow his brother into medicine, his studies were interrupted by the closure of the Faculty of Medicine at Charles University by the German occupying forces during World War II. Rubeš transferred to the Prague Conservatory, where he studied under Hilbert Vavre and launched a career as a promising basso. In 1948, while representing Czechoslovakia at the International Music Festival in Geneva, Switzerland, Rubes sought and was granted political asylum in Canada. In 1950, he married fellow singer and actress Susan Douglas, who would remain his partner for the next six decades (and with whom he would have three children).

Rubeš was a soloist with the CBC Opera (1949-1958), and an original member of the Opera Festival Company of Toronto (later the Canadian Opera Company). He appeared more than 1,000 times in over 50 Canadian Opera Company productions, and participated in some 20 national tours. He also performed as guest soloist with opera companies in Frankfurt, Mexico, Central America, New York City, Detroit, Seattle, and New Orleans.

Between 1953 and 1963, Rubeš appeared as singer and host on CBC’s popular Songs of My People, a program that featured folk music from around the world. He also wrote, produced, acted and directed the TVO television program Guess What (1975), and sang on the CBC radio program Rhapsody with Ivan Romanoff.

Rubeš developed a film career later in life, appearing in more than 100 roles (some of his more memorable films include Witness (1985), One Magic Christmas (1985), The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick and Deceived (1991). He also appeared on Canadian and US television programs such as The Forest Rangers, The X-Files, King of Kensington, and Due South.

Rubeš won a Gemini Award for his role in Two Men (1989), the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (1978), the Canadian Centennial Medal (1967), and the Earl Grey Award for lifetime achievement in television (1990). He was artist-in-residence at Wilfrid Laurier University in 1981, and taught at the University of Windsor in 1985. In 1998, he was awarded a Honourary Doctor of Letters degree at the University of Windsor. In addition to his success in the performing arts, Rubeš was also a lifelong athlete who excelled in tennis.

Jan Rubeš died in 2009 at the age of 89.

Egoyan, Atom

  • Person
  • 1960 -

Atom Egoyan, born on July 19, 1960 in Cairo, Egypt to Armenian parents, is an internationally renowned film director whose films have appeared at several festivals including Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival along with being nominated for and winning several awards. In 1997 his film The Sweet Hereafter was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Director and Best Adapted Screening, and it won three awards at that years Cannes Film Festival: the FIPRESCI Prize, the Grand Prize of the Jury, and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.

In 1963 Egoyan’s family moved from Egypt to Victoria, British Columbia. In 1978 he enrolled at Trinity College at The University of Toronto where his studies concentrated on international relations. It was at this point in Egoyan’s life when he became interested in his own culture as an Armenian, an interest which would permeate throughout his personal life as well as influencing the subject matter of films like Ararat (2002), a film which concentrated on the Armenian genocide in 1915. Along with becoming a member of the University of Toronto’s Armenian Society he became an active contributor to the school’s newspaper, The Newspaper. It was also at this time in his life when, with funds from the Hart House Program, Egoyan would create his first short film Howard in Particular (1979). Since the creation of his first short film while attending the University of Toronto, and by the end of 2014, Egoyan had directed 14 feature films, 5 of which (Exotica (1994), The Sweet Hereafter, Felicia's Journey (1999), Where the Truth Lies (2005), Adoration (2008), and The Captive (2014)) have been nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Egoyan continues to make films to this day with his 15th feature film, Remember, set to debut in 2015.

In recognition for his artistic achievements as a Canadian citizen Egoyan, in 1999, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour.

Blue Rodeo

  • Corporate body
  • 1975 -

Blue Rodeo’s roots can be traced to the late 1970s, when singer/songwriters Jim Cuddy and Greg Keeler (along with bassist Malcolm Schell and drummer Jimmy Sublett) formed a power pop band in Toronto called the Hi-Fi’s. The group issued one single on the Showtime label, but broke up in 1981. Cuddy and Keeler spent the next three years in New York City in a group called Fly to France; this band recorded four demos, including the future Blue Rodeo hits “Try” and “Outskirts”. Upon returning to Toronto in 1984, Cuddy and Keeler recruited keyboard player Bobby Wiseman, bassist Basil Donovan and drummer Cleave Anderson for a new group they called Blue Rodeo. The band debuted under this name in 1985, and played regular shows in Toronto before expanding their concert base across the country.

The band was signed to Risque Disque in 1986, and their debut album Outskirts included the song “Try”, which became a major Canadian pop and country hit. Between 1986 and 2002, Blue Rodeo issued one live album (1994’s Five Days in July), as well as nine studio albums. In 1990, Blue Rodeo appeared in the film Postcards from the Edge.

There have been several changes in the band’s lineup over the years. In 1989, Mark French replaced drummer Anderson, and three years later Glenn Milchem became the drummer. In 1992, Wiseman left and was replaced by Kim Deschamps; he, in turn, was replaced by James Gray, who was then replaced by Bob Packwood, and then Mike Boguski. In 2013 Colin Cripps joined the band as a full member. In addition to their work in Blue Rodeo, both Cuddy and Keeler have released solo albums. On August 5, 2013, James Gray suffered a fatal heart attack.

Blue Rodeo has won numerous industry awards, including JUNOs and SOCANs. In 2012 they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. In 2014, they were honored with Canada's highest honour in the performing arts – the Governor General's Performing Arts Award (GGPAA) for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

Tsuji, Mia - The Tsuji Communications Inc Fonds

  • Corporate body
  • 1980-2000

The Tsuji Communications Inc. (TCI) was founded by Susan Tsuji and Roy Tsuji in 1980 as a local production company and distributor/agent for Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai or the NHK programs from Japan. Their productions were aired initially on Multilingual Television (MTV), then CITY-TV (Toronto), and finally CHCH (Hamilton).
Before Susan and Roy Tsuji began their career in television, they volunteered in their communities to promote the importance of Japanese culture to Japanese Canadians and Canadians in general. In the 1970s, Susan earned a TV production certificate from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute and with Roy, they started their career in television. Susan was chosen as the new producer for MTV multicultural television Japanese Panorama, a significant step in Susan’s career in television. However, Susan and Roy left MTV to start their show, Hello Japan. With their involvement in Canadian television, they pioneered a way to promote Japanese culture to Japanese Canadians and to a wider audience. Thus, their productions were shot in English, and the NHK segments were in Japanese but given English subtitles.

Spiess, Fritz

  • Person
  • 1925 - 1998

Fritz Spiess is best known for his work as a cinematographer and television commercial director. Born into a family of photographers in Germany in 1925, Spiess received his own box camera at the age of 6. He apprenticed for his father, Karl, prior to WWII and later studied with renowned photographer Tita Binz in Heidelberg. After earning a Master’s in Photography from the Munich Photo School in 1949, Spiess ran his own studio specializing in portrait and industrial photography. He and his wife, Gunild, emigrated to Canada in 1951, and went on to have two daughters and one son.

The family settled in Toronto, and Spiess began working for Panda Photography. His photos appeared in such major publications as Life and Mayfair, but in 1956 he was given an opportunity to shoot a film about children with cerebral palsy; his work garnered positive attention, and he was offered a job as a cameraman. During his long career, Spiess worked with five production companies: S.W. Caldwell Ltd. (1954 – 1958); Robert Lawrence Productions Ltd. (1958 – 1967); TDF Film Productions Ltd. (1967 – 1976), Schulz Productions (1976 to 1987) and Rawi-Sherman Films Inc. (1987 – 1991).

Spiess recognized the need for an organization to promote and foster Canadian cinematographers and their craft, and he became a charter member and early President of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers (CSC), providing its membership with technical information and professional expertise. Over his career, Spiess was instrumental in assisting younger people in the business through his affiliations with the CSC, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 644, and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). Spiess also taught courses and gave lectures at Ryerson Polytechnic University and Sheridan College.

Spiess shot over 3,000 commercials for more than 300 advertisers, and he earned a number of national and international awards. The Canadian commercial film industry recognized his achievements with the Fritz Spiess Award in 1979, and Spiess was the only cinematographer to receive all three of the CSC’s non-competitive awards (the Fuji award, the Kodak New Century award, and the Bill Hilson award). He also won international awards at Cannes and Venice. Spiess’ artistry and generosity earned him the nickname “the dean of Canadian cinematography”.

Fritz Spiess died in Toronto in 1998.

True North Records

  • 2007.004
  • Corporate body
  • 1969-2006

True North Records, founded by Bernie Finkelstein, is Canada’s longest-running independent record label.

Finkelstein, the son of an Air Force warrant officer, was born in Toronto in 1944. He became involved in the Yorkville music scene in 1963, taking odd jobs and eventually dropping out of high school. While working in a club called El Patio, he met a young band called the Paupers and soon became their manager (often conducting business from a payphone on Yorkville Avenue). Finkelstein found further success managing the band Kensington Market between 1967 and 1969. After a brief period spent living on a farm in Eastern Ontario, Finkelstein returned to Toronto and founded True North Records.

Finkelstein met singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn at a Ryerson University coffeehouse in 1969, and the two established an association that lasts to this day. Cockburn has released 29 albums on True North, including such hits as ‘Wondering Where the Lions Are’, and ‘If I Had a Rocket Launcher’. Other important Canadian singer-songwriters who have recorded for True North include Murray McLaughlan, Luke Gibson, Stephen Fearing and Colin Linden. In 1979, True North ventured into the world of post-punk alternative rock, releasing albums by Carol Pope and Rough Trade. Subsequent rock artists signed to the label have included the Rheostatics, 54-40, the Cowboy Junkies, the Golden Dogs, Zubot and Dawson, Lynn Miles, Hunter Valentine, and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Artists on the True North label have won more than 40 Juno awards and put out approximately the same number of gold or platinum records.

In 1995, True North expanded its operations and released recordings by non-Canadian artists and distributing several international record labels (including U.K.based Cooking Vinyl and U.S.based Fuel 2000, Signature Sounds and Sci-fidelity). In 2007, True North was taken over by Mississauga-based Linus Entertainment; Finkelstein remains the chair and advisor while also managing a number of bands. He is also the chair of VideoFACT, the government-financed organization that funds videos for Canadian music artists.

Bernie Finkelstein has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and named to the Order of Canada. He lives in Toronto.

Epitome Pictures Inc.

  • Corporate body
  • 1979 -

For close to thirty years, Epitome Pictures and related companies have been producing award-winning television and educational programs. CEO Linda Schuyler co-created and executive produced the multi-award-winning original Degrassi series, including The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, and Degrassi High. These series have won two international Emmys, 9 Gemini Awards, two Prix Jeunesse and countless other honours from festivals around the world. The Degrassi series was continued in the telefeature School’s Out! and in a series of six documentaries called Degrassi Talks. Schuyler was awarded the Order of Canada in 1994 for her contributions to Canadian television.

President Stephen Stohn has worked in the entertainment industry for over 30 years as a performing artist, songwriter, executive producer and as an entertainment and copyright lawyer. He is a founding member in the entertainment law firm, Stohn Hay Cafazzo Dembroski Richmond LLP.

In 1993, Epitome Pictures produced the movie of the week X-Rated, which later inspired creation of 26 episodes of the dramatic series Liberty Street. The program, about young twenty-somethings struggling to establish grownup lives, was broadcast on CBC and in more than 40 countries around the world. In 1996 Epitome Pictures bought a 100,000 sq. ft. warehouse, converting it into a digital single-purpose studio. The studio is used as a home for the company’s productions as well as a rental property. From 1997 to 2000 the studio was home to Riverdale, Canada’s first English primetime soap opera. Created by Schuyler and her longtime collaborator, writer Yan Moore, Riverdale was broadcast on the CBC and followed the lives of four families, separate in temperament, background, values, generation and social standing but united by the neighbourhood they share. The studio is now home to the youth oriented, multi-platform series Degrassi: The Next Generation. The series has received numerous accolades including 11 Gemini Awards, 7 DGC Awards, 2 Teen Choice Awards and the Television Critics Award.

Building on its strength in youth programming, Epitome launched the half-hour teen drama Instant Star in 2004. Now wrapped after four seasons, Instant Star followed the story of a teenaged girl who went from high school obscurity to a life as a notorious singer. The program is currently airing in over 150 countries around the world .

In 2011 Epitome started another half-hour drama called The L.A. Complex which follows a group of young people living in an apartment style motel in Los Angeles with dreams of making it big in Hollywood. The L.A. Complex wrapped in 2012. In 2014 Epitome Pictures Inc. was acquired by DHX Media for $33 million Canadian. Later in 2014 Epitome announced the beginning of production on a show called Open Heart for YTV in Canada and Teennick in the U.S. Open Heart is described as “a gripping mystery series, folded into a sprawling family saga, set against the high-stakes workplace and relationship drama of a hospital.”

Atlantis Films

  • Corporate body
  • 1978-1998

Atlantis Films Ltd. was founded by Michael MacMillan, Seaton S. McLean, Janice L. Platt, Andy Rednick, and Nick Kendall in April 1978 after the group had recently graduated from Queen’s University’s Film Studies department. Working out of a Toronto house that served as living and office quarters, the group originally named their company Birchbark Films, only to quickly change it to Atlantis Films. While Kendall did not remain with the project for long, the group picked up fellow Queen’s graduates Ted Riley and Peter Sussman in the early going. Originally the company worked with a focus on producing films for corporate and industrial clients, as well as creating film adaptations of short stories as a means of gaining a foothold in the industry. The first dramatic production shot by Atlantis was the 1981 drama The Olden Days Coat. After
struggling in the early years to achieve financial stability, Atlantis experienced a breakthrough with the film Boys and Girls, which starred a young Meghan Follows, and won an Academy Award for best live action short film in 1984. After this turning point, Atlantis grew steadily over the years into a major production, distribution, and broadcasting corporation. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s Atlantis produced projects for the C.B.C. and C.T.V. in Canada, and each of the major American networks, while also expanding its international presence. The company set up an international distribution arm called Atlantis releasing in 1984, and the first significant project of international scope that Atlantis tackled was the television series The Ray Bradbury Theater. The successful show was coproduced with American company Home Box Office (HBO) and aired on HBO and the USA network in the United States and the Global television network in Canada. Eventually, foreign offices in Amsterdam, Sydney, and Los Angeles helped to generate a significant percentage of the company’s profits. Throughout the 1990’s Atlantis continued to grow, not only through the production of various projects for film and television, but also by acquiring film studios, real estate, film and television libraries, and distribution rights to productions that originated outside the studio. By 1997 almost 90 percent of the company’s revenue was generated through foreign sales and export. Throughout its existence, Atlantis Communications Inc. achieved international recognition and earned numerous industry awards. Apart from winning one Academy Award and being nominated for another, Atlantis productions have also won 24 CableACE Awards, 35 Gemini Awards, and an American Emmy Award, as well as numerous less prestigious recognitions.
On July 20, 1998, Atlantis officially merged with Alliance Communications to become Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. The merger resulted in the new company becoming the 12th largest film and television production company in North America. The Atlantis Films fond contains audio visual and textual records from numerous productions (listed below) dating from the company’s founding up until the merger with Alliance Communications in 1998.

Gordon Hinch

  • Person
  • 1930-2021

Gordon Hinch began his career in advertising in the 1950s, and joined the CBC in 1957. By 1965, he was creating half-hour productions of experimental dramas and special programs like You Can Always Learn from a Lady, The Painted Door, Three Penny Profile, and others. In 1969, Hinch helmed the Imperial Oil Motion Pictures Program, where he produced 8 titles (including the award-winning The Edge of Evolution and The Newcomers, a celebration of Imperial Oil’s centenary).
Hinch partnered with Joseph Green and Leon Major to form Gemstone Productions in the 1980s. Gemstone produced The Dining Room, The Sunshine Boys and Sullivan and Gilbert for the stage in major cities across Canada. In association with Primedia Productions they also produced Glory Enough for All, the largest independently financed Canadian dramatic mini-series of its day on the topic of Banting and Best and the discovery of insulin.

International Rocketship Ltd.

  • Corporate body
  • 1975-

International Rocketship Ltd. is an animation company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Founded in 1975 by Marv Newland (creator of the 1969 cult favourite Bambi vs. Godzilla), the company has produced 20 short animated films as well as several animated sequences for television commercials, station IDs, and two longer films. Animated short films made at International Rocketship are director-driven, and while many of these films are broadcast or screened theatrically, they are not created for a specific commercial market.
After founding International Rocketship, Newland began producing, directing and self-financing his own animated short films including Sing Beast Sing (1980), Anijam (1984), and Black Hula (1988). He has also produced short animated films for other directors under the International Rocketship umbrella; these include Danny Antonucci’s Lupo the Butcher (1986) and J. Falconer’s Dog Brain (1988). Over the years, International Rocketship’s commercial contracts have underwritten the costs of Newland’s personal films while also subsidizing the cost of other freelancers. In some cases director/animators were awarded grants from Canada Council, the British Columbia Arts Council, B.C. Film or other funding agencies.
Throughout his time with International Rocketship, Newland has continued to freelance as a storyboard artist and director. He has been recognized as a senior animator at the National Film Board, and has served as a mentor to many younger people in this capacity.
International Rocketship Ltd. has produced more animated short films in Canada than any other Canadian animation studio. Retrospectives of the company’s films have been held at international film and animation festivals, and they have won numerous awards. In the early years, distribution came as a result of the exposure these festivals provided; however, as International Rocketship’s reputation grew, the company was able to send video versions of new films to broadcasters and distributors prior to the festival screenings.
Many International Rocketship films continue to be shown in theatres and on television throughout the world.

Triumph Productions

  • Person
  • 1975-

The Canadian rock band Triumph formed in Toronto in 1975 following a chance meeting between musicians Rik Emmett (guitar/vocals), Mike Levine (bass guitar/keyboards), and Gil Moore (drums/vocals).
Levine and Moore had played together since the early 1970s, and after the addition of Emmett the trio began performing in Ontario high schools and bars. The band’s debut album, Triumph, was released in 1976 on Attic Records, and the second album, Rock and Roll Machine, followed in 1977. Although the band’s first albums were first released only in Canada, they garnered significant airplay in Texas; following a tour in that state in 1977, RCA Records signed the band and released a compilation of the first two albums (also titled Rock ‘N Roll Machine) in 1978. The band used the advance money from the RCA deal to buy back the rights to the two albums recorded for Attic; they would later make a similar deal with RCA, and they consequently own the rights to all of their work. Similarly, Moore negotiated arrangements with tour promoters and media representatives ensuring that the band would receive copies of most of their concerts and media appearances.
The next albums, Just a Game and Progressions of Power, were released in 1979 and 1980 respectively. In 1981, Triumph released Allied Forces, their biggest critical and commercial success to date. They released albums the following two years (Allied Forces and Never Surrender), and toured to support the latter album in 1983. That year, the band appeared at the US Festival, the largest outdoor concert ever held in the state, alongside Judas Priest, Van Halen and Motley Crue.
Triumph and RCA parted ways in 1984, and the band signed with MCA Records. Their seventh album, Thunder Seven, was released in 1984. After a decade of performing together, the band released a double live album, Stages, in 1985 (the songs for this compilation were recorded on tour between 1981 and 1985). Two more albums followed (1986’s The Sport of Kings and 1987’s Surveillance). After performing at the Kingswood Music Theatre in September 1988, Emmett left Triumph to pursue a solo career. The band released a best-of compilation, Classics, in 1989. In 1992, Moore and Levine regrouped with new members Phil X and Rick Santers and the band was signed to a new deal with Virgin records, which released Edge of Excess. A live album was released in 1996 on the King Biscuit Boy Flour Hour label, and a DVD album commemorating their famous 1983 performance, Live at the US Festival, came out in 2003.
Since the mid1990s, Levine and Moore have concentrated on running the Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, which the band opened in 1981. The studio was voted “Recording Studio of the Year” for several years in a row at the Canadian Music Industry Awards. The band was inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in March, 2007, and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

Patrick Watson

  • Person
  • 1929-

Writer, producer, host, and actor Patrick Watson has played a pivotal role in the development of Canadian television. Watson was born in Toronto in 1929, and by the age of fourteen he was acting in the daily CBC radio children's series, The Kootenay Kid. By 1955, Watson had earned a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Toronto, and was on his way to completing a Ph.D in Linguistics at the University of Michigan; however, the lure of broadcasting was strong, and Watson began freelancing for CBC Television. Shortly thereafter, he joined the staff and began producing Close-Up (1957-60) and Inqui’ry (1960-64). In 1964 Patrick and co-producer Douglas Leiterman developed This Hour Has Seven Days, an innovative public affairs series with a magazine format that set investigative reporting and documentary features alongside satirical songs and sketches. Over its 50-episode, two-year lifespan, This Hour drew an audience of three million viewers before a rising tide of complaints from politicians and public figures prompted the CBC to pull the show off the air, and to fire co-hosts Watson and Laurier Lapierre. The move occasioned an avalanche of angry letters, public demonstrations, a parliamentary committee hearing, and a special investigation by an appointee of the prime minister.
After a brief period (June 1969 - March1970) at the CTV Ottawa affiliate CJOH, Watson worked as writer/producer/director on The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, and as host/interviewer on The Watson Report, The Canadian Establishment, Flight; The Passionate Affair, Lawyers, Live from Lincoln Centre, The Fifty-First State (for WPBS channel 13 New York), Witness to Yesterday, and The Titans. Watson also hosted a ten-part series, The Struggle for Democracy (produced in both English and French with Watson as host) which garnered him a Gemini and a Gemaux.
Watson was named Chairman of the CBC in 1989. During the five years that he spent in that position, he handled severe budget cuts and demands for the privatization of the Corporation. He resigned from the Chairmanship in 1994.
In 1988, Watson had been appointed Creative Director and principal writer of the CRB Foundation's Heritage Minutes project. On leaving the Corporation he resumed his work on this series of more than 60 cinematic dramatizations of moments from Canada's past, and more recently has been helping create a similar series of 90-second dramatizations for radio, under the auspices of The Historical Foundation of Canada.
While most of Watson’s career has been as a broadcaster, he has also performed roles in Bethune, Terry Fox: The Movie, Countdown to Looking-Glass and The Fourth Angel. In addition, he has written on a wide variety of topics, including religion, science, art, music, politics, human rights, the practice of magic, journalism, history, and broadcasting. Watson’s autobiography, This Hour Has Seven Decades, was published in 2004.
Watson was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981 for promoting excellence in television and radio, and in 2002 he was promoted to Companion of the Order. Over his career, he has received many awards, including two Canadian Film Awards, two Emmys, the Academy of Canadian Film and Television's Margaret Collier Award for Writing, and a number of ACTRA Awards, including the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism. He has honorary doctorates in Letters and in Laws, and is a holder of the Canada 125 Medal and the Queen's 50th Anniversary Jubilee Medal.
A man of diverse interests, Watson is a fully qualified pilot and practicing magician. He has also served on numerous boards of advisers, such as the National Film Board (1984 – 1987), Canadian Centre for Arms Control, ACTRA, Writer’s Union of Canada, Civil Liberties Association, March of Dimes, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, and the Canadian Abilities Foundation. Watson has been married twice (his second wife, Caroline Bamford, is also his business partner) and is the father of three children.

Cowboy Junkies

  • Person
  • 1966-2004

Formed in 1985, Cowboy Junkies achieved international stardom with the re-release of their second independently recorded album, The Trinity Session, in 1989. The band consists of siblings Margo Timmins (vocalist), Michael Timmins (guitarist/songwriter), Peter Timmins (drummer) and their friend Alan Anton (bassist). Michael Timmins and Alan Anton had previously belonged to bands The Hunger Project and Germinal, but after failing to attract audiences in New York City and England they returned to Toronto. Once back in Canada, Michael Timmins began working on new music with his brother Peter. Anton joined them, and Margo Timmins (who had been employed as a social worker) was invited to contribute vocals. Around this time, the group toured the southern United States, and was inspired by the country music they heard there.
The Cowboy Junkies began performing live in Toronto’s Queen Street West clubs, including the Beverly Tavern and the Rivoli. Their first two albums, Whites Off Earth Now! and The Trinity Sessions were also released on Latent Records (run by Michael Timmins). Both albums were recorded live, with all band members playing at once into a single microphone. RCA Records signed the band and rereleased The Trinity Session in 1989.
Through 1996, the Cowboy Junkies released five additional albums on the RCA/BMG label. They subsequently signed with Geffen Records, which released Lay it Down and Miles from Our Home. When Geffen was acquired by Universal, the Cowboy Junkies were dropped from the label and subsequent recordings have been issued on their own Latent Records label.
Over the course of their career, the Cowboy Junkies have also appeared on 13 compilation or tribute CDs, and their music has appeared in 25 different films. Michael Timmins has written five film scores and between 1990 and 1995 Latent Records released recordings by Toronto based
artists John Bottomley, Pat Temple and The Corndogs. The Cowboy Junkies have toured around the world, and have won numerous awards, including CASBY Awards andCanadian Recording Industry Association Awards.

Greg Gormick (Clyde Gilmour)

  • Person
  • 1911-2002

Greg Gormick is a Toronto based researcher, writer, interviewer, broadcaster, columnist and policy analyst. He was educated at Ryerson Polytechnic University (School of Journalism) between 1975 and 1978. He worked as a contract archivist during the late 1970s, arranging audiovisual and textual material for such notable artists and organizations as Johnny Green, Leo Robin, Betty Garrett Parks, and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Music and Sound Departments.
From 1978 – 1984, Gormick served as a writer and researcher for CBC Agriculture and Resources documentaries and the quiz show Reach for the Top. During this time, he also served as the Los Angeles production coordinator for the award-winning TVO program, Saturday Night at the Movies (Gormick conducted most of the pre-interviews with older Hollywood personalities). While in Los Angeles, he also worked as a writer and music advisor for both Columbia Pictures Television and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Co.
Upon returning to Canada, Gormick worked for CBC Radio as an on-air host and writer (1982 – 1995), and as a Canadian contributor for BBC Radio (1987 – 1991).
During the 1990s, Gormick’s professional focus shifted to communications and policy analysis (particularly in the areas of transportation and urban planning), though he also contributed written and audio materials for the Ryerson University/Canadian Communications Foundations’ History of Canadian Broadcasting website. Gormick currently lives in Toronto.
Gormick was a collaborator and close friend of celebrated critic and broadcaster Clyde Gilmour, and when Gilmour died Gormick became the recipient and facilitator of Gilmour’s collection. Clyde Gilmour was born in Calgary in 1912, and grew up in Edmonton, Lethbridge, AB and Medicine Hat, AB. He worked as a journalist in Western Canada and served as a war correspondent in the Navy before devoting himself to film and music criticism. After marrying Barbara Donald in 1947, Gilmour began contributing film reviews to CBC Vancouver; soon, he was also writing reviews for Maclean’s and the Vancouver Sun. In 1954, the couple moved to Toronto where Gilmour wrote a column for the Toronto Telegram (after that paper’s demise in 1971, he wrote for The Toronto Star). Gilmour’s Albums, a weekly hour-long program featuring selections from Gilmour’s own wide-ranging collection, was launched in 1956. The program became the longest-running network radio music show in CBC history, as well as the network’s highest-rated music show. Gilmour frequently acknowledged his wife Barbara, who conducted research and answered mail, as his ‘silent partner’.
Gilmour was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1975, and he was enrolled in the Canadian News Hall of Fame in 1990. He died in 1997 at the age of 85.
He had two children, Jane and Paul Gilmour.

Susan Helwig

  • Person

Canadian poet Susan Helwig was born and raised on a farm in Grey County Ontario, and currently resides in Toronto. Helwig has served as a programmer and host for the CKLN FM 88.1 literary issues radio show “In Other Words”. She is the author of two published works of poetry,
Catch The Sweet and Pink Purse Girl, and has publication credits in many literary journals and anthologies including The Last Word, That Sign of
Perfection, and The Common Sky. The Susan Helwig Fonds contains a collection of audio recordings of interviews for use on specific
In Other Words Broadcasts as well as recordings of various live poetry readings and literary events.

Robert Lantos

  • Person
  • 1949 -

Born in Hungary in 1949, Robert (Janos) Lantos immigrated to Uruguay in 1958 and Canada in 1963. He studied film and literature at McGill University and formed a small company with his friend Victor Loewy, Vivafilm, in 1972. His first venture into the film business was to purchase the Canadian rights to a New York Erotic Film Festival compilation film and to distribute it on the university campus film circuit.
In 1975, Lantos and Loewy joined forces with entertainment lawyer Stephen Roth to form RSL Productions. They produced Gilles Carle’s L’Ange et la femme in 1977 and George Kaczender’s In Praise of Older Women. RSL produced over 15 films in 10 years, including Agency, Suzanne, Heavenly Bodies and Joshua Then and Now. In 1985, RSL merged with Denis Heroux and John Kemeny’s International Cinema Corporation to form Alliance Communications.
Lantos became the Chair and CEO Alliance Communications in 1987. Under his stewardship, the company became the foremost producer of English language feature films and the leading distributor of Canadian and foreign-made art cinema in this country. Lantos stepped down after overseeing a 1998 merger between Alliance and Atlantis Communications, although he continues to produce features with his new company, Serendipity Point Films. Recent works include Sunshine, Men with Brooms and Ararat.
Lantos has won numerous awards, including the Air Canada Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Business of Filmmaking in Canada’, a Toronto Arts Award, the CFTPA’s Chetwynd Award for ‘Entrepreneurial Excellence’, and, most importantly, an Order of Canada.
Lantos has two children with his ex-wife, actress Jennifer Dale. He lives in Toronto.

Michael Maclear

  • Person
  • 1929-2018

Born in 1929 in London, England, Michael Maclear came to Canada in 1954 after having worked as a print journalist for several years. In 1955 he joined the fledgling CBC television news service and a year later became producer of Newsmagazine, Canada's first weekly television news program. In 1961, after a year co-hosting Background with Alistair Cooke and Malcolm Muggeridge, Maclear was appointed CBC’s first Asia Correspondent (1961-1964), and subsequently its London Correspondent (1964-1971). In 1971, he joined the CTV Network.
In his capacity as a network correspondent, Maclear reported from more than eighty countries. He covered Fidel Castro’s takeover of Cuba, China’s Cultural Revolution, and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1969, Maclear became the first Western television news correspondent to be admitted to North Vietnam. His television reports on the death of Ho Chi Minh and the U.S. bombing of the North were shown in 90 countries, and his articles were also syndicated by the New York Times. Between 1971 and 1974, Maclear hosted the weekly investigative documentary series Maclear; this experiement in “personal journalism” garnered critical acclaim, including the ACTRA Best Broadcaster award. After a period as Executive Producer of CTV’s Current Affairs department, Maclear left to independently produce the first television history of the Vietnam War (Vietnam: The 10,000 Day War).
Maclear was the 1991 recipient of the Personal Achievement Award from the Canadian Film and Television Producer’s Association, and in 2003 he was awarded a special Gemini by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for “Exceptional Contribution to the Canadian Television Industry”. In 2004, he was honoured with the Hot Docs festival award for Outstanding Achievement.
Maclear married his wife, Yoko in 1963. They have one daughter (author Kyo Maclear), and two grandchildren.

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