‘BEST JOB I’VE EVER HAD’: Paul Godfrey says Sun is truly one-of-a-kind

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Paul Godfrey was one of the most powerful politicians in town before he came on board the Toronto Sun in 1984.


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As Metro Chairman, he was a high-profile man-about-town when Doug Creighton invited him to lunch at the plush Winston’s restaurant and offered him the job as publisher of the Toronto Sun .

He remembers the only people more shocked than he was when he became publisher was the editorial department.

“They were very suspicious that a guy from city hall would interfere with the news coverage,” he recalled in a recent interview.

“I was very grateful when they accepted me.”

He remembers his years at the helm with fondness.

“It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” he said.

Better than running the city. Better even than running the Toronto Blue Jays.

“Everyone liked everyone. Everyone worked together. When someone wasn’t well, everyone pitched it. When someone had a new baby, we celebrated that.”


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It’s an ethos he says is missing in Canada today.

Paul Godfrey introduces politician Joe Oliver to Blue Jays manager John Gibbons in 2015. STAN BEHAL/TORONTO SUN FILES
Paul Godfrey introduces politician Joe Oliver to Blue Jays manager John Gibbons in 2015. STAN BEHAL/TORONTO SUN FILES

“It paved a path for me in the business world. Doug rolled the dice with me. I knew nothing about the newspaper world, and Doug let me run with it.”

There were some in the city’s establishment who frowned on him for taking a job at a newspaper that had a Sunshine Girl on Page 3.

“The Sun was successful because it was unique,” he recalled. “Others copied it, but we had then best sports coverage and the best coverage of crime in the city.”

What he became most proud of was the way the Sun stood up for people in the city in need and those who had no voice.

He paid tribute to cartoonist Andy Donato, who he believes is the best cartoonist in the country — and who’s been with the paper for all of its 50 years.


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Andy Donato and Paul Godfrey share a laugh. TORONTO SUN FILES
Andy Donato and Paul Godfrey share a laugh. TORONTO SUN FILES

Occasionally outrageous, Donato designed the original front page — and gave it its name. Creighton intended on calling it the Toronto News. He asked Donato to design a front page. When he came back with a front page that called it the Sun , Creighton laughed, told him it was too late to change — and the rest is history.

One of Donato’s most outrageous cartoons was one that portrayed the people of Hamilton as butts — after they re-elected MP Sheila Copps after a furor over the cancellation of the GST.

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An outraged Hamilton mayor called Godfrey, demanding Donato be fired. Godfrey told him that as a politician, he surely understood that cartoons were meant to be offensive.

“I told him to go back and tell his people that he’d demanded Donato’s resignation, which he did,” he recalled.

“Two weeks later, the mayor called back, asking for the original. He thought it was hilarious.”


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