Bus Bunnies

On February 3 1969, page 25 of the Toronto Star ran an article entitled “Bus ‘bunny’ made man miss his stop”.

Apparently a suggestion was made at the Canadian Urban Transportation Conference that “bus bunnies” should be used to make transportation “more attractive”. According to the article (see below), the idea was “slightly less popular” with women patrons.

Merry XMas

Ian and Sylvia

Sylvia Fricker married Ian Tyson in June, 1964.
From 1962 to 1967 Ian & Sylvia put out a string of folk albums with hits like Four Strong Winds and Someday Soon.
In 1967 they went country rock, releasing Nashville and Full Circle with session players from Tennesee - a month before they Byrds recorded Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
They formed Great Speckled Bird in 1969 and toured across Canada on the Festival Express. The band put out one album (produced by Todd Rungren) which suffered from poor distribution.
By 1975, Ian & Sylvia had stopped performing and were divorced soon after.
In 1995 they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Here is the track Someday Soon:

Photo courtesy of Toronto Public Library.

The Plaza

Some pictures of suburbia.


Because a bunch of pictures of Alex & Geddy over the years is a good thing.

Images courtesy of Toronto Public Library.


Gordon Lowe and Laurel Ward put out Prisms in 1969 (Yorkville records YVS 33004).

“The way to enjoy ‘Prisms’ is to turn it on, put out the lights, lie down on the couch and allow your mind to become involved with the soulful sounds of Gordon Lowe”.

Laurel Ward went on to sing background vocals for Anne Murray, Bob Seger and Alice Cooper. Below is the cast of Hair from 1970 - that’s Laurel Ward on the left (with Rachel Jacobson, Pam and Dick Stein and Joe Clark).

In 1970 Gordon Lowe put out Follow the Sound (again with Laurel Ward on vocals).

Both albums have become classics in Japan & Korea and have had limited edition CD reissues.

Sam The Record Man

A few photos of the venerable Sam the Record Man.

Picures courtesy of Toronto Public Library,


The Folklords formed in 1968 when the Chimes of Britain changed from a Mod cover band to playing dreamy sunshine psychedelic pop. They were signed to Jack Boswell’s Allied record label (which also carried Reign Ghost and the Plastic Cloud) and they put out one album (Release The Sunshine) which featured a trippy album cover and songs which “dealt with alternative lifestyles and complexities of a changing world”. The track below is the opener on side 2; Parson Me Judas - enjoy.

Tom Waschkowski (guitar)
Paul Seip (bass)
Martha Johnson (auto-harp)

Max Webster

Max Webster was formed in 1972 (Mile Tilka, Kim Mitchell and Phil Trudell) from the ashes of a band called Family At Mac’s who played a tune called Song for Webster (the song, incidentally, was written by Daryl Steurmer who would later tour with Genesis). Max Webster put out a string of great albums from 1976 (Max Webster) to 1981 (Diamonds Diamonds) until Kim MItchell folded the band one night after playing a gig supporting Rush in Memphis Tennessee in April 1981.

From their first album, here is Toronto Tontos:

This is Pye Dubois (lyricist) and Kim Mitchell (guitar/vocals) in 1979:

Mike Tilka (bass):

Kim Mitchell and the Rankin sisters:

Click here for the Max Wesster live archive.

Images courtesy of the Toronto Public Library.

3's A Crowd

3’s A Crowd were spotted by Mama Cass at the Ontario Pavillion for Expo ‘67 and she co-produced their first (and only) album called Christopher’s Movie Matinee in 1968. Originally a threesome from Vancouver, they moved to Toronto, played in clubs around town and released a couple of singles. They were seen performing at the Riverboat Tavern in 1965 which secured them the spot at Expo (here is some footage of them from Expo 67).

Bruce Cockburn wrote 3 songs on the album (he doesn’t play on the LP, but was a member of the band in 1969) and there is a track from Murray McLaughlin as well. From the album, here is Bird Without Wings, written by Bruce Cockburn:

In 1968, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produced a film called Christopher’s Movie Matinee (it is online here) which was a movie shot by kids and was focused on the 60’s counterculture, Vietnam, the Yorkville scene, and growing up in the modern world. Some tracks from the album were used in the film - it’s a very cool view of Toronto from that time.

Here is 3’s A Crowd at the Riverboat in 1965 - the line up was Brent Titcomb, Donna Weaver and Trevor Veitch.

And in 1966, cavorting around Toronto:

In 1967, with the addition of Ken Koblun and a more psychedelic look.

3’s A Crowd toured in 1969 with the line up of Bruce Cockburn, Richard Patterson, David Wiffen, Colleen Peterson, Sandy Crawley and Dennis Pendrith but it was short lived and the band broke up before the year was out.

The Plastic Cloud

The Plastic Cloud was a band from Bay Ridge Ontario who they put out one album in 1968 which consisted of mainly pop/rock tracks on side A and more psychedelic/experimental tracks on side B. The album wasn’t promoted well and ddn’t sell very many copies (original pressings on the Allied label are a rarity and sell for big bucks). The album has since been re-released on LP and CD. Here is Epistle to Paradise which is the opening track on side A:

Brian Madill (bass)
Don Brewer (lead vocals, 12-string guitar)
Mike Cadieux (guitar)
Randy Umphrey (drums)

A Wild Pair

A Wild Pair was a 1968 promotional LP with songs by The Staccatos on one side and The Guess Who on the flip. The album was comissioned by Coca Cola, and instead of compiling up a bunch of inexpensive singles, they commissioned new songs from the bands, paid for studio time and session musicians, and brought in Phil Ramone (the R in A&R records) as producer.

The album cost $1.00 + 10 coke bottle caps by mailorder and they sold 85,000 copies at a time a gold record was 50,000. It is the first release on Nimbus 9 records (NNE-100) and it is superb - somebody should re-issue this thing.

Side 1 is by The Staccatos who were out of Ottawa - they became the Five Man Electrical Band in 1969 - here’s Running Back To You Everytime:

Side 2 is by The Guess Who - below is the track Heygoode Hardy:

And here is Heygoode Hardy from Show Of The Week in 1968.

Freakout at the Pop Festival

In 1969, the Freak Out pop festival was held at Rock Hill park (just east of Shelburne near highways 89 and 10) with a line up including The Guess Who, Lighthouse, Five Man Electrical Band, Major Hoople’s Boarding House, Buckstone Hardware, Motherlode and others.

The 3 day camping festival was held from Friday August 28 to Monday September 1 and was attended by about 6000 people, 1/2 of which were camping on Elwood Hill’s 300 acre campground. He had invested $50,000 to put in stage facilities, sound equipment, and promotion.

The September 1 issue of the Globe and Mail contained an article by Melinda McCracken (“The fan's’ watery applause soaks pop musicians“) which described a laid back scene at the festival with people “happy to be out in the country and away from the strictures of city life and home“. As for the police: “… the 65 police on duty, recruited from nearby small torns, seemed to overlook practically everything and reported no problems“.

In the same issue, Michael Valpy’s article “Freakout at the pop festival: LSD with speed, LSD with strychnine, LSD with Everything“ starts out ominously: “Through the sound and the darkness, the drug casualties came up the dirt road Saturday night..”. The article describes the work done by the volunteer psychologists and doctors at the Yorkville Trailer which helped the 30 or so kids that were “the victims of LSD, speed, opium, heroin, hashish, LSD mixed with strychnine, LSD mixed with speed and beer, LSD mixed with God-knows-what.“ After tales of “weeping, terrified girls, boys who were dazed and mumbling“, there is a positive note - one girl coming out of a bad trip was quoted saying “I’m going straight. I’m going to take that church job.”

A September 4 letter to the editor calls out Valpy’s article for embellishing and exaggerating: “Facts alone make for boring reading. Subjective impressions stemming from stream of consciousness are just as meaningless and, therefore, just as boring”.

In 1970, the festival was planned for the weekend of September 5/6. On August 27th, a seldom used section of the Police Act was invoked to attempt to force Mr. Hill to pay for policing the concert (a total of $109,865.70). On September 2nd, the Globe and Mail reported that a Dufferin country judge issued an ex-parte injunction against the festival, and the case went to the Supreme Court - the end result was that the Ontario Government allowed the festival to go ahead, as Mr. Justice Stewart said “I’m being asked to restrain something and I don’t know what it is.” Mr. Hill refused to pay the policing costs and the concert went ahead.

As a result of all this, the Ontario Provincial Police (assisted by RCMP narcotics offiers) set up roadblocks at the entrances to Rock Hill and stopped all vehicles going to the concert to search for drugs:

According to Mr. Hill, “uniformed OPP … stirred up the anger of festival-goers by conducting a pre-dawn tent search for drugs, dumping food and personal belongings on the ground.“ After commenting that the previous year’s festival had been without incident, OPP Inspector Fred Blucher said “The only trouble here is that the kids don’t want to be policed, and we have to enforce the law“. In a letter to the editor (Globe and Mail, September 14th), Neil S. Paddle writes: “Searches were made of cars, luggage, purses and pockets. This is to say the least an unpleasant way to start the weekend“.

In 1971, the Rock Hill festival was held on July 2, 3, 4 - the line up included Edward Bear, Chilliwack, Syrinx, Crowbar, Mainline, Keth McKie, Cloud (soon to be Heat Exchange), and others.

In the August 20 Globe and Mail article “Immorality at Festival is Stressed”, J. P. Hilton from the Ontario Attorney-General’s Department said the festival was “so disturbing and destructive to the residents of Mulmur township that the Supreme Court of Ontario should prevent it happening again“. There were “nudes in an oatfield, motorcycles in grainfields, and a cloud of dust so bad that cows refused to eat the grass until it had been washed by rain“.

The Freak Out Festival at Rock Hill was not held in 1972.

Tom Northcott

Tom Northcott was a regular on the CBC Vancouver TV program Let’s Go from 1964 to 66, and was nominated for a Juno in 1971 for best male vocalist (losing to Gordon Lightfoot). He was vocalist for The Playboys in 1965, and then formed the Tom Northcott Trio in 1966 (with Rick Enns on bass who would go on to join the United Empire Loyalists). Northcott then formed a band with Howie Vickers and Susan Pesklevits which lasted briefly - Susan then formed the Poppy Family with Terry Jacks (they married in 1967) and Vickers formed the Collectors which later became Chilliwack. Northcott recorded a number of solo singles for Warner records with top session players (Leon Russell, Glen Campbell, Jim Gordon, Larry Knechtel). In the early 1970s he gave up his recording career to become a commercial fisherman, went to law school and is now a maritime lawyer.

The track below is Girl of the North Country from 1968 - from the Warner compilation Sunny Goodge Street:

Here’s Lulu introducing Tom Northcott on the tv show Where It’s At playing both Sunny Goodge Street and Girl From The North Country.

Heat Exchange

Heat Exchange started out as a high school blues band called Cloud - originally four members which expanded to a six piece band influenced by British progressive bands such as Jethro Tull and ELP. Their big break came after being booked at the 3-day Rock Hill festival (held near Shelburne ON) - they picked up a manager and recording contract with local ARC/Yorkville records, turning down a potential offer from RCA. They immediately stopped touring to go into the studio where they were given free reign to compose and record their first album. They also changed their name to Heat Exchange due to an existing band named Clouds.

At the time the CRTC was promoting Canadian content by picking a single each week to be played across the country and one week Heat Exchange’s first single (Can You Tell Me / Inferno) was selected for guaranteed airplay. According to flute/sax player Craig Carmody, “…programmers resented being told they had to play this (or any other) song and so deliberately buried it in the dark of night“.

A decidedly FM band was now being asked to create AM pop singles (their contract was revised at the time to focus on hit singles as opposed to an album) - they put 2 more singles (Scorpio Lady / Reminiscence and She Made Me All Alone / Philosophy) neither of which received any attention - the record company lost interest and the band faded away into obscurity. Neil Chapman later turned up as the guitarist for Pukka Orchestra in the 80s.

Recently, the singles and remaining tracks from what would have been their first album were compiled into an excellent set called Reminiscence - it’s a shame the LP wasn’t released at the time, as it’s really something. Below is the track ‘Scat’ which is a superb slab of psychedelic jazz.

Mike Langford: vocals
Neil Chapman: guitars
Marty Morin: drums, vocals
Gord McKinnon: keyboards, harmonica
Ralph Smith: bass
Craig Carmody: saxaphones, flute


Here are my class photos from Blythwood School for the years 1969 through 1974.

Souls of Inspyration

The Souls of Inspyration were formed in Red Lake Ontario (near the Manitoba border) - on a tour east in 1968 they came to roost in Sherbrooke Quebec and from there attracted a following throughout the province. They won a cross-Canada band competition (“Man and his World”) to earn a week engagement playing the Canada pavillion at Expo 1970 in Osaka, Japan. On their return they recorded their first and only LP for Columbia records - it’s a solid and obscure chunk of Canadian psychedelia. The track is Eyes of Nature:

The band members: Mark Paradis (drums), John Maciejewski (guitar), Don Wilson (bass), Raymond Cloutier (keyboards).

The Churls

The Churls were formed in Toronto 1967 and by that summer they were playing gigs at venues such as the Penny Farthing, Rock Pile and Charlie Browns - they gained a reputation as one of the loudest bands around. The band was spotted by the Everly Brothers (in town playing at the King Edward hotel) who made some connections happen and the The Churls were signed to Glotzer and Katz Management (who also managed Blood, Sweat & Tears) by the winter of 1967.

They headed to New York in early 1968 and became houseband at both Cafe a Go-Go and The Scene. From there they moved to Hollywood where they played at The Whiskey a Go-Go, the Experience, and the Electric Circus - they were picked up by Herb Alpert’s A&M records and put out their first (self-titled) album with the band dressed in medieval garb on the cover. From that album is Crystal Palace:

The band consisted of Bob O' Neill on vocals, guitarists Sam Hurrie and Harry Southworth Ames, bassist John Barr and drummer Brad Fowles. In 1969 they put out their second album (Send Me No Flowers), but by this point A&M had lost interest and didn’t release any singles and so the band soon returned to Toronto and disbanded.

Mr. Submarine

Mr. Sub was founded in Toronto, Canada, in 1968 by two friends, Jack Levinson (a gym teacher), and Earl Linzon (an accounting clerk) with $1500 start-up capital. The first Mr. Sub restaurant (then called Mr. Submarine) opened at 130 Yorkville Avenue on the ground floor of a converted Victorian row house.

Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis was born in Macedonia in 1949 - he joined the merchant marine but in 1968 jumped ship in Halifax to avoid the draft back home. He eventually ended up in Toronto where he became a dishwasher at the Mr. Sub in Yorkville.

He married Efrosini "Frances" Boulis in 1971 and in 1972 he was still filing appeals deferring deportation back to Greece where he faced likely imprisonment. He's pictured with wife and son Christro.

By 1972 he was part owner of Mr. Sub and responsible for franchising - the chain had expanded to 12 shops in Toronto and Mr. Boulis was making $500.00 a week. The Dining Out column from the Toronto Star Jan 15 1972 compared Toronto submarine shops (as they were new at the time) and Mr. Submarine was "senior sub spot in town".

Gus and family were able to stay in Canada although in 1976 after their second son was born Frances returned to Greece with the boys and filed for divorce. In 1977 Boulis sold his interest in Mr. Sub (after growing it to 200 stores) and moved to the States where he started a number of companies including the Miami Subs franchise. In 1994 he started the company SunCruz which ran "cruises to nowhere" - the boats were floating casinos outside the reach of Florida law.

As a Greek national, Boulis ran into a law barring foreigners from owning American commercial vessels. Although he had become a US citizen in 1997, the US government argued he had purchased most of his fleet of 11 gambling vessels before becoming a citizen. In 2000 the case was settled and Boulis agreed to sell the fleet and stay out of the floating casino business.

The buyers were Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and New York businessman Adam Kidan - they made false representations to banks, investors and the government in order to raise $147.5 million to buy SunCruz. The relationship quickly soured between Boulis and the buyers - Kidan and Boulis accused each other of lying, Kidan alleged that Boulis stabbed him with a pen in a meeting and told reporters Boulis was trying to kill him. Boulis went to court to attempt to regain control of the company.

On Feb 6, 2001, Boulis was ambushed and murdered in a mob-style hit - he was leaving his Ft. Lauderdale office when his car was boxed in by three other cars and he was shot 4 times by a semi-automatic pistol. After the assailants drove off, he managed to drive some distance before he crashed into a tree across the road from a Miami Subs outlet, dying later in hospital.

It wasn't until 2005 that Anthony Ferrari, Anthony Moscatiello and James "Pudgy" Fiorillo were charged with first degree murder (and conspiracy to commit murder). Kidan would tell investigators that he had feared Boulis would try to hire the mob to have him killed so he reached out to the mob to protect him first - he paid protection money in part by buying wine from Moscatiello which was served on the SunCruz boats. According to prosecutors, if Boulis regained control of SunCruz that revenue stream would dry up.

In 2012 James Fiorillo flipped and pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to testify in return for time served.

In 2013 Anthony Ferrari was convicted

In 2015 the case was wrapped up with a guilty conviction for Anthony Moscietello.

Gary and Dave

Gary Weeks and Dave Beckett were a recording duo with a string of singles in the early 70's - they were produced by Greg Hambleton (who was the recording engineer on Stompin' Tom Connor's first album - he gave Tom a piece of plywood to stomp on which became his trademark). Gary and Dave co-wrote "Could You Ever Love Me Again" in 1973 which went to #1 in Canada - they toured with the Stampeders, were nominated for 5 Junos in 1974, and had their own TV show on CBC. They continued to release singles on Hambleton's Axe Records until 1975 when they disbanded; both Gary and Dave became airline pilots for Air Canada.