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22 Coast memories from Coast staff

Celebrating 22 years at the word factory. Please indulge us.


The Crying Sack
  • The Crying Sack

An informal pile of scattered memories from Coast staff—best office treats, best parties, most embarrassing moments, triumphs, failures, tear-jerkers—all in one post. This week marks 22 years of the paper, and while we may not be doing any keg stands (or will we?) let's all do a keg stroll down memory lane, shall we?

1. "A woman picks up The Coast in front of me at the Farmers' Market. She rips out Dan Savage's column, balls it up and takes the rest of the issue home with her #selfcensoring" —Christine Oreskovich (AKA Ori), publisher

2. "My vote for best office treat is Jacob [Boon, city editor]'s mom's carrot cake. Also, I love when Ryan [Chisholm, production designer]'s dog Bigby visits." —Sarah Densmore, account executive

3. "That staff Christmas party, when a new employee did a keg stand." —Christine Oreskovich, publisher

4. "Maybe when I meant to forward a job posting to my mom and replied to a Stephen Kimber [senior features writer and University of King's College prof] email about the Listings Editor position instead. 'OMG Mom, this is my fucking dream job. Please help me fix my resume so I can get it. Wah wah wah, I’m a sooky, unemployed baby looking for an ego stroking' and so on. He politely responded 'Good luck with the dream job', which I got." —Allison Saunders, food and life editor

5. "I started at the Coast during Snowmaggedon 2015 and waded through waist deep sidewalks to get to work for an entire week because I was eager not to miss work or screw up. One evening while I was leaving the office (that only had two other people in it) in a blizzard Tara Thorne [copy chief] yelled 'DON'T BE A HERO!' after me as I left. I came in the next day anyway and was the only person at the office for most of the day." —Lewis Rendell, listings editor

6. "The open house last summer, hugging puppies and drinking beer." —Paige Sawler, production assistant

7. "Grant [Faulkner, account executive]'s famous chip dip." —Paige Sawler

8. "Hearing Allison's very loud gasp as she realized we had printed TKTKTK in large type in the wedding guide." —Paige Sawler [fun fact: TK is common newspaper placeholder, meaning "to come". Lord knows where the quote was.]

9. "The best Christmas party I've ever been to (and also the most drunk I've ever been, WHOOPS)." —Paige Sawler

10. "My VERY first day as an intern when I went for a walk with Kyle (I had no idea who he was and asked so many stupid questions) and ended up with a bunch of free desserts." —Paige Sawler

11. "Every single time I pet Beans [Coast office dog] is the best, obviously." —Paige Sawler

12. "Attending The Coast's 20th anniversary party a couple years back along with the rest of the city and two decades of past writers. It's still humbling to know my byline is printed in the same paper as so many amazing journalists who came before me." —Jacob Boon

13. "Getting the job offer as city editor. Living in Toronto at the time, it was one of those imaginary moments that someone will call you up and offer you a great job doing what you love in the hometown you didn't want to leave." —Jacob Boon

14. "Any handwritten news tip that arrives without a return address." —Jacob Boon

15. "When I started working here I was 20 and didn't drink at all. That changed with the birthday parties. By year three I was getting so drunk at various Coast events—birthday, Christmas party, Best of Halifax—I had a 10pm curfew before I was allowed to start drinking (they hoped the freebies would be all gone by then). One XMas party I passed out on Victor Syperek's front steps and Christa [Harrie, director of sales and marketing] took a picture. Another time I took all the swag bag stickers out and put them all over my legs (one summer I was into skirts, that was weird). Another time I tried to punch Eric Duncan [former account executive] in the face—he was in sales, and my roommate, and I wasn't mad at him—but I was on a ramp so I just fell straight onto the ground and crushed my sister's cell phone which was in my pocket because she was wearing a dress." —Tara Thorne

16. "The first time I went to the Sundance Film Festival in 2003 I was really sad and lonely all the way in Utah, I had altitude sickness and couldn't talk, I didn't know anyone and was very overwhelmed. Halfway through the fest, a FedEx package appeared and it was a card with my head grafted onto various celebrities and everyone in the office had signed it." —Tara Thorne

17. "We used to joke about how if you needed to cry you couldn't do it at your desk, you had to go to the bathroom or whatever and it was so inefficient, and Kate O'Connor [former Coast art director] came up with The Crying Sack, a paper bag you put on your head so everyone knew you were crying and not to bug you." —Tara Thorne

18. "One Christmas I had a tax delinquency problem and had to spend $600 at H&R Block and at the office party Melanie [Chapman, senior account executive] pulled me aside and gave me her bonus, because she said I needed it more than she did. I went to the bathroom at the Carleton and wept. Earlier in my Coast life Jane Kansas mobilized all my freelancers to buy me an ipod, just because, and the staff to buy me Doc Martens for my birthday. (I used to have a lot of money issues.)" —Tara Thorne

19. "Fifteen years ago, Christa Harrie was my roommate and now she's my landlord! She has been a great friend through all this time and I am so glad she came back to us." —Tara Thorne

20. "Kyle [Shaw, editor] and Christine take you out for lunch every year for your Coastiversary and once instead of lunch we got New York Fries and went to see Dark Water with Jennifer Connelly. Last year instead of lunch Ori gave me a pillow with Steve Murphy, my favourite local journalist, painted on it." —Tara Thorne

21. "My favorite Coast memory was the time that I beat the Halifax Examiner himself, Tim Bousquet [former Coast city editor] at pinball. We were having a goodbye party for our old comrade Loukas [Crowther, former production manager] at the pinball place on Quinpool. I arrived fashionably late as one does, and saw that there was a contest to see who could set the highest score in Avatar, with Tim at the top. I was the last person to go and was off to a terrible start, losing two balls immediately. Things were looking dire, but then I got in the zone and started making it rain multi-balls. I managed wizard my way to victory and when I turned around I saw most of The Coast staff were behind me watching, cheering my victory. As I panned the faces in the crowd I noticed Tim, he didn’t look that impressed that I had stolen his thunder. Sorry Tim, but you got owned. —Ryan Chisholm, production designer

22. "We used to have parties for the Best of Music issue survey results every year, complete with gold spraypainted record plaques for the winners (let's have a moment for the poor saps who huffed all that paint while painting them on the sidewalk outside the office every year). One year I co-hosted with then arts editor Sue Carter and we spent a day compiling the best Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers one liners to read off cue cards and fling into the crowd—“On my honeymoon I put on a peekaboo blouse. My husband peeked and booed," for example. I think it went over like a lead balloon but we cried laughing and that's all that matters." —Stephanie Johns, arts editor

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