Ryerson history repeats

Now in its 60th year, the Ryerson School of Journalism has been helping students churn out issues of The Ryersonian for six decades. To celebrate this accomplishment, we take a look at how campus life has progressed – or remained eerily similar – over the years. And although a lot has changed at Ryerson since 1953, the quirky headlines from past issues of The Ryersonian never get old.

1967:  Ryerson takes on radio

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From Nov. 29, 1967

Many may associate Ryerson’s radio heyday with community station CKLN (1981-2011), which transmitted the “voice of the underground” across campus and beyond before infighting and mismanagement led to its licence revocation two years ago. But radio is back at Ryerson – this time hoping to operate on the AM dial as The Scope – once a licence is officially granted, as The Ryersonian’s Anam Latif reported in September.

Revamped with a wide variety of programming that includes punk and metal music, tech and gaming, and live broadcasts of Ryerson Rams athletics, The Scope – which hopes to learn from the mistakes of CKLN – is currently operating online.

CKLN wasn’t Ryerson’s first run at radio, though. This article from 1967 shone a spotlight on the school’s inaugural FM station CJRT. Reporter Val Felix explained the station offered “an appealing blend of music, news, educational talks, public affairs programs, recitals and public service announcements all year round.”

CJRT was established in 1949, the call sign letters representing journalism, radio and technology. Now operating as JAZZ FM, the station originally served as a learning vehicle for students in what would become the radio and television arts program, and gained international attention and two million listeners when it covered a 1965 teach-in on Vietnam at the University of Toronto. On Dec. 1, 1967, the learning “laboratory” moved its offices to 297 Victoria St. (currently occupied by the Chang School), where it remained until 1992.

Forty-six years later, The Scope is settling into new headquarters inside the Student Campus Centre and is looking forward to the future of radio at the school. The Scope’s volunteer co-ordinator Emily Joveski recently told Ryersonian TV she wants the new station to be a way for students to “have fun and get their voice out to the community and on their campus.”

1976: Frosh week pranks still considered fun for all

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From Sept. 22, 1976

Up until about the past decade or so, frosh hazing and initiation was a regular occurrence at every post-secondary institution in Canada. Just take this piece from 1976, which describes the initiation that put 40 first-year Ryerson nursing students through a day-long trial that began with forcing the girls to kiss a tree while in various states of undress before actually tying them to said tree.

The rest of the day was full of coerced baths in a public fountain and public serenades. Just when they thought it was over, they returned to their residence rooms that night to find their light bulbs missing, Vaseline smeared on the toilet seats and a blanket of baby powder covering the furniture.

Perhaps most surprising is the fact that the faculty and first-years had no problems with the hazing ritual – the piece quotes one girl saying, “It’s great stuff to tell your friends… Now we’re part of a sacred sisterhood.”

Could you imagine such a lack of response nowadays?

Look at last March’s uproar over a Ryerson engineering initiation stunt that saw half-naked engineering students willingly crawling through slush. In that debacle, not only did president Sheldon Levy condemn the event, but even Premier Kathleen Wynne chimed in with her two cents. The message was clear: the initiation rituals of three decades ago are no longer welcome. Find another outlet for your school spirit.

1983: The fight to give Rams home ice


From Sept. 21,1983

The resurgence of Ryerson sports in the past two years is a long overdue one. Even in 1983, Ryerson coaches were complaining that sports had been long neglected. The hockey team in particular was practising at Moss Park Arena, which players back then complained was too small, raising the chance of injury because of increased contact.

They wanted a dedicated on-campus skating rink to expand Ryerson’s hockey programs and attract better players. Despite plans for a brand new sports facility to accommodate Ryerson’s rapidly increasing population. Their demands weren’t met.

Two pieces from 1983 argued in favour of an ice rink to bring the Ryerson Rams hockey team back to home ice, making the case that it was “long overdue” and “worth the cost.”

When the eventual Recreation and Athletics Centre (RAC) finished construction in 1987, it opened with new gym equipment, track, two multi-purpose rooms and squash courts, but no rink in sight.

Fast-forward to today and the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC), which opened just last year, leads a new wave of Ryerson sports which hopes to see Ryerson become a university athletics powerhouse. The last four decades for the Ryerson men’s hockey team has been a constant upheaval of moving from rink to rink – but now they’re finally on campus and here to stay.

A big perk is that they’re now skating in the historic Maple Leaf Gardens.

Perhaps proper facilities have more of an impact than we think they have? The Ryerson men’s hockey team posted a winning record last year for the first time in 23 years. Here’s hoping it’s the beginning of a long streak.

1990: Living in your parents’ basement proves timeless

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From Jan. 19, 1990

“All I’m asking for is $1,100. A month. For the next two years.” These are the words of Lena Dunham’s semi-autobiographical character Hannah Horvath from the HBO series Girls – a show that has reignited conversations about the millennial generation.

Whether you think modern-day students and 20-somethings are lazy, entitled mooches, or sympathize with their struggle to establish independence and financial security in an economy that’s doing a pretty good job of screwing them over, it’s definitely not a generation that’s getting ignored.

But crushing financial stress isn’t a new phenomenon to young people. A feature from 1990 by Theresa Boyle (now a reporter at the Toronto Star) profiled the problem using the story of a 19-year-old student who moved back to her parents’ basement after just two months of trying to live independently. Her dreams of living a life of “soap opera glamour, designer dishes and lavish entertaining” were dashed by the reality of paying for rent, utilities and groceries.

Boyle reported in 1990 that the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto was $1,024. By the end of 2012, that price jumped to between $1,194 and $1,602, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. – and that’s before factoring in massive tuition hikes that students now face.

The broke student stereotype may not be going away anytime soon, but in The Ryersonian’s September feature “Budgeting dollars and sense,” we provided advice from students and experts for being smart with your money. Keeping track of everything you spend, taking advantage of deals and finding out what savings options are available to students were just a few of the tips to keep you out of your parents’ basement for good.

For an assortment of strange and silly headlines from the last 60 years of The Ryersonian, browse through the gallery below.


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