BOTH SIDES OF THE STREET: ONE MAN'S LIFE IN BUSINESS AND THE ARTS IN CANADA
Floyd S. Chalmers.
Toronto, Macmillan, c1983.
Toronto, Macmillan, c1983.
Volume 12 Number 2
How do some people achieve success in both their personal and public lives and, with that success, exert influence in community and country? In Floyd S. Chalmers's case, integrity, purpose, hard work, natural aptitudes, and circumstance have brought achievements rivalling those of the heroes in his Aunt Maggie's collection of Horatio Alger books.
Now a vigorous eighty-five, Chalmers narrates briefly his early experiences as a boy door-to-door salesman, an employee in Simpson's mail-order department, a junior bank clerk, a junior reporter for the Toronto News and the Toronto World before enlisting at nineteen in the First Canadian Tank Battalion. He saw no action.
Back home and desperate for work, by lucky chance he obtained a ten-dollar-a-week job as a reporter for The Financial Post, a publication of the Maclean Publishing Company. By 1929 he had become the paper's youngest editor. He rose to the presidency and then the chair of the Maclean-Hunter organization.
Parallelling that career has been his work on the "other side of the street," in the arts. The Royal Conservatory of Music, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Stratford Festival have been among beneficiaries of his work. The Chalmers Foundation has aided aspiring artists; among original Canadian works commissioned is Louis Riel.
Though the naming of notables with whom he met, socialized, differed, and worked can become a bit tiresome, Chalmers's, approach to almost every incident in his very full life is rather matter-of-fact, lightened by touches of dry humour. Twenty-four pages of well-reproduced black-and-white photographs accent the diversity of his personal associations.
But this book is more than autobiography. It is history given some immediacy through the writer's eyes. Of particular interest to this reviewer are insights into the Canadian publishing industry, the controversy over protection of Canadian magazines-and Canadian society—from inroads by American publications, continuing struggles in the arts, and sidelights on Canada's war effort.
This man's life in both business and the arts is interesting and informative. His uncluttered lucid style helps him sublimate self to some degree, leaving the reader free to see situation, issue, or event. The comprehensive index adds reference value for senior high student or adult.
A. Louise Nordin, Edmonton, AB.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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