Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 13 – Newsy Jack Says

When I am researching one topic I often come across random historical tidbits that I think might be interesting to research one day.  These tidbits sometimes end up as full-fledged stories and sometimes they just stay as random historical tidbits.  I have collected quite a few, so I thought it might be fun to present them in the form of “treats” for a local history advent calendar. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder – 24 facts about Vancouver history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.

Day 13: “Newsy” Jack Kanchikoff once had a column in the Vancouver Sun…

I’ve been a little obsessed with “Newsy” (or “Newsie”) Jack Kanchikoff ever since I first wrote about him on this blog in 2013. I also recently wrote an updated story on Newsie Jack for Scout Magazine. So imagine my excitement when I saw this drawing of him from an old issue of the Vancouver Sun just a few days ago.

It turns out that from 1949 to 1955 Jack Kanichikoff had a regular column in the Vancouver Sun promoting his annual fundraising efforts for the March of Dimes charity.  Since the start of the March of Dimes in 1949, Jack Kanchikoff worked tirelessly, year after year, fundraising for the charity for sick children.

“Newsy” Jack Says columns like these (below) appeared in the Vancouver Sun:

Three of “Newsy” Jack’s columns in the Vancouver Sun – Dec 24, 1949; Dec 27, 1950; and 1953.

It is interesting that the column from 1949 mentions a gift from an ex-news vendor (and Penthouse Nightclub owner) Joe Philliponi. In fact, several of the columns mentioned the generous support of Philliponi over the year’s for Jack’s one-man campaign for the March of Dimes. The columns also reveal that there were many individuals and organizations in the community who also supported Kanchikoff in his efforts. In fact, Jack Kanchikoff was such a feature of Vancouver society at this time that he garners several mentions in Jack Wasserman’s column.

Vancouver Sun, February 12, 1949.

Newsie Jack

Newspaper vendor near the corner of Granville and Robson Street. Photo: James Crookall, City of Vancouver Archives CVA-260-1372
Newspaper vendor near the corner of Granville and Robson Street, May 24, 1940. This photo shows ‘Newsie Jack’ in his early days as a news vendor.  Copy of Photo: James Crookall, City of Vancouver Archives CVA-260-1372

In an era where the daily newspapers would print two editions a day, the street news vendor was a common sight on busy downtown street corners. The vendors would stand all day beside their small display kiosks, hawking the papers and shouting the headlines out loud. Newspaper vendors, like street photographers, were active participants in the daily buzz of the city.

I spent several years working as a media librarian in the CBC Vancouver Media Archives on a film preservation project. During that time, I was introduced to much of Vancouver’s engaging moving image history. Every now and then, a slug, or title would pique my interest and I would be lured to take a closer look. Such was the case when I came across a film item titled “Newsie Jack” in the log book.

Continue reading “Newsie Jack”