BiWay by the highway

Cheap chain promises a different deal

The revival of the BiWay discount store was announced over a year ago. A location was even rented. But it didn’t open as hoped.

Now, the BiWay $10 Store has secured a new 15,000-square-foot retail space in Toronto, with a promise of launching in August 2020.

Back-to-school season was always big at BiWay, at least for 1980s and ’90s parents who figured cheap Velcro shoes made by Sparx or North Star would be just fine for feet that were still growing. Schoolyard shame for wearing them was sure to follow:

BiWay’s revival is the work of nonagenarian Mal Coven, who self-published a book about the chain that he co-founded in 1962:


A decade of slimmer Citytv

January 20, 2010 was when Rogers Media confirmed it had taken an axe to Toronto’s CityNews. Lara Di Battista, Marianne Dimain, Merella Fernandez, Farah Nasser and Michael Serapio were some familiar faces left without a job at the franchise formerly known as CityPulse. (Pam Seatle was also pink-slipped, but soon returned, and remains.)

Citytv had also recently retired stalwarts like JoJo Chintoh and Peter Silverman. The exits were seen as signals that Rogers was looking to slash costs at the channel it acquired.

But the highest-profile layoff in 2010 was Anne Mroczkowski, who’d been with CityPulse since the late 1970s, and was the 6 p.m. co-anchor from 1987, until that week:

A decade later, CityNews is now expanding.


Nice ice-clearing trilogy

Retrontario recently discovered the final round of Toronto’s “Be Nice, Clear Your Ice” PSA campaign, a fitting find for a weekend where the city had its fair share of snow.

The animated 1985 original is the most fondly remembered—if just thanks to the cockney accent of Ben Wicks. Wendel Clark and Lloyd Moseby’s 1987 version is an oft-quoted classic in its own right. But the 1991 spot is a low-key affair, with no celebrities. Just an evergreen message for Toronto:


K-Tel boogie by the pound

January 1977 saw the K-Tel release of Get Down with Boogie, ostensibly inspired by Citytv’s disco dance show, Boogie, even if the inspiration wasn’t widely advertised:

Boogie host Vlad Handera gave the album a hearty plug a few weeks after its release:

But albums more directly tied to Citytv and MuchMusic would become a unique sales phenomenon, including one attached to Boogie’s successor, Electric Circus:


Exhuming the era of EC

The Electric Circus Experience” arrives at a Mississauga nightclub called Her on January 25, hosted by EC O.G. Monika Deol. Dance music revival acts Real McCoy and C+C Music Factory will perform live, and vintage VJs Rick “The Temp” Campanelli and Ed the Sock will be putting in appearances.

The event is a taster of a cross-Canada summer tour, during which the members of 2 Unlimited, Ace of Base, Aqua, Eiffel 65, Haddaway and Vengaboys might feel a lingering need to prove that they weren’t just lip-synched contrivances. (But their aging nostalgic audiences couldn’t possibly care.)


Canada’s best western

The Grey Fox, the 1982 film directed by Philip Borsos, is getting a deluxe 4k restoration, to be sold on Blu-ray and DVD via Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

A late-night TV staple through the 1980s, it chronicles the life of Bill Miner (expertly played by Richard Farnsworth), who committed Canada’s first railway robbery.

After a dispute over rights, it was mostly lost to time. But soon, “The Gentleman Bandit” will finally be released into the 21st century:


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