I Guess You Had to Be There:

The Sixties

When I think of the sixties, I think of two realities, or even more: the one I actually lived in, and the one (or several) I saw on the television screen.

Everybody has an image, or at least an opinion, of events and movements during "The Sixties". If truth be told, of course there were numerous movements flying off in all directions.

In Canada we had at least two nationalist movements: one insisting that there was so too a real country here, there was there was, and trying to force-grow a Canadian identity with any number of Canada Council and Local Initiative grants; and another one, insisting that French Canadians were a separate nation within Canada and ought to be independent and sovereign ... which somehow became equated with independent-Quebec movements.

None of which has much to do with Canadian fandom in the Sixties.

"Duchess of Canadian Fandom" (reprise)

In the early 1960s Georgina "Dutch" Ellis moved to Ontario from Alberta, and married fellow fan Norm Clarke; they moved to Aylmer, Quebec, and later to nearby Ottawa. Norm Clarke published at least four issues of his fanzine Honque by 1965, and als o published the apazine Queebshots from 1963 or '64 until 1967. Michael McKenny notes that Norm Clarke was a founding member on July 1, 1965 of LITTLE APA, which is still going. Gina and Norm Clarke also co-published Descant, originally a FA PAzine, which continued to be mailed to friends as late as 1973.

Somehow, fanzines started referring to Gina "Dutch Ellis" Clarke as the "Duchess of Canadian Fandom", meaning (I believe) the arbiter of fannish taste.

(This became a bit of a conflict during Susan Wood's period of fannish activity.)

One of the Clarkes' children, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, was later president of the Carleton University Strategy Club, and an artist for the Ottawa fanzines Maplecade and Bardic Runes. At last report, she is a current member of AP-Arition.

A comics club operated in Ottawa in the early or mid-1960s, when Marvel Comics brought out a new series of superhero comics. Michael McKenny writes, "This seems to have been a relatively informal group of some half-dozen early teens, all from the same nei ghbourhood. This suggests the possibility a number of such groups existed."
(The Ottawa SF Statement #208, October 1994)

The only other fanac in the early and mid-sixties I know of was Les Nirenberg's Panic Button. Beginning as Que Pasado in 1960, it changed its name to Vahana with its fifth issue, then to Panic Button with the sixth. By the 16th , it had evolved into a semi-pro humour magazine, which was losing the editor so much money he folded in 1964. Nirenberg, like [Don] Hutchison, now has a television career.
(Taral Wayne, "Same As It Ever Was: Toronto Fandom 1940-1980" [unpublished, 19 81])

As elsewhere, fandom in Saskatchewan tended at first to consist of some isolated individuals, few and far apart. As Dave Panchyk writes:

"As far as I know, the first fan in Saskatchewan to put it on the map was Leland Sapiro, who was publishing Riverside Quarterly from 1964 or 1965 to 1974 while teaching at what became the University of Regina. Here he also published the official or gan of The Saskatchewan Sasquatch Seekers Society, The Saskatchewan Sasquatchian, which for its last two issues became The Sasquatch Saskatchewanian."
Dave Panchyk, in Opuntia #13 or so)
Tricon (Worldcon 1966) - Seminal Influence on Canadians?

Peter Gill and Mike Glicksohn met at the 1966 Worldcon, "Tricon" in St. Louis, and realizing they were both from Toronto, founded the Ontario SF Club. Early meetings were held at Memory Lane, "a junky place selling comics, pulps, and movie memorabilia", r un by a local character known as "Capt'n George" Henderson. This group became a centre of fanactivity and fostered the Ad Astra convention, which continues in Toronto to this day, and TAPA, the Toronto apa. (Is it still in publication?)

John Mansfield, another early OSiC member, also discovered Canadian fandom at Tricon:

"Basically thanks to a series of articles on Fandom that Lin Carter was writing in F&SF, I decided to go to TRICON in 1966. I was living in Barrie, ON, but then got posted to Oromocto, NB. While there I meet other SF fans and with them started a club, We drove down for Boskones and then had a single relaxacon in Fredricton, that attracted Charles Brown, Sue & Tony Lewis and had Hal Clement as GoH. ..."
(John Mansfield, Jan. 96, to Dick Lynch in the Timebinders listserv)
Don Hutchison also reappeared about the late 1960s and early 1970s, and contributed some reviews to OSFiC zines. Derek Carter became a well-known fanartist in Toronto at this time.

Capt'n George Henderson

Bookstore owner "Capt'n George" Henderson

is little known in SF fandom, but left his imprint on Toronto fandom by helping to found the Ontario Science Fiction Club, his help on FanFair I, and numerous acts of benevolence. Capt'n George ran a junky place selling comics, pulps, and movie memorabili a, called Memory Lane. It was headquarters of George's Vast Whizzbang Organization, editorial offices of The Penny Dreadful and The Yellow Journal, and site of many OSFiC meetings in early days.
(Taral Wayne, "Same As It Ever Was", N ew Canadian Fandom #5)
[OSFiC] took a year to grow from 4 to 40 members, during which time OSFiC gained a branch in Ottawa. Meetings wandered a great deal, having been held in the back room at Memory Lane, members' homes, the offices of the Canadian Welding Society, the Spaced Out Library, churches, and (by 1981) Hart House. Impermanency seemed to be the hallmark of the club, in fact. Newsletter editors also chased one another in bewildering rapidity, each with a different style and title. In the same way, one generation follow ed on the heels of the last.

The first OSFiC was dominated by the personalities of Peter Gill, Mike Glicksohn, Ken Smookler, John Mansfield and George Henderson. Over the years before Torcon 2 were added artist Derek Carter, from England; Gar Stevens; John Douglas; Gordon van Toen; R osemary Ullyot, and Angus Taylor.
(Taral Wayne, "Same As It Ever Was: Toronto Fandom 1940-1980" [unpublished, 1981])

Taral put it a little differently in an article about OSFiC for Maple Leaf Rag:
Today, of course, you could recruit science fiction club members from any computer sciences program, or any line waiting to get into Star Trek VII. But in 1968 OSFiC had only found 14 members. At the peak of its strength it never had more than 80, but gia nts did walk the Earth in those days. There was George Henderson, who gave space in his store to early club meetings. Capt'n George's Memory Lane was nostalgia capitol of the world, dealing in film posters, old comics, magazines, and curious items in dark corners that, no doubt, had more profound lessons to teach the world than commonplace mogwais have. The actual meetings, though, were held in the Whizzbang Gallery, a basement George rented next door as a showroom for comic art.
(Taral Wayne, "OSFiC 1966-1984: The Success of Failure", Maple Leaf Rag #16)
Other "Fan" Groups in Toronto

Writing in 1981 for New Canadian Fandom, Taral described how, when Capt'n George tried to set up a Count Dracula Society in the 1960s, the kind of people who turned up were leather fetishists. Taral drew a parallel, and maybe a greater connection, with the S&M crowd that Bill Grant knew in the 1950s. Taral's perspective was that the same crowd, or at least the same kind of subculture, turns up repeatedly in Toronto under different guises:

... a number of people who have variously styled themselves comics fandom, an SCA group, gamers, and recently, science fiction fans. ... The gaming and medievalism and SF is a thin tissue overlaying a consistent fascination with role-playing and costuming . During their earliest incarnation as comics fans, the boots and tights seemed only natural to fans dressed up as barbarian swordsmen and harem slaves, the jock straps and knives also seemed normal. But when they eventually became SF fans, these things b egan to seem out of place, especially as their models were Han Solo [Star Wars] and Starbuck [Battlestar Galactica]. Nobody wanted to be Speaker-to-Animals, Master Sean, or even C3PO. Why? Because it isn't the stfnal or fantastic that interests them, prim arily. It is more likely the perversity of boots and leather, and knives and guns, for their own sake, that appeals to most of them. The common element between thsese people is a middle class career or career ambitions from which fandom is a secret escape that isn't allowed to touch their mundane lives. They are inherently conservative and often have military backgrounds. They are usually reserved and suspicious of strangers. One collects guns. Another shoots animals for sport. Others carry knives openly. Prominent belt buckles, ornamental whips on walls, and other signs that are all too familiar add up to complete the picture of fetishism, machismo, and sublimated violence present in the current Toronto fandom.
(Taral, New Canadian Fandom #1: 2-3, 1981).
Rereading this nearly twenty years later, I wondered first whether Taral were speaking merely of a phase or subgroup in Toronto; members of the Draco Film Society, say, or members of TAPA, the Toronto apa. Then, I wondered whether this were merely the 198 0s/90s generation of SF fandom, the same demographic I saw at Pacific Northwest conventions. I ask because, by this time, costumers relying on a rather jackboots-and-daggers look are conventional, even passe.

KingCon (Kingston, 1967)

The first con in Canada since the Torcon in 1948 was a small affair in Kingston, called King Con. Held in 1967 in a motel room, King Con was little more than a party at which the Toronto fans met Kingston fans. One of these was Angus Taylor. Angus had bee n in a small group at Queen's University that had published a couple of issues of a fanzine called Bollix. (Curiously enough, he left, and the QSFS broke up the year before the enrolment of Victoria Vayne at Queen's. A similar coincidence was my no t meeting Bob Wilson when we both attended Silverthorn Collegiate.) The party made such an impression on the Toronto fans that they made plans for a real convention the year after.
(Taral, unpublished, 1981)
FanFair I (Toronto, 1969)

OSFiC's first convention, Fan Fair I, was held in tents on Markham Street in 1969, with GoH Roger Zelazny.

FanFair 1 was held over July 29 to August 1st, and owed much to the organizational skills of George Henderson. It was held in open air, in the street in front of Capt'n George's store. Roger Zelazny was guest. Aside from problems with the tents threatenin g to blow away in the wind, the con was a great success and laid the foundation for FanFair 2, in 1970.
(Taral, unpublished, 1981)
Ottawa Fanzine Fandom

Alicia Austin, originally a lab technician from Texas, met Rosemary Ullyot and Maureen Bournes while working in Ottawa in the late 1960s, and started a Trekzine with them while working in Ottawa. Kevas & Trillium lasted a couple of years. In that t ime Austin became a well-known and widely published fanartist. Austin left Canada in about 1970. Richard Labonté, a student at Carleton University in Ottawa, was publishing Hugin & Munin from some time up until 1969.

Susan Wood appears

It is written that Richard Labonté introduced Susan Wood to fandom while she was studying at Carleton, in the 60s. Wood subsequently met Mike Glicksohn of Toronto at Boskone IV in 1969. Wood and Glicksohn married in 1970, and started publishing Glicksohn' s Energumen together until 1973. Energumen won a fanzine Hugo award in 1973, at Torcon II. Wood and Glicksohn were co-FanGoHs at 1975 at Aussiecon I, and in 1977 Dr. Wood tied Glicksohn for the "Best Fan Writer" Hugo.

Peter McGarvey

I was going to quote Taral Wayne directly on the subject of this active member of OSFiC, but thought better of it. For one thing, Taral wants to publish an independent Toronto fanhistory.

Peter McGarvey was the subject of a policy dispute concerning one of the Fan Faire conventions. Although this took place nearly thirty years ago, it would hardly be unlikely for some fans to maintain strongly-felt, irreconcilable opinions about the polici es and the behaviour at the time.

Lloyd Penney tells me, as of fall 1999, that McGarvey has reappeared and intends to put together a video documentary about fandom.

Meanwhile, Out in the West: BCSFA Appears

In 1968, Claire Toynbee and Maynard Hogg started a club later known as SFFEN at the University of British Columbia. Mike Bailey indicates the club didn't really get going until they obtained an office in the Student Union Building.

In 1969 a number of students at the University of British Columbia formed an SF club, which evolved into the B.C. SF Association. In later years BCSFA members produced BCSFAzine, a monthly clubzine, several personalzines, and the annual May V-Con, beginning in 1971. BCSFA members founded BCAPA (an amateur publishing association), and fanzines by members in the 1970s included Amor de Cosmos (Susan Wood) and Love Makes the World Go Awry (Fran Skene). There were other SF groups at this t ime, in Kingston and Ottawa and Guelph (Ontario) and in Halifax (on the East Coast), but most of those outside of Toronto and Vancouver seem to have been small and transitory.

At the 1969 Clubs Day, SFFEN recruited about 40 to 50 members, largely through the efforts of Daniel Say (he of many polls and questionnaires). Ed Beauregard met his future wife, Norma, for the first time. And the club proposed to produce a fanzine. In or der to gather funds, they put on a film (One Million Years B.C.). It turned out that the club had to use all its money within the year, or the remainder would be absorbed by the Alma Mater Society for general revenue. (It is standard practice, I think, fo r student unions to dole out money to student clubs - grudgingly - then absorb the leftovers at the end of their fiscal year.) After November, according to Ed Beauregard, the office hosted some lively Monday-night discussion groups. The club thought of ge tting Isaac Asimov to come and lecture at U.B.C., but Asimov wrote back that he wouldn't fly.

The Maritime Provinces

Not much information is available, as yet, on Maritime fandom from the 1960s until the 1980s. A little information is available about SF and fantasy writers and publishers in the Maritimes; several SF publications appeared from the area (short-lived small magazines, such as Borealis, and occasional SF or fantasy titles). Some of the regional SF writers include Augustine Funnell, Lesley Choyce (Pottersfield Press), Charles Saunders (formerly of Ottawa), and Spider Robinson (who relocated to Nova Sco tia from New York, and moved after several years to Vancouver).

The Atlantic SF Society

The Atlantic SF Society of the 1960s - perhaps the earliest Maritimes SF group, unless the CSFA had a Maritimes chapter - first appears in the US club newsletter Instant Message, in 1969. The Society proposed that NESFA hold a joint meeting with t hem sometime in Oromocto, New Brunswick. Instant Message noted that Oromocto was 400 miles, about a 7-hour drive, from the Boston area. Instant Message noted that "John Mansfield is the guiding light of this group. He has been down to vari ous Boskones and other regionals and at St. Louiscon."
(Instant Message #42 (October 1, 1969)