The mystery of the Sun Editorial door at the Alberni Valley News office on Napier Street has been solved. (SUSIE QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

The mystery of the Sun Editorial door at the Alberni Valley News office on Napier Street has been solved. (SUSIE QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

QUINN’S QUIPS: The mysterious tale of the glass Sun door

Or how a small team from Port Alberni pillaged the old Sun building

The mystery of the glass “Sun Editorial” door has been solved.

When we moved into our new-to-us building on Napier Street in September, there was a tempered glass door with “Sun Editorial 303” on it, connecting the front office to our newsroom and other parts of the building.

Many people will remember the Alberni Valley Times was located here for many years: John Richardson and Shayne Morrow, who both worked here with the Times, solved the mystery of the glass door.

READ: QUINN’S QUIPS: Memories build up on the bulletin board of life

Morrow was a journalist with the AV Times for a few decades. He shared the story with me, both verbally and by sending me his original tale that was written in 1997 but never published. He’s given me permission to share it.

“Why, you may wonder, when you head down the hallway to the editorial department, you pass through a glass door with ‘Sun Editorial’ in brass letters,” Morrow wrote. “Where did all this stuff come from?

“The short answer is, we stole it.”

In the late 1990s the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers were located in an iconic building on Sixth Avenue in Vancouver. Then owners Pacific Press decided in December 1997 to move out of the building. What they didn’t take with them to their new building, they were going to auction off.

“As a gesture to their lower-ranking Hollinger Corporation partner [like the AV Times], they graciously set aside the front-office work station for us to pick up,” Morrow wrote. “they didn’t count on the larcenous tendencies of an AV Times raiding party, armed with a five-ton truck and the intention of filling it, much to the despair of one unfortunate security guard. As we kept reminding him, ‘we’re from Port Alberni.’

“The caper happened like this: I was sitting behind my desk, slaving away in the name of Truth, Justice and Journalistic Integrity, when the Big Boss came in with a proposition.

“‘We’re going to pull a heist on the Vancouver Sun,’ he said. ‘We’re going to empty out their office building—I want you to drive the getaway truck.’ I said sure, I’m always up for a little smash-and-grab. Especially when it’s on our corporate cousins in the Big City.”

Morrow and four co-conspirators rented a five-ton, 32-foot-long moving van, drove it from Port Alberni to the old Sun building, and proceeded to raid the building of whatever they could pack into the truck. “The Port Alberni Wrecking Crew was in business,” said Morrow, who drove the getaway van.

“We moved fast, stacking up the modular office furniture allotted to us, as well as the surplus computers and the 500-pound plate burner for our production area,” he related. “Just on impulse, we grabbed another, even bigger unit, ignoring dangling live wires and persistent cries of ‘hey, we’re still using this thing!’ from a Sun feature staffer.

Meanwhile, two AV Times staffers—who shall remain nameless—had their eyes on what Morrow called a “major” trophy: “a huge, plate-glass door with Vancouver Sun — Editorial Department in heavy brass letters.

One of the Alberni team began attacking the stainless-steel door casement, asking a security guard “hey, you got a pneumatic ratchet-wrench handy?”

In the end, the Island marauders had to leave the door behind—they didn’t have the proper tools and it wasn’t budging.

“Besides, the truck was already full,” Morrow wrote. They had a police escort back to the ferry terminal to make sure they didn’t try and sneak anything else out of the building.

“One postscript: those big plate-burners we grabbed? They wanted one of them back. They’ve offered us the glass door, even up. It’ll look nice in our hallway.”

The door has graced the entrance to the editorial department since 1997.

When I was a kid growing up in Richmond, I used to drive my late father crazy by taking a red pen to the Vancouver Sun before he had a chance to read it. I told him someday I would walk through the door to the Sun’s editorial department.

Now I do, every day.

Susie Quinn is the Alberni Valley News editor.

HeritagejournalismPort Alberni

 

Former AV Times journalist Shayne Morrow pillages a fire extinguisher from the former Vancouver Sun building to bring back to his Port Alberni newsroom in 1997. (PHOTO COURTESY SHAYNE MORROW)

Former AV Times journalist Shayne Morrow pillages a fire extinguisher from the former Vancouver Sun building to bring back to his Port Alberni newsroom in 1997. (PHOTO COURTESY SHAYNE MORROW)

Just Posted

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
B.C. forestry watchdog finds lack of compliance in Nahmint logging

Forest Practices Board says old growth and biodiversity near Port Alberni are at risk

Port Alberni Fire Dept. deputy chief Wes Patterson, right, and another firefighter monitor the front of a garage at Second Avenue and Argyle Street that burned on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Fire starts in empty garage on Argyle Street in Port Alberni

Garage was attached to empty multi-storey commercial building

A painting by Port Alberni artist Robert Hall. Hall uses a technique called Abstract Impressionism. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ARTS AROUND: Port Alberni artist showcases abstract impressionism

Robert Hall’s paintings on display at Rollin Art Centre until May 29

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

RCMP outside the Nanaimo Ice Centre investigating a report of a suspicious person. The incident resulted in hold-and-secures at two nearby schools, but those emergency procedures have now been lifted. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Man walking around Nanaimo marsh with airsoft rifle concerning to police and nearby schools

Two schools went into hold-and-secure procedures Thursday, May 13

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Saanich police and a coroner investigated a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal Greater Victoria crash

Driver who died veered across centre line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read