People seek to confirm memories from a time before the Internet was commonplace by checking online. Did this really happen? Do other people have memories of this weird thing too?
In the case of Officer Dan, fake RCMP policeman and the foe of Leaside High School’s pot smokers, the answer is yes. Yes, you and your friends really were standing in a crescent formation, trying not to notice how many tokes everyone took on their turn, when you were approached by a man who identified himself as “Officer Dan,” an undercover member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Officer Dan at first threatened to arrest you and telephone your parents to let them know exactly what you’d been up to. Then–like the Samaritan ministering to the man travelling from Jericho who had been set upon by thieves–Officer Dan announced that he was going to let you off, but not before he confiscated your weed.
These happenings became a semi-regular occurrence, a bit of a drag. “We got busted again by Officer Dan.” It’s difficult to pinpoint how or when the news spread among the members of Leaside’s unofficial but most enthusiastically attended club that Officer Dan wasn’t really a cop. Maybe someone realized the RCMP doesn’t provide municipal or provincial policing in Ontario, or perhaps it just slowly dawned on even the most addled of minds that it didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
My thoughts have often returned to the case. Was Leaside the only neighbourhood he hit, or was he scamming all of Metro Toronto? Was it his own dreadful secret, or something he laughed about–“You should have seen their faces, it was like taking candy from a baby, I even made them give me the roach!“– with his friends? Was it a spur of the moment decision, a pie left cooling on a windowsill, or an ingenious plan contrived because all of a sudden, he was a middle age man who was finding it increasingly difficult to score?
He was tall and white, with short brown hair. Clean-shaven. “I think he wore a striped shirt once,” offered LHS alumnus “Hazel Bite” (not her real name). Memories of his face have been lost to the mists of time.
He’s a mystery for the ages. Thanks for the memories, Officer Dan. Weed is still only legal in Canada for people over the age of 18. It would be nice to think he’s still plying his (fake) trade to this day, teaching kids they need to be a bit more discreet, and after that, teaching them to be a bit more savvy, his own special Officer Dan way of reminding teenagers that Santa Claus isn’t real.
KING STREET WEST, TORONTO, CANADA
This postcard was published by by S.H. Knox & Co. (1884-1911). The American publisher Seymore Horrace Knox owned a chain of 5-and-10-cent stores that were eventually incorporated into his cousin Frank Woolworth’s chain. S.H. Knox & Co. postcards had a distinctive typeface (seen above in the lower right corner), which was similar to the modernist font the architect Mies van der Rohe later designed for the Toronto-Dominion Center.
THE PRINCE GEORGE HOTEL Corners, King and York Sts., Toronto, Canada Make your visit to Toronto a memorable one by staying at the PRINCE GEORGE HOTEL Luxurious and attractive accommodations at moderate costs . . . Fine food . . . Cocktail Lounge and bar . . . Nightly Cabaret Shows in the Pyramid Room. A few blocks to all points of interest, shopping, business, and main in-and-out highway points. For reservations telephone Empire 3-4351. FREE OVERNIGHT PARKING.
UNIVERSAL MOTOR HOTEL LIMITED, 77 Lakeshore Road, Humber Bay, Toronto, where the Q.E. meets the Lakeshore, 50 beautifully furnished rooms equipped with Ceramic tile baths, wall-to-wall broadloom, TV and Telephone. Conveniently located in the city. Good restaurants–Private swimming close to Sunnyside Beach. P.K. Maxwell, Pres. Rates Reasonable “All the year, you’ll find pleasure here!” Tel. CL 9-5442
THE FORD HOTEL, Toronto, Ontario Canada
Plastichrome by COLOURPICUTRE PUBLISHERS INC.,
Published by Royal Specialty Sales
Inside the flyer:
‘i have the soul of the tree in me/ i have the light of the skies in my eyes/ oceans run in my veins/ i am soaked in nature when it rains/ and the earth’s rich energy sets me free’
San Francisco’s ‘FUNKY TEKNO TRIBE’ is a neo-mythical clan of promoters, D.J’s and partygoears that come together to celebrate life and freedom, uniting all of mother earth’s indigenous tribes. Dance as ritual celebration is the key metaphor here and the ‘FUNKY TEKNO TRIBE’ succeeds in exploring this relationship.
By combining state-of-the-art intelligent lighting, cyberorganic visuals with living tropical foliage, tribal motifs and elemental backdrops, a new world is offered– one which does not lend itself to any other place or time.
The music at this ‘FUNKY TEKNO TRIBE’ event compliments the future/primitive environment and is best characterized as a swirling mixture of progressive house, acid, trance, tribal and funky electro beats. Played by San Francisco’s Barry Weaver, D.J. Dan and special guest from Los Angeles and Bassex Records Eric Davenport. Complementing the ‘FUNKY TEKNO TRIBE’ is the much anticipated return of DOSE PRODUCTIONS resident D.J.’s Hipp-e from Denver and Czech from Vancouver, alongside Toronto’s finest.
On September 30th 1995 DOSE PRODUCTIONS Toronto invites all like minded partygoers to join in our celebration of DANCE, MUSIC, LOVE and LIFE.
Peace! : )
The living tropical foliage mentioned in the flyer didn’t fare very well. Party promoters would occasionally videotape their events, and two decades later the footage has made its way online. What’s striking now is that none of the young adults and teenagers were looking at or taking pictures with phones. It was the last generation to experience youth offline. Dose promised ‘a new world… one which does not lend itself to any other place or time,’ but it was actually the last chapter of the old one.
Jarvis St., Toronto.
‘Have a look at the street your brother lives on. it is sure very pretty. supposed to be Toronto’s prettiest street.’
Yonge Street at Queen, Toronto, Canada.
‘Monday–This will be about as far inland as we will get.–Enjoying ourselves. All send regards. (illegible signature). Mr. H. G. Hartman, State Street, Lancaster, Pa, U.S.A.’
Bridle Path, High Park, Peter Pan Monument, Feeding the Water Fowl, Catfish Pond, High Park Toronto, Canada.
‘Friday, Hi Kid. I told you before I was coming up this week-end. I will be on the bus Sat for sure. maybe the train. I’ll get in there on the 11- bus I hope. I am going out to Aunt Be’s to-day! got your card to-day. See you in town. Love. Flo. Miss Miriam Robinson, Huntsville, Ont. R.R. #1.’
King & Yonge Streets, Toronto, Canada
‘Dear Scout-Master.–We arrived here safe and are getting settled down. It is raining. Yours, (illegible signature). E. H. Mills Thamesville, Ont.‘
E.H. Mills Home, Thamesville, Ontario: http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/histoires_de_chez_nous-community_memories/pm_v2.php?id=search_record_detail&fl=0&lg=English&ex=317&rd=69495&sy=cat&st=&ci=6