Michael Ironside

Mike and my Mother
 MICHAEL IRONSIDE(my crazy friendship with him.)
I used to be in the movie business but when I met Michael I was
Toronto's leading 'bootlegger' I owned an after-hours club that was basically for musicians but I expanded it to the famous. And I had been notorious in the 60s for my lavish parties and I slowly built up an illegal business it was a lot of fun and very profitable and I met everybody and their dog. Mike was at the Art College of Ontario and had made this acclaimed 8mm film that won an award and thought he was somebody.

Meanwhile, I was the King of Toronto in those days (lol) and we clashed often, it took a couple of years for us to become friends he kept after me. Finally, when we did become friends, we were good friends.
People have often asked me how mike got his scar.
Mike got his scar before I met him.
He told me he was sitting in his girlfriend's house having a beer and waiting while she changed as they were going out, suddenly there was a hammering at the door and when he opened it up this drunk guy attacked him screaming that he was stealing his girlfriend. in the course of the brawl the guy broke the bottle and gashed Mike's face Mike thought he had lost his eye and he freaked out he actually tore one of the guy's eye
out. After the police and the ambulance and everything was sorted out it seems the guy had the wrong house his girlfriend lived next door and Mike didn't even know her..

I got in the movie business after the after-hours business. I got into
the movie business by phoning a producer twice a week for 2 years.
I was an assistant producer on 'Double Negative. I got Mike a small role in it.
These stories about Michael seem rather wild and there is
lots to tell but there are even some I can't tell. Mike's ex-wife is a
policewoman named 'Ironside' 20

I went to Peterborough with Mike just after the release of 'Visiting
Hours". His father had a heart attack and I went with Mike to visit
him. It was quite an experience a lot of people in that hospital had
seen visiting hours and you should have seen the looks on their faces
when Mike walked by. In the movie, Mike had a Canon Sureshot 35 mill camera prototype.
He stole it from the movie and gave it to me for my birthday. it was a great camera.
One afternoon Mike and I tried to seduce two young ladies by smoking a lot of dope and building a huge bowl of sangria. It backfired Mike and I both passed out and some weeks later when I developed the film I discovered the girls had stripped us and taken photos. of us naked. I thought that was hilarious. I shoved the photo of mike into a book and forgot which book. I expect somebody got a surprise one day.
I was approached by a fan and I wrote some stories for them.
I really don't think about 'spilling the beans' I find it amusing that
Mike has such a big fan club. For me, it was just fun to remember what a wildman he used to be and write some of these things down. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these tales they are written just as I remember them.I had a stalker fan of his pump me for the information she had a good story and I passed it on to mike.
Then I get a phone call from Mike, his lawyer, and his agent accusing me of giving her information about mike. like phone number and address. Not only did I not give her any information I did not have his latest info.
Mike sort of brushed me off and wouldn't believe me.
Which was a little disappointing as we were such close friends and our list of adventures together read some like sort of weird underground action-adventure. I understand why. I was a part of his past that he doesn't particularly remember. He is and has been clean and sober for about 12 years and this is probably good as he would most likely be dead or in jail if he had kept on. I wouldn't say that I liked him better as a drunk but he certainly was interesting and we had a lot more in common than we do now.
By the way, it was Mike's sister who gave her the information.
A mike story: We used to drink at the Club 22 at the
Windsor Arms in Toronto. One night my friends Johnny Hart and Jack Caprio who draw the cartoon BC were in town and I joined them for a few drinks with Mike in tow. Michael got fairly hammered. I got up to meet another old friend Catherine O'Hara from SCTV she had her parents with me and introduced them to me as I shook hands with her mother, I gave a bit of a bow, and as I did Michael came up behind me and bit me on the ass and wouldn't let go. It was unbelievable I jumped and hollered and leaped around the room but he wouldn't let go. It took Jack and Johnny and a couple of waiters to get him off of me and I don't know why, he just thought it was funny, and when it stopped hurting I laughed too. Mike was barred for that but I managed to get him reinstated and the next afternoon we drank $400 of margaritas between us.
I remember the next morning after that we went for brunch at Joe Allens with lady friends Mike ordered a triple Bloody Caesar with a shot of Vodka on the side. This is Mike's favorite story at AA
Back in the mid-seventies, I used to own an after-hours club and Mike spent a couple of bad years drinking himself into the ground. As often as not he would pass out in the club and I would just put a blanket over him and leave him there. I lived over the bar and one night I woke up with this horrible thumping through the floor. I go downstairs to find Mike with his face stuck to the bar. He had managed to get a hold of a pool cue and thumped it on the ceiling. I had just put in a new bar and got this guy to put a plastic top on it. He made a mistake and the bar top didn't set properly. Michael in his stupor crawled up on the bar and fell asleep on it. His face was firmly stuck to the bar It was quite a job to pry him loose without any more damage to his face.
I had somehow become a movie producer and Michael and Winston Reckert were going to be in it.
We hung around together and Mike and Winston got really crazy sometimes they got banned from several restaurants and bars and I saved them from arrest a couple of times.
One day Winston had just finished a movie and was flush. So Winston and Michel Ironside and Alberta Watson and Winston's accountant Jerry and I are sitting around at Jerry's drinking beer smoking dope and snorting coke. We were getting pretty crazy and we thought we should order some food. the subject of ribs came up and Jerry said the best ribs in the world were from Fat Willy’s Rib Shack in Chicago. So Winston says can we get some?. Jerry got on the phone with plane tickets and taxis etc we had ribs from Fat willy's in 4 hours for about a thousand dollars or so.
Mike and I had several pretty good fights. One night Michael and Winston Rekert (Neon rider) went to see Willie Dixon at the El Mocambo. This is after both of them had made a couple of good movies and things were beginning to happen for them. We had met some interesting young ladies and wanted to party later. Well, I have this very fussy friend who had gone to Poland for a month or two and had left me the key to his apartment. So I invited everyone back to his place which was just down the street and Mike used the phone to phone his girlfriend. when he couldn't get her he threw
the phone out the window right through the screen I bopped for that one. it was a real hassle to get it all repa

Rolling Stones

I get a phone call one night. It's Tom Hedley "Hey Mick Jagger wants to talk to you. "Allo Gary Mick Jagger here. "Tony Silverthorn says "we might get a drink at your club?' A little stunned I said 'sure.' "Can you guarantee my safety?' "No Problem!' I assure him. "We are in a limo outside your door Will you let us in." I went down and escorted them in. they stood at the end bar, not obvious but in plain site and a few whispers went through the bar but basically my very hip clientele ignored them.

Me and the Police

After Hours Bar Questions.
You must of went to a lot of different Liquor Stores?
No, I went pretty much to the same store all the time, I was treated as a
valued customer and at Xmas, I was usually given a few bottles of wine as
a present. I remember picking up an order near Xmas one year. A wino watched
in amazement as they filled case after case of liquor. After a couple of
minutes, he gasped. Well if you got the money I got the time.
It should be noted that I was often offered stolen booze and I never ever
bought any. I was a bootlegger, not a fence. I also only bought premium
booze and charged premium prices.

The only exception was with beer. Again I used the same beer store all
the time. I was often offered cases of overage beer at slashed prices.
of course, there was nothing wrong with it it just reached 3 months old
and I went through it very quickly.

The police.
I had a funny relationship here because The Horseshoe was my local bar
and it was a police hangout. Half of them liked me and half of them hated
me. but I did get a speeding ticket fixed anonymously. There was even a
handful of police that drank at my bar and none of them ever grassed me.
But there were others.
My first bust was by a rookie cop in plain clothes who snuck in with the cast
of Second City. he just tagged on to the group and came in.
the next night he came back and I let him in He bought a drink with
marked money and went out and came back with the squad.
Later another cop told me he almost blew it. The night before he was so
happy to get in unnoticed that when he came out he leaped into the air
and clicked his heels and drove his head into the low hanging branch of a
a tree outside and knocked himself unconscious and spent the rest of the
night in Hospital,

More of Georgie.
One of the things about running an illegal bar was security. All the doors were double latched. but fear of fire was a concern so I had my backdoor rigged in such a way that a good push would open it just in case. So of course it was easy to pick. I came out on the roof one weekday night and there is Georgie and his partner.
Georgie, I say you are breaking and entering. "No, he says it was open.' No way I am talking his partner runs for the bar I stop him and push him back to the door. Georgie runs for the bar I stop him his partner runs etc. Finally, his partner says I see them selling drinks. Georgie says" We're busting you, Gary." Ok" say I
In we go I had about 20 customers. Frankie is working the other end of the bar. He comes down to throw the money in a box we had under the bar. Georgie says "Stop the bar is close.' "With you in a minute," says Frankie
"You are busted." says Georgie " "I said wait a minute," says Frankie picking up the money box for some change.
Then Frankie sees me and realizes what is happening. He panics and throws the box under the bar which knocks off a loose panel and it comes off and the money scatters all over the floor. Georgie and his partner start picking it up. I give Frankie the hi sign and he runs out the back door and in the general direction of 'away'.
Georgie and his partner ask "Where is the bartender?"  They ask everybody. Nobody knows. I am laughing. "Well you fucked this up Georgie, "I say. Give me back my money. He knows he is finished. He gives me back my money. "I am officially warning you . ." says Georgie. Ya ya say I get out!

Murray McLauchlan Lady Luck

Lady Luck is a song by Murray McLauclan it begins. I remember shooting craps at Gary's Bar where the money disappeared on every roll. So I had a drink on someone else's paycheck and Lady Luck stayed with me no more. Murray showed up on Friday night with Jim McCarthy. Jim was an old friend and married then to Elizabeth Ashely.

Gary Kendall Writes

 I`m a little foggy on the the time frame but I think your bar`s era was around 76/77.  Not the best time for my career as a blues musician.  Disco had taken out a number of live music clubs, punk and new wave were gaining a foot hold. Looking back, I think I was floundering with not much direction or creativity.  My music of choice was blues but I couldn`t get a good gig to save my life and I was burned out from being the band leader of Dollars through 74/75.  Making money was a challenge and hanging out in an after hours bar wasn`t a wise choice for a guy with a family.  When I did get a gig, I`d spend a good chunk of my pay drinking at your place.

Joni Mitchell

Bernie Fieldler brought her to the club one night and she couldn't have been nicer.We sat and talked for awhile and then  she asked if I would like to hear her new record and She borrowed Roy's guitar and got up and sang a whole set to my patrons. what a treat. She broke 2 strings on Roy's guitar and I bet he is still complaining about it.

Cathy Smith

Cathy Smith

I liked Cathy from the first time I met her in 1965 she was Paul 
Donnelly's girlfriend. We were social friends always glad to see each other.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cathy Evelyn Smith (born 1948 in HamiltonOntario[1]) is a former backup singer and rock star girlfriendgroupie and drug dealer, who served time in the California state prison system for the manslaughter of John Belushi in 1982.
Smith had been paid for a front page headline story in the Hollywood tabloid the National Enquirer,[2] where she stated she was the person who injected the actor with a fatal drug overdose. In 1984, Smith co-authored a book entitled Chasing the Dragon[3] which told her life story. The title is an allusion to Smith's heroin addiction. Smith appeared prominently in the Bob Woodward book Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi, and was played by Patti D'Arbanville in the film version. She has been called a backup singer but has also been described as merely a groupie

Cayle Chernin

Cayle was a dear friend for many years.
TORONTO — Actress Cayle Chernin, best known for appearing in the seminal Canadian road movie, "Goin' Down the Road," has died. She was 63.Going Down the Road.
When I was living at Hazelton Ave. in Toronto (we had a commune)  there was a premier or preview of 'Going Down the Road' at the New Yorker.
I went with Melinda, Carla and Helen and Pauline. Pauline and i were going together at the time.
We were knocked out by the movie and afterwards we went to the Pilot and we all raved about it. we felt it was a big step for Canadian Movies. Pauline really liked it. anyway they wanted to go back to Hazelton and i stayed on for a few more drinks. 
so I am sitting there and who walks in but Paul Bradley. We hit it off we were friends from almost the first moment we met. We had a couple of hours of drinking and story telling and somewhere in 
this haze i got a great idea. it was Pauline's birthday on Friday and we were having a party. So I talked Paul into coming and to play his character of Joey from the movie (this was not difficult). This was my idea of a crazy birthday present for Pauline.

Friday night Paul showed up with a friend (who kinda looked like McGrath) Introduced as Joey and just blew Pauline and the girls away. Paul is a traveling roadshow by himself and after a couple of hours went into entertainment mode. we had lots of drugs and booze and food and he ended up staying for a couple of days and we were good friends for ever more. Over the years we would get to gether every once in a while and have a  good get together.

Cayle Cherin was Salina. She went off to Hollywood and Dennis Hopper etc. Anyway just after i opened my after hours club about 5 years later. Cayle showed up on the scene I didn't recognize her to me she was this mysterious beautiful girl who started hanging around the 22 and Grossmans etc.
Then one night she shows up at my bar with some guy. Didn't like him much but ended up playing poker dice with him. I won about $300 off him. it was late and we all had a bunch of drink into us. When he said he didn't have any money left. I said half joking I will play you one more game. you win you get your $300 dollars back I win I get your girlfriend. He said ok and we rolled the dice as  Cayle looked askance. When I won Cayle went into a bit of a tirade about the whole thing and told guy to get lost who did he think he was etc.I guess she thought i was a better deal because we dated for a while but even better became really good close friends. For the rest of her life we were really good buddies and enjoyed our friendship. I skyped her just a few days before she die. I really miss her. She was an extremely brilliant writer, actor and produce

Film producer Robin Cass says Chernin died Friday.
Chernin had been preparing for a return to the spotlight with "Down the Road Again," a sequel to the 1970 road movie about two down-on-their-luck Nova Scotians who head to Toronto looking for work.
Earlier this month, friend and "Goin' Down the Road" co-star Jayne Eastwood said Chernin was diagnosed in June with advanced ovarian cancer.
Eastwood said Chernin kept her illness secret while filming took place in October and didn't tell castmates until shooting wrapped that she was sick.
Eastwood also said Chernin was the one who persuaded original director Don Shebib to revisit his iconic characters with another film.
"It was her who convinced Don Shebib to make this movie," Eastwood said. "This was her baby and she was going to do this movie come hell or high water."
Eastwood said Chernin was energetic and enthusiastic during filming, and was so dedicated to the project she delayed traditional cancer treatments so she could work.
"The doctors were screaming at her, they said, 'Do you know what you've done? You will go faster.' And she said, 'I want to spend my last months the way I want to spend them and I want to do "Down the Road Again","' said Eastwood.
The original film featured Doug McGrath and the late Paul Bradley, who died in 2003, as the jobless duo Pete and Joey.
Eastwood played Joey's flame Betty, while Chernin played Betty's best friend, Selina.
"Down the Road Again" picks up the story in Vancouver, with Pete as a retired postman and Joey gravely ill.
Shebib has said he expects the film to be released later this year.

Strip Pool Strippers

  Does anybody remember a bar in Toronto around Bloor and Bay that had strip pool in the seventies? You got to play pool against very beautiful girls who would remove an article of clothing if you beat them.
4 or 5 of these ladies hung out at my club. These ladies mostly played my musician friends and beat them regularly on the pool table. I remember Musicians who all seemed to think they were pretty good pool players complaining to me. these broads are really good pool players,

Jackie Burroughs

 Jackie came to the club once in a while.  I Fondly Remember Sitting with Jackie at the Club22 (Windsor Arms) in the early seventies she was between jobs. So what are you doing jackie? She suddenly becomes a wide-eyed teenager " I am running away to New York and becoming a waitress" she says very convincingly.
She was intelligent, incredibly talented and charming and will be sadly missed. 

Robert Markle

Robert and Marlene by Krash
  In 1965, Markle paintings shown in the exhibition Eros ’65 at the Dorothy Cameron Gallery were seized on a charge of obscenity, drawing considerable media attention. In the mid-1960s Markle began to write for magazines such as the Toronto Telegram Showcase, Maclean’s, and Toronto Life, publishing widely on topics as diverse as striptease, hockey, childhood Christmases, and Gordon Lightfoot. Markle also worked extensively as an illustrator, contributing images to magazines and literary journals. His work asan educator included terms at The New School of Art (1966-1977) and Arts’ Sake (1977-1982) as well as OCA and the University of Guelph. From the early 1960s, Markle played tenor saxophone and piano in the Artists’ Jazz Band. In 1970 the Markles moved to a farmhouse outside of Holstein, Ontario, although Robert re-established a studio in Toronto from 1979 to 1982. In 1979, he won a commission to decorate a Toronto hamburger restaurant, which was named Markleangelo’s in his honour. His other large-scale commissions include wall-sculptures for the Ellen Fairclough Building in Hamilton, Ontario, and the MetroToronto Convention Centre. He executed painted outdoor murals in Owen Sound and Mount Forest,Ontario. Markle was killed in a traffic accident in 1990. Of Mohawk ancestry, Markle used his mother’s

spelling of his surname, although it was spelled “Maracle” on his birth certificate. Markle worked primarily in painting and ink drawing, and also explored photography, collage, printmaking, wooden sculpture and neon. He collected folk art, which inspired a number of whirligig works later in his career. His work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of


Penny Royce

 Penny was a beautiful and  intelligent customer I always enjoyed her custom and company.

Shelby Gregory

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505 Queen

The competition Marcus O'Hara ran Danny Ackroyd's booze can

Juno Blues

 I was recently introduced webwise to  Treasa Levasseur by Danny Marks and had a listen to her music. I was most impressed by her dynamic sound and was cheering for her 'Low fidelity' as Blues Album of the year in spite of my respect for Downchild and Harmonica stealing Donnie Walsh. and Colin Linden (who wasn't old enough to drink when I first met him) I'm sure Treasa will get many more nominations  She Good! Downchild sounding pretty good too.
I remember a couple of years I went to Juno parties. I was always amazed at the respect I got for being a bootlegger.  I got to the Columbia Hospitality Suite just as they closed for supper hour. A Columbia Vice President insisted the bartender stay for me and my friends. When the bar opened Burton Cummings got mobbed and joined my group for safety. (From too many pretty girls mostly)

Jerry Reed

 Myrna Lorrie frequented my afterhours in the seventies, She was a lot of fun and I caught a few of her shows and liked her music. One night she showed up on the arm of Jerry Reed. (I'm a lover, not a fighter) Rosanne Cash was with them and she was with one of the Eagles. (I can never remember which one) apparently, she had a fling with him They were there almost every night for a week or so.

Helen Shaver

Helen was a night person, She was intelligent and sexy.
She came to my bar often and we enjoyed each others company. She invited me for dinner one night,
And in her sensuous sultry voice recited one of her poems about losing her virginity to a sailor in my ear.
I suffered instant arousal. Unfortunately it was not to be her sister dropped in and the situation never rose again so to speak. After she went to LA. We got together at a TO film festival. I introduced her to the MacLean Brothers and we had a great party. Ahh. . .Helen sigh

Elizabeth Ashley

Elizabeth married Jimmy McCarthy an old friend as well as a friend of Murray McLauclan. She was in Toronto quite a bit shooting films. Somehow I became her Toronto buddy and we spent some good times. running around the city in her limos and dining and clubbing not to mention the times at my bar. There many rumours going around about us and I only wish they were true. But even after she split up with Jim we remained friends until her cocaine bust kept her out of Canada.

Michael Ironside

Mike was still at the Art college of Ontario when I met him. He somehow got into my afterhours club with somebody and soon became a regular. he was in his early twenties exhuberant, totally careless and very full of himsel and very much a pain in the ass. I had to take down my dartboard because he hit a bystander in the leg he was always too full of fun and too loud etc. etc. He won an award for a  student film he had made and one night and brought 30 film students from the awards and was very troubled when I wouldn't let them in. But I didn't really like him and he was mostly a pain in the ass. But after a few years of him hanging around my place and sleeping it off there more than a few times.
We finally became friends.
One night at my new bar at Queen and Bathurst was very crazy. We had a special bar made from some really old planks from a wrecking company and planed them and wanted to cover them in acyrlic. So my partner Greg got some crazy friend of his to do this. It was a big job and all of us were breathing too many fumes etc. But somehow his friend got it wrong and the plastic never set and you could't lean on the bar too long without sticking to it. So some weeks later Mike was on a tear and when I closed the bar he was passed out in a chair so i left him. My Apartment was a bove the bar and I wake up to this thumping on the floor. So I get up and go down to the bar. Mike had woke up for a minute and crawled on top of the bar and went to sleep. so he wakes up and his face is glued to the bar. When I got there he had managed to reach a pool cue and bang on the ceiling. I finally stopped laughing long enough to pry him loose without too much loss of skin. Michael and I hung out together most of the time for a few years,(see Kathrine O'Hara) I could probably write a book. One Afternoon we met a couple of chicks and decided to get them drunk etc. We went to liquor Store and got ingrediants for a giant Sangria complete with a bottle of brandy.
So we smoked some dope drank a bunch of wine and woke up about 8 hours later very naked and very hung over. My camera was laying on the table and when I got the film developed we discovered we had got drunk and the chicks had taken our clothes off and took pics of us.-more to come

Cayle Chernin

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Marcus O'Hara

Marcus O'Hara did me one of those favours that just takes the cake .
At the 2nd or third Toronto Film Festival one of the major parties was held at Toronto City Hall.
The layout was a disaster. The bar was set up all wrong and it was impossible to get a drink. the place was just solid lineup. I was waiting in line with a bunch of friends when I got a tap on the back. It was Marcus he was a bartender or some such thing. He pulled me into the center of the room in the space between the facing elevators. here he had set up for me a large portable bar. several bottles of liquor with mix and ice. Soon I had my own private party with my friends and the festival VIPs. You cant buy that kind of favour.

Mary Margret O'Hara

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Machel Titlebaum

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Lou Miles

Lou Miles was a famous Toronto Tailor and a man about town. We became great friends and went out on many parties dinners and the like with his girlfriend Wendy. They also spent many nights at my bar.

Krash Radcliff

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John MacGregor

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John Marshall

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John Martin

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