Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What! -- No lighter? Jimmy Frise & Birdseye Center

Jim Frise was born on a small farm at a crossroads called Fingerboard on Scucog Island, near Port Perry, Ontario.  Without any artistic training, he went on to become one of Canada's foremost editorial cartoonists during the 1930's and 40's, documenting the disappearing life of Canada's small towns in his fictional village of Birdseye Center. He attained this position in spite of having lost his third finger and part of his left hand when an enemy shell struck near him when he was returning with his horses to get more artillery ammunition during the Battle of Vimy in World War I.  At the time he started his cartooning career, there were six daily newspapers in Toronto:  the Globe, the Mail & Empire and the World in the morning, and the Telegram, the News and the Star Weekly in the evening.  He died in 1948, and is remembered by an Ontario Historical Plaque at Scugog Shores Museum.

His work was commemorated by McClelland & Stewart with the 1965 compilation, Birdseye Center by Frise, from which the above cartoon is taken.

For more on his biography, visit Torontoist

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