Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Better Football Game and Curling

Books on sports have always been popular and the early paperback era in Canada saw its share.

A small publisher in Winnipeg, Stovel-Advocate Press Ltd., published a couple in the mid 1950s. Stovel-Advocate was the successor company to Advocate Printers which had connections to two of the three large Canadian paperback publishers. Advocate's general manager, Richard Bonnycastle, was the founder of Harlequin (which is how Harlequin started in Winnipeg), Advocate printed the early Harlequins and Advocate's parent, Bryant Press, owned 50% of Harlequin. Bryant also printed over 90% of Wm. Collins' White Circle imprint with Advocate printing the rest.

In 1954 Stovel-Advocate published Grey Cup or Bust by sportswriter Tony Allan. A history of Western rugby/football to 1953, it remains a fun read and useful reference. It was updated in a second printing to include the 1954 CFL season. A revised edition was published by Harlequin in 1959 as Grey Cup Cavalcade (#480).

Curling to Win by Ken Watson in 1955 was next. Watson was Mr. Curling in Canada. The World Curling Championships started in 1959 after Watson had retired with Canada winning 12 of the first 15 championships. One Interesting feature of the book was a "For Skips Only" section that was sealed from the rest of the book. Watson also had a book published by Harlequin in 1961 - Curling Today.

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