File 61 - Renovations Shaw street.

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Renovations Shaw street.

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36 photographs : b&w ; 25 x 20 cm or smaller

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Biographical history

Joan May Hollobon is a Canadian writer and reporter. She was born January 29, 1920, in the Isle of Wight (United Kingdom) to Ernest Frederick “Tony” and Alice Hollobon (nee Ford), and grew up in North Wales (United Kingdom).

During World War II, Hollobon volunteered as an administrative and press officer with the British Red Cross and the St. John War Organization in Wales. From 1946 to 1948, she worked in Berlin for the Allied Control Commission of Germany and Austria (a British Army bureau). And, in 1949, she worked for the Canadian and British Reader’s Digest. In 1952, Hollobon emigrated to Canada where she worked at the Kirkland Lake Northern Daily News (Kirkland Lake, Ontario), first as editor of the women’s section, later as a general reporter. In 1954, Hollobon moved to the daily North Bay Nugget (North Bay, Ontario) where she worked as general reporter and columnist.

In 1956, Hollobon began working as a general reporter for the Globe and Mail in Toronto. After covering medical news in the early 1960s, Hollobon received the fellowship in the Advancement of Science Writing and attended the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in 1963-1964. Upon her return to Canada, and during the 1960s and 1970s, Hollobon wrote in-depth pieces on medical subjects that gained her national recognition. Some pieces included the Saskatchewan Medicare crisis of 1962, reportages on mental care facilities, and a three-part series on transsexuality and the first sex reassignment operation in Canada, among others.

During the 1970s, she travelled to Dublin for the Canadian, British, and Irish Medical Associations Conference and, from there, she wrote several articles about the medical conditions in the Isles, especially focusing on Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Also during the 1970s, Hollobon was part of the organizing committee for the Canadian Science Writers Association.

In 1983, Hollobon became assignment editor for the Globe and Mail. She retired in 1985 and, shortly after, she received the Canadian Medical Association Medal of Honour (1986), and published the book The lion’s tail: a history of the Wellesley Hospital 1912-1987 (1987). In 1987, the Health Care Public Relations Association of Canada (today Canadian Public Relations Society) presented the Hollobon Award for the first time. The award is given to members of the media whose work has contributed significantly to the public’s understanding of healthcare. And, in 2019, Hollobon was named Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2022, the National Newspaper Awards named their Beat Reporting award after Joan Hollobon.

In retirement, Hollobon shared a house with her friend Kay Rex.

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Kathleen (Kay) Amelia Rex was a Canadian reporter and writer. She was born in 1918, the daughter of Lionel and Grace Rex of Woodstock, Ontario. In 1941, after graduating from university, Rex began work with the Woodstock Sentinel, a local daily newspaper, moving to the Canadian Press (CP) in 1942, where she worked in various CP bureaus across the country including Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto. In 1953, Rex left the Canadian Press, thereafter gaining employment with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). In 1957 she began work as a freelance journalist, traveling first to Mexico City. In 1959 Rex joined the Globe and Mail where she worked until 1983. Her stories brought to the paper an early form of feminism, highlighting women's issues including poverty, daycare, immigration, health, employment and peace.

Upon retirement from the Globe and Mail, Rex became president of the Toronto Branch of the Canadian Authors Association. Her retirement from journalism also allowed Rex to begin research on a history of the Canadian Women's Press Club of which she was a member. Published in 1995, No Daughter of Mine: The Women and History of the Canadian Women's Press Club, 1904-1971 tells the stories of the female journalists who were its members. Rex died on July 10, 2006 in Toronto and was interred at Woodstock Presbyterian Cemetery.

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Scope and content

Materials related to renovations to the house Joan Hollobon and Kay Rex shared (217 Shaw Street, Toronto (ON)). Includes a Rex diary of renovations, floorplans and photographs of the property, and related correspondence. Also contains a mugshot of Kay Rex.

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Donated by Joan Hollobon in 2021.


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  • English

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Original file folder included a handwritten note that read: “The diary of renovations @ 217 Shaw Street Toronto On. Photos – Notes – Misc. after the termites were discovered in the back end of the house.”

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Described by CGD in 2021.

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  • English

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