Cover Star

From 1997 to 2007, Taddle Creek covers featured vintage photography, taken from a variety of sources. The magazine’s founder offers some background on several of these early cover subjects.

Summer, 2022 / No. 49

“In 1995, I art directed a volume of Acta Victoriana, a University of Toronto literary magazine. My first of two Acta covers featured a photo of my father, Fred Tobias, taken in Quebec City, probably in the nineteen- sixties. When I launched Taddle Creek, I decided to kick things off with another photo of him. He wasn’t a regular pipe smoker, so he’s probably putting on a bit of a show here, while reading what looks to be a copy of Reader’s Digest. When the magazine switched to illustrated covers, Ian Phillips drew his own version of this photo, with Tad, Taddle Creek’s mascot, in my father’s place. A similar illustration is found on Taddle Creek’s bound volumes.” 

“My father appeared on a few Taddle Creek covers, including the final photo cover, in 2007 (No. 18).” 

M. Fred Tobias
Laura Tobias

“Cover photos for the magazine’s first five years were all taken from my family archive and date from around the mid-nineteen-forties to early nineteen-fifties. In most cases, the photographer is unknown. This photo of my mother, Laura Tobias (top), which appeared on Taddle Creek No. 8, is a rare case in which, thanks to some shadows and another photo from the same series, the photographer—my father—can be identified.”


“After the Second World War, my father served as physical director of the Saint John, New Brunswick, Catholic Youth Organization, or C.Y.O., providing counselling and recreation to local youth. This photo, which appeared on Taddle Creek No. 5, is from a series showing children using playground equipment that was bound together as some sort of promotional booklet. I first used several photos from the set in 1997, for the cover and inner sleeve of Lighter, Flicker, Smoke and Fade, an album by a local Toronto band, Sleepwalker’s Union.”

“I eventually ran out of decent family photos and started scrounging antique shops, and eventually eBay, for cover shots, advancing the time frame of photos used by a decade, to the mid-fifties and early sixties. The top photo, from a box of slides I paid two dollars for at a shop on St. Catherine Street, in Montreal, in 2002, was used for the covers of both Taddle Creek Nos. 10 and 11. Two other slides in the box featured the same couple, posed in a hotel room; the remaining six featured an older couple at home, with one outdoor shot.”

—aul Nicolitch

“The Taddle Creek super fan Tim Davin dubbed this photograph, an eBay find, used for issue No. 13, “Daddy Drinks Because You Dance,” which really sums it up perfectly.”

W. C. Runder Photo Company Incorporated

“The cover of Taddle Creek No. 17 was modelled after the sleeve for the Smiths single“The Boy With the Thorn in His Side,” which featured a young Truman Capote jumping against a yellow background—which is exactly the treatment given to this eBay find.”