Another thing I scored at Goodwill
was a copy of a 1983 book entitled René Lévesque Buys Canada Savings Bonds, and Other Great Canadian Graffiti
, by veteran Canadiana collector John Robert Columbo, with great '70s/early'80s-style illustrations by David Shaw. Much of the graffiti anthologized in it isn't very good or original -- there are a lot of one-liners that Columbo apparently failed to recognize as Saturday Night Live
quotes or the taglines of famous comedians. And much of the bathroom graffiti is ancient and universal; I doubt very much that the world's first appearance of "Here I sit, broken-hearted..." was in a Toronto washroom in 1970.
Some of the graffiti, though, is hilarious, and highly specific to its time and place. The best bits are often the exchanges -- graffiti with responses added by subsequent readers. Herewith, a small, Ontariocentric selection of mostly-Trudeau-era specimens:
EVERYTHING IS SLIGHTLY HIGHER IN CANADA- Rochdale College, Toronto, 1967 (Even truer today!)
You gave me a place to stand
And a place to go
So I'll call this land
Ontario- Men's washroom wall, Ovens Campsite, Nova Scotia, 1970 (If you don't get this, ask someone who grew up in Ontario)
-MY MOTHER MADE ME A HOMOSEXUAL
-If I gave her the material, could she make me one too?- Carleton University, 1971(This one is especially for Ward:)
WHAT CANADA NEEDS NOW IS A NORTHROP FRYE COLOURING BOOK- Toronto, 1973
-McLUHAN READS BOOKS!
-No he doesn't.
-Yes he does -- comic books.
-I read neither books nor graffiti -M.M.- Centre for Culture and Technology, University of Toronto, 1973
There is no plural for grilled cheese.- Carleton University, 1975