Montreal Gazette cartoonist Aislin speaks at Rotary Club meeting
The Rotary Club of Montreal-Lakeshore had the privilege of having veteran award-winning Gazette cartoonist Terry Mosher (aka “Aislin”) as a guest speaker at its most recent meeting last Tuesday night (December 4) at the Holiday Inn Pointe Claire.
Aislin gave an informative, entertaining illustrated talk in which he looked back at his more than 50 years as a cartoonist, as well as featuring a selection of some of his favourite past cartoons and the stories behind them. He traced his career back to when he started out as a street artist in Quebec City during the mid-1960s, where he drew portraits of tourists and sketches of Quebec City street scenes that he sold. “I started out wanting to make a living, but now sure how I would do it,” he remarked about that early phase in his career.
He then proceeded to show a selection of some of his favourite cartoons, many of which appeared in the pages of the Gazette, which dealt with a wide variety of subjects, such as the Expos, the Canadiens, the Quebec Anglophone community (which he said its people have “a pretty good sense of humour”), Rene Levesque and the PQ, and the past mayors of Montreal.
Aislin also shared some behind-the-scenes stories of some of the cartoons he displayed, and explained why former Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre didn’t like when Aislin portrayed him as Fred Flintstone, how he stopped former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney from always talking about his chin, and why he decided to constantly draw former PQ cabinet Minister Louise Beaudoin as a leather-clad dominatrix.
He also showed the guests his all-time favourite unpublished cartoon, which showed a 747 airliner taking off from a snowy runway at Trudeau Airport, with a balloon caption above the aircraft that says rather loudly “F— February!”. After his presentation, Aislin autographed copies of some of his books (he has written and compiled a total of 49 books in all), including his recent collection From Trudeau to Trudeau, which is a retrospective of his 50 years as a cartoonist, and is now in its fourth printing.
As well, during the meeting, the members collected donations for their annual Christmas baskets food drive, in which the chapter selects about 12 families that will receive these baskets, which contains enough food for 30 days.
Founded in 1905, the Rotary Club started out as a discussion group, but quickly shifted its focus to doing charitable and social events in service to the community at large. The club was established in Montreal in 1913 and currently has chapters in 159 countries around the world, with a total worldwide membership of over 1 million people.