Toronto Star

Jun. 16, 02:01 EDT

The many faces of fatherhood

Martin Patriquin
The Toronto Star

SECOND TIME AROUND: Fortysomething Gordon Gibb bathes baby Braeden as daughter Ashleigh looks on.
"It is a wise father that knows his own child."

- William Shakespeare

"Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is a soap-on-a-rope."

- Bill Cosby

We have Sonora Dodd, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon to thank for Father's Day. In 1910, Dodd dreamed up the idea while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in her hometown of Spokane, Wash. Her father, William Smart, was widowed when his wife died during childbirth, and he raised Sonora and her five siblings alone. It was Johnson who formalized the day in 1966, albeit only for one year. Richard Nixon made Johnson's proclamation permanent. The unofficial Canadian version of Father's Day has been buoyed by American influence and its formidable greeting card industry. The celebration means many things to many people, which is one of the reasons Father's Day is the fifth biggest card-selling day of the year. Three-quarters of North American dads will get cards, nearly half will be wearing new clothes, and a quarter will enjoy new sporting goods or a power tool of some sort. But Dodd was on to something other than rampant consumerism. As the fathers profiled in today's Life section show, Father's Day can be a celebration of the different roles dads play, a demonstration that they are as unique as the children they raise.

Copyright © 1996-2001. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited.