Lou Marsh was a newspaperman by profession, getting his start at 14 when he went to work at The Toronto Star as a copyboy in the paper’s infancy in the early 1890s. He rose in the ranks in the years that followed, eventually becoming a reporter and a popular sports columnist before taking over as sports editor in 1931. Marsh had a lively sporting career of his own, too, of course, while he was putting out papers, excelling as a sailor and a runner and also playing for football for the Toronto Argonauts. After he died in 1936 at the age of 57, the Lou Marsh Memorial Trophy was created to honour, annually, Canada’s top athlete.
Marsh put in many hours over the years as a referee, of boxing, wrestling, and hockey. After serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War, Marsh was appointed one of the NHL’s six original referees in December of 1917. He continued to patrol the big-league ice, penalizing its malefactors, for the next 13 years, stepping aside after the 1929-30 season, when he was 50. I’m guessing that this photograph dates to the latter years of his tenure;; no, I don’t know why he was up on the roof in his skates and his NHL gear. It is fair to surmise, I’ll say, that it’s the Star building he’s policing here, at 80 King Street West.
(Image: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 3610)