The days of sidewalk selfies with paper politicians

It was the public's chance to get their photo taken with a politician -- sort of.

In 1985, people were paying to have their picture taken with cardboard likenesses of politicians

A political-themed 'photo craze'

38 years ago
Duration 1:16
CBC News looks at the "photo craze" that was popular in Ottawa in the summer of 1985.

People paying for pictures with cardboard likenesses of politicians?

Only in Ottawa, you might say — and that's exactly where that was happening in the summer of 1985.

You could pay to have your picture taken alongside a cardboard version of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, or his wife, Mila.

Ditto for Mulroney's American counterpart, U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

There was also the option of posing with former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

And it was a competitive business: The CBC's Judy Darling reported that at least five such groups were trying to tempt tourists with a paid photo op.

'They wonder who she is'

Some families opted to take photos with the cardboard politicians, including this family posing alongside likenesses of Brian and Mila Mulroney. (Midday/CBC Archives)

Another challenge was being able to ensure that potential customers knew who the cardboard characters were.

Like the people unable to recognize Mila Mulroney.

"They wonder who she is," said a young woman working at one of the photo businesses, when speaking to CBC News.

"They ask if she is [the prime minister's] sister, or something like that."