The History of Port Perry's Newspapers
1857 - 2001
THE ONTARIO OBSERVER
The first newspaper to be published in the area was started on December 12, 1857 by Mr. James Holden. The paper was published every Thursday morning from Prince Albert., C.W.
Mr. Holden explained in the first issue that the rapid progress and development of Prince Albert, Borelia, Port Perry and surrounding country indicated a need for a first-class journal devoted to the interest of this neighbourhood. "To supply this desideratum, the Ontario Observer is established", he wrote.
Although the newspaper was to have been published on Thursday, December 10, 1857, the first issue was delayed two days and published on Saturday, December 12, 1857 due to the late arrival of material.
During the next ten years the Ontario Observer saw many changes in its' ownership and editors.
Although it's impossible to pin-point the date, at some point during the year 1858, the Ontario Observer changed hands and began to be published by M.G. Robson. Mr. Robson was the proprietor of Robson & Co. which also operated the Prince Albert House, a hotel located at the corner of Simcoe and King St. in Prince Albert.
In a notice in the December 2, 1858 issue Mr. Robson announced he had secured the services of Mr. Alfred Sylvester, a "literary gentleman," to assume management of the Observer's editorial department.
Just a few months later, on May 24, 1859, Mr. James Holden and Mr. Edward Oliver entered into a co-partnership for the purpose of publishing the "Ontario Observer." They began publishing the paper from Prince Albert with the first edition on Thursday, June 23, 1859.
Sometime during the next year and a half (due to missing copies the exact date is unknown), Mr. Oliver left the newspaper and publication of the Observer was continued by James Holden. Edward J. Mundy, who would later start his own newspaper in Port Perry, was editor of the Observer for a time during 1860. The last record available at The Star showing Mr. Holden as publisher is May 28, 1863.
A further change in ownership occurred sometime prior to February 2, 1865 when the Ontario Observer began to be published by Mr. Henry Parsons and William Robinson from the Victoria Block in Prince Albert. On Monday, June 25, 1866, Mr. William Robinson died in Prince Albert at the age of 23 years, 11 months and five days of age.
A report following his death says that Mr. Robinson's first connection with the Ontario Observer dated back to 1857 when he commenced to learn the art of printing. Except for a few months in the United States, he continued in the office as compositor until the retirement of James Holden. He then purchased an interest in the Observer and assumed the duties of Editor until his untimely death.
On August 30, 1866, Mr. James Baird became the new Editor of the Ontario Observer and became partners with Henry Parsons. This partnership continued for the next 18 years.
On August 28, 1873, the Ontario Observer, under the ownership of Baird and Parsons made the announcement that the paper would be moving to Port Perry to continue publishing. The announcement stated "Due to shift of the greater part of business, the newspaper must move as near as possible to the business centre of the locality in which it is published." Their new offices were located in the Warriner Block immediately west of the Post Office in Port Perry.
They also announced the enlarged format of the paper due to the demands of the advertisers, and noted that the price for a subscription was $1.50 per annum or $1.00 if paid in advance.
One thing that was not mentioned in the paper was the change of name from the Ontario Observer to the North Ontario Observer.
In the first edition of the North Ontario Observer, published on September 11, 1873 from its' new Port Perry location, the owners ran an apology for missing one issue of the paper, stating "the work of moving and printing was more than they could accomplish in one week.
Ten years after moving to Port Perry, in the December 20th issue of 1883, the North Ontario Observer announced that a disastrous fire had swept through the town destroying their offices and equipment. The Observer was silenced for three weeks while the owners purchased new equipment and moved into a new premises on the south side of Queen Street nearly opposite the Post Office.
The fire began the night of Sunday, November 26, 1883 awakening startled sleepers as the Port Perry House was all ablaze. The fire soon leaped from building to building consuming over $125,000 in property value.
Then, during the evening of Thursday, July 3, 1884, fire once again struck Port Perry, this time destroying almost every place of business on Queen Street. The fire, which is estimated to have caused some $300,000 in damage once again destroyed the offices of the North Ontario Observer.
Following the 1884 fire, the new Observer office was located on the second floor of the Hiscox Block on Queen Street (location of Emiels Place), but not before another three issues of the newspaper were missed. The Observer began publishing once again on Thursday, July 24, 1884.
Just three months after the fire of 1884, the partnership of James Baird and Henry Parson's was dissolved, with Henry Parsons taking over sole ownership of the business. He operated the paper as sole owner until approximately July 1920, when he ceased publication of the North Ontario Observer. Although no longer publishing the Observer, Mr. Parson's continued in the commercial printing business for about another 25 years.
OBSERVER PRINTING OFFICE, PORT PERRY - 1945
The Ontario Observer was not the only newspaper publishing in the area during the early days of Port Perry and Prince Albert.
Little is known of The Review, although a brief mention is made of this newspaper in the Illustrated Historical Atlas of Ontario County 1877. It was reported as being published from Prince Albert by Mr. Oliver for a short period about 1858. After this paper failed, Mr. Oliver went into partnership with Mr. Holden in 1859.
PORT PERRY STANDARD
Port Perry's best known newspaper was originally known as the Port Perry Standard and North Ontario Advertiser. It began publishing in Port Perry on August 16, 1866 from the second floor of the new Paxton and Bigelow building above the Post Office on Queen Street - (now apartments above 191 Queen St.) by Edward J. Mundy who was publisher and editor. Mr. Mundy had published the North Ontario Advocate in Uxbridge for approximately five years before coming to Port Perry.
While little is know about the time Mr. Mundy spent in Port Perry as publisher of The Standard, after operating a successful newspaper business in the town for 23 years, he sold the paper in the later part of 1889. Mr. Mundy had purchased the Oshawa Reformer a year earlier and was publishing both papers until he sold The Standard.
EDWARD J. MUNDY
During his ownership The Standard continued to publish despite the devastation of two fires. Following the fire of 1883, which leveled the north side of Queen St., The Standard relocated across the street on the second floor approximately where 204 Queen St. is located today.
A few months later, publication of The Standard was interrupted again, due to a second fire in July 1884. Once again Mundy was faced with finding a new premises and moved The Standard office to the Laing and Meharry building in the vicinity of 174 Queen St.)
Brothers Seville Martineau (Sam) Newton, and George Henry Newton were the next owners of the paper. Sam became publisher and George the editor of The Standard in 1889
Although records indicate the Newton Bros. purchased The Standard about 1889, a reference is made to the fact Geo. H. Newton was working for the paper as early as 1883.
GEORGE HENRY NEWTON
It's not known exactly when the Newtons sold The Standard, although S.M. Newton was still listed as editor and publisher in the October 1901 issue of the paper.
On September 18, 1901, the town of Port Perry experienced yet another tragic fire on the south side of Queen St., once again interrupting publication of the paper. The Standard's offices were located at this time on the second floor at approximately 180 Queen St. were destroyed
Following this fire, The Standard moved to new offices on the north side of the street, this time into office in the Blong Block above 191 Queen Street completing a cycle which began 35 years earlier.
George Newton took an early interest in the newspapers, publishing the Ailsa Craig Banner and the Port Perry Standard before the turn of the century.
In 1901, Geo. H. Newton left The Standard and moved to North Bay to take over The Despatch from his brother E.A. Newton who had started the publication five years earlier. He continued to publish The Despatch for 26 years, until he retired in 1927. Geo. Newton died in May 1949 at 79 years of age.
SAMUEL M. NEWTON
When Samuel M. Newton sold his interest in The Standard (date unknown), he moved to Kingston, Ont., to manage the Kingston News which he later purchased. On April 10, 1908, he sold the newspaper and moved to B.C. where he purchased the Prince Rupert newspaper called "The Empire", which he published until his death in 1933 at 70 years of age.
Although the actual date Sam Newton sold The Port Perry Standard is unknown, he was still listed as editor and publisher of the paper in rare copy of The Standard dated October 18, 1901.
The next owner according to an article written by Samuel Farmer in a 1940 article, was a Mr. Gordon, although no dates are available as to when he purchased or sold The Standard. Subsequently the paper was purchased by a Mr. Burness and Rev. W.H. Cline who named the paper the "Star and Standard." W. H. Cline became publisher of the paper at this time.
One of the most unlikely publishers in the history of The Port Perry Star was William Henry Cline, who had no experience in the field of publishing before purchasing the newspaper.
It was during his ownership the name of the paper was changed to The Port Perry Star, but he added under the masthead "which also incorporates the Port Perry Standard."
It is unknown when Mr. Cline arrived in Port Perry, although it's believed it wasn't until 1907, as a news reports say Mr. Cline leased a residence on Cochrane St. for some time before his family arrived from Toronto in April 1907, adding to the theory Mr. Cline had not been publisher of The Standard very long before they arrived in Port Perry.
REV. W.H. CLINE
Mr. Cline is referred to in many articles as Rev. Cline and records show he was a guest preacher at many churches around the area during his time as publisher.
Mr. and Mrs. Cline had three children, Marion who lived in Blackstock during 1907, and two sons C. Gordon Cline and Herbert Crawford Cline.
In September 1907 Mr. Cline announced in a short article in The Port Perry Star he was going to sell the newspaper. He wrote "having been called somewhat unexpectedly to assume the pastoral oversite of a certain church in the vicinity of Buffalo, N.Y., the writer decided a few weeks ago to dispose of the newspaper and return to the work of the ministry."
Although there was never a mention of exactly where he was going, an article in a May 13, 1913 copy of The Port Perry Star revealed Mr. Cline had become pastor of the First Baptist Church in East Aurora, New York. Some years later the Clines moved back to Canada, taking up residence in Hamilton, Ontario.
Towards the end of September 1907, Samuel Farmer purchased The Port Perry Star from W.H. Cline, and commenced publication of the paper as publisher and proprietor effective with this issue of Wednesday, October 2, 1907.
Samuel Farmer was described as a former resident of Reach Township who had attended Port Perry High School. He was connected with the Uxbridge Journal for a considerable time and for two years had been on the staff of Saturday Night in Toronto, one of the highest class papers in the Dominion, the report says.
In January 1920 The Port Perry Star moved its offices from the Blong Block at 191 Queen St. to the Jessop Block at 235 Queen St. and in October 1922 became the first business in town to install hydro and operate motors by electric power.
PORT PERRY STAR (left building) NEW HOME ON QUEEN ST. PORT PERRY
Over the next 40 years Mr. Farmer saw The Star grow and flourish under his capable leadership. The Port Perry Star was described as a "labour of love" for Mr. Farmer and he was proud of the community and always strived for its best interests.
Mr. Farmer successfully published The Star until his death on April 30, 1948 at which time his family took over the publication.
Following the death of Mr. Farmer, his family combined forces to carry on the business for the next 15 years. The company consisted of Mr. John Farmer, president; Mr. Archie Farmer, vice president; Marion Boyd (nee Farmer) and I.A. Boyd all serving directly in the business as administrators. Anne Boyd (nee Farmer) and Mr. M.M. Boyd of Ottawa, served indirectly writing editorial and doing outside administrative work.
GEO. R. DAVEY, BRUCE BEARE, IVING BOYD AND SAMUEL FARMER STANDING IN FRONT OF PORT PERRY STAR IN 1935
The family members working at The Star began to modernize the plant, replacing some of the old equipment with newer, more efficient models.
Marion (Farmer) Boyd worked in the front office as receptionist and bookkeeper, and occasionally operated the linotype machine or platten press when necessary. Her husband Irving Boyd was responsible for sales and promotion of The Star's busy printing department.
Other family members who worked at The Port Perry Star during this period were Archie Farmer, who joined the firm in about 1950 to operate the presses and Clive Boyd (son of Irving and Marion Boyd).
Longtime employee George R. Davey continued to work for the family as assistant in the printing department for many years, retiring in 1958 after about 50 years with The Star.
Bruce Beare, who began working for Sam Farmer as a young man in 1937 continued with the company as a linotype operator and printer until 1974.
IRVING AND MARION BOYD
The Port Perry Star celebrated its' 50th Anniversary in September 1957 with a special Historical and memorial edition being published. Although the paper experienced slow growth during the time following Mr. Farmer's death, circulation of the paper reached an all-time high of 1,200 copies per week.
The Farmer family continued to operate the newspaper until September 1963 when The Port Perry Star was once again sold and changed ownership.
The next owners of The Port Perry Star were Per and Leila Hvidsten, who also owned the Uxbridge Times-Journal. The Hvidsten's had been in the newspaper business in Uxbridge since they purchased that paper from Harold Cave in 1953.
Mr. Hvidsten's background in printing and newspapers went back to his homeland Norway where his father and grandfather before him had owned and operated a daily newspaper.T
BILL HARRISON AND PER (PETE) HVIDSTEN
One of the first things the Hvidsten's did after acquiring The Star, was to hire William Harrison, a former employee of the newspaper who was working in Cobourg at the time. Mr. Harrison was appointed editor of The Star with Mr. Hvidsten assuming the role of publisher. Mrs. Hvidsten continued in her role as editor of the Uxbridge Times Journal, contributing editorials to The Star during the first few months under their ownership.
Former Farmer employees Clive Boyd, Archie Farmer and Bruce Beare continued to work at The Star, and rounding out the staff during the 1963-64 were Annabell Harrison, D'arcy Morden, Dorothy Mulholland and Ruby Roach.
Within months of purchasing The Port Perry Star, Per Hvidsten began to modernize the entire plant. Between the years 1963 and 1967, the shop (located at 235 Queen Street) was completely renovated and all the old machinery was replaced with modern equipment.
PER (PETE) HVIDSTEN & LEILA HVIDSTEN
The last letterset newspaper was published at The Star office on June 8, 1967. On June 15, 1967 a whole new method of printing came about with The Star changing its printing method from the old "hot metal type" to offset printing and the paper was downsized from a large format (known as broadsheet) to a tabloid newspaper.
With the introduction of 'offset printing' at The Port Perry Star, the old cast iron flatbed press which had churned out the paper for over 50 years was delegated to printing auction sale bills. Regretfully, only a few years later it was smashed into pieces and sold for scrap metal.
During the first few years of offset production, The Star was printed at Web Offset in Toronto. When Uxbridge Printing Company purchased a web offset press in the 1970's, The Star moved its printing contract to Uxbridge.
Two weeks after printing the first issue offset, Mr. Hvidsten's son Peter joined the staff, after working for a web printing company and a professional photographer in Toronto for two years.
PORT PERRY STAR ABOUT 1965
PORT PERRY STAR 1985 AFTER RENOVATIONS
Further modernization came about in 1971 with the purchase of The Star's first computerized typesetter. This piece of equipment all but eliminated the need for the faithful old linotype as it increased efficiency and speed, allowing The Star to move its publication day from Thursday afternoon to Wednesday morning.
In 1975 Mr. Hvidsten sold the printing division of The Port Perry Star and concentrated all of his efforts on the newspaper. Mr. Henry Janssen, who purchased the printing department continued to work out of The Star office for five years before moving Port Perry Printing to a new building on North Street.
After publishing The Star for 13 years, Per Hvidsten retired and sold the company to his son Peter in January 1976. At the time of his retirement, he had seen the newspaper expand to an all-time high of 4,000 subscribers.
During the next eight years, Per Hvidsten continued to contribute to the production of The Star on a part-time basis. He passed away in his 73 year on May 27, 1985, following a short illness.
PER HVIDSTEN SELLS PAPER TO SON PETER IN 1976
Between January 1976 and January 1991 The Port Perry Star underwent many expansions and renovations. The offices were renovated and enlarged on two occasions, allowing for a larger and brighter office product division.
In 1978, The Star once again changed printers, and began to print in Bowmanville at the Canadian Statesman offices, operated by the James family. It was at this time the publication date was changed from Wednesday to Tuesday mornings.
During the 1980's equipment was constantly modernized, changing over all typesetting, advertising, and bookkeeping procedures to computers.
In 1988 The Star introduced the latest typesetting equipment, known as "desktop publishing," This system allowed editorial and news reporters to typeset their own copy on computers and print it out on bond paper through a high quality laser-printer, ready for paste-up.
Typesetting procedures continue to improve with new programs and graphics and by 1988 about two thirds of the copy, and all advertising was produced by computer.
With the economy booming, subscribers reach an all time high of 7,000, and the future looking bright for the newspaper industry, Mr. Hvidsten began to plan for the future.
NEW PORT PERRY STAR BUILDING ON MARRY ST. 1992
In July 1990, he began construction of a new building for The Port Perry Star at 188 Mary Street, directly south of the Post Office. The new home for Port Perry's newspaper was built to blend with the historic downtown architecture and consisted of 6800 sq. ft. of retail, production and office space on two floors.
The Star moved into its new premises on January 9, 1991 and published the first issue of the paper from its new location on January 15, 1991.
From the time The Star was moved into its new location on Mary Street, things began to change. The Start-up of a competing newspaper, and the economy going into a recession, made it increasing difficult to operate as in the past.
During 1992, in an effort to compete against free circulation newspapers, The Star introduced a new 17,000 free distribution paper called Star Marketplace. The name of the paper was later changed to The Scugog Shores News.
By 1996 a major decision was made to begin printing process color pictures on the front page of The Port Perry Star. At the same time, the weekend Scugog Shores News underwent a complete overhaul, including more local coverage, and its name was changed to the Port Perry Weekend Star.
J. PETER HVIDSTEN
In 1994, Star publisher Peter Hvidsten contracted the services of Don MacLeod to act as general manager of the newspaper. Mr. MacLeod, an employee of Citizen's Communication Group (CCG) located in Newmarket, was also publisher of the Uxbridge Times Journal at the time he began a one year term working part-time at The Port Perry Star.
Following the termination of this arrangement by CCG in July 1995, Mr. Hvidsten offered Mr. MacLeod a partnership in the business and on October 15, 1995 he began working at The Port Perry Star as a full partner.
Five years after he joined the firm, Mr. MacLeod took over sole ownership of The Star, although Mr. Hvidsten stayed on his capacity as publisher until April 2001, before retiring from the business he had worked and owned for more than 30 years.
Over the past century there has been many changes in the equipment and methods of publishing newspapers, but the one thing that has remained constant is the on-going commitment they have to the communities they represent and serve.
Port Perry community newspapers have played an important role in the history of the area, documenting each week the important events of today for future generations of area families to enjoy and study.
The Scugog Citizen
With the launch of the Scugog Citizen on May 25, 1991, Port Perry became home to two newspapers for the first time in more than 70 years.
The Scugog Citizen was launched by two long-time employees of The Port Perry Star, John B. McClelland (15 years) and Valerie Ellis (14 years) who resigned their positions as editor and advertising co-ordinator to start a new newspaper in Port Perry. The third partner in the venture was another former Star reporter, Cathy Olliffe.
The first issue of the new tabloid newspaper was published on Tuesday, June 25, 1991 with 8,000 papers being distributed free to households in Scugog Township from their office on Water Street, Port Perry.
The Citizen achieved moderate success during its first year, but not long after its first anniversary the three-way partnership broke up, with Cathy Olliffe leaving the operation following a dispute with her partners.
Following the break-up, Ms. Olliffe began to contribute to the pages of The Port Perry Star once again as a feature writer.
Mr. McClelland and Ms. Ellis continued to operate The Citizen until June13, 1996, when financial problems forced the paper to close its doors. It was just two weeks short of reaching its fifth anniversary.
Following the closure of The Scugog Citizen, Star publisher J. Peter Hvidsten invited John B. McClelland to begin writing again, on a freelance basis. Mr. McClelland accepted the offer and has contributed to the columns of The Port Perry Star since that time primarily covering council and sporting activities.
Within a few days after the closure of The Scugog Citizen, a new publication began to appeared on the doorsteps of Scugog Township residents.
Port Perry This Week
Port Perry This Week made its debut on June 15, 1996 with a hastily assembled weekend edition, to take up the void left by the closure of the Scugog Citizen. The paper operated from a small office on Water Street in Port Perry with Bruce Froude as its first managing editor and Tony Doyle as news reporter. It moved to a new location at the west limits of Port Perry in August 1998, with its offices located over Suny's Gas Bar.
Port Perry This Week is produced and printed in Oshawa by it's sister paper, Oshawa This Week. It publishes twice weekly, Tuesday and Sunday and is delivered free to homes throughout the area.
Port Perry This Week is owned by Metroland Printing and Publishing, owners of more than 25 community newspapers across Ontario.
Port Perry Newspaper Owners / Publishers
James Holden lived in Prince Albert, Ontario for only a few years, moving there in 1857 and leaving for Whitby in 1864 following his appointment as Official Assignee.
He was born of Irish parents in Stouffville, County of York on February 29th, 1828 and first engaged in mercantile pursuits in this village.
In 1857, at the age of 29 years, he moved to Prince Albert and commenced publication of the first newspaper in the area. The North Ontario Observer's first issue came off the presses on Thursday, December 10, 1857, two days late due to the late arrival of material. Little is known of Mr. Holden's life during his seven years in the area as most records of this time are missing, but after moving to Whitby he immediately identified himself with the interests of the County Town and was largely responsible for the progress of the railway and particularly the extension of the railway line from Port Perry to Lindsay.
During his years in Whitby, Mr. Holden, a strong Liberal, held almost every municipal position, from councillor to reeve, and mayor of the town by acclamation. His only public defeat was to the Hon. T.N. Gibbs in 1873, the newly appointed Minister of Sir John A. MacDonald's cabinet.
His death at the age of 53 years on October 24, 1881 came as a shock to his many friends and to his colleagues from the Whitby, Port Perry and Lindsay Railway Company of which he was managing director. His funeral was the largest seen in Whitby for over a quarter century, with between three and four thousand people present.
It is said that up to 700 people arrived in Whitby by funeral train from the north, carriages number at 180, and almost all the townspeople turned out en masse to pay respect to this well respected man. He is reported to have been a man of great perseverence, and public enterprise, and although undemonstrative, a warm friend; he never forgot a friend or missed an opportunity to do him a good turn.
With his death, Mr. Holden left behind a widow and large family of nine children, four boys and five girls.
Henry Parson had a long career in the newspaper business in Port Perry and Prince Albert, dating back as far as 1858. But it was not until about 1864 that he became an owner of the North Ontario Observer, a position which he retained until 1919 when the publication was discontinued.
He was born in Lincoln, England, in 1838, and came to Canada in 1850 with his parents, who took up residence in Stouffville.
In February 1853 he became an apprentice as a printer to the Whitby Reporter. After finishing his apprenticeship, he lived for one year in New York State, before returning to Canada.
In 1858 Henry Parsons joined the staff of the North Ontario Observer, which was under the ownership of James Holden, and published from Prince Albert. Then in about 1864 (date unknown) Mr. Parsons, and a partner, William Robinson, took over ownership of the Observer.
With the death of Mr. Robinson in 1866, Henry Parsons became the sole owner of the Observer until James Baird became his partner and editor on August 30, 1866. This partnership which lasted for the next eighteen years.
In 1873, the Observer moved their offices from Prince Albert to Port Perry and after two disastrous fires, Mr. Baird left the partnership. Mr. Parsons carried on as sole owner and editor of the newspaper until it he its ceased publication on December 4, 1919 (last paper of record) at the age of 81 years.
Following the termination of the North Ontario Observer, Mr. Parsons continued in the printing business under the name of the Observer Printing Office, being assisted by his grandson, Mr. Vic Stouffer.
Mr. Parsons took a keen interest in municipal affairs, and at one time served a couple of terms as a councillor.
In 1864 he was married to Miss Francis Ruby Palmer, of Prince Albert, who predeceased him by some twenty years. He was survived by one daughter, Mrs. Andrew Stouffer and one grandson V.P. Stouffer.
Mr. Parsons passed away in his 94th year, at his home in Port Perry on Thursday morning, September 29th, 1932. Interment was held in Pine Grove Cemetery, Prince Albert, Ontario.`
Edward J. Mundy
Edward J. Mundy was born in Hull,England on February 20, 1838. He came to Canada when he was 11 years old and served his apprenticeship in the printing business in Toronto with the Globe, The Leader, The Colonist and the Echo, before striking out on his own. He is also reported to have been foreman at the North Ontario Observer office when it was published in Prince Albert, Ontario.
On November 28, 1861, at the age of 23 years, Edward Mundy started a newspaper in Uxbridge called the North Ontario Advocate and operated it as editor until 1866. The Advocate was published every Thursday morning and across the masthead he wrote "For the Queen, the Constitution and the People".
For almost five years Edward Mundy published the Advocate in Uxbridge, but eventually ceased the unsuccessful publication. Following the closure of the Advocate, Mundy moved to Port Perry and commenced publication of Port Perry's first publication, The Port Perry Standard, on August 16, 1866.
Little information has been found about the years Edward Mundy spent in Port Perry, although records show he owned a home on Cochrane Street. The house is illustrated in the Ontario County Atlas of 1877.
On July 1, 1878 Edward Mundy bought the Oshawa Ontario Reformer, and carried on with both newspapers for about three years before disposing of the Port Perry Standard in about 1881. While publishing both the Standard and the Reformer he travelled between Oshawa and Port Perry daily taking forms with him that could be used in either paper. The trip usually took hours on the rough roads in his shaky buggy.
He published and held a controlling interest in the Ontario Reformer for more than 40 years. In 1905 he took his son, Charles M. Mundy into the business with him and they successfully operated under the firm name of E. Mundy & Son until April 1, 1910, when E. Mundy retired from the active editorship of the paper.
It was at this time that the business was incorporated as the Reformer Printing and Publishing Company, with Edward J. Mundy as president and his son Charles Mundy as secretary-treasurer.
On Monday, January 24, 1921 Edward Mundy passed away about midnight after an illness of three weeks. He was in his 84th year at the time of this death.
Mr. Mundy was described as a quiet mannered gentleman, with good qualities of both heart and mind. He served as Chairman of the School Board for several terms and was a prominent Baptist and Mason, and a strong supporter of the Liberal party.
In 1860 Edward married Martha Nott of Toronto after a six week courtship. Martha was born in 1841 in Exeter, England and came to Canada with her father Richard Nott on September 1, 1840
Records show that Mundy and his wife Martha were parents to six children; Edward J. Mundy, Jr. (1861); Jessie J. (1863); Alice C. (1865); Mary L. (1870); Violet M. (1872) and Charles M. (1874).
It is believed Edward J. Mundy sold the Port Perry Standard sometime during 1889.
An article published in Reminiscences and Recollection by Dr. D. S. Hoig of Oshawa 1933 described the new owner of the town's paper as follows:
"The Reformer was bought by Edward Mundy, a printer and practical newspaperman, who had published a paper in Port Perry successfully for a number of years, and now carries on both.
In the interest of economy, some forms of set up matter were transferred every week from one office to the other. One can imagine what a delicate task this would prove to be, driving over the roads of those days in a shaky buggy.
Known as a good-natured man, he was hardly ever alone, being usually asked to take a passenger or a parcel. The roads were very bad and often took many hours in negotiating., yet this intrepid publisher never failed once during the period of the dual publication.
Mr. Mundy was described as a quiet mannered gentleman, which led some truculent fellows into the error of believing that he was easy, but he could handle his fists quite scientifically, never failing to give a good account of himself.
Possessed of many good qualities of both heart and mind, he was lacking in an acute sense of the ridiculous. On one occasion he was speaking at the School Board, of which he was long a member and chairman for several terms, of the lack of respect shown by the younger generation, to their elders, a perennial subject of remark. "Why," said he, "Gentlemen, coming to this very meeting not an hour ago, I passed two young men on the street, and I heard one say to the other looking back at me, 'Good Lord Bill, is that old geezer living yet'?"
There was almost tears in the good old man's voice, as he related the incident, but the uncontrollable laughter with which it was received was too spontaneous to merit serious consideration of the matter. Mr. Mundy was Chairman of the School Board on several occasions.
His trips to Port Perry used up the horses pretty quickly, and he had many encounters with horse traders, often having poor animals foisted on him.
An incident of this kind occurred in a trade with a Bowmanville druggist, a prominent Baptist, as was also Mr. Mundy. The latter always demanded a lot of spirit and action in any horse he bought and the druggist, knowing this, had inserted a suppository under the root of the animal's tail just before offering it for inspection to Mundy who was delighted with the activity the horse showed, especially in the hind legs. He acquired the beast and it was only on his next journey north that he discovered his paragon to be just an ordinary plug.
Samuel M. Newton
Samuel Newton was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England on Sept. 25, 1863, moving to Canada and settling in Lindsay, Ont. with his parents when he was six years old.
He was married in 1889 in Whitby to Miss Henrietta Howell and the couple had three children: Victor S., Florence and Isabelle.
He first involvement with newspapers was the purchase of the Lindsay Warder, in partnership with two of his brothers (George and E.A.). About four years later he purchased the Whitby Gazette which he published for 20 years. During this time he also purchased the Whitby Chronicle and Port Perry Standard and was involved with the Standard about 16 years from 1889 to 1906.
It is believed that sometime during 1906, Mr. S.M. Newton sold his interest in all three newspapers and moved to Kingston, Ont. where he purchased the Kingston News. He owned the paper for three and one half years before selling in on April 10, 1908.
Eyeing the west, Sam Newton travelled to British Columbia, during the summer of 1909 and settled in Prince Rupert. Here he purchased the The Empire, a two-year-old newspaper started by John Houston and began a publishing career in that community which lasted until his death in 1933 at the age of 70 years.
During his ownership the The Empire, Newton was described as fighter with a scathing pen and The Empire became known as the most scurrilous and unrestrained newspaper in British Columbia.
During his years in Prince Rupert, Newton became very involved in municipal politics, becoming a member of Prince Rupert's second city council. He ran successfully for Mayor in 1912, was defeated in 1913, then retained the post of Mayor for two years (1914, 1915) and for five consecutive years from 1932-1927.
The feisty nature of Samuel Newton, the publisher, carried over to politics where he was described as being "totally unbridled in his statements and his name calling. In fact on more than one occasion he found himself being sued for libel.
George H. Newton
George Newton was born in Lindsay, the youngest of nine brothers, in Feb. 1871. He was married in Whitby in 1893 to Jeanie Gordon, and the couple raised five children, two boys - Paul and Gordon, and three girls - Mrs. R.E. Morrison, Sudbury; Mrs. A.T. Roblin, Toronto; and Mrs. E.G. Weegar, North Bay.
G.H. Newton took an early interest in the newspapers, starting his career at the age of 16 years in the employ of The Lindsay Warder, where he remained for eight years. He then branched out publishing newspapers in Port Perry, The Standard and Ailsa Craig, The Banner. During this term he also acted as the local manager for the Bell Telephone Co. for three years.
Mr. Newton moved to North Bay in 1901, after serving as editor of The Port Perry Star for 12 years to take over The Despatch from his brother E.A. Newton who had started the publication five years earlier.
On Nov. 6, 1908 Mr. Newton became manager/director of an amalgamated paper known as The Despatch and Tribune," but a few years later the publication revert the the briefer name "Despatch."
In February 1927, after a long and honorable publishing career, Mr. G.H. Newton suspended publication of The Despatch, selling the equipment to a printer from Sudbury. At the time of his retirement he had spent 40 years in the printing and publishing business, 26 of those with The Despatch.
When interviewed, Mr. Newton said he had no definite reason for retiring, but believed that a man of his age under the present circumstances would be better out of business.
George Henry Newton, 78, one of Port Perry and North Bay's early newspapermen, died in hospital in North Bay on May 16, 1949 after more than 40 years in the publishing business.
He was laid to rest from the Martyn Funeral Home in North Bay by the Rev. S.B. Coles, with interment in Terrace Lawn Cemetery.
A brief article written by Samuel Farmer on the 73rd anniversary of the newspaper, in October 1940, suggests the next publisher/owner was a Mr. Gordon.
Unfortunately Mr. Farmer did not reveal Mr. Gordon's surname and gave no dates as to when he purchased or sold the Standard.
Subsequently, Mr. Farmer wrote, the Port Perry Standard was next purchased by a Mr. Burness and Rev. W.H. Cline. It was during this ownership that the paper was named The Port Perry Star and Standard, with W.H. Cline as publisher.
William Henry Cline
William Henry Cline became the next owner of The Port Perry Star, although his tenure as owner/publisher was for a very short period of time.
W. H. Cline purchased The Port Perry Star from Samuel M. Newton sometime late in 1906 and published the newspaper until the fall of 1907 when he sold it and returned to the ministry.
Before selling the paper in September 1907, Mr. Cline wrote, "having been called somewhat unexpectedly to assume the pastoral oversite of a certain church in the vicinity of Buffalo, N.Y., the writer decided a few weeks ago to dispose of the newspaper and return to the work of the ministry."
The following week the paper began being published by Samuel Farmer.
Although he never did announce the precise location of the church he was going to oversee, research has revealed he moved to an area called East Aurora in New York state.
During his short stay in Port Perry, Mr. Cline leased and moved into a home owned by Mr. Douglas Adams on Cochrane St. in early April 1907. His wife and family arrived from Toronto to live in Port Perry at about this time.
While publishing The Star, Mr. Cline took time out for his first love, the ministry, and was reported to have been a guest preacher at a number of local churches as well as in Claremont and Glen Major.
William Henry Cline was born in Boston, Ontario on April 25, 1853 the eighth child in a family of 12.
He studied for the ministry at Woodstock College for two years, then attended the University of Toronto where he received his B.A. degree in 1883 and his B.D. at Toronto Baptist College in 1885.
On October 21, 1884 he married Emily Crawford and travelled to Halifax, Nova Scotia on their honeymoon. It was here he was ordained and stayed for five years.
During his years in the ministry, Rev. Cline held pastorales in many places, including Toronto, Paris, Owen Sound, East Aurora, N.Y., Hamilton and Georgetown.
He lectured for a year at McMaster University and in May 1912 the university granted him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.
His brief term as publisher of The Port Perry Star is the only known deviation from his career in the ministry.
The Cline's were parents to five children: Carl Gordon, Mabel Miriam, Evangeline, Herbert Crawford and Helen Barber.
Rev. Cline retired from the ministry in 1920 taking up residence on a farm near Grimsby, where he twice served as interim minister for the Grimsby Baptist Church.
In 1934 he and his wife Emily celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.
On Aug. 14, 1935 he died of a heart attack while tending his fruit orchard.
Samuel Farmer arrived in Port Perry during September 1907 and purchased The Port Perry Star and Standard from W.H. Cline.
Mr. Farmer was born in England in 1871 and travelled to Canada at the age of 15 and took a job on a farm at Balinafad, Erin Township. In all he spent about 12 years working as a farmer's helper.
Mr. Farmer was a young man with much courage and perseverance and at the age of 23 took money a local farmer owed him in board and went to public school at Epsom to try his entrance for High School. Securing his certificate he attended Port Perry High School, walking six miles to school each day.
When his money was exhausted took a job at the Uxbridge Journal, where he had been a correspondent, for $2.50 per week. His jobs included typesetting, press washing, reporting and sweeping the floors.
Mr. Farmer had a natural gift for clear unaffected writing and he read incessantly. His self-arranged education never stopped in spite of the long hours he worked to earn a living.
From Uxbridge he ventured to Toronto and spent 12 years in various offices. When he left Toronto he was a mechanical superintendent of Toronto Saturday Night. He used to say "it was my job to wipe the dust of the ages off the old paper and prepare it for its place in the sun of modern Canadian life."
While in Toronto, Mr. Farmer met Emily Grace Abernathy and in June 1901 the couple married at the Old St. Andrew's Church in that city. They lived "simply and naturally" because they had no money, raising four children, Marion, Anne, Archie and John.
The urge was strong to try for a paper of his own so with the help of the portrait artist, J.W.L. Forster, of Toronto, and I.R. Aiken of Grimsby, he was able to borrow enough to purchase The Port Perry Star in September 1907 from then owner Rev. W.H. Cline.
For forty years his work in Port Perry was a labour of love. He was a man in love with his work, and was proud of his community, always striving for its best interests.
He was a driving force for prohibition during the 1920s having absolutely no use for liquor or foul language, often editorializing against both.
He worked constantly for education and spent many extra days and weeks travelling around the country learning about schools and possible grants and teachers' values. Eventually he was honoured by being presented with a life membership in the O.E.A.
Mr. Farmer always tried to write constructively. He knew that destructive criticism left worse troubles in its wake than if it had never been given. If he could point out the faults in a piece of legislation and suggest something better he felt that as editor of the paper he must do so. If he could not suggest something better to put in place of the effort he saw being made, he kept quiet or suggested that a committee be formed to try and investigate the matter and see what could be done to improve the situation.
While living in Port Perry, Sam and Grace Farmer raised four children. Like her husband, Mrs. Farmer was always interested in education and the church. She taught a bible class for many years and worked along wither her husband in both fields.
Mr. Farmer passed away April 30, 1948 after publishing The Port Perry Star successfully for 41 years. His wife, Mrs. Grace Farmer passed away four years laster, on March 15, 1954.
The following story, Progress Of The Star was written by Samuel Farmer in March 1928.
When the "Star" fell into our hands its light had been considerably dimmed, and it was a question whether it was going to putter out altogether. We had not more than 300 bonafide subscribers, and the advertising was sold at next to nothing an inch and collection of the next-to-nothing was not a simple matter.
Then the main idea was to fill up the paper with anything that would occupy space, and what is known as "boiler plate", (already made stereotype news) was freely used. All kinds of organizations were using the paper for propaganda. It was issued at a time that suited the publisher's convenience, and apparently no great effort was made to get the paper out on time.
From a mechanical point of view the plant had little to build on. It was of the same character as the wardrobe of the man who went to have his suit pressed and had to stand in a barrel while the job was being done. There was not enough type to do a job of any size , and the presses were wonderful chiefly for the fact that they had served so many years.
The old plant has all been scrapped; it has been sold for junk, or has been melted up and made into new type. We have not a single piece of old machinery left and none of the small type, only a few fonts of the best wooden letters. Today we have an unusually well equipped country office. Perhaps the most wonderful of our machines is the linotype. It is very nearly human in its capacity to set and distribute type. It saves oceans of time and many weary eyes and much backache.
The chief concern is to make the paper of local interest and to be of service to the community. We cannot afford to hire a staff of reporters to gather news and put it in acceptable form. The reporting end of the newspaper work taxes our ability very frequently. We hear a rumour, after talking to several persons it is not always possible to get an accurate story and the whole thing may have to be dropped.
The Star can always come into any home and be read by any member without hurting the tone of the home. It has been our business to encourage every good thing for our people and we can say that in the twenty years that this paper has been under our management not an unfair word has been said of anyone.
The result is natural. Our circulation has grown and is assured. Because this is a local paper we do not attempt to print world news in any thorough-going fashion. We are not in competition with the dailies.
We are gratified with the work of our corps of news gatherers. They are turning out good stuff. Our present staff of writers is excellent. We could not ask for better.
Irving & Marion Boyd
Following the death of Samuel Farmer in 1948, his family combined forces to carry on the business for the next 15 years.
The Star became a limited liability company with Mr. John Farmer, of Weston, as president; Mr. Archie Farmer, Port Perry, vice-president; Marion Boyd (nee Farmer) and Irving A.Boyd all serving directly in the business as administrators. Anne Boyd (nee Farmer) and Mr. M.M. Boyd of Ottawa, served indirectly writing editorials and providing outside administrative work.
The business continued to grow slowly but steadily over the years. Nothing spectacular took place but each year realized new gain. The circulation of the paper continually increased from 300 in 1907 to 1,200 in 1957.
Commercial printing covered a very wide area and included work from cities such as Toronto and Ottawa. The local rural area has always been of great concern to us. At one time the editor used to trade butter-paper for butter and cheese for his family and potatoes as payment did not come amiss in the early days.
The farmer family sold the newspaper in September 1963 to Per and Leila Hvidsten of Uxbridge.
Pete & Leila Hvidsten
Per Hvidsten became the sixth publisher of The Port Perry Star after he and his wife Leila purchased the company from the family of the late Samuel Farmer.
Mrs. Hvidsten recalled that they received a call from Mr. Irving Boyd on Sunday afternoon asking if they could meet to discuss a "matter of some importance and of mutual interest."
Mr. and Mrs. Boyd, who were planning to retire offered the Hvidsten the opportunity to purchase The Port Perry Star rather than put it on the open market.
The transaction took place in September 1963 ending 56 years of ownership of newspaper by the Farmers.
During the next 13 years as owner and publisher of The Star, Mr. Hvidsten became well respected in the community and was known for his fairness in reporting events.
He became involved in many community functions and groups, including the Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, Town Hall 1873 and in later years the Scugog Choral Society. But his real joy was publishing The Port Perry Star and he continually strived to make the paper better.
Per Hvidsten was born into the newspaper business in his hometown of Sarpsborg, Norway, where his father Peder Hvidsten published a daily newspaper. From the age of 17, he worked for his father at the newspaper, until his career was interrupted by the second world war in 1940.
He escaped from his German occupied country making his way to England and subsequently to Canada . Here he became an air-force instructor at Little Norway, located outside of Huntsville. It was during his stay near Huntsville he met Leila Todd, was married and they had two children.
After being discharged from the Norwegian Air Force he worked for a community newspaper in Huntsville called The Forester for a short time before moving to North Bay to establish his own printing business.
After six years of struggling in commercial printing, his dream of owning a newspaper came a reality. The Uxbridge Times-Journal was purchased in 1953 with Per as publisher and Leila taking on the duties of editor. Over the next few years the T-J grew and flourished as they introduced photographs and expanded local new coverage. The paper was eventually moved off Brock St. into a modern, new building on Bascom St. in the late 1950s.
With the Uxbridge paper operating smoothly, the couple decided to purchase the floundering Port Perry Star in September of 1963. Mrs. Hvidsten stayed in Uxbridge to operate the Times-Journal, while Per took up new roots in Port Perry.
For a time during this dual ownership, the Hvidsten's daughter Gerri Lynn was her mother's right hand at the Uxbridge Times Journal, while their son Peter worked along side his father in Port Perry.
Again, hard work paid-off in Port Perry as the newspaper began to gain respect and with the modernization of the plant also began to turn a profit.
During the time The Star was published by Per Hvidsten, the newspaper was the recipient of many awards for outstanding achievement. In 1969 Mr. Hvidsten was honoured by the Ontario Weekly Newspaper Association by being elected president.
In January 1976, after more than 40 years in the business, Per Hvidsten decided it was time to enjoy some leisure, so stepped aside and sold the business to his son Peter.
Although he retired from the day-to-day operation, he continued to keep his hand in the business he loved so dearly, working part-time for the next eight years along side his son.
Per Hvidsten passed away at Oshawa General Hospital on Monday, May 27, 1985 after a brief illness. His first wife, Leila passed away in Sept. 1999 at Uxbridge Nursing Home.
The following story was published January 7, 1976 on the occasion of the retirement of Per Hvidsten as owner and publisher of The Port Perry Star.
"Discharged from the Norwegian Air Force in post-war Canada, Per Hvidsten worked only three days for the Huntsville Forester before he realized that it could be the beginning of a rut he'd never escape from. Backed by knowledge and experience earned on the staff of his father's newspaper in Norway before the war, he started looking for machinery to stock a North Bay printing shop. Even at that time, in 1946, he had already made up his mind that he'd eventually get back into the newspaper business... a dream he'd realize some seven years later with the purchase of the Uxbridge weekly.
The North Bay printing shop was a moderate success despite some ominous fore-warnings. For example, the shop he'd rented in North Bay wasn't ready for occupancy. In fact, it had been rented... at the same time... to a second party.
He was forced to look for new accommodations, and with money borrowed, scrounged and scraped up from friends and a finance company, he purchased a shop at 2017 Fraser St. in May 1946. He called his new shop The Northland Printer.
And then, there was the less than encouraging civic welcome provided by the then mayor of North Bay, who let the young Norwegian have it straight off the cuff.
"Might as well get out of town now," he predicted solemnly, "because the (North Bay) Nugget will run you out sooner or later."
With money tight, he recalls ordering a much-needed stitching machine from a traveling salesman, an order accompanied with a good down payment. When the machine didn't arrive, inquires by the new printer revealed that he'd been had. The salesman had been dismissed a year before.
Although the North Bay business was a struggle, he repeatedly declined offers by the Nugget to work for them even though the offer included the top going rate at the time.
He sold his first building at a moderate profit after a couple of years, then moved into a second North Bay location where he operated for the next five or six years. It was a time of sacrifices, work and more work, he recalled in an interview. A time of many days away from home, and late hours at night in the shop. But despite that, his wife Leila, was behind him all the way, a factor he considers vital to his ability to keep it up in those early years.
"I couldn't have managed it without her," he said.
With business a bit better, the Hvidstens were ready to pursue their overall objective... a newspaper. After sending out feelers with salesmen, he heard the Uxbridge Times-Journal was for sale, and decided to buy it.
The sale of his building and business provided enough money to buy the Uxbridge paper, but wasn't enough to cover working capital. When he couldn't raise enough from friends, he tried another source... his North Bay rivals... the North Bay Nugget.
Impressed by the Hvidsten shop's performance, the Nugget didn't hesitate to back the Uxbridge operation... a loan that was repaid within seven months.
The Uxbridge Times-Journal grew a great deal during the time it was owned by the Hvidstens. Leila Hvidsten held down the editorial end of the business, revealing an obvious flair for writing. The Hvidstens introduced or expanded local news coverage, the use of pictures, as well as circulation and advertising.
There are things, of course, that he'd rather forget about.
Like when he found the paper had too little news material and advertising to fill the paper, and former owner Harold Cave had a simple solution. "Run a blank page in the middle of the paper," said Cave, who was assisting the Hvidsten in the change-over period. "Nobody will notice," he said. So they did run a blank page and true to his word, nobody apparently noticed.
Purchasing the Uxbridge newspaper brought Per (Pete) back to familiar territory, after a 10-year interruption. "I felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders as soon as I took over," he said. "A newspaper was what I'd always wanted, for I knew that work best."
His experience and effort along with his wife, reflected in the growth of the paper. When they couldn't negotiate a suitable price for the Times Journal building located on Brock St., they built a new one on land purchased from the town.
Throughout the first ten years of operating the Times-Journal, neither of the Hvidsten's had a drivers license, so trips to council meetings, photo assignments and any other travel was carried out by taxi. It wasn't until 1965 they purchased their first car, but even then relied on their children to drive them to various functions around the town and township.
In 1963, The Port Perry Star became available and the Hvidstens purchased the paper. Within months a modernization process began on the paper and building.
"And it had a long way to go," recalled employees like Annabell Harrison, who remembered standing on an overturned sink to operate the old-fashioned hand-fed folder.
Headings and ad displays were all set by hand and the type set by the "hot type" method. Two pages were printed at a time on a hand-fed press and were hand-folded, hand-gathered, hand-trimmed and hand-mailed. The process to the entire staff almost a day and was a dirty, business.
Between 1963 and 1967 the shop was renovated, remodeled and old machinery replaced by newer, more modern equipment as money became available.
With business growing steadily and things looking generally good Per decided it was time to learn to drive. After almost two years of traveling back and forth between the two towns by taxi, or with D'arcy Morden, a Star employee who lived in Uxbridge, he began his driving career at 54 years of age.
Later the paper went to the "offset" system, but still used some older equipment. And even with all the modernization of the plant, "it was still a struggle," remembers Bill Harrison, editor at the at the time of changeover to offset printing. "It took us until 2 a.m. the first time after the changeover to offset to get the paper out."
The changes that took place were obviously for the better, as The Star began to be recognized with association awards for achievement in the newspaper field.
A "cold type" machine purchased in the late '60s made the job of production somewhat easier, but it wasn't until new, modern computerized photo typesetting machines were purchased in 1973, the increased efficiency moved publishing time ahead almost two days. Instead of Thursday afternoon, the paper was now ready Wednesday morning.
After publishing The Port Perry Star successfully for 13 years, Per Hvidsten decided to retire. On January 1, 1976 he sold the business to his son Peter, although continued to work in a part-time capacity until his death in 1985.
Members of the staff at the time of Per Hvidsten's retirement in January 1976 were: Annabell Harrison, Gayle Stapley, Ruby Roach, John Gast, Heather Short and Dorothy Catton.
J. Peter Hvidsten
Commencing in 1976, The Port Perry Star's next owner was J. Peter Hvidsten, the second generation of the Hvidsten family to publish the newspaper.
He was born in Huntsville, Ontario in 1945 and as a young boy moved to North Bay with his mother, father and sister Gerri Lynn.
In 1952 the Hvidsten family moved to Uxbridge after purchasing the Uxbridge Times Journal and it was here he received his education at both Uxbridge Public and High Schools.
During his high school years, Peter worked part time in the backshop helping in the plant, but his main interest was in photography. At 15 years of age he began to shoot the occasional photo assignment and began processing films and prints in the darkroom for the newspaper. A year later he took over the darkroom duties for the entire summer, when his parents travelled to Norway for a visit.
Upon completion of High School the lure of the "big city" drew Peter away from home and the newspaper for about three years. Having grown up so close to the smell of ink and the rumble of presses, he was not sure if he wanted to pursue a career in publishing, so took a job at the Province of Ontario Savings Office in Toronto.
A few months later, he returned to his love of photography as an assistant to a very well known professional photographer in Toronto. He held this position for about a year and a half, before realizing there was no future in the small studio so returned to the printing business as a press operator at a large plant called Web Offset, in north Toronto.
In 1967, a few years after his parents had purchased The Port Perry Star, Peter returned home to take up a position as apprentice printer. Over the next nine years he worked in both the newspaper and job printing, gaining experience in all aspects of the business.
During the fall of 1975 Per Hvidsten announced he was going to retire, and in January 1976 Peter purchased The Port Perry Star from his father, and operated the paper for the next 25 years.
Peter was married in February 1981 to Nancy Taylor and they have three children, Matthew and twins Jamie Lee and Katie Lynn. He also has two girls from an earlier marriage Jannine and Sherri Lee. His first wife's name was Eileen (Finbow).
After purchasing The Port Perry Star in 1976 Peter continued the modernization of the business, incorporating an office supply division, and constant upgrading the methods of producing the newspaper.
In the late 1980s with the newspaper at an all time high of more than 7,000 subscribers and the future looking bright, he undertook to move The Star from it's home of the past 80 years on Queen St., to a large, modern facility being constructed on Mary Street.
Unknown to anyone at the time, a recession was about to hit, and as the newspaper moved into its new home in The Star Building in January 1991 it was faced with a large debt.
In addition to the downswing in business due to the recession, a second newspaper (Scugog Citizen) headed up by former staff members, opened its doors and began publishing a few months later. Over the next four years, The Star fought to keep its market share of advertisers and subscribers, but the effects of the recession and competition gradually eroded its strong position in the community. With a free newspaper being distributed to every household, subscriptions to The Star began to dwindle, and revenues from advertising dropped.
During this time, Peter's philosophy was very simple... "The Port Perry Star must survive."
And while he was concerned about his future and that of the staff, he was determined to do whatever necessary to ensure The Star, which had celebrated its 130th anniversary in 1991, would continue to serve the public well into the future.
To this end, he regretably implemented many cost saving measures, including reduction of hours and staff layoffs. This was the low point of his entire career and one that haunted him for many years.
In 1995, almost five years of struggle, fighting the competition and the economy things took a turn for the better. Rival newspaper The Scugog Citizen ceased publication and the worst recession in decades gradually wound down.
Drained of energy and enthusiasm after years of working night and day to save the paper, he decided it was time to make some changes. While not ready sell The Star, he decided it was time to hand over some of the burden to someone else. He negotiated with a newspaper group to provide him with a manger to take care of the day-to-day operation of the newspaper at no charge for one year, in return for their right to purchase the newspaper over a period of five years.
About eight months into the agreement, Citizen's Communication Group (the management company), opted to pull-out of the agreement and their general manager, Don MacLeod, was returned to his position with that company.
Subsequently Peter negotiated with Mr. MacLeod personally, bringing him to The Port Perry Star in October 1995 as General Manager, after offering him a 50 percent ownership in the newspaper.
With the heavy responsibility of the managing of operations and staffing being taken care of by a general manager, he now put his efforts into his main love, growing and improving the newspaper. Mr. MacLeod took over complete ownership of the paper in October 2000, and in April 2001, Mr. Hvidsten stepped down as publisher to devote his time to other interests.
In 1998, while still publisher of The Star, he began work on a project, a book to be published as a Millenium project at the turn of the century. For the next 16 months he immersed himself in the project, researching every microfilmed page of The Port Perry Star from 1900 to the year 1999, and documenting the events which shaped the century.
He scoured files at the museum, collected photos from residents and eventually scanned more than 1,200 photographs to accompany the 300 pages of text.
The book, entitled "Out of the Ashes", was published and presented to the public at a book launch on his birthday, September 14, 1999. Since then he has gone on to publish a second book, Scugog: The Early Years, which covers the history of the Scugog area from the early 1800s to 1899, and has colaberated with local historian Paul Arculus on a third book, Historic Homes & Estates of Port Perry.
During his years in the business, Peter was active and involved in the community. He served as president of the Scugog Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Business Improvement Area, and a member of the hospital expansion committee. He also served as a director on the Ontario Community Newspaper Association and was presented the Centennial Medal for his contributions to the community.
Currently he serves as chairman of Heritage Scugog and is an active member of the Rotary Club of Port Perry. His most recent projects include this book on the history of the newspapers, and Uxbridge: The Good Old Days which was published in February 2003.
He continues to work in collaboration with his good friend and colleague, Paul Arculus on a number stories and books of historic nature.
Don MacLeod, the current owner and publisher of The Port Perry Star, was born in Kingston, Ontario in 1963 and educated at West Park Secondary School and Brock University at St. Catharines, Ontario.
Mr. MacLeod began his career in the newspaper business as a member of the campus paper at Brock University where he studied political science and business management.
He entered the community newspaper industry in 1986, selling advertising at the Niagara Advance before moving on to take a position as advertising manager at the Lincoln Post Express in Beamsville. Ont.
In 1989 he accepted a position in Uxbridge were he became advertising manager of the Times-Journal and Stouffville Sun. A few years later he was promoted to publisher for both papers. As the company grew, he accepted an offer to assume the responsibility for the company's weekly newspapers in Bobcaygeon and Fenelon Falls as well.
Mr. MacLeod's association with The Port Perry Star began in 1994, when his parent company, Citizen's Communication Group, was contracted by Star publisher Peter Hvidsten to provide management services for the paper. Mr. MacLeod was asked to take on the role and he became general manager of the paper.
When the arrangement between CCG and The Port Perry Star was terminated, Don accepted an invitation from Mr. Hvidsten to join the firm as a 50 per cent partner and an opportunity to purchase The Star in five years. He and his wife Birgitta purchased a home in Port Perry in 1999 and reside there with their two children, son Christopher and daughter Olivia.
As a partner in The Star, Mr. MacLeod helped initiate a number of new programs which ensured The Star continue to be the leading newspaper in Scugog Township, despite the startup of competing papers. He was instrumental in introducing the very successful Weekend Star edition, and a popular website, and expanded with the Uxbridge Star in August, 2000.
Mr. MacLeod assumed full ownership of the Port Perry's newspaper in October 2000, and he continues to look for ways to expand the busines.
Mr. MacLeod sees diversity as a key part of the paper's success. The business publishes a number of specialty publications, including Discover Scugog, a tourist information guide, Scugog Township Recreation guides, large print telephone books, as well as a variety of special sections for the newspaper. The company currently produces more than 50 publications a year outside of the newspaper.