PORT PERRY NEWSPAPERS
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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
During the next ten years the
Ontario Observer saw many changes in its' ownership
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
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,
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
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
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
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
George Newton took an early interest
in the newspapers, publishing the Ailsa Craig Banner
and the Port Perry Standard before the turn of the
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
PORT PERRY STAR ABOUT 1965
PORT PERRY STAR 1985 AFTER RENOVATIONS
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
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
PER HVIDSTEN SELLS PAPER TO SON
PETER IN 1976
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,
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
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
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,
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
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
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
Port Perry This Week is owned
by Metroland Printing and Publishing, owners of
more than 25 community newspapers across Ontario.
Port Perry Newspaper Owners /
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
In 1963, The Port Perry Star became
available and the Hvidstens purchased the paper. Within
months a modernization process began on the paper
"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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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