Thursday Feb 02, 2023

Opinion | Norwood: Communication is key — The Norwood Register, Part 6 –


The first edition of the Norwood Register printed by Capt. Thomas Burke on his Washington Hand Press in December 1870 was printed in the classic folio or sheet form that we are familiar with today however other than the form it bore little resemblance to a modern day newspaper. The first paper contained a total of four pages each page had only six columns and each sheet was 20 inches in length.

The most noticeable difference was in the headline; where today the big type and the most attention grabbing news is reserved for the front page, the first Norwood Register did not even have a headline, as a matter of fact the front page carried no current news of any sort.

Instead there was a Scottish Poem called “Jack Parson’s Wedding,” a three-column long story called “A Spanish Tragedy” and a few small advertisements for local stores and professional services such as an announcement for a new stage route to Marmora.

It was also close to Christmas and many local businesses included greetings and best wishes to their customers. Community came first while the politics and the news from afar were regulated to the later pages.

For the most part the Norwood Register maintained this community mandate and kept its front page for local happenings that would be of interest to village residents. Exceptions were made of course for major and life altering happenings such as the world wars.

The Register was still very much a community paper when Jack F. Chevers purchased it from Mark Bailey to become the seventh owner of the Norwood Register on July 1, 1946 and by all accounts Mr. Chevers continued with a similar directive.

Chevers was described as a practical printer with many years of experience, he was born near Kemptville, Ont. where he began his career in the printing business, he moved around the province gaining experience, living and working in Carlton Place, Kingsville, Galt (now part of Cambridge) and also Toronto where he worked for the Wilson Publishing Co. Perhaps tiring of life in the city, he purchased the Register and left Toronto and the Wilson Co. to move to Norwood. Chevers made few changes and the paper continued to be printed reliably each week.

The year 1970 marked the paper’s 100th year in operation and it also came with a major change, in that year Mr. Chevers moved the paper and the presses to a new home on Colborne St. The corner store that today is home to Norwood Centennial Pharmacy became the office of the Norwood Register. Some Norwood folk may remember Mary Fife and Annie Deen working in this new office. Mary had the position of what today would be called the Office Manager and was responsible for subscriptions, advertisements and the everyday operation of the office.

Annie Deen was the reporter. Annie, as some will recall, was my predecessor for this column, although she did switch employers, her position with the Register was the start of her more than 40-year career reporting on Norwood happenings.

In June 1972, after 26 years of faithfully editing the weekly paper every Thursday, Chevers died unexpectedly. His sudden death effectively shut down the Norwood Register and for the first time in its 102 years the presses were silent and the paper ceased publishing. Chevers final edition would also be the last time the …….


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