I am trying to understand what 100 years means. My sense of history and the understanding of the Fort Frances Times begins in the basement of the Times when it was located on Church Street.
It is a memory of standing around a noisy folder, and helping my grandfather and father take tourist brochures off the folder, put elastics around the bundle and place them in card board boxes.
A later memory is watching my father sit on a round seat, flipping paper on to a large sheet fed press that printed the Times. Only recently did I understand that the press was acquired by the paper in 1912. It remains my connection with the original owner and publisher Mr. J.A. Osborne.
Throughout 100 years, the paper has written of gold strikes, and bumper crops, of timber barons, and rail road men, of births and deaths, of war and victory. It has shared the dreams of settlers and modern business. It has written of the beginnings of the CCF in the district and the Reform party.
It has chronicled the life of the people, business and issues of this area.
I looked back to what my grandfather James A. Cumming and Russ Larson spoke to the community on April 19, 1934. The two said, " We assure you that the Times will be an asset to Fort Frances and the whole of the Rainy River Valley which it will be privileged to serve.
The editorial policy of the Times will always be Independent in thought, action and deed.
The columns of the Times will always be open to constructive criticisms of any policies, it will from time to time initiate and criticisms of this nature will be given due prominence under the Letters to the Editor."
The following week, Mr. Larson spoke to the Kiwanis Club and stated, "The newspaper has a duty to the people it serves which demands that every phase of community life be conscientiously served. To do this it must give the news and give the whole news, regardless of the personal feelings of the editor, or management, towards any movement or section of the community. In short, it must reflect the life of its community from week to week as fully and as fairly as circumstances will permit.
Not only must the community be served in this manner, but also the entire territory in which the paper circulates, must be similarly organized and served from week to week, because there is today a closer community interest between the town and its district than ever existed before."
The same commitment remains today with the Fort Frances Times. The same needs exist. And in order to accommodate all the issues and concerns of the district, the paper expanded its staff and ability to deliver news, advertising and produce printing.
The paper is continually being modernized. In the not too great future, the paper will be accessed from any home in the world through the world wide web. And the files and historic documents of the paper will also be available to any scholar researching the area.
Newspapering is changing and the means of delivering the information to homes will change. But the commitment made by J.A. Osborne, W.H. Elliott, Russ Larson and James A. Cumming, my father, my mother, and now Don, Linda and myself remains true. We will continue to be the leading information source in the district, being a mirror of what is happening in your neighbourhoods, your schools, your businesses, your governments.
That is the commitment for the next 100 years.
I Thank You for coming.