The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 32 no 1, July 2019. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.
The citizens’ campaign that won independence for Cantley in 1989 was always treated very negatively by the Gatineau media, as if Cantley didn’t have the right to exist. Le Droit and La Revue were closely aligned with political and business interests in Gatineau, some of whom wanted to use Cantley for three garbage dumps. These papers didn’t like upstarts like us!
Cantley Municipal Council invited citizens to join various committees. Councillor Heinz Pilz headed a committee to create a publication of some kind – a bulletin, a newspaper... or something.
It was hard to get going. After some hesitation, on June 23rd, 1989, we published a six-page newsletter that mostly announced the birth of the new paper as well as announcing the upcoming Cantley Picnic, the creation of a fund to pay some legal bills, Mayor Bouthillette opening the General Store as well as a recipe for strawberry jam. We were off to the races!
In the second issue, things became more serious. A garbage dump was on the front page – the same garbage dump that plagued Cantley until it was finally closed about 20 years later.
By the third issue, we realized that publishing in the tabloid format was cheaper and faster than publishing a newsletter so we started printing our paper in Winchester, Ontario, about 30 kms south of Ottawa. Despite the distance, going to Winchester was much cheaper for us. Each month we would take our layout sheets down there in the morning, go have lunch and we would soon have a carload of newspapers to bring back to distribute to every household by Canada Post and in the Cantley dépanneurs.
We incorporated as a non-profit organization that would self-finance operations through advertising. This included the municipal pages paid for by the Municipality which still continue in today’s Echo. Many, if not all, local businesses advertised in their local paper.
For several years, all our crew were volunteers. Michèle Martel, Anne Ginns and Léo Maisonneuve had their names on articles in the August 1989 issue. Gisèle Gariepy and I did the graphic layout on computers and printed out articles on a laser printer. We glued the texts onto 2-page layout sheets that we delivered to the Winchester printer. Our photos were taken on film and then processed by the printer. Today, all of that is prepared digitally and sent digitally to a printer in Hull.
Only our ad salesman, Jean Lavictoire, was paid by commission on the ads he sold. In the late 90’s, we were able to pay our layout people and our coordinator some small compensation for their work.
Receiving the monthly Echo was something each resident in Cantley shared in common, apart from tax bills and garbage collection! The Echo soon became the one sure way residents could connect with each other and be informed about their own community.
Huguette Lessard, Carole Brisebois, Dominique Rakotomanga, Michèle Martel, Gisèle Gariepy, Jean Lavictoire, Heinz Pilz, Réjeanne Renaud, Léo Maisonneuve and Anne Ginns are a few of the names that I remember from that first summer. They were part of the beginning of this remarkable publication that, 30 years later, is still going strong!
Steve Harris also gave birth to Cantley 1889 in 2010 and has been a member ever since.