Knocking Down the Pillars-The End of the Advertiser

“She’s gone by’ ”

“Yes by’ I knew she’d been sick for a long time, hadn’t seen her in a while”

“Nobody seen here much in a while. A bit sudden though”

“Well I knew she didn’t have long after they sent her down to Harbour Breton”

“Harbour Breton? She never had any connection to Harbour Breton?”

“Yeah, bit strange”

“How old was she?”

“82”

“Well by’ she had a good run”

I gave it a year after Nova Scotia based Saltwire took over TransContinental and took over the Advertiser. I gave the Grand Falls-Windsor Advertiser one year of existence before it folded or was folded into something else. I was wrong, but only barely. Saltwire took over last year and it was announced in July that the Advertiser would be replaced with a free regional paper called the Central Voice. I am not sure if you can call them papers anymore, the more appropriate word would be screen I guess.

The same thing that killed the Grand Falls newsprint plant has now killed of the town’s community newspaper. People just don’t read newspapers anymore. I can’t blame them, this is going to come as a shock, but I hate them. They are big, messy, smelly sheets of throwaway media. Mind you I have always said most papers would be better produced in more of a magazine format, easier to read anyplace outside of your kitchen table. Phones and computers are a handier way to read what is normally in a newspaper. But unfortunately you cannot make internet out of black spruce and balsam fir.

rink log cabin field 1938
Early advertisement in the Advertiser for an open air rink at Log Cabin Field near the Exploits behind the Grand Falls House. The Archives of the advertiser are full of interesting and long forgotten aspects of our past. (Photo posted by Jim Paddock, from Advertiser.)

What started in a small shed like building at 11 Mill Road in 1936 blossomed into a bit of a local publishing empire. Started by Walter, Micheal and Laura Blackmore the Advertiser was widely read by the residents of Central Newfoundland. In a time before television and radio was still in its infancy, local news was a welcomed commodity. Within a few years the fledgling operation would have to move into bigger premises. By 1977 Robinson-Blackmore had even outgrown it’s building on High Street and a new building was built near the new mall. The relatively huge Robinson Blackmore building on the corner of Hardy and Harris Avenues once housed massive printing presses and printed a number of community papers from around the Island. At its peak the operation employed over 100 people. In 1936 mill workers Walter and Michael Blackmore started the town’s second newspaper and this one stuck. The first building was a more like a shed or a garage. As if the paper is using the literary method of closing by return, what started in a little building with a couple of people is now ending in a little building with a couple of people.

Blackmore Printing Early.jpg
The original premises of the Blackmore Printing Company at 11 Mill Road.
Robinson Blackmore
The former Robinson-Blackmore printing plant on Harris Avenue. Prior to this the company was in a building on High Street.

Like the closure of the mill it was a long time coming. Once upon a not so distant time, a large portion of the books and newspapers published in Newfoundland and Labrador came off Robinson-Blackmore’s presses in Grand Falls. Besides the Advertiser they founded and published The Gander Beacon, The Lewisporte Pilot, the Norwester and the Clarenville Packet. The first four are now to be folded into the new paper. The commercial printing plant closed in 2007 with the loss of 12 jobs, which was a far cry from the number employed when the operation was booming.

Now the Advertiser will fade into the same history that was recorded in it’s pages and join the ranks of the Twillingate Sun and the Daily News.

Thanks for the news.

HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY FORMED, Station to have Theatre, Expansion at the Mill, Fatal Accident at Mill, Busy Season for Grand Falls, Grand Falls in Good Shape Despite Poor economic Conditions for much of the Island, ACROSS THE BLUE LINE!, SAYS AIRPORT WILL BE BEST IN THE EMPIRE, GRAND FALLS STATION TO HAVE TOWN COUNCIL, Germany Invades Poland! Britain and France Declare War, First Volunteers leave for Overseas, Casualty Lists, Defeats and Then Victories, Fire levels Main Street Businesses, War Ends! Confederation with Canada, SMALLWOOD PREMIER, The Korean War, The Roads to Gander and Corner Brook, Pulp mill in Bishop’s Falls to close, Water and Sewer for Windsor, New Theatre opens on High Street, NEW CENTRAL BOYS HIGH SCHOOL FOR RC’S, ANDCo’s Win Herder, BRIDGE OVER EXPLOITS FINALLY COMPLETED, IWA LOGGERS VOTE TO STRIKE, LOGGERS RIOT AT BADGER, POLICE OFFICER FATALLY INJURED IN RIOT, NBWW AND A.N.D COMPANY REACH AGREEMENT, Town , A.N.D Company Celebrate 50 Years, Police Officer Dead in Botwood Standoff, GRAND FALLS ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL OFFICIALLY OPENED, Company turns over town to Municipal Council, TUCKER FIRST MAYOR, Merger of Price and the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company, Prime Minister, Premier to officially open Trans Canada Highway, Jones Shields every April, Pictures of Parades Several Times a Year, SOVIET PREMIER VISITS TOWN, Canadian Centennial Celebrations, NEW PENTECOSTAL CENTRAL HIGH TO BE BUILT ON BOTWOOD HIGHWAY, New paper machine “Moby Joe”produces first paper, NEW ARTS AND CULTURE CENTER, Cataracts Win Herder, Buchan’s miners on strike, OFFICIAL OPENING EXPLOITS VALLEY MALL, FIRE GUTS CBC-ALTEEN’S, Grand Falls Central Railway to close in Favor of Trucking, Price Newfoundland now Abitibi Price, NEW MUSEUM FOR CENTRAL, MCDONALD’S TO OPEN ON CROMER AVENUE, Buchan’s Mine to Close, Bishop’s Falls Heavily Damaged by Flood, Labatts and Molson on Strike, Forest Fire threatens parts of Town, NEW COURTHOUSE TO BE BUILT NEAR ARTS AND CULTURE CENTER, Grand Falls is named Forestry Capitol of Canada, Canadian National to end Rail Operations in Newfoundland in September, Layoffs at Mill, Beach Boys coming to Centennial Field July 1, Grand Falls and Windsor to Amalgamate, Salmon Ladder to Enhance Exploits Potential, Bon Jovi to Play August Concert, Newfoundlanders to vote on future of Denominational Education, Denominational School System to End, Cabot 500 Celebrations, GFA Wins Last Jones Shield, Abitibi and Stone Consolidated Merge to Form Abitibi-Consolidated, Bomb threats at EVH, Grand Falls-Windsor Native Premier of Province, New York Terror Attacks Planes Diverted, Badger Flooded, Many Residents forced to Evacuate, Williams, Byrne at Odds with Abitibi, Grand Falls-Windsor Celebrates 100 Years, Abitibi Consolidated now Abitibi Bowater, Abitibi-Bowater, NEW MILL MANAGER SAY’S HE’S NOT A HATCHET MAN, Union and Government negotiating Mill’s future, AbitibiBowater Production Ends in Grand Falls Hundreds out of Work, LAST PAPER SHIPPED FROM BOTWOOD, Government to Expropriate AB assets, Timber Rights, No Clear Plan for Former Abitibi Lands or Mill Site, Fire guts former Windsor Collegiate, Salmon Festival Mega Concerts, RECORD BREAKING CROWDS AT SALMON FESTIVAL, Mill Demolition, Weak Numbers Raise Salmon Fest Concerns. Ω

Boy, I sure hope somebody digitizes the archives of the paper and puts them online!

-Bryan Marsh

3 comments

  1. Bryan, a little addition to your roster of newspapers produced at the RB plant in GF-W; There were ten weeklies in all: Clarenville Packet, Gander Beacon, Lewisporte Pilot, The Coaster (South Coast), The Advertiser (twice weekly), the Nor’Wester, The Humber Log, The Georgian (Stephenville), The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) and The Northern Pen. Plus two monthlies and two annual telephone directories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Plus they published the News Log for the Company, and earlier they most likely Printed the “Newfoundland Lumberman” for the loggers union. I might be wrong I think I mentioned 50 working there, I must have pulled that from a 1968 interview with Walter Blackmore.

      Like

      • 50 employees in 1968 would have been about right, but by the 1990s on Harris Avenue, the staff probably increased to about 70 full time and another 20 or so during telephone directory production which would have been three or four weeks. I don’t recall printing “The Lumberman.”

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s