Mailbag

A NOTE REGARDING JEAN MORRISON

I thought you, as an independent female publisher, would be interested to know that Jean Morrison, a stalwart champion of a free and independent press, passed away recently. The grand old publisher of Napanee refused to sell her weekly newspapers to conglomerates and chains. When she died recently at the age of 97, she was probably the oldest of Canadian publishers and certainly owner of two of Canada’s oldest independent weeklies: The Napanee Beaver (1870) and The Picton Gazette (1830).

Jean and Earl Morrison purchased The Beaver in 1953, taking over the publication from the Templeton family that had owned it since 1892. Much older than The Beaver is her other paper, The Picton Gazette, first published in 1830 as The Hallowell Free Press. The Morrisons purchased it in 1977. Earl died in 1978, leaving Jean to run the papers for the next 41 years.

She regarded The Beaver as Lennox & Addington County’s newspaper of record, and said on the paper’s 140th anniversary: “Since 1870, The Beaver has always been independently owned – a fact of which we are extremely proud, in this age of media conglomerations and monopolies. We are directly invested in L&A, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Influential in the Canadian and Ontario Community Newspaper Associations, Mrs. Morrison will be missed.

Orland French, Belleville

TONY GERMAN AND THE HMCS SKEENA

I just read the latest Watershed – brilliant, as usual – and the Skeena article by David Newland is a terrific piece of writing and most interesting. But I was disappointed that there was no mention of the leader and key players who put the Northumberland Navy League and the HMCS Skeena of Port Hope on the map in the late ’90s.

The leader was Tony German, a career naval officer who had been a student at Trinity College School and went on to serve at sea in WWII. When Tony moved back to Port Hope in 1996, the Northumberland Navy League was virtually inactive and the Port Hope sea cadet corps was tiny. But Tony changed all that. He became President of the Navy League, and dragooned some other veterans onto the Board – most notably Ken Scott, Ian Tate and Don McKinnon. He also dragooned me.

Tony was very much the commander in chief, a tireless leader who demanded much of his valiant team of veterans, and especially of his deputy Ken Scott. Under their watch, the Northumberland Navy League and the corps of cadets grew to be one of the most active in all of Canada.

They spearheaded the drive to renovate the HMCS Skeena building, and raised the funds that made it possible. They reached out to fellow veterans and brought admirals, ambassadors, and other dignitaries to Port Hope for Skeena and Naval events.

When Tony died in 2011, his memorial service was held at the HMCS Skeena. Ken Scott and others spoke movingly of Tony’s public service and extraordinary contribution to the Navy he loved, and to Skeena. It was the tremendous legacy of a great Canadian.

I feel that Tony and his valiant band of veterans, all now gone, should be remembered.

Lest we forget.

Selena Forsyth, Port Hope

I happened to be visiting Prince Edward County recently on my way to my Queen’s University 50th Home coming (Chemical Engineering Class of 1969), when I picked up a copy of the Fall 2019 issue of Watershed, and I read the main article about the wreck of HMCS Skeena.

Well it turns out that my father served on HMCS Skeena at that time. He was Ean Victor Pearce Sunderland (Commander, R.C.N.). He was a sublieutenant at the time. He died in 1994, but prior to his death, I convinced him to write about his war time activities.

Brian Sunderland, West Kelowna, BC

MARSHALL MCLUHAN’S LEGACY

Thank you for your excellent article on Marshall McLuhan’s legacy (The McLuhan Way, Fall 2019). It took me back to my years at U of T from 1962 to 1968, first as a science student, then as a dentistry student, when Marshall was one of the hot topics, and was publishing his work. I joined a fraternity whose members were in many different faculties because, like Marshall, I wanted a diversified exposure. There, I remember our talks and discussions on Marshall’s work.

I also recall a lecture, I believe in the 1980s, given by a Brock University professor who spoke of the new internet – its potential and its path forward. That future is now the present.

I enjoy your magazine and look for new issues, as it is professional and well-presented. It enlightens us on the present and past in this great diversified area.

Dr. R .G. McKay, via email

A FURBY HOUSE THANK YOU

Thank you for acknowledging the 30th anniversary of Furby House Books in Port Hope. It is a great credit to the staff who continue to be informed and helpful. It is also a great credit to our customers who support independent bookstores. Watershed continues to be a “bestseller” in the store.

Lou Pamenter, Port Hope