It was a great little newspaper that, unfortunately, somewhere along the way forgot what it was supposed to be.
It was The Chronicle. The old News and Crunch, as former Dorval mayor Peter Yeomans used to call it, alluding to the publication's former name, The News and Chronicle.
After 91 years, the weekly newspaper publishes its last edition today. The news, announced last week by Transcontinental, that it and sister publication, the Westmount Examiner, were being mothballed did not come as a big surprise. As a spokesperson for the company said, "the two papers were no longer financially viable." The Chronicle was barely a shadow of its former self.
Anyone who grew up in the West Island has fond memories of the paper, though.
Just ask them. They will be quick to share a story of how their team photo was once published within its pages. Or, they once were a carrier, back when kids had paper routes. Even little kids could deliver The Chronicle because it was only once a week.
When the West Island was coming of age, The Chronicle was there to record it.
And like a handful of Montreal Gazette staffers today, I worked at The Chronicle. First as a reporter, then assistant editor and, eventually, as editor. In some ways, it seems like it was all a long time ago.
During the past week, since the news broke that the paper was going to cease publication, many former staffers have come together. A long list of professionals got their start there. There is actually a wake of sorts planned. It will be at Le Pionnier in Pointe-Claire Village on Nov. 11. The guest list is growing by the day.
Why would so many people be excited to attend what, on the surface, is a sad event?
Like any good funeral, it's sad, but it is also a celebration. And the West Island has much to celebrate.
The West Island has always had a unique sense of community. And, this event, is a testament to that.
I like to think that this community is still well served by the media. If you're in the neighbourhood Nov. 11, drop by and we can discuss it.
I worked at The Lakeshore News and Chronicle in the early 1980's. Before that, the paper published my Letters to the Editor and my column, WITH SIX SENSES. But in the early 1980's I worked there as a reporter and photographer. The editor, Jeanette Burley Tremblay, even published a cartoon of Rene Levesque that I drew. As usual my articles were prolific. Mrs. Burley removed my by-lines from some of my best work. She said it was because it would look like I was writing the whole paper.