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It’s all about people BY DAVE ADSETT

When the idea was tossed around about a special publication to celebrate 50 years in business, no one here guessed it would receive the support it has. People wanted in. Instead of just a modest remembrance recognizing this business milestone, readers are being presented this week with a fantastic tribute in addition to their community newspaper. One concern expressed by our editor was that such a large feature might be viewed as pretentious or boastful. Those certainly are not qualities our organization finds appealing. Yet after reading what has been written, I think readers will be interested and pleased - I certainly was. A number of years ago at our staff Christmas party I asked our salesman Mac Mason to say grace. Yes, our firm still gives thanks and it’s generally a non-denominational welcome for our staff and guests before dinner. Between attending Knox Presbyterian, coaching sports and his time on the Legion executive, Mac was able to verbalize something few could or ever bother to do. It went something like “it doesn’t matter what job you have here; if you mop the floors or report or stuff newspapers you are valued and appreciated.” The sentiment rang as true then as it does now – every-

one in our organization plays a role and has a contribution to make each and every week. Over the years, we have had the privilege of employing dozens of people and each and every one of them added something to our organization. *** WITH CELEBRATIONS COME MEMORIES Dad and I are still best buddies. On a little road trip recently, we got talking about the anniversary. I was trying to get out of him how he felt about it all. I suggested reaching the 50 year mark wasn’t like winning a race and we could relax a bit - it’s just a new starting point. He could see that, but did propose that I probably had no idea how rough it was starting out. I had a few glimpses. Dad ran a lot of roads in his life. One such occasion I was along for the ride. It was a day off school and this was back in the days when take your kid to work day meant the kid actually had to work. In the wee hours of the next day, another edition was put to bed as they say. We struck off to Durham to hand deliver it to the printer. Internet wasn’t even thought about back then. On the way back the ‘75 Chrysler Newport, full of old papers and book work, took a quick swing to the shoulder just south of Mount Forest. I

was half asleep, having stayed with dad through the night putting the paper together. Startled, I looked over and he said “Dad needs to close his eyes for a bit.” It wasn’t long and we were back on the road. While that one was being printed and getting ready for

former staff drop by for a visit. We have always been lucky to have dedicated people working for us and their best wishes all these years later were heartwarming. For our current staff, the event was a little bit of an eye opener. As one employ-

“It doesn’t matter what job you have here; if you mop the floors or report or stuff newspapers, you are valued and appreciated.” - DAVE ADSETT, QUOTING LATE AD SALESMAN MAC MASON

delivery, the next issue was underway. It’s a cycle that never stopped – even now. *** SPECIAL DAY Last week, on April 4, we held our open house at the Wellington County Museum and Archives. It was great to see some

ee mentioned to me, “I was always proud to work here, but the event made me feel it even more.” People had such great things to say. From our extended family to neighbours to longtime supporters, advertisers, politicians and local business people – it was an enviable crowd full of friends. The cynical old Kaiser


arrived from his current headquarters in Chatham. (I suppose it is okay to divulge his office nickname now that he is retired). Dave Meyer showed up and seemed to step back into reporter mode fairly quickly, pouncing on politicians and interrogating them on their latest activities. We travelled a lot of road together and he wound up a trusted friend. Probably 20 years ago he came up with a line that “the best a politician could hope for was begrudging respect.” That could well be a line from one of the thousands of books he has read in his life, but it resonated with me and is worth repeating. That adage of begrudging respect could apply equally to the very public role a community newspaper and its staff play in a community. By any measure, dignitaries at the museum brought greetings from their municipal, provincial, federal and Senate chambers – and there was nothing begrudging about it. It was genuine. It was moving. It was appreciated. Many of those comments are published elsewhere in this special edition. *** MORE ABOUT PEOPLE Our business relies on advertising. It’s as simple as that. People supporting our

Congratulations to the Adsett family and the staff at The Wellington Advertiser.


50 years of service and the best is yet to come! A finer newspaper does not exist in Canada. Thanks for all you do to strengthen our communities, by keeping us informed of what’s truly happening.



Size: Wellington-Halton 5.042 in x 4 inHills


Congratulations to

The Adsett Family and the

Wellington Advertiser Staff Thanks for 50 years of great community coverage.

Michael Chong

Member of Parliament, Wellington - Halton Hills 5-200 St. Patrick st. E., Fergus | 519.843.7344 | 866.878.5556 |

enterprise help us deliver an entertaining, informative newspaper each week. There is a cost to this and thanks to shopkeepers, business people, associations and local governments, Wellington County is served with a newspaper that is the envy of neighbouring communities. One of the funnier calls we get with regularity is from a new homeowner looking to subscribe to the Advertiser, believing they are benefiting from the old owner’s paper still arriving at their door. Newcomers rely on us to get up to speed on their new hometown. Over the past 50 years we have helped promote events and causes with free or heavily discounted advertising. We help where we can because we know these activities make our communities stronger. All of this activity is pulled together each week by our people. Today we have the good fortune of having the largest newsroom, graphics department and only surviving mailroom in this region. We have 44 people dedicated and interested in doing a great job for our advertisers and readers each week. That’s something Dad never would have imagined five decades ago as he ran the operation from the front seat of his car. We’ve come a long way - and it’s all thanks to our people. 1.800.265.2366

Congratulations On behalf of the communities you serve so well:

Congratulations to the Wellington Advertiser on 50 years! RANDY

PETTAPIECE MPP – Perth-Wellington

A trusted voice for Perth-Wellington

Toll-free: 1-800-461-9701


‘It’s about service to others’: Wellington Advertiser celebrates 50th anniversary BY CHRIS DAPONTE

FERGUS - When Bill Adsett sits down each week to peruse a copy of the Wellington Advertiser, he’s extremely proud of the newspaper he started in 1968. “It has accomplished the original image that I had when I first founded it, with improvements and changes,� he said. Sitting in the boardroom of the newspaper’s office on Gartshore Street in Fergus, he beams with pleasure as he relays stories and memories about the business’ start, its early years and its progression over five decades. Now 82, Bill still lives in the same home in which he was born, on a farm in former Eramosa Township. The eldest of two sons born to Hugh and Ethel Adsett, he attended S.S.#6 Eramosa: Luttrell School before moving on to Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute (GCVI) for high school. After graduating, he worked a few jobs before deciding to enroll at the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph at the suggestion of friend Ken Jessop. “I thought, ‘My parents

have done well for me so I better get to work,’� he recalled. Yet when commodity prices took a hit, he decided to try other things, including a stint with Texaco in Hamilton, construction of Wellington Road 26 between county roads 124 and 18, selling life insurance and a position with the nation’s Royal Commission on Farm Machinery. “I took what I could get,� he said. Bill married Trudy Ann Hill in 1966 and one year later their son David arrived (son Kirk was born in 1969 and daughter Marie in 1971). Following the arrival of the couple’s first child, Bill decided to take a leap into the newspaper business. “I told (Trudy) I was going to run for council and I told her I was going to start a newspaper,� he said. He paused, smiled, and then continued, “I didn’t have a penny to my name - I didn’t tell her that part.� Yet true to his word, Bill was elected to Eramosa council in 1968 - largely, he notes, on the strength of his disagreement with the initial site chosen for Eramosa Public School,

which his children and two of his grandchildren would eventually attend. And the first eight-page issue of the Fergus and Area Shoppers News was published on March 12, 1968.

people about municipal politics and processes, Bill explained. The business was started out of the front seat of Bill’s car. In the beginning, printing was handled by Williams

“It has accomplished the original image that I had when I first founded it, with improvements and changes.�

- BILL ADSETT “It only took one issue to find out Elora and Arthur are not in the ‘Fergus area’ - they’re standalone places,� he said. So the name was changed to The Wellington Advertiser and the circulation expanded to include the entire county. “That was major - a big jumping off point,� he said of the name and circulation changes. Much like his move into the political arena, the decision to start the paper was rooted in a “sense of community responsibility� and a desire to educate


Printing in Guelph, under the direction of Frank Williams, who was instrumental in helping to get the business off the ground. (Over the years, printing would move to Acton with Dill Printing, to Durham with Kris Kennedy and back to Guelph with Webman, the old Guelph Mercury. The Advertiser is currently printed at Hamilton Web in Stoney Creek). “Changing technology, press capabilities, schedules and price were factors in where the newspaper was printed,�

said Bill’s son and current publisher Dave Adsett, who took over as Advertiser general manager in 1992. Early on, Bill also tried to establish the Dufferin Advertiser in neighbouring Dufferin County (it was short-lived). And in 1971 he purchased the Community News, a small newspaper in Drayton serving what is now Mapleton Township, from friend Garrett Wimmenhove. “I gave Trudy the Community News for Christmas,� Bill recalled, roll-

ing his eyes in hindsight at the idea of such a gift. Art Carr, another newspaper man from Palmerston, helped in the next steps of production for both the Advertiser and Community News, which continues to serve Mapleton Township. It wasn’t long thereafter that Bill took the important step of purchasing his own Compugraphic “photo-typesetting� machine for about $5,000, a hefty sum in those days. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

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The purchase marked a major milestone for the business, as production became an in-house function. “It was a turning point,” Bill said. “It made the business selfsufficient.” The Compugraphic system required a darkroom to process tapes of film that were physically cut and pasted into galleys on a page. Over the decades, gallons of wax was used and hundreds of blades were worn out assembling the paper. Editorial copy was scarce in the beginning, aided by a number of freelancers and a popular column by H. Gordon Green. Bill looked into purchasing other newspapers in the early years, but nothing panned out. Conversely, the Advertiser was not immune to purchase offers from others in the business. “They wanted (me) gone because it was free circulation and they wanted to build empires,” Bill recalled. In the end, his fledgling company, later incorporated under the name WHA Publications Ltd., survived but not without its struggles. At the outset, Bill would sell ads, take copy to the printer, ensure delivery and then take

the final product himself to post offices throughout the county. That was in addition to his role as township councillor and later reeve and warden. At home, Trudy manned “the Rockwood office” phone line, bagged papers and prepared them for the mail and booked ads over the phone. She

as boss at the Advertiser wasn’t always top of mind. “In many respects, a family business resembles the family farm where it is only natural that the next generation take over, but I had my own ideas,” Dave said. In the late 1980s, he got his real estate licence, which helped him learn about people,

“They wanted (me) gone because it was free circulation and they wanted to build empires.” - BILL ADSETT ON PURCHASE OFFERS FOR THE WELLINGTON ADVERTISER

also raised their three children. Kirk and Marie helped out at the newspaper at various points in the business’ history. “Over the years, cousins, aunts and uncles helped out too - sometimes paid and sometimes not,” said Dave. As for himself, taking over

finance and business. He also wanted to farm, but quickly realized “there wasn’t a living to be made” on a few hundred acres. “As fate would have it, dad had some health issues in the early 90s and I seemed to be spending more and more time

at the newspaper helping out,” Dave recalled. “Around that time, I abandoned my own path and joined the business full-time (as general manager).” Until the mid-90s, Drayton was the hub of production for the Advertiser and Community News. The introduction of desktop publishing meant less space was required and production moved to the Advertiser headquarters at 180 St. Andrew Street in Fergus. The business marked another significant milestone with the hiring of its first fulltime reporter. After the Elora Sentinel folded in 1995, David Meyer, from whom Bill Adsett had purchased rock and roll album reviews in the early 1980s, figured he would have to leave town to find another journalism gig. But first, he contacted the Adsetts to see if the Advertiser was interested in his services. “We had a number of freelancers and reporters over the years but in 1996 I got a call from David Meyer looking for work,” said Dave. “I rolled the dice with David ... Very quickly, his nose for




news and prolific writing capabilities made a huge difference to our standing as the newspaper of record for Wellington County.” Long days - and nights were often the norm in the late 1990s, when Meyer, Dave

Adsett and the newspaper staff worked hard to grow the newspaper. “It was crazy hours, a crazy time, but it was exciting,” Meyer said. “We ran on adrenaline.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 5


Celebrating 50 years FROM PAGE 4

In hindsight, “the whole thing was a real gamble,” Meyer said, alluding to the business’ transition from an advertising publication with a few press releases into “a full-fledged newspaper.” Bill, too, credits his son with making bold, yet wise, moves to advance the Advertiser, both as a business and as a news outlet. “He’s a good businessman. He’s bright, he’s communityoriented and a responsible journalist himself,” Bill said of his son. “And he is committed to ensuring Wellington County will continue to have a weekly, free circulation newspaper.” Dave noted he was always cognizant of balancing growth with paying bills and ensuring employee obligations were met. “It’s much the same for all employers: you want to hire the best people possible and be able

to hold up your end of the bargain – chiefly job security and a good work environment,” he said. As luck would have it, amalgamation in 1999 eliminated the monumental task of trying to cover 21 municipal councils. “That really made everything possible ... everything sort of just took off from there,” Meyer said. “We knew that we had something.” Meyer counts the county’s transformation into seven larger municipalities as one of the most important news stories he has covered in his career. “We helped explain the government structure very well,” Meyer said. “People were less confused in Wellington than they were elsewhere in Ontario because the coverage was so thorough.” Dave Adsett remembers the newspaper “pouring resources into informing

our readership” about amalgamation. “There were many weeks of loose papers - full of news,

source grew. So too, did its staff complement and its overall operation, thanks in part to leasing mailroom space across

“There were many weeks of loose papers - full of news, short on ads but it was a conscious choice to do the absolute best job we could.” - DAVE ADSETT short on ads - but it was a conscious choice to do the absolute best job we could,” he explained. Slowly but surely, the business’ reputation as a reliable news

the road from the St. Andrew Street office in 2002. “This was another big step, moving to our own mailroom and

delivery apparatus,” Dave said, adding his hands were “visibly shaking” when he signed the lease agreement for the extra space. The business purchased a forklift and hired urban carriers and rural route drivers to deliver the Advertiser and its flyer package door to door each week. Just three years later, with the operation “bursting at the seams” on St. Andrew Street, an opportunity arose to move across town to a 10,000 square foot building on Gartshore Street that housed a tech-

nology company. “Although it was a big move - huge in fact - the owner and I shook hands and made a deal after talking for ten minutes,” said Dave. “We haven’t looked back since this move.” Initially, Dave was thinking the business could rent out some extra space at the new location, but the business grew and the building was full within two years. CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

“We helped explain the government structure very well ... People were less confused in Wellington than they were elsewhere in Ontario because the coverage was so thorough.” - DAVE MEYER

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nearly 20 million pieces per year and the Advertiser’s press run is 41,000 copies, making it one of the largest independent newspapers in southwestern Ontario. In an age when many newspapers are being shuttered and employees laid off, “50 years is a monumental achievement,” said Meyer. He attributes the Advertiser’s longevity and success to its large coverage area (“it sort of connected the county as a community”), to continuous improvements in news coverage (shorter stories and more content) and photography, and to its diverse group of employees. “When you come right down to it, just the basic rules of good journalism,” he said. “Now it’s a newspaper to be proud of.” He added the paper has gained the trust of residents. “If there’s something happening, the Advertiser gets to it

or covers it,” he said. “It was a real thrill to work at the Advertiser and watch it grow. I personally hope they get another 50 or 100 years out of it.” For the publisher, the news-

keep hyperbole and opinions on its letters and editorial page. “But most important, we have always had a sense of good will across the county,” he said, mentioning the paper’s aid to various businesses and

“To think dad started it when I was not yet six months old and watching it grow from its modest beginnings to today is pretty humbling” - DAVE ADSETT

paper’s longevity is linked to his upbringing and to the attitudes of his father. “We don’t give up and our word is our bond ... Many operations weren’t as honest and I think that showed up,” Dave said. He added the newspaper tries to stick to the facts and



community groups as well as its countless charitable donations. “It’s been all about service to others all this time,” he said. In 2011, succession plans were finalized, with Dave taking over as Advertiser owner. The move also marked Bill’s official retirement, though he

continued to deliver papers until 2015. Asked when he first felt the newspaper had finally “made it” as an established business, Bill replied that he “never” truly felt that way. But his son’s thoughts on the matter indicate Bill may be underestimating the newspaper’s impact, even early on. “Looking back at old issues, I would think the paper made it as a household name in the mid-70s. We still run ads for businesses that first advertised in that era,” said Dave. He also mentioned that in the mid-90s, as farm sizes increased, dealerships closed and remaining farm retailers focused on trade publications, the business shifted from a rural- to a suburban-focused publication. “We reinvented ourselves and escaped the misnomer of being ‘a farm paper,’” Dave said.

He shares his father’s pride in what the Advertiser has become. “To think dad started it when I was not yet six months old and watching it grow from its modest beginnings to today is pretty humbling,” said Dave. “There’s been a lot of hurdles along the way, a lot of fun, a lot of worry and great reward in knowing our business is such a big part of life for people in Wellington County.” For Bill, whose name will forever be synonymous with the company he started five decades ago, retirement has provided ample time to reflect on how far the Advertiser has come. Perhaps best of all, just as tens of thousands of others do each week, he’s finally able to relax and silently enjoy the newspaper as a faithful reader. “I’m pleased with it beyond description,” he said with a smile.




In 2015, the building was expanded by 2,000 square feet to accommodate the business’ growing insert trade. Obviously technological advancements over the years - from digital photography to desktop publishing - revolutionized the newspaper industry. But another key development was the introduction of high speed fibre optic internet lines in the mid-2000s, which facilitated digital delivery of newspaper pages, negating the need for a three-hour roundtrip drive to hand deliver hard copies to the printer. Since 1968, the Advertiser’s staff has grown from one to 44, including a full in-house production team, an experienced sales force, a five-member editorial team and a circulation department that manages 151 foot carriers and another 20 rural drivers. The mailroom handles

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ABOYNE - “Community journalism is about covering everything from municipal politics to church suppers and everything in between. “Local newspapers provide a very strong link between the individual and the community. For 50 years the Wellington Advertiser has done just that, delivering uniquely local and Canadian content.” Those words, from uniquely local Canadian Senator Rob Black, were included among numerous tributes offered by political and industry dignitaries at the Wellington Advertiser’s 50th anniversary celebration at the Wellington County Museum and Archives on April 4. “I want to congratulate the Adsett family and the Wellington Advertiser on this milestone anniversary. Fifty years as a family-run business and newspaper is a tremendous accomplishment in these times of consolidation and mergers,” continued Black, a life-long county resident who was appointed to the Senate on Feb. 15. “In this era of fake news the Wellington Advertiser has, for over 50 years, provided continuous access to real news stories about Wellington County for Wellington County residents.” Black noted the county publication provides critical journalistic services and functions for local residents. “It conveys information to citizens. It ensures those in

power in our area are held accountable. But above all else, it helps people to connect to each other,” he said. Wellington County Warden Dennis Lever said 50 years is “an incredible amount of time when you think about it.” He pointed out the first issue of the paper in 1968 contained advertisements for four houses selling for less than $20,000 each. The warden also com-

right after amalgamation,” said Lever. “Both Bill and Dave served as Wellington County wardens as well - Bill in 1981 and Dave in 2003. Their long-term contribution to our communities’ well-being simply can’t be measured. “There have been many topics covered in the editorial column over the years and the way they’re written speaks to the type of character of those individuals.

“The people who founded democracy here in North America understood that and that’s why, over many centuries, our democratic rights have always included a free press that can advocate, that can criticize, that can cover the news to ensure an informed citizenry so we can have a solid, strong democracy.” - MICHAEL CHONG, WELLINGTON-HALTON HILLS MP

mented on the history of enterprise and community service from Advertiser founder William (Bill) Adsett and current publisher Dave Adsett. “Bill served on local council as reeve (of what was then Eramosa Township) from ‘75 to ‘82 and Dave was the mayor (of Guelph-Eramosa)

“In my view they are caring, compassionate and genuinely involved in our communities.” Noting he looks forward to each week’s issue of the Advertiser, Lever stated, “Many have written in the last two years about how important good press coverage is to our democracy. Ensuring

an informed message goes out to our residents, reporting on what your local government is doing … and of course sometimes being critical as well, this has been a key strength of the Wellington Advertiser over the years and has led to the respect that they have.” County councillor Shawn Watters, chair of the county’s information, heritage and seniors committee, pointed to the digitization of five decades worth of Advertiser pages - officially launched by the museum and archives at the event - as an example of the connection between the county and its newspaper. “Our staff at the county are very proud to work with the Wellington Advertiser to do this and provide this information for not only the next few years, but almost forever,” he said. “This information will be available ... not only to the county, but to the world.” Watters also noted, “It’s interesting in these times when papers are having a really hard time ... this paper … has endured and stayed, because it really is a testament to this community. “And just looking around the room, I think it speaks volumes to what you folks have done with the paper. People feel a closeness to that. They feel like it’s their paper. It’s not just some entity out there. And I think that’s really important.” A newspaper’s role in a democracy like Canada was

a focus of local members of parliament and provincial parliament at the celebration. Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong said a free press is the foundation of a democracy. “The people who founded democracy here in North America understood that and that’s why, over many centuries, our democratic rights have always included a free press that can advocate, that can criticize, that can cover the news to ensure an informed citizenry so we can have a solid, strong democracy,” Chong said. “The Wellington Advertiser has been an integral part of that for 50 years.” He congratulated Bill and his wife Trudy on the growth of the paper. “Bill, through hard work, you and Trudy built this into one of the country’s largest family-owned independent papers,” Chong said. “Something that we all in the county can be very proud of.” He reminisced about looking through the paper’s classified ads in the 1970s and ‘80s looking for cars and pickup trucks to one day purchase. “Your paper’s evolved much beyond that, from simply classifieds, to cover the

news here ... and it serves an important part of our democracy … for local township councils, for county council, for the provincial legislature and for our national parliament,” Chong said. He thanked the Wellington Advertiser for the service it provides. “You have not only survived but thrived in this last 50 years, particularly as we look at the current media landscape and its rapidly changing nature because of the introduction of the internet,” Chong said. “So all the best for the next 50 years and we look forward to the continued coverage that you provide.“ Perth-Wellington MP John Nater also congratulated the Advertiser. “The importance of local journalism and local media is more important now than ever,” Nater said. “We have a lot of politicians in the room today and I know we appreciate when our local media keeps us accountable because it’s a fundamental purpose of democracy to be kept accountable by a free and independent press. “We appreciate all that the Wellington Advertiser does for CONTINUED ON PAGE 9

Insta-cute - Chloe and Nicholas Adsett were camera-ready during the Advertiser’s 50th anniversary celebration on April 4. Photo by Kelly Waterhouse

Front page - The front cover photo booth was popular with those who attended. Dave Adsett, back, with his children, Nicholas, Brooke, Chloe and Alexis. Photo by Mike Robinson

Timeline - A timeline of the Wellington Advertiser, from its humble beginnings to current days, visitors to the 50th anniversary event on April 4 could get the full history of the newspaper. Photo by Mike Robinson


Wellington Advertiser celebrates 50 years at open house FROM PAGE 8

that.” Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott discussed how important community newspapers are in the changing media environment and how the Advertiser has contributed to local democracy and political culture. “Your coverage of local news and events not only keeps us informed, but it also binds us together as a community, giving us a common point of reference upon which to discern, understand and to act,” he said. “Yours is one of the finest

represent.” Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece said he agrees with the comments from other politicians and noted it was the Letters to the Editor section that caught his eye the first time he read the Wellington Advertiser. “It seems that people in Wellington County have a lot to say,” Pettapiece said. “And I’m glad that they have a forum to say it at. “It seems to me that this paper has welcomed that over the years and encourages that.” He also recognized the

“Your coverage of local news and events not only keeps us informed, but it also binds us together as a community, giving us a common point of reference upon which to discern, understand and to act.” - TED ARNOTT, WELLINGTON-HALTON HILLS MPP

in the whole country, and you have earned our trust, our respect and our support. “We greatly appreciate all that you do, and all that you

newspaper for its years of service to the community. “To everyone at the Wellington Advertiser, I say keep on doing what you’re

doing because we need you; we need you out there and it’s actually so much fun reading your newspaper ... thanks for all you do.” Ontario Community Newspapers Association president Ray Stanton commented on the Advertiser’s unique status as an independent publication “founded and continuously run by the same family” for five decades. “Congratulations everyone,” said Stanton. “All the best.” Publisher Dave Adsett highlighted the Advertiser’s journey from its “humble beginnings as a one-man show” to a staff of 44 and the milestone of 50 years in business. “It wasn’t easy getting established and running a newspaper remains a challenge,” he said. From the local business person soliciting business or trying to hire someone, to local government notices, to readers keen for local information, Adsett said, “this whole enterprise has and continues to operate on good will and the very highest of hopes for our readers, our advertisers and the communities we serve.” The publisher also commented on the contribution of the “exceptional staff” the operation has employed over

History - Readers explore past copies of the Wellington Advertiser, which were on display during the 50th anniversary event held at the Wellington County Museum and Archives on April 4. Photo by Mike Robinson

the years. “Dedicated, hard-working, passionate and committed employees have helped bring us to this moment; where we have grown to having the largest newsroom, the largest graphics department and the only full-fledged mailroom left in this region.” Adsett also remarked on the unique vantage point he and his father were able to work from as both publishers and politicians. “An inescapable truth is half of our company’s

existence, almost 25 years, included the distraction of either Dad or me sitting on local and county council,” he said. “We both had the honour of a one-year term as warden of Wellington County. It gave us a perspective and opportunity we would both be poorer for not having. We know this county. We know its people. We know its customs and we know how important it is for each village, small town, hamlet and sideroad to have a voice and connection with

their neighbours.” Adsett continued, “We also know what good government looks like and that has proven invaluable when writing editorials or advising reporters on the nuances of local government. “We truly care about what goes on here. We are invested in Wellington and I think that shows. “Thank you for sharing part of your day with us and keeping your county newspaper, the Wellington Advertiser, strong and free.”


In the beginning 1968 In 1968, William Hugh Adsett (WHA), better known simply as “Bill,” started the Fergus and Area Shopping News, which quickly morphed into the Wellington Advertiser when it became clear advertisers wanted more circulation than what was offered with subscription newspapers of that day. The business was started in the front seat of Bill’s car.

50 years - Wellington Advertiser founder William “Bill” Adsett received the prestigious Gold Quill award on April 4 from Ontario Community Newspapers Association during the Advertiser’s 50th anniversary celebration at the Wellington County Museum and Archives. From left: OCNA president Ray Stanton, Bill Adsett, Advertiser publisher Dave Adsett, OCNA vice president Rick Shaver and OCNA secretary/treasurer John Willems. Photo by Chris Piccinetti, County of Wellington

Wellington Advertiser founder receives Gold Quill BY OLIVIA RUTT

FERGUS - Advertiser founder William “Bill” Adsett has been awarded a Gold Quill recognizing his 50 years in the newspaper industry. Adsett was presented with the prestigious award at the Wellington Advertiser’s 50th anniversary event at the Wellington County Museum and Archives on April 4. A Gold Quill is given to those with 50 years of service to the newspaper industry. Adsett founded the Wellington Advertiser in 1968, working from the front seat of his car. Now, the paper has a circulation of over 40,000 in Wellington County. Canadian News Media Association chair Bob Cox congratulated Adsett at the event via video. “Things are a lot different today than they were in 1968, but one thing that isn’t different is the work done by community newspapers,” he said. “I know how important community newspapers are in the lives of their readers; so does Bill and so does everyone at the Wellington Advertiser.”

Only 46 people have ever received a Gold Quill and Cox noted Adsett was very deserving of the award. “At a time when people say newspapers are dying, the Wellington Advertiser is thriving,” said Cox.

ident Ray Stanton presented the award to Adsett. “I’ve travelled around the province ... we’ve gone to lots of events, but clearly nothing like this,” Stanton told the crowd. “It’s quite a paper you have here.”

“It’s thriving thanks to all of your hard work, and it’s proving every day and every week that community newspapers are vital to the social and economic well-being of the communities they serve.” - CNMA PRESIDENT BOB COX

“It’s thriving thanks to all of your hard work, and it’s proving every day and every week that community newspapers are vital to the social and economic well-being of the communities they serve.” Ontario Community Newspapers Association pres-

Adsett’s family, including his son and current publisher Dave Adsett, was on hand to recognize the achievement. “I’m very proud to see that honour bestowed on Dad and happy so many friends and supporters were there to share the moment,” he said.

Thank you for promoting Wellington County 4-H news for


We appreciate the outstanding service!

Congratulations to The Wellington Advertiser! Thank you for spreading the word and promoting the joy of reading! The Learning Centre helps youth and adults develop their ability to learn and maximize skills. To us, success with any learner means “I couldn’t do it before, but I can do it now!”

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WHA Publications has come a long way since those humble beginnings.


Dave Adse Bill Adsett with s) nth mo (6

Family has always played a role at the Advertiser. Bill’s wife Trudy manned a Rockwood office phone line, which was actually the house phone. In addition to bagging papers and prepping them for the mail and taking ads over the phone, she raised their three children: David, Kirk and Marie. Cousins, aunts and uncles helped out too - sometimes paid and sometimes not.

It was a different time. Clockwise: Bill (standing), Trudy, Marie, Kirk and Dave Adsett

1971 In 1971, the Community News, a smaller newspaper that covers Mapleton Township, was purchased from Gerrit Wimmenhove who ran the paper for several years in Drayton.

The Seventies In the early 1970s the Advertiser moved into its first Fergus office, in a building (now demolished) in the TD Canada Trust parking lot on St. Andrew Street West. Later it moved just down the road to a space above what is currently Moretti’s For Men barber shop. The Compugraphic system was acquired in the 1970s. It required a darkroom to process tapes of film that were then cut and pasted into galleys on the page.

Delivery of the newspaper in the early years was handled entirely by Canada Post.


Advertiser newsroom covers the county on multiple platforms BY PATRICK RAFTIS

FERGUS – The Wellington Advertiser editorial department is a hive of activity whenever deadlines approach. News is gathered and disseminated by an editorial team including an editor and four reporters, several freelancers and numerous community contributors. Phones ring, emails fly back and forth around the county, stories are debated, debunked, written, paginated, tweeted, published and posted online in a fast-paced flow of community journalism that results each week in a printed product exceeding

“Declining revenue and the increasing popularity of online news helped contribute to the demise of some newspapers, but in some cases corporate mismanagement was a major culprit.” - CHRIS DAPONTE

40 pages and digital platforms packed with local information and photographs. While the paper today benefits from a well-staffed newsroom, the latest technology and old-fashioned work ethic, it once boasted mostly the latter. Publisher Dave Adsett remembers a time when the paper was put together without the benefit of a single journalist. “We did have numerous freelancers, I would say more part-time positions, and they would just get sent out to the larger events,” he recalls. In those days, the paper received plenty of submissions from local organizations, which ran largely unedited. “That did create a style issue within the paper,” said Adsett. “A reader wants an experience when they read the paper and it’s nice if everything flows in a similar fashion, so that was part of the desire to have a professional newsroom.” A first move toward that goal came when Adsett had the opportunity to hire veteran journalist David Meyer, who became available when the Elora Sentinel shut down. Despite constant pressure to keep the bills paid, Adsett decided to take the plunge. “That was a huge jump for us because it was a weekly commitment … and that was


Editorial excellence - The Advertiser’s news team consists of, from left: editor Chris Daponte; reporters Jaime Myslik, Patrick Raftis, Olivia Rutt and Mike Robinson; and digital media editor Kelly Waterhouse. Advertiser photo

our start on a professional newsroom,” he said. The editorial department was expanded to a compliment of three through the early-to-mid 2000s. Reporters Mike Robinson and Chris Daponte joined the staff as the paper expanded into the kind of in-depth local council coverage that has

become its hallmark. At the time, Adsett notes, business was increasing, advertising was increasing and the time seemed right to make an investment in the editorial product “hoping longer term that would work out, and it did.” The Advertiser revamped and expanded its news-gath-

ering capabilities again in 2012, adding more journalists to bring the compliment to five. At the same time, Adsett, who admits, “I’ve never edited a piece of copy in my life,” turned the title of editor over to Daponte, just as Meyer was retiring from the business. Asked why he invested

The President’s Diamond Club Award is presented to the top 10% of dealers who go above and beyond the highest standard and who demonstrate outstanding achievement in sales & service customer satisfaction. “Earning the President’s Diamond Award signifies our entire staff’s dedication to delivering superior customer satisfaction day in and day out”, says Greg McCabe, Dealer Principal, Reliable Ford.

in the department at a time when many newspapers, in both large and small markets, were eyeing editorial as an area they could make cuts to offset declining advertising revenue, Adsett recalled some business advice he once received. “When others are walking, CONTINUED ON PAGE 12


We couldn’t be more proud to receive this recognition especially as it comes from the people we value the most - our customers.




Editorial professionals dedicated to journalistic excellence FROM PAGE 11

run. And that’s what we did,” he said. Daponte says the Advertiser’s contingent of trained journalists allows for greater organization in newsgathering. “Reporters are assigned geographical areas and news beats based on a number of factors, including their particular strengths and what makes sense for scheduling, time management, travel and organization,” the editor explained. While the Advertiser has one of the largest editorial teams in the region, with Patrick Raftis joining in 2012, Jaime Myslik in 2014 and Olivia Rutt in 2015, its massive coverage area necessitates additional help. “We currently have three regular freelancers and also rely heavily on submissions from local residents and organizations, particularly for sports and arts,” said Daponte. “We are very grateful for all the help – our newspaper wouldn’t be the same without it.” Adsett says the Advertiser has no intention of resting on its laurels. “There’s more I’d like to do to,” he noted. “We have plans for more coverage down the road because I think that’s a vital factor in healthy communities, that they do have news coverage, that they do have access to all that’s going

on and we hope to do that in one form or another.” Both Daponte and Adsett stress some of those forms will be digital. “We are mindful of posting breaking news as soon as we can, whether that’s on our website or on social media,” Daponte said. “I think we do need to embrace the digital aspect. It’s another way to tell stories. It’s a different way to tell stories,” added Adsett. “But definitely the world is moving in that direction. The fact is though, print still pays the bills. That’s the only place there is revenue to actually pay for local coverage. So as long as the community supports us, we’re going to do our best to support them with quality news coverage.” Adsett also noted having a full-scale newsroom has allowed the company to branch out into other ventures, including magazines such as Business Leader and Wellington Weddings as well as various digital platforms. While as editor Adsett was more a manager and community contact than a copy editor or journalist, he has generally reserved the paper’s prime editorial slot for his own column. He estimates he’s written well over 1,200 columns, totaling more than 700,000 words. “The editorial is generally a reflection on issues in

the news. Sometimes it’s a serendipitous thought on life and living in this area,” he explains. “The values reflected are based on being raised in a rural community, on a farm,” although illuminated by plenty of outside exposure through travel, involvement in politics and other life experiences. Determining the editorial direction of a paper like the Advertiser, with a mandate to cover an entire county, presents many of the same

fabric of that larger community. “We’re local and we’re trusted – and I think for many readers the two are connected. Our four reporters live in various locations within Wellington County and we all care about what happens here. I hope our coverage conveys that.” Daponte said he believes the paper’s position as the go-to source for local news and information has resulted in a relationship with readers that facilitates engage-

“I think we’ve got an excellent mix of experienced people and young people getting started in the business.” - DAVE ADSETT

challenges as a more traditional community newspaper focused on a single city or town, but some additional ones as well, says Daponte. “A regional publication, by definition, will have more beats and a larger area to cover, which obviously results in more content,” he explained. “But it also leaves us with difficult decisions each week about what to include ... we need to ensure our coverage includes a wide range of topics and involves many communities.” At the same time, he notes, the Advertiser is part of the

ment, ranging from letters to the editor, news submissions or something as simple as a phone call to express an opinion about something. “We’re here, we’re accessible and we welcome the interaction and feedback, whether it’s negative or positive,” he said. Daponte noted the Advertiser’s quality content is important in light of the current state of journalism and community journalism in particular. “Declining revenue and the increasing popularity of online news helped contrib-

ute to the demise of some newspapers, but in some cases corporate mismanagement was a major culprit,” he said. “Here, while finances are always a consideration, our main focus is on serving readers to the best of our ability – and not on cutting corners to save a few bucks.” Daponte added the Advertiser remains a local, family-owned newspaper “providing quality journalism in an era that seems to be increasingly dominated by blogs, news aggregators, etcetera, that rely on opinions disguised as news and/ or outright fabrications from unqualified individuals. “I believe our readers are smart enough to not only recognize the difference, but to appreciate the value in what we’re offering.” Daponte said the implications of working for a publication with a 50-year tradition of community service to uphold aren’t lost on the paper’s news staff.

“It didn’t take long after I first started here to realize how widely read, respected and enjoyed the newspaper is,” he said. “Thanks to people like Bill and Dave Adsett, David Meyer and Stephen Thorning, the paper’s reputation as a first-rate publication was well established long before my arrival. “It’s up to our current editorial team to continue publishing a product that both honours and advances this fine tradition. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s one all of us embrace. Much like those who paved the way for us, we enjoy telling stories and we’re committed to the communities we serve.” Adsett said he too is “proud” of the newsroom. “I think we’ve got an excellent mix of experienced people and young people getting started in the business,” he said. “They’re all enthusiastic, they’re keen on their job and that’s really important.”


WELLINGTON ADVERTISER The Wellington Advertiser was founded and registered in March, 1968 as a longneeded service to the retail and service establishments and the shopping public of suburban and rural Wellington County.


William H. Adsett, Founder David L. Adsett, Publisher


Editor: Chris Daponte

Looking for a councillor

Reporters: Mike Robinson | Patrick Raftis Jaime Myslik | Olivia Rutt Digital Media Editor: Kelly Waterhouse Circulation: Catharine Goss, Manager Suzane Britton, Customer service Office Manager: Jane McDonald Customer Service: Marie Male Accounting: Joan Hess Sales Representatives: Faye Craig Glenn George | Drew Mochrie | Sue Otto Production Manager: Helen Michel Graphic Designers: Alicia Roza Steffi Kern | Jacqueline Furfaro Steve Gilholm

GENERAL POLICY Advertising is accepted on the condition that, in the event of typographical error, that portion of the advertising space occupied by the erroneous item, together with a reasonable allowance for the signatures, will not be charged for, but the balance of the advertisements will be paid for at the applicable rate. In the event of a typographical error advertising goods or services at a wrong price, goods or services may not be sold. Advertising is merely an offer to sell, and may be withdrawn at any

time. Persons wishing information regarding circulation, rates and additional service, etc. should feel free to contact The Wellington Advertiser, where staff will be pleased to

help. The publisher accepts responsibility for claims and honors agreements made by himself or by regular staff on his behalf. No responsibility is accepted for actions by person(s) not in the employ of the paper, or otherwise over whom the Publisher has no

With Mary Lloyd’s departure from Centre Wellington council, an opportunity now exists for someone interested in serving their community. Lloyd replaced Rob Black on county council after he was ap-

pointed to the Senate. Details of the appointment process are in this week’s newspaper. Candidates are asked to have their application filled out and confirmed by April 20. This will allow council to appoint someone to the vacant seat by April 30. The term will con-



“Where do you go to solve your food problems? You come to Guelph and Wellington. And that’s a great message for the rest of the country.”


Guelph deputy CAO Scott Stewart

clude with the current council term on Nov. 30. It was heartening to see numerous candidates apply for the Black vacancy. Many names were recognizable – whether former candidates or councillors in other wards. That people took the time to apply suggests to us there still is significant interest in serving in local

cil. Realistically, the appointment is that of a placeholder, since much of the work has already been adopted this year – chiefly the budget and strategies for year 2018. But, and this is important, councillors often take on the role of advisor and helper to residents that

politics. Some have asked why these appointments are necessary with so little time left in this term of coun-

have concerns. Every issue can’t or won’t be championed, but it is fully expected that a councillor can help point residents in the right direction. Council is doing the right thing

by saving the costs of a full-blown by-election. With only a few months left in this particular mandate, appointment is the only logical option. If you have ever thought of running, this is a great opportunity for a short-term commitment. Current or past councillors would happily give some advice or answer ques-

tions on workload. Who knows, depending on how it goes, you may get the bug and decide to run in the election.

Letters to the Editor ‘Security theatre’

Dear Editor: The House of Commons’ Bill C-71 is part of the Liberal government’s effort to fulfil its election promise to “get handguns and assault weapons off our streets.” The problem with C-71 is that it has nothing in it to accomplish that, while at the same time it puts yet more restrictions and bureaucratic hurdles in front of licensed hunters, farmers and sport shooters, a community that has a long track record of safety and extremely low instances of criminality. “Enhanced background checks” sounds positive, but how that will work and what cost in resources? Despite what the public safety minister would lead us to believe, violent criminals are already denied

firearms licenses beyond the five years required to disclose on the application form. Criminals and gang members, who commit the vast majority of gun crimes, do not apply

for licenses! We already have in place a hotline for anyone to call and report a friend, family member or stranger whom they believe to be a danger to themselves or the public. The chief firearms officers of each province take these calls seriously and act on them when received. Extra paperwork for a licensed gun owner to take their registered restricted firearm to a gunsmith is going to get “handguns and assault weapons off

national media. Please keep in mind that your criticism of us will not likely cause us to change; we will simply change the government. I am not a neanderthal. I am a thinking Canadian with a graduate degree in nuclear engineering. I admit that I do not have your background and education in matters of finance, but I am capable of analysis and syntheses, and when I do not fully understand something I ask

dangerous with precious little time left to reduce GHGs. Those polls also indicate widespread support for carbon pricing. Excepting Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the world knows carbon pricing is the way forward. Done right, it’s the most economically efficient means

for reducing emissions. The Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition includes many countries, provinces, states, businesses, oil companies and civil society, including Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The coalition’s goal is to have half of global emissions with some kind of carbon price by 2025. After China implemented its carbon market, we’re actually ahead of schedule to get to 25 per cent by 2020. If the world is embracing carbon pricing, why do some Canadian politicians want to end it? The world is

Adding up the years... control . All advertising accepted is done so in good faith.


LETTERS POLICY Letters to the Editor are invited on subjects of interest to our readers. The Editor maintains final approval on whether letters are published and reserves the right to edit all

letters. Preference is given to letters 300 words or fewer. Pen names are not allowed and all letters to be considered for publication must be signed and include contact information. For our complete policy on letters contact our office or visit: www.wellingtonadvertiser. com.

Email: DEADLINE - Deadline for submission of ads, letters or news is Monday at 3 p.m. Box 252, 905 Gartshore Street, Fergus ON N1M 2W8

WEEKLY POLL x The Wellington Advertiser offers weekly polls on topics of interest to our readers on our website at www.wellington

our streets” how exactly? This is just a pointless waste of taxpayer resources. While the government is introducing this bill it is ending funding of CeaseFire Halifax, a non-profit community-based group that is trying to eliminate gun violence by working directly with those at risk of becoming or already involved in violent activity. With C-71 the Liberal government is providing Canadians with hypocrisy and security theatre, not public safety.

questions. Personally I do not understand how the Liberal financial approach and debt accumulation can do anything except allow us to flounder during the next recession, so I will continue to ask questions through my elected representative and hope that Ms. Raitt will not be put off by

your demeaning remarks. I believe you owe Canadians an apology. Michael Lee, Salem

Kevin King, Waterloo

Owed an apology

watching, Canada.

Handouts hurting Dear Editor: So it must be election time again, as all I am hearing is promises about “free” day care, free dental plans, forgiving student loans and and so fourth. on so I for one do not agree with this, I thought the Liberals’ increased wages were supposed to solve some of these issues? And it’s always at election time we hear about this, but who is ultimately paying for these problem solvers? Of course, the taxpayers, silly! I mean really, would $45 a day keep me from having another child? I mean if I couldn’t afford $45 a day maybe I shouldn’t have another child. But hey, I guess if the government’s paying who’s it hurting? Garrett VanHeeswyk, Fergus

Dear Editor: I am respectfully seeking community support for a Mount Forest gal battling breast cancer. Beth Dancy is a sole-support mother of two minor children. She is presently unable to work. Beth is the daughter/ granddaughter of the Ghent/Walters families of Mount Forest. Ongoing expenses relating to chemotherapy treatments are pro-

years in business is a special milestone Fergus: (519) 843-5410 Drayton: (519) 638-3066

Subscriptions available. Call for rates. 519-843-5410

CIRCULATION ISSUES: We do our very best every week to deliver our newspaper to all residences in Wellington County. If you have a concern or need assistance please contact us :


FACEBOOK: TheWellingtonAdvertiser


Having been justly honoured over the course of your business life, let these 50 years stand as a testament to longevity, hard work and love of family and community!



A member of: The Ontario Community Newspaper Association and the Canadian Community Newspaper Association

We cover the county! Circulation 40,251


Should Canada impose stricter background checks to obtain firearms?

x YES x NO

Last week’s results: Should the province provide free child care for pre-school age children?

x YES - 19% x NO - 81%

*Vote by clicking on the ‘weekly poll’ tab on our home page at

Dear Editor: An open letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Last week in the House of Commons, in reply to a question asked by Ms. Lisa Raitt, you referred to people who disagreed with or questioned your financial approach as

neanderthals. The opposition commented that the remark was sexist because they thought that you were referring to Ms. Raitt. I, and many of my friends do not believe that the remark was sexist or focussed on Ms. Raitt. We believe that you were addressing the whole of the Canadian proletariat (that is what many of us have become on your watch). Why would you want to be so derogatory to the people who pay your

wages? The Trudeau government is in severe decline with the “man” himself achieving a 60 per cent disapproval rating. I believe that it is the arrogance of him and people of his entourage like you that is causing this decline. Both of you have a demeanour of arrogance, elitism and self worth in your approach to us and many of our international al-

lies. Both of you put down the Canadian people repeatedly with your remarks in the domestic and inter-

‘The world is watching’

Dear Editor: It was not surprising to read the Auditor General’s report that Canada will not meet our greenhouse gas emission (GHG) targets. I concur that “there are potentially rough waters ahead.” In the next 18 months, there will be elections in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Canada. People get the governments they vote for. Populism, retail politics and the climate denial machine have obstructed real climate action. This madness must end. Lives and liveli-

hoods are at stake. Recent public opinion polls have shown Canadians know climate change is real, human-caused and

hibitive - help is needed! A fundraising “painting party” is scheduled at the Mount Forest Legion on April 15 at 1pm. Tickets are $45 per person (all supplies and instructions included). This fun oil painting afternoon includes lunch and allows each person an oil paint-

ing to take home. Please help by purchasing a ticket or donating to the cause. But most of all, we ask for your prayers and/ or good karma for Beth at this difficult time. Contact me at 519-323-4811 or Kathy Walters at 519-321-0761 for ticket delivery or pick-up. Many thanks for caring. Sharon O’Sullivan, Mount Forest

No conscience?

Dear Editor: On March 26 between 12 and 12:30pm in the Fergus Shoppers Drug Mart parking lot, someone hit my car, a black Nissan Maxima. You left, leaving substantial damage, I assume there was damage to the driver front left side of your

Collins Barrow - Guelph Wellington Dufferin extends our warmest wishes to the Advertiser. We’re pleased to be a part of a community that values local news and we thank you for providing this service.

Dave and Bill Adsett hold their award from the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce as the 2009 Large Business of the Year

tel 226.370.0444 | cell 519.820.7954 Affiliated with Programmed Insurance Brokers Inc.

Congratulations From all of us at CB - Guelph Wellington Dufferin

Elora Office 0342 Gerrie Road Elora, ON N0B 1S0 519.846.5315

Gord Cumming, Georgetown

Paint party fundraiser

Guelph Office 100 Gordon Street Guelph, ON N1H 4H6 519.822.7670






Celebrating ALL THINGS


Welcome to the 50 Year Club!

From the Wilkin family & staff 109 St. Andrew St., Fergus 519.843.1225 |


iness. s u b nued i t n o ur o rc y u o g y n servi u for o o t y d k r Than ome. orwa f c k o o t ears We lo y r o f s need ry!


t 0 5 ppy



rs e v i n An

350 Tower Street South, Fergus ON



k c a b w Thro Monday, July 1, 1974 The Time It Takes To Die by H. Gordon Green

y a d s r u h T

Do the young lads in your town go tearing up and down the main drag in jalopies, which have no mufflers? Old wrecks with rectified rectums? Well, in my town they do, and the police don’t seem to bother them although I should think that quite apart from whether or not they are violating traffic laws, they must at least be guilty of disturbing the peace. Seems to me that even if these lads stay within the speed limits with these racket makers, the very fact that they are obviously out to put on a devil-maycare spectacle of their driving, is in itself a pretty sure indication that they haven’t yet realized they are not piloting a bunch of jolly toys, but they are playing with the most awesomely deadly creature that man has ever created. Speaking of police, I have a letter this week from Constable Powers of The Waterloo Regional Police and he tells me that Police Week is near at hand and that once again our cops will do their best to preach the gospel of highway safety. He says that he was very much impressed by that piece entitled How Long Does It Take To Die? which I gave you a few months ago, and he wonders if he could have it again. Well, here is that terribly accurate story, based on U.S. government studies, of what happens to you and your car when you crash into a tree at 55 miles per hour – which, as you know, is considerably less than the speed limit on our highways.







At one-tenth of a second the front bumper and grille of your car collapse. Slivers of steel penetrate the tree to a depth of one and a half inches. At two-tenths of a second the hood flies up, crumples and smashes into the windshield. The wildly spinning rear wheels leave the ground. The fenders come into contact with the tree, forcing rear parts of the car out over the front door. You yourself continue to move forward at 55 miles per hour. Your legs, ramrod straight, snap at the knees. At three-tenths of a second your body is off the seat, torso upright, broken knees pressing against the dashboard. The frame of the steering wheel begins to bend under your grip. Your head is now near the sunvisor, your chest above the steering column. At four-tenths of a second the cars’ front 24 inches have been demolished but the rear end is still travelling at 35 miles per hour. Your body is travelling almost 50 miles per hour. The motor block crunches into the tree. At five-tenths of a second your fear-frozen hands bend the steering wheel column into an almost vertical position. Your forward speed is an incredible 20 times the normal force of gravity. It impales you on the steering shaft. Jagged steel punctures your lungs and intercostal arteries.

At six-tenths of a second your feet are ripped from your shoes. The brake pedal shears off at the floorboard. The chassis of the car bends at the middle, shearing the body bolts. Your head smashes into the windshield. The rear of the car begins its’ downward fall, the spinning wheels digging into the ground to add more forward push. At seven-tenths of a second the entire, writhing body of the car is forced out of shape. Hinges tear, doors spring open. In one final convulsion, the front seat rams forward, pinning you. Shock has frozen your heart. You are now dead. The time it took to die? Less than one second. Think about it.

On Nov. 3, 1991, H. Gordon Green died of cancer at the age of 79. In the prime of his career in the 1960s and 1970s, Green was one of the best known journalists in Canada. A native of Arthur Township, he became editor of the Family Herald, the Montreal Star’s weekly farm magazine; he was well known for a short syndicated radio commentary; and he wrote several books. Before landing at the Toronto Star in 1982, Green wrote a syndicated column that appeared in many Canadian weekly papers, including the Advertiser and Community News, where he had a strong following.

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Proud to Support The Advertiser on 50 Great Years!


The Eighties 1981 In 1981, Advertiser founder Bill Adsett served as county warden. He had served on Eramosa Township council from 1968 to 1982, including the period from 1974 to 1982 as reeve.

1983 In 1983, the newspaper moved its office into a former residence at 180 St. Andrew Street East in Fergus. “The little gingerbread house was soon bursting at the seams,” notes Advertiser publisher David Adsett. Every level of the house was occupied. When flyers and inserts became an important revenue stream a warehouse space was rented across the road - and a forklift was purchased - to accommodate this shift in business.

Mid Eighties In the 80s the Wellington Advertiser increased its news content to become a viable source of information as well as ads. Murder, celebrities and natural disasters were featured on the front page, proving this was no longer a place for full-page advertisements. Top stories included the murder of OPP Constable Rick Hopkins, slain in the line of duty while investigating a break-in and fire on the main street of Arthur in 1982. Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour covered 40,000km through 34 countries on four continents before reaching Fergus on Dec. 2, 1986. On May 31, 1985, several tornadoes ripped through southern Ontario. The communities of Arthur and Grand Valley were among the hardest hit by an F4 twister with wind speeds that reached 200km/h. Two people were killed and six suffered serious injuries. These were just a few of the cover stories of the 80s.

Columnists Early editorial content in the Wellington Advertiser was often the farm report from the Wellington Federation of Agriculture or area events submitted by church groups. Columnists started to appear in the mid-70s and gained a following into the 80s. Syndicated and local writers entertained readers - including H. Gordon Green, Rodger Holmes, Bruce Whitestone, Bob Trotter, Anita Stewart, David Meyer, Stephen Thorning, Chris Carlisle, Barrie Hopkins - many of whom went on to write a series of books or gain celebrity status. Recipes, movie reviews, humour, poems, music, finance or farms; whatever your interest, the Advertiser became “a paper for all” and also a valued advertising source for area businesses.

Independent. Local. Trusted. Always. There is no overstating the vital role strong newspapers play in their communities, from upholding democracy to linking citizens to each other and the places they live. Newspapers that focus on good journalism look at the big picture, report in the public interest and engage their readers. At a time when people have record-low levels of trust in politicians, governments and corporations (including the media conglomerates), 75 per cent of Canadians still have faith in their local newspapers above all other media. Independent newspapers lead the charge, putting local decision-making and the public’s interest ahead of corporate priorities. In that vein, we believe independent newspapers should support each other, more so now than ever given the tumults in the industry. As colleagues, neighbours and friends, we salute The Wellington Advertiser on reaching their milestone 50th year. Congratulations to the Adsett family and your staff for providing a local, independent voice for the communities you serve.

Joe Merlihan

Patrick Merlihan


Print Manager/Owner Find Us on Social Media


Experienced sales team guides clients from idea to finished advertisement BY MIKE ROBINSON AND CHRIS DAPONTE

FERGUS - Jane McDonald attributes the Wellington Advertiser’s success over the years to staff providing the best possible service to the business’ two main customers: advertisers and readers. “Our regional news and

“Our regional news and extensive circulation make our paper the ‘go-to’ for not only news, but also for information regarding local businesses, trades people, etcetera.” - JANE MCDONALD

extensive circulation make our paper the ‘go-to’ for not only news, but also for information regarding local businesses, trades people, etcetera,” said McDonald, office/sales manager at the

Advertiser. “People still want to shop local for most of their day-today requirements.” McDonald started at the Advertiser in 2004 after a 24-year hiatus from “the business world” to operate a family dairy farm with her husband Bruce. Now one of the newspaper’s longest serving employees, she oversees a team of four sales associates and a front desk/administration position. Each week the team is responsible for coordinating between 200 and 300 display ads and 80 to 100 word ads in the newspaper. “The best thing about this job is that it is constantly changing … there’s never a dull moment,” said McDonald. “You are aware of local news and events. You get to speak to a variety of people from all sections of the economy – business, farm, community groups, etc. “And yet the accounting side provides a definite structure to one’s day, week, month, etcetera.” THE TEAM Sales associate Faye Craig had no previous experience in sales/advertising prior to

Sales team - The sales and customer service team at the Wellington Advertiser includes, from left: sales associate Glenn George, customer service representative Marie Male, sales associate Sue Otto, office manager Jane McDonald, sales associate Faye Craig, sales associate Drew Mochrie and accountant Joan Hess. Photo by Olivia Rutt

starting with the Advertiser in 2003. At the time she was raising her two daughters on a dairy farm just north of Arthur and was involved with the local


agricultural society, horticultural society and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Arthur. Much like McDonald, who said she had about three days

of training before taking over from her predecessor, Craig said there was a lot of learning on the fly, including some selftraining on the computer. “There were no courses.

And, to the best of my ability, I figured it out,” said Craig, who did not own a computer at the time. “I enjoy a challenge and CONTINUED ON PAGE 17


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‘A happy customer is a return customer’: advertising staff provides quality service

CHALLENGES While each department at the Advertiser aims for flawless service and a perfect product, errors unfortunately do happen. But McDonald said staff aims to ensure issues are resolved with customers as quickly as possible. “A happy customer is a return customer,” she said, noting staff reviews the situa-

Local businesses have a venue to promote services and products, which in turn is a boon to our economy. We are fortunate to have such a fine publication in our community. – Don Grant, Elora






















When Mary and I opened [the Doyle Paint and Wallpaper] shop in Fergus, we quickly realized that the Advertiser was the place to be, to get our message out.

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“One thing I enjoy about my position is that it is not just about selling ads in the newspaper, we have other publications such as Wellington Weddings.”

I look forward to getting the Wellington Advertiser like our family used to look forward to getting the Sears’ Christmas catalogue – Ted Cox, Fergus


ager Helen Michel) and I,” she said. CHANGES McDonald has witnessed many changes at the Advertiser over the last 14 years, notably in computer technology and software. Shortly after she was hired, the newspaper started using

“Many advertisers also love the fact that we cover the rural areas as well. They also like the fact that there is news, and plenty of it, to read.” - GLENN GEORGE

ent - or clients can submit ads they have designed themselves. Sales staff then proofread the ad and send it to the client for approval. Craig quipped that because the Wellington Advertiser is a free publication for readers, some people think the advertising is free as well. “One thing I enjoy about my position is that it is not just about selling ads

changed. Social media has definitely made an impact on the way people buy and sell items.”


THE PROCESS In addition to selling ad space, the sales team also works with production staff to help clients transition from a call to the front desk with an idea or vision to a custom advertisement. “We discuss how we would create the ad and where information would be located within the ad – for the client’s best advantage,” explained Craig. She added sales staff also asks about potential advertising on the newspaper’s website “for further exposure for their advertising dollar.” Production staff then create the ad from the layout sales staff design with the cli-

in the newspaper, we have other publications such as Wellington Weddings.” Other publications include Business Leader, a quarterly business magazine, fall fair programs, municipal guides, seasonal business promotions for municipalities and many more. Craig is particularly proud of the creation of the 2016 IPM Cookbook for the International Plowing Match in Minto. “It was really amazing. It was a real accomplishment for Helen (production man-


that was one of them.” One thing working in Craig’s favour was familiarity with the local community, as many of her customers “were my friends from the agricultural world.” She covers the northern portion of Wellington County, including Arthur, Mount Forest, Clifford, Harriston, Palmerson and areas of Elmira. She also seeks out clients in the Waterloo area. “I enjoy it very much. I enjoy working with people … and talking on the telephone,” said Craig. Associate Glenn George brought over 20 years of sales experience and knowledge when he started at the Advertiser in 2009. George, who primarily covers the Guelph, Rockwood/Acton and Kitchener areas, said the newspaper is a great place to work. “I like working here for the atmosphere and all the staff. People here are friendly and easy to work with,” he said. Two of those co-workers are Sue Otto, who took over in 2017 from longtime Centre Wellington sales associate Sherry Clarke, and Drew Mochrie, who covers Centre Wellington, Erin and Dufferin.



Adworks, a system for booking and billing ads. Later, the business adopted Classforce to format the pages of the classified section. “During the first few years, before online classified ad sites existed, people called in, faxed and emailed in their classified word ads,” she recalled. “With the introduction of our website and other online options, this trend has

tion to ensure the same mistake is not repeated. Another difficulty that all advertising sales teams inevitably encounter is competition for advertising dollars. “Everyone seems to want a piece of that pie,” said Craig of media advertising. But, she added, one thing working in the Advertiser’s favour is its reputation as “a highly respected business, operating and seeking out news for the past 50 years.” George agreed, noting the newspaper appeals to advertisers because it is a “well read and respected” publication. “We offer blanket coverage of Wellington County; no other single paper can offer that,” he said. “Many advertisers also love the fact that we cover the rural areas as well. They also like the fact that there is news, and plenty of it, to read.” For Craig, success can be measured in how much she enjoys working with Advertiser clients. “They are a bunch of fine people,” she said. “It’s nice to be a contributor, to learn, and to grow with the community.”





Wellington Advertiser immortalized in online archives database BY JAIME MYSLIK

ABOYNE – Every edition in the Wellington Advertiser’s 50-year history is now available online. On April 4, the Wellington County Museum and Archives officially launched the new Wellington Advertiser Digital Archive on the museum and archives website. “The public is looking for digital content that’s online,” said archivist Karen Wagner. “And because of the content that the Wellington Advertiser has in it, and we can go back 50 years to 1968, it’s going to be really useful whether or not you’re researching certain facts about a particular topic or you’re looking up a particular individual.” She added, “I think students doing history projects or any kind of school project will be able to use the database ... just to see how different things changed.” The launch coincided with the Wellington Advertiser’s 50th anniversary celebration at the museum. “Copies of the Wellington Advertiser, from day one, will be available online as a resource accessible around the globe,” Wellington Advertiser publisher Dave Adsett said at the event. “We are happy to see the project come to fruition.” Wellington County received capital funding to send the Wellington Advertiser out of house to have the pages scanned as searchable PDFs. At the same time, the pages were preserved as microfilm, a technique Wagner said is dependable for preservation up to 500 years. The whole process took about three months for the full 50 years of the paper. Once the museum received the PDFs, Wellington County’s IT department created the searchable database. Users will be able to search key words, names, issue dates, years and more to pinpoint the informa-

tion they’re seeking. “We’re always trying to work on projects that will be of benefit to county residents,” Wagner said. She added the Advertiser was a good choice to begin digitally archiving the county newspapers. “The Wellington Advertiser is the only true county paper and ... we were able to scan it and get searchable PDFs out of it because of the time it was printed,” Wagner said. “[In] 1968 the printing is very easy to read ... unlike the older newspapers, particularly pre-1950, the typeface, once it’s scanned, can be very difficult to read for optical character recognition.”

Mount Forest Confederate, the Drayton Advocate, Community News, Clifford Arrow, Clifford Express and Eramosa Community News. “That’s a project for the next five or ten years because we’ve got hundreds of years,” Wagner said. “Almost all of those ... newspapers have over 100 years worth of newspapers, like the Mount Forest Confederate, 1870 was the earliest; Elora goes back to 1852, so we’ve got a lot of papers. “Most of them were weekly so there’s a lot of content to get online.” Though the Mount Forest Confederate (from 1870 to

“I think students doing history projects or any kind of school project will be able to use the database ... just to see how different things changed.”

Digital world - Fifty years of Wellington Advertiser newspapers have been digitized at the Wellington County Museum and Archives and are on a searchable database for the public’s use. Archivist Karen Wagner checks out enlarged versions of Advertiser front pages. Photo by Jaime Myslik


Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott thanked Wellington County for “working on this one for a number of months to give us this treasure that we now have, which is the archived editions of the Wellington Advertiser going back some 50 years.” The goal, Wagner said, is to get all Wellington County newspapers into an online database. Some titles include the Fergus News Record, Elora Express, Elora Sentinel, Erin Advocate, Palmerston Observer, Harriston Review, Arthur Enterprise,

1930) is already in the online database, Wagner said it’s microfilm and users must know the specific date. That database is not searchable. The plan, she said, is to digitize all county newspapers in the same way as the Advertiser. All Wellington Advertiser newspapers up until March 2018 are now in the archive and Wagner said new editions would be uploaded once or twice a year. To access the digital archive visit

Archives - Archivist Karen Wagner, left, shows Wellington County MPP Ted Arnott how the new digitized archives of the Wellington Advertiser works during the 50th anniversary event on April 4. BELOW: Dave and Bill Adsett show off a display of the Advertiser’s original equipment, paste up samples and pictorial history. Photo by Kelly Waterhouse/ Bill Longshaw


We were there when the first seed was planted. Congratulations Bill and Dave on the 50th Anniversary of the Wellington Advertiser. As a proud advertiser and firm believer in your paper, it’s been a pleasure to watch you grow.


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Award-winning production department tackles a full range of diverse projects BY OLIVIA RUTT

FERGUS - The Wellington Advertiser’s production department is responsible for many of the visual aspects of the newspaper. The five-person team of trained graphic designers works on ads as small as a classified up to a full-page or centre spread.

“I think the fact that we have a really good team of strong designers with varied backgrounds helps us to give a high quality product to customers.” - HELEN MICHEL

Production manager Helen Michel, who started with the Advertiser 11 years ago, said an ad can start from an idea or a rough draft from

a customer. “It can get pretty elaborate; it all depends on whether it’s running in colour or black and white. Size definitely gives you a lot more options on how to dress an ad,” she said. On average, 400 ads are in the paper each week, with about 225 classifieds. Most are done in house, meaning one of the production staff members helped design the ad. “I think the fact that we have a really good team of strong designers with varied backgrounds helps us to give a high quality product to customers,” said Michel. Having an in-house team is an important aspect in helping the Wellington Advertiser stand out as a community newspaper. “It’s a free publication and the only reason it can be free is because of the ads that are supporting it ... and our inserts, flyers,” Michel said. “We believe in giving people value for their money and that’s why we pride ourselves on putting together good-looking ads. It’s a visual draw.” Michel said getting repeat business is gratifying “because to



Design - The award-winning production team includes, from left: Alicia Roza, Jacqueline Furfaro, Helen Michel, Steffi Kern Photo by Olivia Rutt and Steve Gilholm. The department works on designing ads and community projects.

community,” he said. The production team has won several awards from the Ontario Community Newspapers Association. Its Better Newspaper Awards are given out annually to the top three newspapers in the province in various categories.

you know people are happy.” While some newspapers have gone to a centralized facility for ad design, publisher Dave Adsett sees the value in maintaining a local crew. “That’s sort of how the industry’s gone and it’s just my preference that we provide local jobs in the local

“We’ve been really fortunate that every year we’ve entered, we have been up for awards,” said Michel. The Advertiser’s production team has received the following awards: - first place for local retail layout and second place for use of process colour in 2014;

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519-846-9704 •


Design team creates ads for each paper FROM PAGE 20

a third placed finish in 2014 for special section over 10,000 and a second place finish in the prestigious general excellence category in 2016. The production department is also nominated for five awards for 2017, (including another group award for special section) which will be awarded at the OCNA gala on April 20. “It’s satisfying to win for an ad that you’ve put a lot of thought and effort into,” said graphic designer Alicia Roza. “I think any award is a validation ... that you’re doing quality work,” added Michel. “It’s very gratifying and the fact that we have a good track record is even better.” In the early days of the newspaper, ads were designed by hand, through a phototypesetting machine and cutand-paste methods. The machine would print out strips of text in different sizes for the ad. The paper would be run through a waxer then cut up and pasted onto a layout board. News text would be added later. “In the early days, things were pretty much streamlined,” said Adsett. “You would have one or two production people, but they did both news and ads.” Early ads would typically be text and line art. “It wasn’t until early- to mid-90s that we really started doing colour, and that’s just increased exponentially since then,” said Adsett. His sister Marie headed the production depart-

ment for a number of years and during that time the Advertiser moved into its current building on Gartshore Street. When Michel began over a decade ago at the Advertiser, the newspaper was using computers and QuarkXPress. The Advertiser moved over to the Adobe Creative Suite around 2010. Now, the team not only works on ads for each week’s paper, but also special community projects. “I think we have a pretty impressive team that way, and I don’t think that people really know how little time we have to do what we do,” said Michel. The designers said they enjoy the projects they work on. “My favourite part about working in production is the people I work with and the creative freedom that we have with the majority of the ads,” said designer Jacqueline Furfaro. Designer Steve Gilholm said he enjoys being a part


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RAY WIGHTMAN Please check to make sure OWNER that the information is WIGHTMAN TELECOM correct. Mark any errors on FROM 1976 TO 1987 this copy and email or fax back to (519) 843-7607 843-5410 call (519) worked or closely with Leila by TUESDAY NOON.

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AT 3:00 P.M.The organization consists of independent MONDAY “It doesn’t get lost in a maze of a hierarchy.” the Ontario Telecommunications Association). deadline for Ourthat Gerrie said he experienced this firsthand. telephone companies in Ontario lobbied the federal and provincial government for error corrections is necessary improvements to the telephone services across the province. Within a week after the business had connected TUESDAY AT NOON. to the new fibre optic network, there was trouble Please feel free to call In 1995, Ray was given a lifeusmembership byad. the Ontario Telephone Association and, in with his business’ debit machine. to discuss your 2007, he was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame. In 2012, Ray received “The phone and internet worked, but the debit for our are designed a Diamond Jubilee medal toAds recognize his commitment to public service and community machine for some reason wasn’t reading the codes,” publication ONLY. involvement, and for modernizing communication services in Wellington County. he said. “So they changed something on their end, es to meet We do not charge for servic care got (it) es working, and no problems. includ unitback, you if he came however design Ray was also heavily involved in the Clifford community. He was a director and lifelong “Service has been excellent. Like you call them version of jpeghe like aand wouldClub served for 37 years on the Clifford volunteer as well as cable & phone. member of the Clifford Rotary need up, they’re here.” media a almost any ad for social yourinvolved fire department. Ray was also in the construction of the Minto-Clifford school ing Paul is saidcomp because he and Blair were by raisedain charm the $20 charge ted lemen in Harriston while he was on nominal the Clifford Public School Board from 1963 to 1964. Ray This suite will apply. small town of Clifford they made the choice to stay quaint the was also on the Clifford municipal council for 11 years, including two terms as reeve and of heart the unity in of big cities. comm seniors’ out two terms on Wellington County council. “We thought there is a market in small-town The s. Jacob St.Ontario, village ofrural we’re going to treat people like they Ray passed away in 2017. treat us.” BL stay or

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BE PRINTED WILL When Leila passed away in 1976, Ray took over until his ER NEWSPAP THE retirement in 1987. DuringINhis time as the lead of Wightman AS IT IS HERE. Telecom, Ray saw the deregulation of phone sets, the : introduction of cell phones andDEADLINES the incorporation of Wightman Contracting.


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Celebrati 76 ng 42

of something bigger, and something the community respects. “I like the diversity of all the projects we have,” added designer Steffi Kern. Michel said there’s never a dull moment in the production department. Some of the community projects the team works on include the OPP annual report, community guides, fair books, Wellington Weddings, Business Leader and more. “We are rocking … the pace can be pretty extreme,” said Michel.


ads applies to any cancelled after 5PM. MONDAY AT

Cut and paste - In the early days of the paper, ads were designed by hand, through a phototypesetting machine and cut-and-paste methods. MIDDLE: Publisher Dave Adsett works on the traditional layout in a demonstration. ABOVE: The samples were recreated for the current display and include print plates and the colour separations as viewed by members of the production and sales team at the open house held at the Wellington County Museum and Archives. Photos by Olivia Rutt/ Helen Michel


And they’re off!

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The Wellington Advertiser takes the lead with

Thank you for continuing to serve our community after 50 years!

“Where Quality, Service & Value Have Been The Tradition Since 1872”


157 St. Andrew St. W. Fergus

7445 Wellington County Road 21




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over the year


...for all your landscape needs to make your home more beautiful...

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1990 “In many respects a family business resembles the family farm where it is only natural that the next generation take over, but I had my own ideas,” Dave Adsett said.

7016 Hwy 109, 13km west of Arthur · 519.638.2734 ·

In the late 1980s he got his real estate licence, which helped him learn about people, finance and business. He also wanted to farm, but quickly realized “there wasn’t a living to be made” on a few hundred acres.

Living Well in Small Town Ontario Proudly sending congratulations from our Long Term Care and Retirement Homes.

“As fate would have it, dad had some health issues in the early 90s and I seemed to be spending more and more time at the newspaper helping out,” Dave recalled.

“Around that time I abandoned my own path and joined the business full-time (as general manager).”

Desktop Publishing

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Until the early ’90s, Drayton was the hub of production for the Advertiser and Community News. The introduction of desktop publishing meant less space was required and production moved to Fergus.

for keeping Wellington County

well fed with news for the past 50 years!

82 Wellington County Rd. 7, Elora | 519.846.2636


on Your

Talking Politics


Like the newspaper, politics also ran in the family.

th Year !

In 1994 Dave Adsett, at the time serving as general manager of the Advertiser, was elected to Eramosa Township council and appointed deputy reeve that year. He was acclaimed as reeve in 1997.

A Turning Point

Complete Property Maintenance

After the Elora Sentinel folded in 1995, David Meyer, from whom Bill Adsett had purchased rock and roll album reviews in the early 1980s, contacted the Adsetts to see if the Advertiser was interested in his services.

Call Steve Clark 519-803-3256


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“We had a number of freelancers and reporters over the years but in 1996 I got a call from David Meyer looking for work,” said Dave.

Ladies Fashion Size 6-18

YEARS has gone by ! Elora 519-846-8103

“I rolled the dice with David ... very quickly, his nose for news and prolific writing capabilities made a huge difference to our standing as the newspaper of record for Wellington County.” Long days - and nights - were often the norm in the late 1990s, when Meyer, Dave Adsett and the newspaper staff worked hard to grow the newspaper.

Start of the Sales Team Mac Mason, who was well known for his contributions to lacrosse, the Royal Canadian Legion and other local organizations, was the newspaper’s first bona fide full-time ad salesperson, marking another watershed moment for the business. He remained with the paper until his death in 2008.

We appreciate being part of The Wellington Advertiser. Congratulations !

The Wellington Advertiser has been the

Right Choice

for the past 50 years!

Congratulations from the management and staff at

Amalgamation In 1998 and 1999, Wellington County’s transformation from 21 to 7 lower tier municipalities mirrored changes across Ontario, where, guided by provincial legislation, the number of municipalities was reduced by more than 45% between 1996 and 2004, from 815 to 445. Locally the issue was contentious, with many staunchly opposed to the idea. The process was guided by a report from Harry Kitchen and Doug Armstrong, and resulted in the formation of Centre Wellington, Erin, Guelph-Eramosa, Mapleton, Minto, Puslinch and Wellington North. In 1999, the Advertiser’s Dave Adsett was elected as the first mayor of Guelph-Eramosa Township. He served as mayor until 2003.

226.336.7768 • 14 Elora Street North, Alma


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Congratulations to the Wellington Advertiser and the Adsett family on your milestone anniversary! Thank you for serving the residents of Wellington County for 50 years.

Monday, September 11, 1989

The Wellington Advertiser is a ‘must read’ in our household each week.

Holmes On The Range

- Robert Black, Senator, Centre Wellington

by Rodger Holmes

The Township of Guelph-Eramosa congratulates the Wellington Advertiser on its 50th Anniversary. As an important, local newspaper, your well-written articles help to cover significant news and events for our residents. You play a critical role in our communities and we wish you another successful 50 years as a news source in Guelph-Eramosa!

‘A Shocking Story’

Question: What do golfers, farmers and football players have in common? Answer: They tend to hang around vast open spaces and are prime targets for lightning strikes.

- Meaghen Reid, clerk, Township of Guelph-Eramosa

You may think the major summer hazard is over-exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet rays, or infected mosquito bites or gasp! A full-scale earwig invasion. But no! Simply cutting across the schoolyard is tempting fate. I have a healthy respect for lightning. I was hit once. And only once. It happened a few years ago and I haven’t let lightning have a crack at me since. You see, I know how sneaky a thunderstorm can be. When I last wrestled with natural electricity I was miles from the storm. At that time I was a truck driver by day and a writer by night. I had pulled over to check a load, which had the tendency to shift around, when I first noticed lightning on the horizon. I secured the load and stepped onto the shoulder of the highway to look around. I was a few miles north of Woodstock and guess what? That’s right…wide-open farm country. (See question above) Off in the distance the storm was passing over a wooded area. The booming of the thunder rolled over the contours of the open fields and reverberated off the huge metal body of the truck. I felt safe enough. Why should anyone worry about a storm that was ten minutes’ drive away? The sky above me was overcast but I was dry, the truck was dry, even the cows across the road were no more moist than usual. I was considering hauling out my camera to try for a picture when it hit.

When I was preparing to move to Wellington County to take a new job, I started reading the Wellington Advertiser to get the local flavour of your politics. I was astounded at the amount of coverage of your local municipal councils and of county council ... Thank you for providing this much-needed and appreciated public service. Stay the course! - Scott Wilson Wellington County CAO

The Wellington Advertiser connects us to everyone across Wellington North, Centre Wellington and beyond. In an era where newspapers are shutting down, it is refreshing to have this thriving local paper.

I heard a sharp CLICK. A split-second later the whitest, brightest light imaginable flashed at the same instant that a high-voltage bolt jumped from the side of the truck and slammed into my back. Superman and speeding bullets couldn’t have matched my race to the safety of the cab. Once inside, I couldn’t have driven away if I had nerves of steel. The deluge that followed the lightning made it impossible to see through the windshield. My internal organs were still vibrating from the deafening crash of my personal thunderclap. My hearing was noticeably reduced. I ran my hand over my hair and discovered it was three inches higher than normal. My beard was splayed out like seaweed washed up on a beach. The rain had eased by the time I smoothed my mane into submission and calmed down. I drove away with the haunting thought that had I been touching the metal side of the truck I might have been killed. But that’s nothing. The late Roy C. Sullivan bore the distinction of being the only man in the world to be hit by lightning seven times - and survive. The U.S. Park Ranger suffered various injuries throughout his lightning-rod career. In 1942 he lost a toenail; in 1969 his eyebrows disintegrated; in 1970 a seared shoulder; lightning set his hair on fire in 1972; in 1973 a bolt went through his hat, set his hair alight, knocked him right out of his car and blew his left shoe off; 1976 was kinder to Roy, he sustained a mere ankle injury; the seventh hit, in 1977, resulted in chest and stomach burns. I remember watching Roy on television talk shows in the seventies. He appeared to be an unassuming man who could place no discernible reason, scientific, religious of otherwise, for his incredible affliction. But he handled it all with humour. I was impressed with his ability to shrug off the threat of yet another “bolt from the blue.” In his position I’d probably be wary of water activities like swimming, bathing or holding a cold, wet beer on my lap. I tip my hat (rather than have it blown off by half a million volts) to the memory of Roy C. Sullivan. He tangled with one of the most destructive natural forces seven times and came out on top. It earned him, I suspect, an eternal spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. But if that’s the price of fame ... I think I’ll pass.

- A.M. Kennedy, Wellington County

The Wellington Advertiser publishes an outstanding paper reflecting news and views in our community. A talented and dedicated group of professionals work diligently and humbly behind the scenes and at the forefront to bring us important stories and information ... Congratulations on your 50th anniversary. - Silvana Sangiuliano, Belwood

Congrats 50

Dave and Bill & the Wellington Advertiser on such a big milestone.... years! Ecclestone Financial Group Inc

Fergus, ON | Toll Free: 1-877-941-1903 | 519-843-5110 | - P L A N T O B E F R E E F I N A N C I A L L Y, W I T H E F G -

CHRISTOPHER J. UNRUH LAW OFFICE Where there’s a will, there’s a way The Wellington Advertiser has proven this time and time again with their passion and commitment to our community. Congratulations on 50 years! 226.780.0810 | 3-181 St. Andrew St. E, Fergus |


Circulation department delivers paper, flyers from office to readers throughout Wellington BY JAIME MYSLIK

FERGUS – In any given week the Wellington Advertiser’s circulation department handles more than 40,000 papers and upwards of 334,000 flyers. Circulation manager Catharine Goss said the newspaper’s largest flyer run in history took place last May just before Mother’s Day.

the paper was located in the old Van Galis building on St. Andrew Street. The warehouse space was across the road from the main office. “So it was all stone walls and stone floor, nothing was nice and smooth,” Goss said. “The maximum number of people that we could put in there was 12 because everything was done by hand ...

“That kind of customer touch isn’t available with any other newspaper ... so I say we’re heads and tails above the other newspapers.” - CATHARINE GOSS

The mailroom staff of 20 handled 561,761 flyers, with help from other staff and members of the surrounding community. Goss said when she began at the Advertiser in 2003 she never would have imagined handling more than 500,000 flyers. It’s a testament to how the company has grown that the feat was even feasible. Before moving to the Advertiser’s current location at the corner Gordon and Gartshore streets in Fergus,

and we could only fit that many tables in there. “And there was a person on each side of the table working.” At that time a flyer run of 175,000 was almost impossible. “I remember saying to Dave (Adsett), ‘There’s no way we can do this. This is not going to be able to be done. How are we ever going to get this many flyers done in the amount of time that we have. It’s not possible,’” Goss recalled.

Circulation team - The circulation department at the Wellington Advertiser consists of 20 staff who handle more than Photo by Olivia Rutt 40,000 papers and more than 334,000 flyers each week.

“But I’ve said that a lot of times when we’ve had ridiculously high flyer amounts, that this is not possible, and every week it’s always done.” Lead hand Sharon Goudreault added, “The

Wellington Advertiser gets it done.” It is Goudreault’s responsibility to organize the flyers each week to ensure the mailroom staff can complete insertions, even if the amount

is extremely large. After moving to the Gartshore location in 2005, the Wellington Advertiser built an addition in 2015 to expand the mailroom and circulation capabilities even further.

The addition made more room for the inserting machine, which was purchased in 2007. While the machine still requires about CONTINUED ON PAGE 25

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Getting paper to readers takes substantial effort by circulation department FROM PAGE 16

eight people to operate, it moves quickly and is generally used for delivery areas that have a large circulation. Employees inserting flyer packages by hand generally deal with areas that have smaller circulations and they may be responsible for more than one area on any given day. The circulation department, much like the rest of the newspaper’s staff, starts preparing for the next week’s paper in the middle of the work week. On Thursdays Goudreault begins organizing and sorting the flyers. “We have to make sure that we pull in the right stuff,” Goss said. “But then it all gets opened up and sorted.” The department has a system to calculate how many orders are to be inserted manually and on which tables. Goudreault then separates the flyers into stacks for either manual or machine insertion. She continues this work into Monday morning. “Monday mornings and Thursdays are my favourite time because I’m here by myself,” Goudreault said. “Getting everything organized, to the way I want it to be so that when someone comes to me and asks me where something is ... I can tell them where it is.” On Thursdays, Goss also comes up with the run list identifying which flyers, and how many, go to various geographic regions. The mailroom staff works on Monday and on Tuesday afternoons preparing the flyer packages. On Wednesday, mailroom staff begin work at 11am around the time the completed Wellington Advertiser arrives at the office from the printers - inserting prepared flyer packages into the paper. The 11am start time is new this year. Previously the paper was sent to the printer on Wednesday morning and the finished product wouldn’t return to the office until four or five in the afternoon. That meant long, late nights for the mailroom staff. Now, Goss said, even if the staff requires a 12-hour shift to complete inserts, they’re done by 11pm. Once all the flyers are

inserted and the papers packaged, three corporate vans begin delivering to carriers at around 4am on Thursday. Once the papers reach the carriers, they have until Friday at 5pm to deliver the paper,

each house. While a new carrier won’t do exactly the same thing as the previous carrier, Britton hopes the notes will help create consistency. She also produces a carrier

“As much as it’s annoying to have people call and yell at you because they didn’t get their paper, if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t call.” - CATHARINE GOSS

said Suzane Britton, customer service representative for the circulation department. She is also responsible for the 151 in-town carriers and 20 rural drivers in addition to being a rural carrier herself. Each of the Wellington Advertiser newspaper carriers has a notes list. This is a system that Britton put in place when she began working at the paper in 2014. Any request, such as a customer asking the carrier to put the paper under a rock on the front porch or to deliver to the side door, is included in the notes to inform carriers of special circumstances at

and rural driver newsletter each month. “It’s a way to communicate with the carriers,” she explained. The newsletter has included delivery reminders, winter safety tips, community newspaper facts, seasonal information and examples of where a carrier is featured in the news. Occasionally, the newsletter also includes a contest that has the potential to earn the carrier or driver a special prize. The circulation department also runs a carrier recognition program monthly to reward excellence in service

and motivate carriers and drivers to keep improving. Britton is also the voice on the other end of the phone when customers call the Wellington Advertiser about newspaper delivery. Each call or email she receives is returned, and Britton said she follows up to ensure complaints have been resolved. In just the last year, the number of complaints received has been drastically reduced. The number of complaints has gone down by almost 200. “So the customers are really happy that we’re going that extra mile,” said Britton. “People love the fact that I’ll call and follow up and say ‘how’s it going? Has it been

improved?’ “That kind of customer touch isn’t available with any other newspaper ... so I say we’re heads and tails above the other newspapers.” Goss, for one, is proud to say she works for the Wellington Advertiser.

“This is a paper that people want,” Goss said. “This is a paper that people read. “And as much as it’s annoying to have people call and yell at you because they didn’t get their paper, if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t call.”

RIGHT: Keep an eye out for the Wellington Advertiser’s new rack labels that are out to celebrate the newspaper’s 50th anniversary. Wellington Advertiser Graphic

William Baker, with his two brothers Jack and Matthew, delivers about 80 papers to four streets in Arthur. Photo by Olivia Rutt


Circulation - Getting the Wellington Advertiser to readers’ doors is a big job and it takes a lot of people to complete. The Wellington Advertiser has 151 carriers and 20 rural drivers that deliver over 40,000 papers throughout Wellington County. ABOVE: Inside the Wellington Advertiser’s mail room, 20 people work to sort and insert flyers based on region. Some flyers are inserted by hand, others by an insertion machine. Photo by Olivia Rutt

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Wellington Advertiser On 50 Years Of Delivering the News!




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The Millennium 2003 When Dave Adsett was elected Wellington County warden for 2003, he enlisted columnist and friend Stephen Thorning to take over editing duties for the newspaper for the year.

Friendly face - Marie Male, customer service representative for the Wellington Advertiser, is the first face that people see when they visit the office. Photo by Olivia Rutt

The friendly face of customer service BY MIKE ROBINSON

FERGUS - Stepping through front door of the Advertiser’s Fergus office, chances are the first person one sees is Marie Male. She has been with the newspaper for about 13 years, starting shortly after the office moved from St. Andrew Street to the corner of Gordon and Gartshore. “She’s definitely a valued, longtime employee and an integral part of our team,” said Advertiser publisher Dave Adsett. Male, who has a degree in English, has always been interested in reading the newspaper thoroughly. “I thought it would interest me to be part of it - which it has,” she said. “I always think it seems so quiet up here ... it’s hard to tell there are 20 other people (down the hallway in the other departments).” Male, who oversees myriad tasks depending on the day of the week, said she likes that “every day is different.” On Monday and Tuesday items for advertising are gathered and finalized for the newspaper, which means she is “relatively busy” helping customers. “I’m directing traffic,” she said, noting she determines the correct department to receive information, requests or phone calls. Wednesdays and Thursdays are generally spent gearing up for newspaper deliveries. Male prints address labels and sends out

copies to those who subscribe to the Wellington Advertiser. While the Advertiser is a delivered free each week, Male explained there are still a number of people who subscribe to the publication; most once lived in the county and want to keep up with local news. On Friday, the process begins anew, gathering information for the next week’s edition. Male is responsible for certain aspects of billing such as payments for word, in memoriam and celebration ads.

she said, adding it facilitates access to a customer base. Compared to when Male first started, “more (classified ads) are coming from the website now,” she said. Sometimes, the most challenging calls received at the front desk are from residents upset about the delivery of the newspaper. Often someone who didn’t receive a paper will request that she personally deliver it. Others want to know about something published in the newspaper, “but can’t remember the name of the person involved, what the

In 2003, a second full-time ad salesperson, Faye Craig, and new full-time circulation manager, Catharine Goss, were hired. In 2004, Jane McDonald joined the customer service team and to this day they remain three of the paper’s longest serving employees.

The Wellington Advertiser FREE PRESS NEWS WEEKLY Fergus, Ontario

Within minutes of last week’s tornado near Fergus, neighbours, friends, relatives, and others in the community were out helping to clear driveways such as this property on Wellington County Road 19 near the Second Line of West Garafraxa. photo by Mike Robinson

Gone again - This cottage at Conestogo Lake owned by Mary Thompson was levelled by a tornado on Friday, one of two that hit Wellington County. Years ago, a similar structure on the same lot was also destroyed by a tornado. photo by Chris Daponte

by David Meyer WELLINGTON CTY. Tornados have once again ripped through parts of Wellington County, destroying houses, barns, forests, flipping vehicles off the road, and leaving a mess in their wake. Centre Wellington Mayor Russ Spicer declared a state of emergency on Friday afternoon, just hours after one of them hit the north end of

a couple of hydro poles knocked out. There were also reports of Hydro outages in Guelph, Belwood, and Orangeville, as well as the stretch from Arthur to Fergus. For Jeremy Wilfing, of Mapleton, the storm was a terrifying experience. He was working in his shop at Concession 3, near Highway 86, when it hit. He said the power went out, but he had often

Tornados hit Wellington; township declared official emergency Fergus about 1:40pm. The swath cut by the tornados started near Milverton and moved south and west, striking north of Dorking, then to Conestogo Lake, then north of Salem, and, on to the north side of Fergus towards Belwood. Spicer said at a press conference shortly after 5pm he was pleased to learn no one was seriously hurt in the latest attack by the elements on Well-

ington County. Wellington County OPP Staff Sergeant Paul Bedard said one woman received minor injuries in a vehicle accident. Another boy received minor cuts when the vehicle he was riding in north of Fergus was flipped into the ditch. OPP Sergeant Mike Gordon said that parts of the storm reached Erin, but there was only minor damage there, with

worked in the building without using lights. This time, though, it was different. “It was so dark I couldn’t see my work bench,” he said. He said the light began to come back, but the weather went from dropping light drizzle to “wide open wind.” He said the wind “got harder and harder,” and he tried to reach his house, but the wind

prevented that. It snapped off numerous trees on his property, and he watched part of his neighbour’s barn blow away. “I did not see the funnel,” he said. “It was all I could do to see 300 or 400 yards.” Wilfing said he has been scared before, but never like that. He noted people can get fearful when a bee buzzes them, or when watching a Continued on page 4

Additional tornado coverage on pages 4, 5, 18, and 19.



WELLINGTON ADVERTISER! Thank you for helping our business grow by covering the many special events that we have had over the years.

Congratulations on 50 Years! ~ Evelyn & Tim Gould

735 Tower Street S., Fergus | 519.843.8887

In 2004, the newspaper launched one of the first community newspaper websites in southwestern Ontario. It allowed for timely stories and images to be shared ahead of the weekly print version, such as the tornadoes that hit Centre Wellington and Mapleton in 2005. The site was re-vamped in 2007 and again in 2012. Watch for our new site in 2018.

In the spring of 2005, the Advertiser moved its entire operation from St. Andrew Street to its current office/warehouse building at the corner of Gordon/Gartshore Streets, Fergus.


article was about ... (just) that it was published around 10 years ago - and could they please get a paper copy of it.” Male adds, “for the most part, people are very nice to deal with ... just the odd funny request, which keeps you intrigued.” Male, who also writes theatre reviews in the newspaper’s arts section, enjoys her job. “I like it here. I feel it’s my home away from home,” she said. “I have good relationships with a lot of my customers and I find lots of good will here. “I think I’ve learned a lot working here.” -With files by Chris Daponte

On The Web

On The Move

Volume 42 Issue 07

“With those ads you get to see the happy and the sad. You try to be sensitive to what is happening,” she said. Adsett said Male is the perfect person to deal with such inquiries. “She’s a friendly face to our customers dealing with good news or bad news,” he said. “It’s very much appreciated how she deals with people. She’s a very calming person.” Male is also tasked with typing classified word ads into AdWorks, an advertising management system designed for daily and weekly publications. “I’m using the program for a great part of the day,”

Friday, August 26, 2005

Devastation - The barns, sheds, and workshop of Richard and Jeannine Ross at the north end of Fergus looked like this after one of two tornados that hit Wellington County on Aug. 19 had swept through the area. Officials are still attempting to calculate the damage, but an army of volunteers also swept through after the storm and helped clean up the mess. photo submitted by the Ross family

“I like it here. I feel it’s my home away from home.” - MARIE MALE

Circulation 37,000

38 years serving Wellington County Volume 38 Issue 34

Friday, February 13, 2009

Taking the polar bear plunge

by David Meyer GUELPH - It turned out more people came to watch than participate, but the University of Guelph students taking part in the sixth annual polar bear dive into two metres of icy water did not seem to care. And Sunday’s warmer weather was a complete fluke, too. Had the event been scheduled for the previous week, when it was much colder, they still would have jumped through a hole in the ice of ponds at the former correctional centre. “Actually, this was the week the Ontario government gave us,” said organizer Kirk Perrin. “And this was the first choice. We’ve been planning this for over three months.” About a dozen people from the Delta Upsilon fraternity and three daring young women from Pi Beta Phi took part in the dive through the hole in the ice to benefit the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Each one was completely submerged, but quickly exited the water to wrap themselves in towels and coats. Of course, Perrin recognized that some would “chicken out.” He had noted organizers were “expecting 30

Girls just wanna have fun - Three University of Guelph students suddenly wondered in mid-air if a polar bear dive on Sunday was a good idea. They were raising money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. From left: Laura Bryson, Sabrina Cuthbert Photo by Helen Michel and Rebecca Ford. For more photos visit the photo gallery at

4-3 votes continue as council approves more slot machines

by David Meyer ELORA - It does not seem to matter who is doing the voting, Centre Wellington Township council remained firmly split, 4-3, on Monday night when it came to an application to expand the number of slot machines at the Grand River Raceway. The same voting results occurred when the slots were first approved, and it continued through two amendments to a zoning application that would allow the raceway to expand to 450 slot machines. The biggest difference in the first approval process and the latest one was the amount of opposition. In 2000, council hosted the largest public meeting for a zoning application in Wellington County history, with over 1,400 people packing the community centre. When the current council held a public meeting in November about the slots application - in Fergus this time township planner Brett Salmon noted

in the meeting was sparsely attended. In fact, there was one speaker in favour of the application, other than the proponents, and one citizen opposed. Salmon told council Monday the township received seven or eight letters, with the majority opposed, but some in favour. The Grand River Raceway is currently bound by a limit of 200 machines through the zoning bylaw, and needed to apply for any expansion of the machines or the floor area. It could currently add up to 40 more machines without expanding the floor area. Raceway General Manager Ted Clarke said he would like to have 450 slot machines, and expand the facility towards the racetrack at the rear of the building. He said the facade, as seen from the road, would not change. Clarke noted most rural slots facilities have expanded the number of machines well beyond 400, and said the Grand River Raceway wants to keep


Slots revenue for the raceway enables it to offer better purses to attract the best horses and rides, and thus better crowds. A proposal to expand the slots building would require only site plan approval. Salmon told council that from a strictly planning approach, one of the few reasons to limit the slots is fiscal. He said after 450 machines are in place, any more means the township would be limited to two per cent of the profits from the machines. Currently, to 450 machines, it receives 5%. Centre Wellington has received over $9-million as its share of the slots profits since the facility opened in late 2003. As for most of the arguments council heard in 2000 against the slots, Salmon said, “A lot of the feared negative consequences of the use ... crime and all that ... I’d say we haven’t expe-

rienced that.” He added revenues for the township were slightly higher than expected, and there appears there has been no tapering off in use. In fact, the raceway wants the increase in machines because it fears people will go to other facilities if there are waits and lineups in Elora. Salmon said an expanded facility of 5,300 square feet would take up only 0.2% of the lot area, and poses no problem, as the facility has more than enough parking. Councillor Fred Morris cited Salmon’s report that “with most commercial operations we do not use zoning to control the size of the commercial facilities except where a new commercial entity such as a supermarket is proposed, and it threatens the planned function of another commercial district.” Morris said that limit is currently Continued on page 27

Judge orders removal of content from Manderson’s website

by Chris Daponte GUELPH - Superior Court Justice Cas Herold has issued an injunction against Guelph blogger Bill Manderson, saying the 73-year-old went too far with certain commentary about Wellington County officials. Herold stressed that public figures deserve scrutiny, but watchdogs or whistle blowers do not have carte blanche. “The danger, of course, is the potential for the watchdogs to very frequently find it either helpful or necessary, or both, to engage in flights of fantasy,” Herold said on Feb. 6. “Mr. Manderson, in this case, has crossed the line.” The judge was referring to statements made by Manderson about county councillor Brad Whitcombe and chief administrative officer Scott Wilson in over 150 letters and on his website Whitcombe and Wilson have launched a $2.4-million libel lawsuit against Manderson, who argued last

week that forcing the removal of material from his website would be equivalent to a guilty verdict in the libel case. Herold disagreed and ignored Manderson’s request for an adjournment. In his decision to grant the interlocutory injunction, Herold told the court he is doing so without declaring the comments are illegal. However, in referencing a “particularly disturbing” poem, Herold said Manderson’s comments “clearly invite anyone to conclude, without much thought about it, ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ ... There’s an invitation to conclude that Bradford Whitcombe and Scott Wilson are criminals.” Herold ruled Manderson must “forthwith” remove from print or online publications: - any reference to Whitcombe and Wilson as criminals or quasi-criminals; - comparisons between the county officials and Nazis; - statements suggesting Whitcombe and Wilson are mentally ill or psycho-

logically impaired; and - references to the two men as cheats, liars, fraudsters or other similar names. Herold ordered Manderson to take “all reasonable steps” to ensure he does not offend the above stipulations. Chris Wayland, representing Whitcombe and Wilson, also unsuccessfully requested Manderson be forced to remove statements indicating the county officials are part of a “clique” of Freemasons on council, as well as references to the “grim reaper.” “I don’t see a threat of violence there, I see a threat to bring in a broom and sweep the house,” Herold said of the grim reaper comments. He also told Wayland there is nothing wrong with Manderson accusing his clients of being in a clique of Freemasons on county council. When Manderson addressed the judge, he said he had the best of intentions when he wrote comments on his website or in letters. “I do not believe I’ve broken the

law and I certainly don’t have a record of breaking the law,” Manderson said. Herold replied, “The problem is your intent is but a minor cog in the big wheel.” He explained statements can be classed as defamatory if “a reasonable person” believes they are damaging to the reputation of those involved. Manderson did acknowledge his comments could cause immediate “irreparable damage” to the reputations of Whitcombe and Wilson, but he told the court everything he said is true. “This is a culmination of nine years of work,” Manderson said. “This is about justice.” Wayland cited previous cases of libel, including several involving material printed on the Internet. He said it is hard to tell how many people have read content on Manderson’s website and he hinted the number has likely increased since the case was first covered in media stories late last month. Herold replied he has no real sympathy for either Whitcombe or Wilson Continued on page 27

jumpers,” before some thought better of the entire project. But the annual event is for a good cause. Perrin noted in the six years the polar bear dive has taken place, the students have raised nearly $10,000, and he hoped to go over that mark before the event was over. Perrin said the group also did a test run to raise funds by holding a party at Vinyl, a Guelph night club. That was on a Tuesday night and the club donated the cover charge, offered prizes, and reduced prices on refreshments. Perrin said only 30 attended, but mid-term exams started the next day, so that was understandable. Next year, the plan is to do a better schedule to attract more people. After their dive into the icy water, students visited the St. John Ambulance heated van, although most seemed to be invigorated and no one was injured. Many seemed proud they had talked themselves into jumping in. One student, the first to go, noted this was his third time on the jump. To find out more about the Heart and Stroke Foundation, visit

In 2008 when production manager Marie Adsett moved on to a new career path, Helen Michel took over the position and the visual rebranding of the Wellington Advertiser began.

Legion sets stage for 70th anniversary by Mike Robinson MINTO - Ross Wilkie, representing Royal Canadian Legion Branch 296, has offered council a look into plans for the branch’s 70th anniversary later this year. Wilkie said on June 6 the branch will celebrate its 70th anniversary along with the 65th anniversary of DDay. He asked council’s permission to close Elora Street for a memorial service and parade that afternoon. Wilkie said the Legion has approval from the OPP, who are ready to work with the branch. There would be a memorial service and dedication service in the Legion parking lot at 2:45pm, plus a walk down memory lane from 3pm to 5pm in the Legion, followed by a gala cocktail party and dinner later on. He said there is a special keynote guest speaker, “but for reasons of security, we cannot announce that until mid-May.” Wilkie said the Legion’s second request is to be allowed to build a memorial cairn adjacent to the cenotaph. He said the cairn would have a metal plaque of similar quality to those of the Ontario government. The plaque would have names of Legion members who have passed away. He believes there should be recognition for those veterans who lived in the community. “The cenotaph recognizes those veterans who lost their lives in war, but there’s nothing in town to pay the respect to the veterans who served and returned home.” Mayor David Anderson asked if there is any federal funding available to help with the project. Wilkie said there was no funding, and the project would be paid for by the members. He hopes the cairn itself will be stone, if it is available locally. Otherwise, he anticipates it would be a piece of granite.


A New Look In the spring of 2009, the Advertiser took on a new look with an updated masthead and colours. After six mastheads over the course of four decades Dave Adsett felt “we finally got it right.” The delivery fleet (three vans) also took on the new look - our circulation had grown to 39,809 and due to volume, second sections of the paper became a regular occurrence. So much so we launched our second section Inside Wellington. Cover stories focused on exceptional individuals or groups within our readership area. We took on the new tag line “We Cover the County” because we truly did, with content, advertising and delivery.

As a businessman in Wellington County, Dave also felt the business community needed a stronger voice and medium to express itself. In September of 2009 Minding Our Business, a monthly business magazine, was launched. In 2009, the Advertiser was awarded the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce award for Large Business of the Year; our staff had grown to 44.


k c a b Throw

Monday, January 4, 1982

The Record Bin by David Meyer

You Want It You Got It, Bryan Adams [A & M] Once upon a time in the mid-1960s there was a poet whose friend wanted to put some music to the poet's poems. When the idea of forming a group came up the poet "decided to see if he could sing." That is how The Doors were formed. I'm not for one minute saying that Bryan Adams is going to have anywhere near the impact or even take the same direction as Jim Morrison. But his career started along the same lines. He became a singer because no one else was available. His start was one of those happy accidents. Adams teamed with another fellow musician, Jim Vallance, to write songs. The partnership was a good one and the duo had fair success with songs that were covered by Ian Lloyd, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Prism. At the age of 20 Adams finally got around to making his own single - and it nearly hurt his career. The song was called Let Me Take You Dancin' and it was mixed too fast in the sound studio. It became something of a hit - a disco-type hit. That was right around the time that disco was dying the death it so richly deserved and the song nearly left Adams stigmatized as a disco singer. That would have been quite a sad fate for the ex-member of Sweeney Todd. Fortunately, Adams had the good sense to leave that single off his debut album, which received nearly unanimous acclaim from critics as a perfectly-crafted pop album. (It was). Adams made no mistakes with his second album either. He plays guitar, piano and does all the singing on You Want It You Got It and uses Tommy Mandel on keyboards, Brian Stanley on bass and Mickey Curry on drums, as well as five other musicians on various tracks, and has produced a pop gem. Not only are the 10 songs on this album likeable, they are immediately likeable. From Lonely Nights, which opens the first side, to No One Takes it Right (with backing vocals from Cindy Bullens) at the end of the second side, Bryan Adams shows that he knows how to rock - and keep the music accessible to a wide audience. Quite simply, he is 1 radio programmer's delight. The partnership of Adams and Vallance wrote eight of the ten tracks here and Adams was involved as a writer in all of them. This Vancouverite will definitely be a performer to watch in the 80s. He just keeps getting better. Dave Meyer was a freelance columnist for the Wellington Advertiser long before he became the first full-time reporter for the paper.

‘I miss it’: Reporter, copy editor reflects on nearly two decades with the Wellington Advertiser BY DAVID MEYER

Every Tuesday at about 11am, I get an itch. It’s been happening nearly six years. That was the Wellington Advertiser’s copy deadline (it mostly worked out). Then we would choose which articles and photos would go onto which pages. Deadline is a powerful call. Some of our best (and worst) writing comes with pressure to get it done NOW. It doesn’t seem so long ago a professor in journalism school warned a time would come when some editor would tell us to finish a sentence. He would then yank the page from the typewriter, start editing it, and send it to a typesetter, who would type galleys to be fitted onto page blanks. Then, he would grab the next written page and continue. It happened to me once. I was thrilled. It could not happen today. The article is in the computer until it is done. A few times at deadline, I wrote and people watching me corrected my typos. There were several times news came at deadline - breaking news that had to be done - usually on the front page. I’ll never forget Dave Adsett tearing down that page minutes before press deadline, while I got information about a tornado by phone from a reporter watching it. Building a page meant trimming galleys and waxing them, and cutting them onto a blank layout page by hand. It was a different era. I’m not sure I could do the job today because it has changed. Take Twitter. It’s not for me. Nobody to edit it; just a message to the world. We’ve all heard of troubles people get into thanks to a stupid tweet. People being informed by phone that they were dead - or something hateful or idiotic. A real reporter would be horrified; a social media hack likely would not. Reporter deadlines are now for every minute of the day. The old adage for reporters was three Gs: Get it fast; Get it first; and Get it right. Lately, that third one suffers. There are other differences between then and now. About 25 years ago, major media made the mistake of putting all their news on the internet - for free on phones - with no idea how they could recoup costs or continue their paid circulation. Today, they wonder what hit them. My telephone is a land line with an answering machine. I don’t know how to turn on a cell phone. I carry a real camera. I shoot video only by accidentally bumping the settings. If someone invents a phone that does my household chores, I might reconsider. Photos in the Advertiser are better than ever. I had hundreds of them published over my career - mainly by taking thousands and picking the best of a poor lot. B.C., Before Computers, photos were developed, and run through a special machine

to create individual dots (pixels) needed to print a newspaper. I was a machine jinx. If I got within five feet, it would jam, misprint or stop. Dave Adsett started joking I should stay five feet away from it - and finally made that an order. Keyboards made for easier typing than manual typewriters - until I spilled coffee on the right edge of the board. Imagine my dismay as typing letters gradually produced nothing - all the way over to the left Caps Lock. Like all thinking citizens, I am dismayed at the financial state of newspapers and journalism today. So many papers closed, so many jobs gone, so much money lost. I’m also dismayed at the political correctness run amok. A chair is something to sit on, not a committee’s presider. We used to call a spade a spade; now it is an implement used in the construction of space in the ground. I’m pleased the Advertiser is doing well. I note, happily, there are female columnists - a change from old guys over 60. Adsett was responsible for that, too, wanting to better reflect readership. A free newspaper has no competition from its website - a courtesy to online readers. This “newspaper” is still the main focus. Today’s reporting job has tough requirements - but with much shorter hours - by law. I once worked a 38-hour shift and had lots more in double digits - needing pure adrenalin to get the job done as well as possible. What a rush. I miss it. I still get that itch.

Memories - David Meyer was among the guests at the Advertiser’s 50th anniversary event on April 4. Photo by Helen Michel

on this big occasion and many wishes for


519-323-1140 519-323-1140 519-323-1140

519-323-1864 519-323-1864 519-323-1864

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“We Work Hard for You” “We Work Hard for You”


Auctions have been an important readership item in the Advertiser since the beginning. In order to draw crowds an auctioneer needed to reach far and wide. We are still happy to do business with some of our original auctioneers – and now their sons, in many cases, have continued the tradition.



Congratulations on

to the Wellington Advertiser on

50 Years


We operate a wide selection of various auctions including: Dairy, Beef, Horse, Other Livestock, Club Sales, Dispersals,Farm, & Machinery.


With both Private Sales and our consignment sales we are more than willing to help and advise in any area.


David Carson Farms & Auction Services Ltd., Listowel, ON

– Dave Adsett, Publisher

AUCTIONS est.1964


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Auctioneer: Steven Parr


Congratulations on all your hard work! GERBER AUCTIONS LTD

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40, 40, 40 who will give 40?

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The Power of Print 2010 The start of a new decade was also the start of a new venture for Dave Adsett and the Advertiser. With the introduction of social media and an improved web presence, the Advertiser entrenched its position as the news leader in Wellington County. In addition to a continually improving print product, our website and social media feeds provide another platform for people to access our news in real-time.

Groves Hospital Foundation has been incredibly lucky with the support we have received from Dave Adsett and his team at the Wellington Advertiser. Since the very beginning of the fundraising for the New Groves Hospital Project, we have been able to count on their support. Dave generously committed to a $150,000 sponsorship for the Foundation, without which we would not have been able to share our news with the community. Without Helen’s amazing design expertise, we would not have been able to produce such eye-catching advertisements and, without the sponsorship, we would not have been able to share our donor’s stories with the readers of the Wellington Advertiser. We are truly thankful for everything the Wellington Advertiser has done for our Foundation, our hospital, and our community and we hope that this legacy continues for at least another 50 years!

A small printing operation had been a part of the paper for years but the quality of our work was driving demand and the expansion of our print division began. In order to manage this growth, a formal management structure was embraced. Sales manager Jane McDonald, production manager Helen Michel, editor Chris Daponte, circulation manager Catharine Goss all reporting to Dave Adsett. “I’m very proud of our managers. They make it happen every week.” - Dave Adsett


– Sarah Sheehan, Groves Hospital Foundation

Chris Daponte moved into the editor role. In recent years, there has been an undercurrent that print is dead. Dave believed in print so much, he bought two companies, beginning with Fergus Printing in 2012. Fergus Printing and Keltech Signs were both locally owned companies. This allowed WHA to diversify, offer even more services to our newspaper customers and will be a part of some larger initiatives in the very near future.

2014 Given the increase in insertion business, the mailroom required more equipment and an expansion. A sizeable extension was built onto the existing building. 2013 was a big year for the Wellington Advertiser as it marked the first of our OCNA (Ontario Community Newspapers Association) awards. In 2014 the nominations continued. In late 2014, The Wellington Advertiser commissioned KubasPrimedia to conduct a comprehensive study of consumers in its marketplace and published the results in 2015 with a Power of the Press piece for Newspaper Week. That piece won best in-house promotion in 2016, and with our 2017 nominations our OCNA award count will climb to 18.

The Wellington Advertiser, Friday, October 2, 2015 PAGE NINETEEN

in celebration of newspaper week, october 4 - 10, 2015

the power of the

In 2015, Dave Adsett took on the role of president of the OCNA. The Advertiser had been a member since the mid-70s and a member of the press council since the millennium, but Dave decided to take a lead role in an ever-changing and threatened industry.

The research survey was conducted by mail and online over November and December 2014. Surveys were distributed in specific postal codes in which the publication is distributed and incentives were provided to respondents to encourage participation. Responses were compiled and analyzed into a full report. We are proud to share some of the results of the survey in celebration of Newspaper Week and “the power of the press.”

verified circulation



of adults prefer

the Wellington Advertiser as their number 1 choice for local news & information



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Dave Adsett also made a five-year, $150,000 commitment to Groves Hospital in in-kind services to assist the Groves Hospital Foundation’s fundraising efforts.



In late 2014 The Wellington Advertiser commissioned KubasPrimedia to conduct a comprehensive study of consumers in its marketplace. The research focused on readership and rating of The Wellington Advertiser. Topics also covered media usage, shopping habits, lifestyle habits and demographics.

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The introduction of Wellington Weddings magazine to our product line was well received. The ability to print our own glossy products made the magazine a viable initiative and a beneficial one for local advertisers in the wedding industry.

100 St Andrew St., E., Fergus, ON. 519-843-2590



WeddingsO N IS A DV E R T











advice: MAKE






Rustic Country

Embracing RURA



As area newspapers began to fold, the Advertiser continued to grow. The increase in our social media platforms meant there was a need for a digital media editor. Kelly Waterhouse took on the role and our Facebook and Twitter presence increased and our good news “My Wellington” page was born.

You’ve grown and expanded...





Be Picture Perfe


on Your Wedd ing Day



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Scottish tradition

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The print division required a further expansion and a second location was acquired next door to the Advertiser’s Gordon and Gartshore location for Keltech and Fergus Printing.



We’ve been only too happy to help! Congratulations on all your accomplishments, especially covering the news for 50 years!




Bill 148

Once again, Dave believed the business community needed a slick product that catered to it and Business Leader, a quarterly glossy magazine, was added to our product line.

Businesses facin g fallout from new legislation

PRESSA BOTTL E Elora broth ers tame ‘dragon’ for deal

FROM CARR IAGES TO CARS Fergus home to nation’s oldest car dealer ship

THE WELLINGTO N ADVERTISE R Celebrating TURNS 50 five decades

Trapp Construction Inc. Marty Trapp

Office: 519-846-9066 | Cell: 519-569-0772






Friday, December 4, 2009 It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since David Meyer and I met up at the Elora post office, by chance, and got talking about the goings-on in town. We knew each other as fellow reporters (I freelanced for the Fergus Elora News Express), but we respected each other as writers, because both of us had the unique opportunity to be columnists, with very different writing styles. But I had taken a hiatus from writing for an extended period and Meyer, never shy on opinions, felt it was time I get back to it. He suggested I contact David Adsett to see if there was a place for me at the Wellington Advertiser. Getting a nod from Meyer is no easy feat. I knew that. It took me about a month to summon up the courage to write a pitch letter to Adsett. We had never met. How was I going to sell him a humour column about motherhood, marriage and the daily observations of life when he ran a newspaper that went county-wide, was renowned for political coverage and police stories, and featured an all-male editorial team? Yet I knew the Wellington Advertiser was also about community. Between the hard news were the stories of us, the faces and places that call Wellington County home. From the coverage of school events and sports

teams to service clubs, fundraisers and neighbourhood gatherings; this was exactly the place for my column. Almost a decade later, Write Out of Her Mind has secured a weekly spot in the pages of the Advertiser and a dedicated following. It’s not something I take for granted. David Adsett took a chance on me and has stuck by me, even when my career took unexpected turns. It’s a great honour to be a part of a community newspaper that is truly about family – my career here proves that. And from time to time, Meyer drops me a note to let me know if I’ve hit the mark. That still matters, too. Giving columnists a platform is an important part of the Wellington Advertiser’s history, back to the days when Bill gave many writers their first opportunity to be published. It was a time before the internet, when many popular columns were syndicated. That’s how successful writers made their living and gained a fan base. But it didn’t leave much space on the page for emerging writers. Getting published was a challenge, particularly for those far from urban centers. But Bill Adsett believed in local voices and commentary on a variety of issues that would be relevant to readers of his

newspaper. He also believed in building relationships. Thanks to this, many writers not only got their start in the pages of the Advertiser, but went on to enjoy successful writing careers and a dedicated audience in the pages of the newspaper. One columnist people will fondly remember was Allan Argue. He was an active member of community theatre, a performer, playwright and author. He believed theatre was an integral part of a healthy community. He approached Bill about doing a section each week on the arts and what was happening in Wellington County. It didn’t take long for that onepage synopsis to grow into a two-page spread covering each corner of the county. Readers enjoyed Allan’s play reviews. He brought a degree of authority to the subject and his passion came through with every word. Readers have enjoyed the diversity of columnists published in the pages of the Wellington Advertiser over the years. Columnists like Rodger Holmes, Bruce Whitestone and Barrie Hopkins became household names across Wellington County. Many others would follow in their footsteps and go on to pursue successful writing careers. The Wellington Advertiser was a good place to start.

Write Out of Her Mind by Kelly Waterhouse Writing life: A question of sanity Boy, have we got lots to talk about. Welcome to my column, Write Out of Her Mind. As you get to know me, you’ll see the title fits. My mind is a busy place. I have two kids, two dogs, two hamsters, one turtle and a cat. I have only one husband, affectionately known as The Carpenter. If I could find an electrician or a plumber to round out the number (and actually finish a renovation project) I’d be open to it. This column exists as a response to a life-long question posed to me on a regular basis: “Are you out of your mind?” Since my awkward childhood days, I’ve heard that question posed millions of times, in many unflattering tones. It was usually based on my personal moments of self-proclaimed genius, such as boy crushes or hot 80s fashion choices: “Are you really going to wear that? Are you out of your mind?” - That question has haunted me ever since. When I proudly announced to my father that I was going to go to university to become a writer, his response was, “Are you out of your mind?” The same response was garnered when I switched diplomas to the equally unemployable major of Canadian history. When The Carpenter and I were broke and mortgaged to the hilt, I suggested we have another child. He asked the same question. “Are you out of your mind?” (poor man; he’s so easily convinced). For some reason, the status of my mind has been in question for my full 39 years. I suppose I should be insulted; paranoid even. Writing, as an occupation, was a romantic concept but not necessarily the most direct path to success. Well, unless you write about boy wizards or teenage vampires. I can write only about what I know and I never met a boy who really was a wizard (though I fell for a few who promised they were), and I would rather not comment on my experiences with teenage vampires (my mother will read this, you know). I suppose it depends on how you define success. I’d just like to get out of over-draft. Sometimes it takes a crisis or a major shift in consciousness (or in my case, both) to really snap us into our own reality, into actually listening to the noises in our head. Call it instinct. Call it divine intervention. Whatever it is, I know that I am in my right mind when I am in my write mind. So the simple answer to that old familiar question is, simply put: Yes, I am absolutely, deliriously out of my mind and have never been happier. I warned you, it’s busy in here. I’m looking forward to our weekly conversations. We’ve got lots to talk about. The Carpenter is now on full alert that anything he does can and will be published in this newspaper for all of Wellington County to read. Boy, I’m really going to enjoy this. Talk to you next week.


Editor: news team embraces responsibility that comes with publishing a quality newspaper

Fifty Years... We Can Dig


As the summer of 2005 dragged on, I became increasingly frustrated with the lack of employers jumping at the opportunity to hire me, a young(ish), newly-graduated journalism student. On a whim, I decided to call the publisher of a Fergus newspaper where a close friend of an aunt worked. The publisher on the other end of the line sounded a bit annoyed – perhaps he hadn’t yet had his third cup of morning coffee – and informed me there were currently no reporter jobs available. Nonetheless, I sent along my resume and requested that I be considered should anything open up. A few weeks later my phone rang with an offer of an interview. And the following Monday, on Aug. 15, 2005, I started full-time as a reporter for the Wellington Advertiser. My very first assignment was a small photo and story on an impromptu performance by local Elvis tribute performer Wayne Langille in downtown Fergus on the anniversary of the King’s death. Looking back, it was a pretty pathetic first appearance in the newspaper, but like any other young reporter, I was extremely proud of my debut (paid) byline - and I will never forget it. As chance would have it, a bona fide journalism opportunity presented itself just days later.

He talked with such conviction on the topic that I started to second-guess myself. But it was only a matter of minutes before the office phones began to ring with reports of a tornado touching down just 1km north of the office. Around the same time, another twister hit the Conestogo Lake area in Mapleton Township. For the rest of the day, and for the next few weeks, I helped to cover the tornadoes and the aftermath. It was a horrible experience for those who lived through the devastation, but it was a phenomenal learning experience for me. Thirteen years later, it remains one of the most important stories I have ever covered. It also provided one of the office’s longest standing jokes about Meyer’s inability to predict the weather (we still remind him of it often). In the years to follow there were many other important stories covered, in addition to the “run-of-the-mill” community news that is equally vital to residents. My first seven years were quite busy, between council coverage, assignments, photos, layout and copy editing. But they were fun times and I learned a lot, particularly from failed weatherman Dave Meyer. In 2011, I was named copy editor and the following year I was appointed editor. Since then it has been my privilege to help welcome reporters Patrick Raftis, Jaime Myslik and Olivia Rutt. Along with Circulation 37,000 me and Robinson, they make up the five-person Friday, August 26, 2005 team that brings residents their news each week. I am confident in declaring it is the best

The Wellington Advertiser ington County

38 years serving Well


Volume 38 Issue 34

“Guys, tornado season is May and June, not this late in the summer.

Congratulations Dave & Bill ! You’ve built a great newspaper and it shows every week! • Excavating • Sand/Gravel • Topsoil

by David Meyer WELLINGTON CTY. again ripTornados have once of Wellped through parts ing ington County, destroy flipping forests, houses, barns, and leavvehicles off the road, ing a mess in their wake. Mayor Centre Wellington a state of Russ Spicer declared afteremergency on Friday one of noon, just hours after end of them hit the north

. Fergus about 1:40pm tornaThe swath cut by the on and dos started near Milvert striking moved south and west, then to north of Dorking, north of Conestogo Lake, then north side Salem, and, on to the d. of Fergus towards Belwoo conSpicer said at a press he 5pm ference shortly after no one was pleased to learn latest the was seriously hurt in ts on Wellattack by the elemen

ington County. OPP Wellington County Bedard Staff Sergeant Paul received said one woman acciminor injuries in a vehicle received dent. Another boy vehicle he minor cuts when the of Fergus was riding in north ditch. was flipped into the OPP Sergeant Mike Gordon the storm said that parts of there was reached Erin, but with only minor damage there,

was levelled by a tornado by Mary Thompson lot was at Conestogo Lake owned structure on the same e Gone again - This cottage hit Wellington County. Years ago, a similar photo by Chris Dapont that on Friday, one of two . also destroyed by a tornado

knocka couple of hydro poles reports ed out. There were also Guelph, of Hydro outages in ville, as Belwood, and Orange Arthur well as the stretch from to Fergus. , of For Jeremy Wilfing was a terMapleton, the storm He was rifying experience. at Conworking in his shop 86, y cession 3, near Highwapower the when it hit. He said had often went out, but he

g without worked in the buildin using lights. it was This time, though, different. t “It was so dark I couldn’ he said. see my work bench,” to He said the light began r weathe come back, but the drizlight g droppin went from zle to “wide open wind.” hardHe said the wind “got he tried to er and harder,” and the wind reach his house, but

off prevented that. It snapped y, propert numerous trees on his of his and he watched part away. neighbour’s barn blow ” funnel, the “I did not see do to he said. “It was all I could see 300 or 400 yards.” been Wilfing said he has never like scared before, but can get that. He noted people buzzes fearful when a bee ng a them, or when watchipage 4 Continued on

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others in the friends, relatives, and Road 19 Fergus, neighbours, week’s tornado near y on Wellington County n ys such as this propert Within minutes of last photo by Mike Robinso helping to clear drivewa community were out of West Garafraxa. near the Second Line

• Grading • Trenching • Septics


19 had swept through ton County on Aug. Ross family tornados that hit Welling photo submitted by the this after one of two of Fergus looked like clean up the mess. e Ross at the north end the storm and helped of Richard and Jeannin also swept through after sheds, and workshop an army of volunteers barns, but , The damage tion the te Devasta still attempting to calcula the area. Officials are

editorial team in the region, and one of the finest in the province. This amazing cy en erg em al ici nship declared off tow n; team was integral gto llin We Tornados hit to some of the Advertiser’s greatest achievements in recent years: 4, 5, 18, and 19. coverage on pages Additional tornado improved and expanded news coverage (including an added focus on sports, school boards, In the early afternoon on Aug. 19, just my public health, etc.); publishing more breakfifth day at the Advertiser, severe thundering news online and in the newspaper, and storms hit the Fergus area. The sky darkened incorporating social media as a regular part fast and the lights at the office on Gartshore of our coverage. Street in the north end of Fergus flickered. Not everyone realizes the dedication and Then the power went out and branches attention to detail that’s required to publish and leaves started to fly by the office wina quality community newspaper. It’s a huge dows, though it seemed eerily quiet. responsibility, but it’s one everyone here Looks like tornado weather, I thought to embraces. myself. Mike Robinson, a veteran Advertiser We love telling stories. Your stories. And reporter, verbalized the same suspicion, but with good fortune, this newspaper will conhe was quickly shot down. tinue to do just that for at least another 50 “No, it can’t be,” bellowed longtime years. reporter David Meyer from the next cubicle. “Guys, tornado season is May and June, not Thanks for reading. this late in the summer.”

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The World Runs on Innovation. We Shape It.

The World Runs on Innovation. We Shape It.

Into the Future A message from publisher Dave Adsett

2018 Despite the hype, a printed newspaper is still the only way to pay for top quality journalism. Yet we will continue to tell our stories online and offer up digital offerings to our readers and advertisers. As a member of the Canadian Newspapers Media Association federal board, I will continue to lobby for better government support of newspapers across this country. Our diversification into other print options – whether signage, traditional lithography or digital printing – is part of our strategy going forward.

50 YEARS... COPY THAT ! Congratulations to the Wellington Advertiser. Runsoffice on Innovation. Shape It. We’re proud to have served The youWorld with our productsWe and service for both the Advertiser and Fergus Printing. We look forward to seeing your advancement over the next 50 years!

Our advertisers and clients will have opportunities to experience one-stop shopping at the local level for all of their marketing needs – including online needs. “I am happy to see so many young people joining our firm. Their enthusiasm and passion for story-telling across numerous platforms is incredible. Their interest in technology is boundless. I am confident looking ahead.”

An Honour and a Privilege Working with staff on our 50th anniversary has been quite a challenge. Since 1968 we will have published over 6,000 editions consisting of The Wellington Advertiser, The Community News and other community-based publications. Choosing from over 120,000 pages of material to capture some highlights of our history was no easy chore. But very quickly that task became a point of reflection on what an honour and privilege it has been for our family to serve Wellington County all these years. And when I say family, that includes not only my dad (who started it all), myself (I have run the operation since 1994) and family members who have worked here over the years, but just as importantly, the 44 staff members, 151 carriers and 20 rural route drivers currently employed at WHA Publications Limited. There are scores of past employees who made valuable contributions along the way. This is a family business in all respects.





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0 5 Years


Wellington County celebrates sesquicentennial in 2004



by Stephen Thorning 1949-2015

who don’t, the changes of a half-century will seem striking. The selection of 1854 as the founding of the Wellington County was a somewhat arbitrary one. The first celebration of that date was the centennial observed in 1954. The case for 1854 is a strong one, but claims can be made for several others. Local government in what is now Ontario evolved slowly from the 1780s to the 1850s, but changes were frequent. That was especially so in what is now Wellington County. There was no significant settlement here until the 1820s. Before that, the area existed as a largely unexplored area on maps, and one that was moved from one jurisdiction to another. As well, some of the northern portion of the present Wellington was still “Indian Land” until the signing of treaties in the early 19th century. The slow evolution of local government curbed settlement somewhat. The policy of the British government during the post-1780 period was to maintain as much central control as possible, in order to avoid another revolution like the recent one in the Thirteen Colonies to the south. At the same time, the British wished to keep administrative costs to an absolute

The following is a re-print of a past column by former Advertiser columnist Stephen Thorning, who passed away on Feb. 23, 2015. Some text has been updated to reflect changes since the original publication and any images used may not be the same as those that accompanied the original publication. The coming year will be a busy one for the members of Wellington County council. In addition to a full agenda of issues dealing with local government and services, councillors will be participating in a series of events marking the 150th anniversary of the Wellington County. A committee has been at work over the past year or so, setting dates for special events and laying the groundwork for celebrations. To assist with the sesquicentennial observations, this column will deviate from its traditional format for the next 12 months. A major portion of the columns will look back 50 years. Not only was 1954 celebrated as Wellington’s centennial, but it also was a watershed year for both the county and the municipalities within it. A great deal happened in Wellington in 1954. During the coming months, columns will touch on some of the highlights. Many readers will remember that year and, for those

minimum. Consequently, local government evolved from the pressures of settlement. Ontario local government can be dated to Lord Dorchester’s proclamation of 1788, which divided the western portion of what was still the Province of Quebec into four districts: Hesse, Lunenburg, Mecklenberg, and Nassau. The dividing line between Hesse and Nassau extended straight north from the end of Long Point, in Lake Erie. That line bisected the area that would later become Wellington County. The Constitutional Act of 1791 created Upper Canada as a separate British colony. A year later, the first session of the Assembly changed the names of the original districts. Hesse became the Western District, and Nassau the Home District. The four districts proved impossibly large to administer properly and, in 1798, the Upper Canada parliament split each of them. The Niagara District split from the Home District, and the London District from the Western District. Pressures of settlement led to the separation of more districts. In 1816, the Gore District was severed from the Niagara District. That area consisted of much of the later counties of Brant, Halton and Wentworth, and extended

On behalf of The Township of Puslinch


to the





Overnight fire destroys home near Puslinch Lake


The county buildings - Agitation for the division of the old Gore District began in the mid1830s, and a bill creating the new Wellington District passed the Upper Canada assembly in 1837. The Rebellion of that year slowed progress. The original bill had named Guelph as the district capital, but partisans of Galt and Fergus argued their cases until 1839. William Day submitted the low bid for the jail building, and William Allan for the court house, which would also house the offices of the treasurer and clerk, and space for council meetings. The jail was completed in 1840, but the court house was not occupied until 1843. The new District of Wellington was officially proclaimed on June 18, 1840. This sketch, originally published in the Canadian Illustrated News, shows the court house fronting on Woolwich Street, and the octagonal jail building to the rear. The latter has been demolished, but the court house, with additions and renovations, still serves as the county headquarters.

north, with arbitrary lines, to Georgian Bay. Most of the future Wellington County, and part of Waterloo, lay within that area. The district offices were established at Hamilton, which already was the commercial and trading centre for the area encompassed by the new political entity. The provincial assembly made further divisions in the late 1830s. By then, Upper Canada consisted of 20 districts. One of the new ones in 1838 was Wellington, though the new entity was not proclaimed until June 1840. In its original form, the District of Wellington consisted of much of the later Wellington, Waterloo, Grey and Dufferin Counties. There was consider-

able political manoeuvering among the villages to gain the administrative offices. Guelph eventually triumphed over Galt, but a strong case was made for Fergus, as a more central location for the jurisdiction. The first District council met in Guelph on Feb. 8, 1842. To maintain central control, the provincial government appointed the warden: A.D. Fordyce, of Fergus, who had good political connections with the Toronto elite. At that time, there were only eight townships organized within the area of Wellington District: Eramosa, Erin, Garafraxa, Waterloo, Wilmot, Woolwich, Guelph and Nichol. The most important step

to the Wellington Advertiser for 50 years of providing our residents, businesses, and visitors with the latest news, event coverage, and opinions in Centre Wellington and Wellington County. Our community turns to the Wellington Advertiser on a weekly basis for our local news and we look forward to doing so for the next 50 years.

Township of Centre Wellington Council & staff

By Mike Robinson

The Township of Guelph/Eramosa congratulates

The Wellington Advertiser Guelph, Wellin gton to partneron in Sm itsart Cities Challenge

Anniversary By Patrick Raftis

cal solution to solve a social problem,” explained GUELPH – Welling Cathy Kennedy, ton County Guelph’s manage and the City of r of policy and Guelph are joining intergovernmen forces to enter a tal relations. national competi Kennedy explain tion with a chance ed Guelph and to win a $10-milWellington are lion prize. eligible to win one of two $10-million City officials prizes and will attended the be competing in March 29 council the under 500,000 meeting to outpopulation categor line a joint city/cou y. nty proposal for She noted the the Smart Cities local group is Challenge. working on a tight A federal governm timeline, with ent competian April 24 applicat tion open to commu ion deadline. nities of all “This challenge sizes (municipalitie is really unique s, regional in that it is bringin governments and g communities Indigenous comtogether both city-wid munities), the challenge aims e and regionto ally … to come up with improve lives through problem(s) innovation, ... that technology data and connect can help solve ed technology. and the key objectiv “The overall es will be to vision of this realize outcom Eggs-cellent - The BK challenge is to es for residents,” provide a techniFoundation, a wellness and healing centre held an Easter egg SEE GUELPH » 26

among those

hunt fundraiser on March

31. Andre Kelly

in Erin that uses animal

therapy to help those

who participated in the of Erin, Ava Nowlan of with disabilities, hunt. Hillsburgh and Jackson More photos on page Kelly of Erin were Politicians offer 17. Photo by Danielle Cargill differing views on provincial bu dget, debt

By Jaime Myslik

in low paying jobs ... they’re really struggling still and our evaluation is that it’s the government’s job to help those people.”

WELLINGTON COUNTY - The Ontario out paying down government a nickel on not prevent the expansi tabled a $158.5-b the principal owed.” illion budget on of our government last week, with Arnott added the debt.” a $6.7-billion Liberals She said going Perth-Well deficit that will “spend more on into debt ington not be elimidebt interest Conserv was a conscious nated until at least ative MPP Randy than they do on decision and colleges, uni- Pettapi 2024. noted jurisdictions ece versities and skills “We know that accused that went the there are training. Liberal the other way post-rec lots of people who s of By going on a “prenext year, each ession are fairand every election and cut spendin ly well to do who spending spree.” person in Ontario g haven’t are doing seen will owe, the same econom In a news just fine ... but we LIZ SANDALS in effect, $22,511 release , ic RANDY PETTAPIECE also know for their growth and those Pettapiece said that the profile TED ARNOTT share of the provinc economies the budget of people’s ial debt. include “But we also have actually gotten earnings has changed s “billions in have this $308 This number is worse. new billion as of this up almost plan that says postInstead, she said, spending promis month,” as a governrecession and this $800 from this past the gov- ment es” just he said in a press is not an year.” it’s our respons ernment of Ontario release. weeks before the Ontario phenom ibility He called on the decided to help upcoming “This year’s budget enon,” said govern- June election the people who got to gradually work projLiberal Guelph ment to create . left ects deficits back to a behind MPP Liz a long-term for the next six balanced budget post-recession “Fifteen years Sandals. debt repayment and while still of Liberal years, through to plan. make sure that those introducing new 2024. government have families “It’s actually an “We in Wellington programs can brought us “Next year, if they interna- like full-day under- waste, thrive in are Ontario still tional phenomenon scandal, misman stand the econom too.” kindergarten in office, the Liberal agethat ... and investm ic value Wellington-Halton ment, massive debt, s plan to there are more of hard work and ents in infraHills add almost $17 and tax people who the social hikes,” Progressive Conser billion more structure and health are in low paying Pettapiece said. value of persona vative care. to the debt, bringin “This l responsibil- budget jobs and MPP Ted Arnott g it up to a “We think that then there seems changes none of criticized staggeri ity,” Arnott said. we can do the that. to be this ng $325 billion.” government for that same thing It just makes it worse.” less of a middle taking on “From this underst again and ... Arnott said interest class and more debt. andwe think that Sandals said the costs more people in ing stems a serious we owe that on governhigh paying the debt concern continue to go up. “Since the Liberal to Ontario families ment built the budget jobs. when our governm s took to work office around “Many people ent refus- request in 2003, they have our way out of will be s from the Ontario es to live within “What we realize this problem more shocked when we its than doubled the to learn that ... and we’ve got the when our governm means, public, including seniors look at those people provincial Liberal a plan to get who are s are spending , ent grows parents debt, taking it back to balance,” more from about , businesses until it begins to she said. than $1 billion and inhibit over- those $139 billion to every month an estimated involved in econom all economic growth, on interest paymen ic when develop CENTRE WELL ts, withment. even excessiv INGTON | PUSL e taxation does INCH

As an important, local newspaper your well-written articles help to cover significant news and events for our residents.

You play a critical role in our communities and we wish you another successful 50 years as a news source in Guelph/Eramosa. | MAPLETON






with no injuries , but the main building was a PUSLINCH - An total loss. Exposed overnight fire vehicles and sheds on March 29 destroy were saved, ed a home near Gomes said. Puslinch Lake. “The cause cannot Emergency crews, be deterincluding mined the OPP and due to the extent firefighters from of the damage,” said Gomes. the Puslinch and Cambridge fire “But based on the departments, respond witness ed to the statement from the homeow structure fire call ner, it might at about 6:30pm. have been smokin Though the fire g materials that was within started the township, Puslinc the fire.” h Fire Chief Anyone with any Luis Gomes explain information ed Cambridge about the fire is was on scene first asked to contact “because it is in the Wellington our fire protecti County OPP at on agreement area 1-888-310-1122. with Cambridge.” To remain anonym When firefighters ous, call arrived the Crime Stoppers residence on Travelle at 1-800-222-8477 d Road, east (TIPS) or submit of Cambridge, a tip on-line at was engulfed in flames. Gomes Tip providers may estimated 30 firebe eligible for a fighters were on reward from Crime the scene. Stoppers of up to One person escaped $2,000. the home See photo on page 26.


in the evolution of local government in Ontario was the Baldwin Act, which came into effect at the beginning of 1850. It later came to be known as the Municipal Act. Championed by Reformer Robert Baldwin, the act abolished the old cumbersome system of Quarter Sessions and government by a select group of Justices of the Peace. New townships, towns and villages could be incorporated easily, and their councils were to be elected by the taxpayers, with minimal property qualifications. Officials such as clerks and treasurers were to be appointed by local councils, not the provincial government. Most importantly, the Baldwin Act vastly increased the power

Thank you for covering the

Town of Minto for the last 50 years!

s r e e h C to �ifty more!


County celebrated 150 years in 2004 FROM PAGE 33

and authority of local government, at the municipal and county levels. Wellington District existed only a short time - until 1850. By then, there were 21 townships within its boundaries. The new entity, now called the County of Waterloo, administered the same area as the county, but possessed more authority than the old district government. That original Waterloo County council sat for only two years. In its second year, a provincial act separated the town of Guelph from the township, creating the first urban municipality in the county. In 1851, the provincial assembly created more counties, among them Grey and Wellington. For purposes of administration, however, those two remained with Waterloo for another year. At the 1852 session, 23 townships plus the town of Guelph sent representatives. The official name that year was the United Counties of Waterloo, Wellington and Grey. For the 1853 session of county council, Waterloo County separated, leaving the United Counties of Wellington and Grey meeting at Guelph, with representatives from 22 municipalities. Grey established its own county government in 1854. That left Wellington County

in much the shape it remains today - and that is the strongest argument for observing 1854 as the founding year of the County of Wellington. Even so, there have been some changes since 1854. Minto and Luther Townships did not exist in 1854 - the whole area was originally part of Arthur Township. Minto became a township in 1856. Residents there petitioned for separate status in late 1854. County council approved, but the wheels moved slowly. Minto’s first council did not meet until January of 1857. Luther was not incorporated until 1860. In 1863, Orangeville incorporated as a village, and became another municipality in Wellington. And in 1869, Garafraxa divided into two townships East and West. Other changes in Wellington County were internal ones. Under the provisions of the Baldwin Act, the larger settlements achieved a sufficient population to achieve village status, and if they continued to grow, town status. Beginning with Fergus and Elora in the late 1850s, Wellington eventually contained nine incorporated municipalities, carved out of existing townships. The British North America Act, creating the Dominion of Canada in 1867, placed jurisdiction over municipal government at the provincial level. Otherwise, there was no

change to the county structure as a result of Confederation. Residents in the north resented the distance between themselves and the county town at Guelph. Agitation for new counties began in the 1860s, but only one was successful. The provincial legislature authorized the creation of the County of Dufferin in 1874, but that new entity was not established until 1881. Three municipalities, East Garafraxa, Amaranth Township and Orangeville, left Wellington to join the new county. Two years later, Luther Township split in two, and East Luther joined Dufferin. Apart from some annexations of rural areas into urban municipalities, the map of Wellington County remained constant from the exit of East Luther in 1883 until the major restructuring of 1998. A number of dates are important in the history of Wellington County but it is easy to argue that 1854 was the most important one. That was the year that the county was constituted in more or less its present boundaries, and it was the beginning of the effective local government needed to deal with the demands of rapidly growing communities. *This column was originally published in the Wellington Advertiser on Jan. 9, 2004.

Local columnist, historian, politician Stephen Thorning dead at 65 When columnist Stephen Thorning passed away suddenly in 2015, Advertiser reporter David Meyer wrote a lengthy piece on Thorning and what he meant to the community. Here is an excerpt of that article, which ran on Feb. 27, 2015. BY DAVID MEYER

WELLINGTON COUNTY County historian Steve Thorning passed away on Monday night while riding home to Elora on a train from Oakland. He suffered a massive stroke in Utah ... and was taken to a hospital in Salt Lake City and then transferred to the University of Utah Medical Centre where efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. Thorning was a councillor and deputy-reeve of the former village of Elora, and a long-time columnist for the Wellington Advertiser. His popular reports on local history were first published in the Elora Sentinel, then the Fergus Elora News Express, and then he found larger scope considering history right across Wellington County. Thorning had a keen interest in railroads, from their history to recreating models of famous rail lines. He belonged to a local railway club. He was an honorary member of the Elora and Salem Horticultural Society, and served a term as its president. He was also an avid gardener. His interests seemed universal. He played guitar in a rock band in his early days, helped bank branches computerize in the 1980s, had a huge

music collection, some of it dating to the 1930s, and he was familiar with the musicians on those old songs. His political career spanned four terms, including deputy-reeve of Elora. He lost a bid to become the first mayor of Centre Wellington after serving on the transition board, a group of politicians charged with creating the new municipality. He was instrumental in his support of the municipal centre built in Elora in 1994 that became the headquarters for Centre Wellington Township. He was an avid collector, and once mused that he had as many or more artifacts and historical pieces about Elora as the Wellington County Museum. He was a frequent user of the archives there, digging out nuggets of historical lore that might interest the readers of his column, Valuing Our History. He had a wry sense of humour, too. Shortly after he was elected councillor, he complained on the village streets that the amount of graft available to local politicians was far below what he had been led to believe. Wellington Advertiser publisher Dave Adsett was saddened to learn of the passing of not only a popular columnist, but also a friend...

Congratulations on 50 years to

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to the Wellington Advertiser for helping people to imply xplore the Township of Wellington North for the last



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We are keepers of History. Lest we forget. Lest We Forget Since 1968, the Advertiser has published many Remembrance Day tributes to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in times of war and during peacekeeping missions. One thing all editorial staff members over the years can agree on is this: they consider it an honour to relay the stories of those who risked everything for their country, from the First and Second World Wars to the Korean War to Afghanistan and beyond. From humorous to horrific, their tales are enthralling, the type of living history people simply can’t get from sitting in a classroom, reading a book or watching a film. Every single one of our nation’s veterans should be remembered, honoured and thanked – and not just on Nov. 11. The torch has been passed. It’s up to each and every Canadian to hold it high, 365 days a year.

Recognition For decades the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) has annually held Better Newspapers Competition (BNC) Awards. In recent years the Advertiser started to enter the competition, with great results. In 2013 Kelly Waterhouse won the OCNA’s prestigious Humour Columnist of the Year award. The paper also received a third place finish in the best editorial category. At the 2014 OCNA awards, the Advertiser claimed one

The Arthur & Area Historical Society

2018 and beyond Over 50 years, the staff at the Advertiser has grown from one to more than 44 employees. We have a full in-house production team, an experienced sales force, five-member editorial team and a circulation department that manages 151 carriers and another 20 rural drivers. The current press run is 41,000 copies, making the Advertiser one of the largest independent newspapers in southwestern Ontario.

Arthur Legion, Br. 226

sends congratulations to all those associated with the publication as they celebrate their anniversary.

appreciates the support

Congratulations & Thank you

and coverage of numerous Remembrance Day services ricalsociety@gma o t s i h a e r a urand 519.820.5913 | arth Today and always we stand with them in gratitude and support.

first place finish (for local retail ad layout), one second place (use of colour in an ad) and one third place (special section for its Remembrance Day feature, Women in War). The next year, the newspaper was recognized for use of colour in an ad, original ad idea and local retail ad layout (all third place). In 2016, the paper was recognized for the first time ever (second place) in the general excellence category for newspapers with a circulation between 22,500 and 44,999. Judges called the Advertiser “a newspaper any community would be proud of.” In 2016, the paper also received first place for local retail ad layout and in-house promotion, second place for best creative ad and third for most creative “grip and grin” photo. The 2017 award finalists were to be recognized at the annual OCNA gala in April of 2018.

The Palmerston Legion also thanks & congratulates The Wellington Advertiser for

50 YEARS Branch #409 | 260 Daly Street | Palmerston

and special Legion events over the years.

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The Executive


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Wellington Advertiser 50th Anniversary Special Feature  

The Wellington Advertiser. Celebrating 50 years of serving Wellington County.

Wellington Advertiser 50th Anniversary Special Feature  

The Wellington Advertiser. Celebrating 50 years of serving Wellington County.