Cornwall Seaway News turns 35 this week. In September 1985 our first edition was published, and the dream of Rick Shaver and Dick Aubry was realized.
Since that first edition, Seaway News has delivered on its commitment to provide news to the communities of Cornwall, SD&G and Akwesasne and value to advertisers that cannot be found anywhere else.
“Congratulations to Rick and staff of the Seaway News on this notable 35-year milestone. Well done. May you continue the journey of success with pride. I wish you many, many more successful years,” said Julie McIntosh of McIntosh Massage Therapy, a long-time advertiser with Seaway News.
Another long-time advertiser, Brian Johnston of Upper Canada Mortgage remarked on the value that Seaway News has offered his firm over the years.
“We have been advertising in Seaway News for over 20 years, where we have had an upper lug on the front page,” Johnston said. “Everyone has always told us that they see us every week at the top of Seaway News…however we have always only advertised every second week. The advice of Rick Shaver way back then obviously worked. Congratulations on 35 years.”
Central to the story and the character of Seaway News have been the people who worked on it and poured their effort into every edition.
“Our first offices were at 533 Pitt St. To call it offices is a bit of an exaggeration. It was more like an open space with some partitioning,” said Dick Aubry, who founded the paper with Rick Shaver and retired in 2010. “Our first winter was difficult due to problems with our distribution contractor. I remember delivering papers in very cold weather. However, we overcame those and other problems. We were fortunate to have many good people. Several of the real veterans are still there; Jennifer, Colleen and of course Rick. Without people like these Seaway News could not have existed,”
Many former employees have fond memories of that first office.
“One of my favourite, earliest memories is from our original location on Pitt Street,” said Arlene Snelgrove. “I worked part time. Tom and I shared a desk because there was no room for us to each have one. It was mine in the morning, his in the afternoon. But, my most memorable moments all involve the clients I looked after, some for the full 24 years I worked at Seaway News. They were an amazing assortment of individuals who became far more than just clients. To them I say “Thank you for your business and some great memories.”
“The things I remember the most were sitting in the board room with Sammy Lalonde, Rick, Dick, Arlene and having quizzes for bucks or quarters or whatever we got,” added her husband Bill Snelgrove. “During the Ice Storm we watched our co-workers two young kids while she helped putting the paper together.”
Faces at the Seaway News office have changed over the past 35 years, but co-workers past and present remember fondly their time at the publication.
“Seaway News has created a great following of readers over 35 years,” said Jennifer Mayer, Sales Coordinator who has been with Seaway News since the early days. “There have been a lot of changes since those early days and we have grown tremendously in all areas. We have had a great group of people to work with over the years and time has passed by quickly.”
“When I started at Seaway News, I never dreamed that I would still be here 30 years later. I was very grateful when Rick and Dick hired me (way back when), I never could have imagined what a great work family I was getting into. To have spent my entire adult working career with the same company has been such a blessing,” remarked Colleen Benton-Parette, who has been with Seaway News since she began as an intern and is now head of the Production Department. “It’s a nice feeling to know that our newspaper is so well received in the community and that people look forward to reading us every week. Anytime someone asks me where I work and I tell them Seaway News, I always hear, “I love your paper!” There is no better compliment!”
Past employees like Deena Dufresne and Robin Cameron remember social events like the celebration of office birthdays that made the team feel more like a family than like a group of co-workers.
The commitment of Seaway News’ employees to the product of the paper is reflected in the close connection they have had with the community over the past 35 years.
“A great joy was having families come in year after year to place their birthday ads on our Let’s Celebrate page. Seeing their children grow up, graduate and eventually get married and now grandchildren. Everybody loves to check out that page to see who’s celebrating a birthday or anniversary every week. I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people,” said Diane Lafrance, long-time Receptionist. “We are truly a great weekly community newspaper that people cannot wait to check out every week. I have been fortunate to have spent 21+ years working there and with a great bunch of people to boot!”
Even those employees who have moved on, remember their time at the paper fondly.
“The learning curve was vertical for the first couple of years, but through the stress, tears, frustration, awe and self-doubt, from international politics to county fairs, and from iconic rock stars to ribbon cuttings, I had the time of my life,” said Roxanne Delage, a photographer and former columnist with Seaway News. “Thanks Rick Shaver, for giving me a shot that day. My life has been greatly enriched and forever changed by my newspaper years.”
The landscape of Cornwall and the news industry itself has changed seismically over the past 35 years. What has not changed since Seaway News began is not just its commitment to advertisers, not just maintaining a strong news presence on all platforms, but also the commitment to be a part of the community the paper serves.
“When Dick and I got together little did I realize that I would be managing this media company 35 years later,” said Rick Shaver, who now is GM and Publisher. “”Committed to our Community” has always been our motto, our goal was for our advertisers to succeed and our readers to have interesting, informative and local community news each week. Introducing Cornwall Living and our other magazines complimented our media mix. We now deliver the news and client ads on our social media including our web site. We have been so fortunate to have good people work for us over the years and to have Doug and his team deliver us in the Ad Bag.”