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Mail and Music Victoria County, Ontario Canada

Two other buildings worthy of mention are the present Post Office and the Academy of Music.

From 1861 to 1888, the post office was a modest frame building which still stands on Lindsay Street South next to the skating rink. A new building of brick was promised by the government in 1887 and the choice of a site wavered between the old English church lot (the present location) and Britton's corner. The former site was criticized as being too far west and out of the center of the town and a referendum, brought on by frantic disputants, gave a popular majority of 239 in favor of Britton's corner. It seems, however, that the referendum was out of order and that the federal Post Office Department had already purchased the other site. The criticisms of 1887, moreover, are no longer valid, for Lindsay, like most towns and cities in the northern hemisphere, has grown steadily towards the west and north, so that the Post Office is now quite central. The advent of street delivery in 1919 has further shelved the question.

Work on the Post Office was begun in July 1888. Limestone for the foundations was towed to Lindsay on scows from the Big Island quarries on Pigeon Lake. The main building, constructed of red brick, was 56 feet long by 51 feet wide by 60 feet in height. The structure was finished off with a tower and a mansard roof. There was also an eastern wing, 57 feet by 22 feet. A recent reconstruction has not altered the main outlines of the building.

The Academy of Music, built in 1893, was more urgent than the Post Office. In the sixties, Thomas E. Bradburn had built a two story west wing on the town hall, and had leased it to the town council. The upper floor was used as an Opera House. Though painfully inadequate, it was all that the town knew for a quarter of a century.

The Bradburn lease was to expire in 1893, and in 1892 a joint stock company, initiated by R. J. Matchett and F. Knowlson, prepared to put up a modern Opera House on the southeast corner of Lindsay Street and Kent Street East. Work was begun in July 1892 under the contractorship of William White, of Lindsay. The plans of the architect, W. Blackwell, of Peterboro, called for a four storey building of red brick, 120 feet long by 55 feet wide. The stage was 54 feet in width by 38 feet in depth; and the proscenium arch was 28 feet in height. The auditorium was vaulted over with a magnificent domed ceiling. The seating capacity consisted of 500 in the gallery, 384 in the stalls and parquet, and 16 in the boxes, or a full house of 900 in all.

An opening concert was given on the night of January 5, 1893.

A Few Municipal Statistics

The present population, according to the civic tax rolls, is 8025, and the assessment of taxable property $4,262,942.00.

The levy for 1921 is 44.3 mills on the dollar and provides for the following expenditures:(1) $36,887.41 as payment to the county. One-half of this amount was to be applied on the county road system. (2). $52,255.77 for Public and Separate Schools. (3). $17,226.43 for the Collegiate Institute. (4). $44,490.19 for Debenture Debt and Interest. This includes the missing railway bonuses consolidated in 1891, industrial bonuses, and local improvement financing. (5). $2800.00 for the Public Library. (6). $47,295.00 for the miscellaneous expenses of municipal government.

The Record of the Press

The present Lindsay newspapers, "The Watchman Warder" (weekly) and "The Evening Post" (daily), are not only the oldest survivors of a long line of journalistic enterprises in the county; they were actually among the earliest in point of establishment.

In 1856, a joint stock company, consisting of Messrs. Cottingham, Irons, Stephenson, McQuade, and others, set up a weekly "Metcalfe Warder" (Conservative) under the management of Joseph Cooper and Joseph Twell. Cooper had served his apprenticeship on the Dublin Warder, and to that fact the new paper owed its name. It became the Omemee Warder in 1857, when the village changed its title.

The "Canadian Post," a Liberal weekly, was begun in Beaverton in 1857 by C. Blackett Robinson and moved to Lindsay in 1861.

According to a Canada Directory issued in 1857, the field here had already been occupied by the "Lindsay Advocate" (Independent) under Edward D. Hand. The Lindsay "Herald" (Conservative) joined these two in 1863. Then, in 1866, the Omemee Warder, finding its position financially unstable, was spirited away by night and set down in Lindsay as the "Victoria Warder." Finally, Peter Murray and W. M. Hale began the "Lindsay Expositor" in 1869.

Only two of these papers survived. The Herald and the Expositor died in infancy, and the Advocate sold out its equipment to the Post and the Warder in 1870.

In that same year, Robinson moved to Toronto and founded the "Canada Presbyterian." The Post was left in the charge of his brother-in-law, George T. Gurnett, until 1873, when it was taken over by Charles D. Barr, night editor of the Toronto "Globe."

Four years later, Cooper sold the "Warder" to John Dobson for $5000, and Edward Flood was made editor. Samuel Hughes of Toronto became proprietor and editor in 1885. Leading local Conservatives were soon dissatisfied with his management of the paper and backed Joseph Cooper in establishing the "Watchman," another Conservative weekly, in 1888.

For two or three years, the local; press indulged in orgies of Billingsgate probably unique in the annals of Canadian journalism.

In time, Cooper sold out the Watchman to George Lytle, who in 1899, bought up the Warder as well and amalgamated the two papers as the "Watchman Warder." Lytle was succeeded as editor by Allan Gillies, who, with the assistance of Ford Moynes of the Stratford Herald, launched a "Daily Warder," commencing May 1, 1908. John W .Deyell, B.A., has since become manager.

Meanwhile, C. D. Barr was appointed county registrar in 1891, and the Post was taken over by George H. Wilson of Port Hope on July 1, 1892 .The weekly edition was supplemented by a daily "Evening Post" beginning April 8, 1895.

Two new rival papers were founded in 1895 and 1908, but were short lived. Sam Porter, of the Post staff, published a "Lindsay News Item" for a few weeks in 1895; and a "Free Press" started on May 8, 1908, by J. V. McNaulty and R. J. Moore, gave up the ghost on February 20, 1909.

During and after the Great War of 1914-18, newspaper costs became so crushing that the proprietors of the Post and the Watchman Warder entered into an agreement by which, after Sept. 30, 1920, the former abolished their weekly edition and the latter their daily edition. This arrangement is still in force.

The staffs of the local papers have had several distinguished graduates. Samuel Kydd, once with the Warder and the Advocate, became editor of the Montreal Gazette in 1909; while the late W. M. O'Beirne, 30 years editor of the Stratford Beacon, the late S. J. Fox, M.P.P., the late J. T. Johnston, of the Toronto Type Foundry, and F. H. Dobbin, 27 years Managing Director of the Peterboro Review, all served with the Post.

Newspapers have also carried on elsewhere in the county. After the departure of the Warder, Omemee had its "Herald" and "Mirror," both now defunct. In Bobcaygeon, the "Independent," founded by E. D. Hand In 1870 and published for many years by the inimitable Charles E. Stewart, has a current circulation of 750. Fenelon Falls has had the "Gazette" and the "Star." The latter is no more, but the former, set up by E. D. Hand in 1873, and now run by the Robson Bros., survives with 600 subscribers. Woodville long had its weekly, the "Advocate," founded in 1877 by Cave and Henderson, but this paper has since been amalgamated with the Beaverton "Express."

Town of Lindsay

Victoria County


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