Goodbye to an Embarrassment of Riches

English newspapers! A whole big bunch! If only we had fully appreciated them at the time.

Montreal Daily Star
Photo (cc) by amy b

The juggernaut newspaper back in the ’50s when I was a kid was, without a doubt, The Montreal Star. First known as the Montreal Daily Star, it became the go-to paper of Montreal’s anglo community. (How sad it was when it folded in 1979, never able to rebound after a protracted pressmen’s strike ended.)

The Montreal Gazette had a captive morning audience, mind you, but in the afternoon and evening, the Star was unmatched. My brother used to deliver it after school. I still remember going “collecting” with him on his bike sometimes, in NDG, on his weekly rounds. Once he even shared his tips with me. A little. Okay, maybe he gave me a nickel. 🙂

We had another daily during the ’50s, until it folded in 1957 – the Montreal Herald. This was tabloid sized and featured many articles of local interest. It was the second paper my brother, Dan Rosenburg, wrote for. He used to cover minor sports… after he got his start writing for the little weekly, The Monitor, when he was still in high school. The Monitor went online-only in 2009.

Other papers we had were the Sunday Express in the ’70s and ’80s, and the Montreal Daily News which lasted for only a year, 1988.

What’s left now? The Gazette. The Suburban (a local weekly). The Free Press – a tiny local bi-monthly. And the Montreal Times – formerly the West End Times – a weekly tabloid, basically an advertising vehicle. Oh, and The Senior Times – a monthly, much more like a thin magazine than a newspaper.

My assumption is that the golden age of newspapers was doomed by the coming of the digital revolution. But in Montreal, we had an added problem – the fact that many thousands of anglophones left the province in the ’70s to escape the rise of separatism – and there went a huge chunk of advertising and subscribers’ dollars.

So sad. It was goodbye to many of our friends, neighbours, family members, as well as to some of our favourite newspapers… all greatly missed.

14 thoughts on “Goodbye to an Embarrassment of Riches

  1. The Montreal Star and The Star Weekly were my favorites. Much missed. The Gazette is on the way out, I think about cancelling it after every morning read: cover to cover it takes about six minutes! But getting English language publications is a form of rebellion in Quebec and I believe we need to hold on to the written English we have while we have it. As for the community papers, I pick them up in local businesses for the same reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I still enjoy reading the newspaper when I can. It is relaxing, when I was younger if I missed a day, I would find it and catch up. It is a shame that this generation of young ‘uns have their noses in their smartphones. I enjoy your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too Yvonne, I still need my newspaper fix – with the emphasis on ‘paper’! Although more and more I can read stuff on my phone or computer screen, there’s nothing like settling down in the ol’ easy chair with the newspaper. Thanks, Yvonne!


  3. As a teen I had delivery routes for, in this order, The Montreal Star, The Star Weekly, and The Gazoo… oops, Montreal only reference… The Montreal Gazette.

    It always amazed me the people who would become delinquent on their payments to a kid.

    I had one customer, though, who was great. He kept his Gazette punch card for payments on a hook inside his front door. The weekly subscription price back then was 65¢. He had a paper clip on the card. Every week he clipped a one dollar bill; yes kids, Canada used to have one dollar bills (two dollar bills as well); to the card. So that included a 35¢ weekly tip! He told me to come to collect whenever I wanted: weekly, monthly, quarterly… The dollar bills were always clipped to the card whenever I went to collect them.

    Then there was the 20 something lady customer who was always wearing a negligee when I went to collect from her. Ah the good ol’ days! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This could be a blog post of your own!! Or a book!! Oh! The stories you could tell, like these! We especially will want to know more about the negligee lady… and you. 😁😈


  4. Thanks for this! As a devoted ex Montrealer living in Ottawa – I still read the Gazette every morning! Even before I subscribed to it electronically – I would venture out on Saturday morning to downtown Ottawa to pick up a print version. Honestly – Montreal News is so much more interesting than City of Ottawa news! I use to deliver the Montreal Star in Westmount after school! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who was your grandfather? My brother was a sportswriter for the Star for many years. He was the first reporter from an English Montreal paper to cover the Expos’ games! Also, are you related to Stephanie Whittaker?


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