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Nov. 24, 2022

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10 novembre 2022



 





Upcoming events


MUSIC TRIVIA NIGHT at the Orléans Brewing Co., 4380 Innes Rd. from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Short answer, multiple choice, sound clips and picture rounds. Come in as a single player or as a team, it's free to play.

MUSIC BINGO NIGHT at the Orléans Brewing Co., 4380 Innes Rd. from 8-10 pm. Come out and test your music knowledge. $5 per card. Funds are split 50/50. One of the three winners of the evening will get a chance at the 50/50 amount. Call to reserve your spot -- 613-830-8428.

BLACKBURN CHRISTMAS MARKET from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Blackburn Hamlet Community Hall eaturing a variety of local vendors offering services and wares.

LAST MINUTE HOLIDAY MARKET hosted by the Stray Dog Brewery,
501 Lacolle Way in the Taylor Creek Business Park. from noon to 4 p.m. Come on down to the brewery and support local artisans. There will have mulled beer, live music and plenty of good cheer to get you into the holiday spirit.

CORO VIVO OTTAWA presents 'Christmas Under the Stars', a holiday concert at Orléans United Church, 1111 Orléans Blvd. Tickets : $25 for adults; $20 for seniors and students. Children 12 and under are free. Available online only at https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/coro-vivo-ottawa-8064734718.


 



VIEWPOINT: Anniversary a time to walk down memory lane
By Fred Sherwin
Nov. 20, 2022

On Nov. 1, I celebrated a series of anniversaries. It was the 33rd anniversary of my first article in the Orléans Star. It was the 21st anniversary of orleansonline.ca, which I launched in 2001. And it was the sixth anniversary of my purchasing the Orléans Star from Transcontinental Media in 2016.

Those are a lot of milestones to be celebrated on one day. (In truth, I completely forgot about all three anniversaries until a week later, which is why it’s taking me so long to write about it.)

Thirty-three years is a long time to be writing about the same community. I once tried to figure out just how many stories I’ve written over the years and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s been a lot. I’ve written over 1,500 stories since I acquired the paper alone. Prior to that I wrote over 4,000 stories for orleansonline.ca, including one year when I wrote over 750 stories, columns and editorials. That’s a lot of words. It’s also a lot of interviews and photos and people who I have met along the way.

This journey I’ve been on started with a chance meeting with an old friend in the Hard Rock Café on York Street back in 1989. I had just returned to Ottawa after a stint with the Montréal Daily News as a staff photographer.

The paper had folded after only 18 months and I had returned to Ottawa with my tail between my legs, hoping to pick up enough freelance work to pay the rent.

On this particular night I ran into James MacArthur, who I got to know during a May long weekend in A-Bay, New York. I assumed that he was still with the Napanee Beaver. In fact, he had just been hired as the new editor of the Star.

When he informed me that they already had a photographer, I intimated to him that I had done some writing in Montréal, which was sort of true. I actually had written a total of three stories.

He offered to give me a try and invited me to write a guest column on whatever I wanted to. I decided to write a tongue-in-cheek piece calling for the abolition of Hallowe’en which generated a dozen letters to the editor from upset readers. It was more letters than they had received in the past four months, and just like that, I was given a regular weekly column. (The Star was a weekly newspaper back then.)

By the time I left The Star in 2001, I had written over 500 columns. Five months later, I launched orleans-online.ca which was the first independent news and information website in Ontario that wasn’t married to a printed product.

Having my own website gave me a lot of freedom, if not a lot of money. I think the most money the website ever earned in a single year between 2001 and 2016, when I bought the paper, was $26,000. In order to keep the website going and a roof over my head, I had to work a series of full-time jobs. But during that time I was able to organize the Greater Orléans Canada Celebration on Petrie Island for 12 years and I launched the Orléans Outstanding Youth Awards, which has recognized more than 250 outstanding youth over the years.

I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep the website going in October 2016 when I found out from former Orléans Star editor and colleague Michael Curran that Transcontinental was entertaining offers to sell the paper. I made an offer, put the funding together in less than a week and rescued the paper from certain closure.

The first order of business was to change it from a weekly to a biweekly to cut down on the costs and make it financially viable. The second step was to launch the Orléans Star’s sister paper the L’Orléanais.

It hasn’t always been easy, especially during the pandemic when advertising took a 30 per cent hit. It still hasn’t completely bounced back, but at least we’ve been able to keep the paper afloat during a period when a number of other community papers in Canada haven’t been so lucky. And I say “we” because it would not have been possible without the support of our advertisers and you, the readers.

In the weeks ahead, we will be launching a program that will give our readers the opportunity to support the paper and help take it into the future, so we can celebrate many more anniversaries to come.

So thank you for reading the paper and thank you for supporting our advertisers. Together all things can be possible.

(If you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column please write to Fred Sherwin at fsherwin@orleansstar.ca)

 

 

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