- 10:44 AM, Feb 14
Since 1900, the Swan Valley Star & Times' aim has been to report, with integrity, on the events and issues which relate to the Swan River Valley
On Thursday, Jan. 11, 1900, the first edition of the Swan River Star was published by the editor, W.H. Glendinning, although that does not coincide with information from a book - "The Story of Manitoba's Weekly Newspapers", by Major A.M. Pratt, which states that The Star was published in 1899.
However, in copies of the Jan. 11, 1900, edition, from the Provincial Archives, W.H. Glendinning wrote the following in his first editorial:
Believing that the residents of the Valley and business men of the Swan realize the importance of having an exclusively home paper and that it will be accorded a generous support, we have the pleasure of presenting you with the very first issue of The Swan River Star. The price will be $1.00 or $1.50 at the end of the year.
W.H. Glendinning published The Star until 1908 when it was sold to Andrew Weir. The Swan Valley Times, another newspaper in Swan River, published its first issue on June 11, 1920. By Aug. 20, of that same year, the circulation was 800. Mr. J.H. Noble was writer for that paper and on Friday, Aug. 20, 1920, a mutual agreement was made by Mr. Noble and Mr. A.S. Weir, proprietor of The Swan River Star, whereby that paper and the Times were amalgamated and the paper was published under the heading of The Swan River Star and Valley Times.
On April 18, 1922, a fire consumed a number of businesses including the building containing The Star and Times plant, at a loss of $4,000. For the present, The Star and Times was published from the office of The Swan River Star, directly opposite the post office on Fifth Avenue.
Mr. Noble edited The Star until his death Nov. 14, 1926. The business was then taken over by his daughter and her husband, Garnet Earl Thompson.
In the paper dated March 7, 1928, it makes reference to three important business deals which materialized last week, when The Star and Times changed its place of business and publication from the old Star office on Fifth Avenue to the fine new plant from which The Swan River Herald has been published during the past year by editor A.G. Graham and his able lieutenant, Mr. A.O. Lloyd.
We might say that the newspaper, heretofore known as The Swan River Herald, is no more and The Star and Times will cover the Valley as efficiently as possible. After a short life of 16 months, The Swan River Herald has passed away, and its assets have been absorbed by The Star and Times. Once again no town in Manitoba is served by more than one local newspaper.
On Nov. 28, 1929, the front page story states that what is noted as being one of the largest business deals closed in the town of Swan River for many years, was the sale recently of The Swan River Star and Valley Times newspaper and printing plant complete, together with the residence on Main Street, formerly owned and occupied by Garnet E. Thompson. The new owner and publisher will be Mr. Harry B. Munro, who for the past twenty years has been connected with The Pas Herald, and which he has owned outright since 1920.
On Feb. 17, 1955, with the installation of the new Heidelberg Automatic Job Press last week at The Star and Times marks 25 years of progress. When the present editor, H. B. Munro bought the plant in November of 1929, it was located in an old building on the back end of the lot where the present building stands. The equipment was an amalgamation of two plants which were run by Mr. Noble and Mr. Graham. The old plant has gradually been discarded and replaced by new up-to-date equipment. In spite of the depression and the Second World War, The Star and Times has kept growing.
Jan. 9, 1958, the front page states that Harry B. Munro will lay down his editorial pen after wielding it since 1929 for The Star and Times. The change in ownership took place at the end of 1957 when the paper was acquired by The Swan River Publishers Limited, with J. H. Bilton, as Editor, formerly of “The Telepost”, in partnership with W. G. Sanderson and his father, J. Sanderson, former owner of the Minnedosa Tribune.
Mr. Bilton became a member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly in 1962.
On July 11, 1963, an addition to the staff of The Star and Times was Douglas Windsor, who took up the position of Assistant Editor.
James Bilton was re-elected to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly in 1966 and was named Speaker of the House on Dec. 5, 1966. He remained as editor of The Star and Times for 15 years until October of 1973, when he sold his share of the paper to William G. Sanderson.
In his last editorial, James Bilton wrote: “My intentions are to vigorously continue to press on with my provincial legislative responsibilities recently reaffirmed for the fourth time in eleven years by the good people of the Swan River Valley.”
William Sanderson, better known to one and all as “Bill”, and his wife, Kathy, with help from daughter, Shelley, carried on the work involved with printing The Star and Times. The Heidelberg Automatic Job Press that was purchased back in 1955 by Harry Munro was Bill’s favorite piece of machinery and it is still running to this day.
On Aug. 1, 1991, “Bill” and Kathy retired after 34 years in the printing business and they sold the paper to Robert and Linda Gilroy, former part owners of the Dauphin Herald. “Bob” and Linda lived in Swan River and managed The Star and Times until Oct. 1, 1997.
On that date, they officially took ownership of the Dauphin Herald and the Roblin Review, purchased from Sterling Newspapers. They moved back to Dauphin to assume command of the latest addition to their publishing business. Their second son, Brian, took over as advertising manager for The Star and Times since 1993, and became general manager and publisher of the paper in 1997, along with his wife, Alison, who heads up the accounting department.
Today, the paper is prepared in Swan River and then sent to the Dauphin Herald, where it is printed and distributed on Tuesday of every week.
The Star and Times has been winning awards and accolades for many years, the most recent awards were presented at the 95th Annual Manitoba Community Newspapers Association Conference held in April, 2014.
The Star and Times is still going strong since 1900 of covering the history of the Swan River Valley….. we’re all a part of history – we who work at the newspaper and you, our readers.