History of the Canoe Mountain Echo

Leonard Lea Frazer

Echo header from 1972 – 1980
Echo header from 1972 – 1980
Submitted by Leonard Frazer
A bi-weekly publication for Valemount was published on Jan.12, 1972 and was 8 ½ x 11 inches in size. Pyramid Press Ltd., publishers of the Jasper Booster and the Robson Valley Courier in McBride, decided the time had come to start a newspaper for the Village of Valemount. The first issue appeared with no name and a plea for suggestions and the Editor was Mrs. Nell Petch.
The first issue had a cover photo of the “Valemount Barons” hockey team. At the top of the page was just “Serving Valemount and Tete Jaune areas”.

On January 27 Vol. 1 Number 2 appeared announcing that Cecil Young had won a $25 prize for suggesting the name “Canoe Mountain Echo.” There were 125 different ideas for the name. On May 10, 1972 the Echo got a new Editor, Mrs. Sharron Sauer. Mrs. Petch continued to be active with the paper. On July 5, 1972 the Canoe Mountain Echo changed its size to the larger 11 x 17 inches format with four pages and it also became a weekly paper. On May 2, 1973 Nadene Murphy started her column called “Just Rambling.”

In the May 30, 1973 edition of the Canoe Mountain Echo there was the following announcement – “Pyramid Press proudly announces the appointment of Mrs. Georgea Klimack as Advertising Manager for the Valemount-Tete Jaune area. Georgia will be in Valemount every Friday and Saturday to discuss personally with businessmen, advertising and printing needs.

Georgia has been on the staff of Pyramid Press for the past three years. Her duties have included news coverage, typing, newspaper layout and handling of the accounts. She will continue to handle these duties, but intends to work doubly hard at improving the quality of the Canoe Mountain Echo as the voice of Valemount and its residents.

Eva Kettle – Editor in 1974
Eva Kettle – Editor in 1974
Submitted by Leonard Frazer
It is the feeling of the General Manager of Pyramid Press, Mr. Fred Donovan that a closer personal contact with the Jasper office is required to bring the Echo up to the standard he has always wanted for it. Mrs. Klimack will work in co-operation with Mrs. Sharron Sauer who has been the Editor for a year now. It is the hope of all the staff of Pyramid Press that you will take time to discuss your advertising needs when Mrs. Klimack calls in to see you.”

On July 5, 1973 the column, “Town Chatter,” and a School Board report was first submitted by Eva Kettle of Valemount. On October 3, 1973, Pete Shepherd became the new Editor. On July 24, 1974, George Ives started his “School Construction” column in the Echo when the present Valemount Elementary School was being built. Mr. Shepherd’s last newspaper was on June 19, 1974 and Eva Kettle took over as the new Editor on June 26, 1974. Sylvia Brown started a “Library Corner” column on July 17, 1974. On October 2 of the same year, George Ives submitted a column called “Walls of Ivy” and by Feb.19, 1975 it became “George’s Chair.” On May 21, 1975 Mr. Ives changed the name of his column one more time. His new title, for the very personal, friendly and newsy column, became known as “This ’N That.” George continued with that name for the next ten years.

George Ives – Editor from 1976 – 1985
George Ives – Editor from 1976 – 1985
Submitted by Leonard Frazer
On August 6, 1975, Barbara Shepherd became the newest Editor of the paper. In the August 6, 1975 edition, with Barb at the helm, she had Eva Kettle contributing “Food For Thought,” Nadene Murphy, “Just Rambling” and George Ives, “This ‘N That.” On August 18, 1976 George Ives began as the new Editor, taking over from Barb Shepherd.

By February 9, 1977 Eva Kettle started her “Kiddie’s Corner” and Judy Sanson submitted the first “School Daze” reporting on the activities of the Valemount Secondary School. On June 29, 1977 Nadene Murphy took on the Library Corner report. On November 2, 1977 George’s daughter, Debbie Ives, starts writing the “School Daze” report.

Local employer, Canyon Creek Forest Products, published a two-page paper within the pages of the weekly Echo called “Canyon Creek Conveyor.” This section provided a platform for employees and management to report on the happenings in the different divisions of the company and it continued in the paper for several months.

In the June 28, 1978 edition of the Echo, Karen Egger, Park Naturalist, started submitting information on Mount Robson Provincial Park entitled, “Mt. Robson Rambling.” In her first submission she mentioned the Valemount Grade Seven class hiking to Berg Lake. Other contributors included Art Siddals with the “Lions Corner,” Lisa Schmid with “Student Report,” and John Dyson with the “Weather Report.” It was slow to catch on but eventually the community realized the Echo was “their” paper and that they could use it to promote and share news with others. Annual items and regular news included: the Senior Citizen’s Annual report, School Trustee’s Report, Art Council’s News, birth announcements, church group news, Letters to the Editor, Junior & Senior Hockey, Skating Club, Chamber of Commerce, cross country skiing, Curling News, Lions Walk-A-Thon, Citizenship Ceremonies, Sports Days, Winter Carnivals, and Bicycle Rodeos.

In the November 14, 1979 edition Aleda Bain started writing reports on the Village Council meetings in her, “Here’s what I hear…” Aleda continued to write stories in the Echo and other local newspapers for many years.

In the July 30, 1980 edition of the Canoe Mountain Echo George Ives recalls the beginnings of the paper when he wrote…

 

“REMEMBER JANUARY 26, 1972?

Mr. Cecil Young sure does. That was the day it was announced that out of the 125 competitors in the 'Name the Paper Contest' he came out the winner. This was Vol. 1, Number 2, of the Canoe Mountain Echo, January 26, 1972. For his effort, Mr. Young received a prize of personalized stationery, $25.00 to be exact. In fact he's still using it.

As for the "Echo," the headline news on the 8 ½  x 11 inch front page was "Cecil Young chooses name," and "Old Man Winter hits hard." That was the year Bill MacEwan of Albreda held a "29" hand in crib, Mortenson's were selling bologna at 39 cents per pound and four loaves of M. T. bread for 89 cents. Remember? That was the year Teloma Motors had two specials, one, a fully equipped Merc. "Parklane," a one owner car, for $1290.00. The other, an over-stocked special of 4000 Ibs. of clean snow. No offers refused. Purchaser must load and haul away himself. That was the issue in which the Tete Jaune Trading Post advertised a full back page of Homelite Chainsaws and you called Tete Jaune 1R.”

I contributed photographs and stories for the Echo over the years and, along with Aleda Bain, we filled in for George Ives whenever he was away on vacation. In the August 14, 1985 edition George wrote. “As my employment as editor of the Echo terminates at the end of this month, I sincerely thank the many folks who have contributed articles during my period as editor. There are three people I would like to offer a special vote of thanks, my wife (Ruth), Aleda Bain and Leonard Frazer.

Betsy Peetoom was editor from September 1985 until the end of September 1986.

In February of 1986 Maureen Brownlee became editor of a new publication called, “The Valemount Sentinel,” along with publisher, Linda Fry. This newspaper (printed locally by Maureen) continued and eventually became “The Valley Sentinel” which is still around today, 31 years later.

Leonard Frazer – Editor from 1986 - 1988
Leonard Frazer – Editor from 1986 - 1988
Submitted by Leonard Frazer
I became the new (and last) Editor of the Canoe Mountain Echo in the October 1, 1986 edition. With my background in producing the “Yellowhead Magazine,” my involvement in Valemount and area as a Community Photographer (Trench Photos) and my love for the arts and history I tried to emphasize consistency on the cover layout of each edition, including arts, history and local story contributions. John Grogan filled the Editor’s chair for me when I was on holidays.

As of January 1988 the Canoe Mountain Echo was sold to Bob Doull of Black Tusk Holdings Ltd. The sale also included the Robson Valley Courier in McBride, the Jasper Booster and stationary store in Jasper, Alberta. Cameron Smith became the new publisher of the Echo and, me, as the Editor. My editorship continued until June of 1988 when the Echo and the Courier were both sold by Black Tusk to Maureen Brownlee who assimilated the existing staff of both papers to work for The Valley Sentinel.

Over the 16 years of its existence, the Canoe Mountain Echo helped to record a short segment of local history in the areas of Mount Robson, Tete Jaune, Blue River and Valemount. The flavour of ‘the small town’ was tasted and enjoyed by all. Today, I contribute to one of the present day newspapers in Valemount, The Valley Sentinel. In closing I would like to recall a piece written by George Ives in response to another article written by “an outsider.” 

 

Poor, poor Valemount (from Oct.19, 1977 – Canoe Mountain Echo)

An article, "Democracy Includes a Sing-Song," ruffled the feathers of several residents who subscribe to a paper known as The Citizen, edited by some town located in the suburbs of Valemount, with the result that a clipping from said paper was handed to me the other day. This article which, apparently was intended as filler, depicted Valemount as a sleepy little village just past the end of the world, where the busiest place in town on Tuesday was the pub, and the liveliest and warmest moment throughout an eight hour visit to our relatively poor town was the gym, where a handful of natives and the Board had a "peachy" time singing French songs.

After wiping the tears from my eyes, formed by uncontrolled laughter, I finally realized that fiction and fantasy had its place but not at the expense of Valemount residents, so a few lines in rebuttal seem necessary.

At first I wondered how our writer knew that the "pub" was where the action was, then realized that any pub is where the action is, especially in Prince George, or for that matter, any village, town or city in North America, so this wasn't news.

In the sleepy village on that particular evening there happened to be four other meetings taking place, which no doubt would spread the attendance a little thin, particularly at a school board meeting. We all know that parents in all inhabited areas avoid this type of meeting as if it were a plague, so it was understandable there were only a few present to help the board sing French songs.

Ah, now the “poor” bit. Lady, what do you expect when labour wages are a paltry six bucks a day? It's no wonder folks here only have fifty thousand dollar homes, drive two cars, own two or three snowmobiles, a cabin cruiser or small fishing boat and spend their holidays in Europe or Hawaii. Residents here are not as privileged as those living in Prince but like Avis, we try.

Wonder how many pubs are allowed in a town of this size? Only one, according to the liquor board, but we do have three restaurants that have rather nice lounges that will wine and dine you for the usual fee.

We have an arena to be proud of, artificial ice, shower rooms, concession area - the whole bit, if you care to skate or enjoy hockey, a very active curling club, a lake over seventy miles long which attracts fishermen from many points of western U.S.A. and a berry patch that attracts more people than the Okanagan fruit belt. Does the writer know that we also have one of the finest powder snow ski areas in the world, and this is (the finest) according to interviews with some of the hundreds of skiers who visit Valemount every year to go helicopter skiing. There is a four million dollar lodge just out of town to prove it.

Coupled with this are more than twenty service clubs including: Lions International of which the Valemount club is rated one of the top active clubs in all of District 19, so all in all, I don't think we are doing too badly despite the seeming discrimination shown by the Citizen staff reporter. From where I sit, it was the reporter and not the village that was asleep. Do you think the same reporter came out with this classic? "This town is so small that if you dialled the wrong number you'd probably get someone you wanted to talk to anyway.'' If not, then there are at least two bigots in the land of the "Citizen."

As for me, after living in Calgary and a few other large centers in the West, I'll settle for our poor, sleepy little hamlet where at least you know the people on your block, and are met with idle chit-chat and friendly talk by businessmen and people in all walks of life because that's the way it is in a small town, so if you don't like our gate you don't have to swing on it. May your un-observations carry you to the pinnacle of success, which, I hope is as pointed as some of your remarks.”   By George Ives

Echo header in 1988
Echo header in 1988
Submitted by Leonard Frazer