Friday, February 5, 2016

The Morning Sun

In 1917, Colonel J.W.Stewart left the running of the Morning Sun newspaper to his accountant, Robert Cromie, while Stewart went overseas to become a general. Cromie emerged as the owner of the paper - how is the basis of many legends but has never been proven - and began to make his mark on Vancouver.
Veteran Province editor, D.A. McGregor noted that Cromie "was never afraid to make mistakes".

It only took a few years for Sidney Walker, the historian of North American newspapers, to call Cromie "the last of the great individual publishers." Cromie was eccentric, bold, ruthless, resourceful and was determined to identify the Sun with Vancouver and Vancouver with the Sun. This was a success in many ways especially after Nichols disposed of the Province to the Southam newspaper chain in 1923, making the older newspaper subject to reproach for being foreign controlled. A year later, the Sun absorbed the World and issued morning and evening editions.

It wasn't long though before the evening edition of the Sun was challenged by the Evening Star. This new paper was managed by General Victor W. Odlum.

In 1926. a deal was made. The Star shifted to morning circulation and took over the Morning Sun's circulation. The Evening Sun absorbed the Evening Star's circulation and became known as the Sun. The Star continued on until publication was suspended and the staff replaced the paper with the Herald. It later became the News-Herald and soon went out of business - one of the few failures of the Roy Thompson chain - and made a negligible factor in the city although it was a good training ground for beginning in newspapermen.

After Cromie's death, the Sun maintained his policies in a less stringent form and surpassed the Province in circulation during the strike of the International Typographical Union against the Southam chain in the late 40's. It maintained it's superiority until 1957 when, along with the negotiated demise of the News-Herald, the two papers joined forces in the Pacific Press, the Province taking over the deserted morning field and the Sun continuing as the only evening paper. 

But that was in the future. A future which was a long ways off from Robert Cromie in the 1920's when he was establishing his paper. He would continually hammer and provincial and federal governments to facilitate the grain trade of the port by cutting the mountain freight differential  and improving Port facilities and to "open up" the Peace River Block by extending the PGE - the Pacific Great Eastern Railway.

Locally, he was all for the large projects such as a bridge over the First Narrows, a civic centre and auditorium, a civic airport and construction of the University of BC in Point Grey. The Province was less vociferous than the Sun and, to be realistic, the Province was less concerned in seeking advantages for the city. This measured deliberation of tone probably carried greater weight both locally and abroad.

In any case, the period between the two World Wars was a time of vigorous press and diverse editorial personalities such as Jim Butterfield, Francis Bursill (Felix Penne), Bob Bouchette, Lukin Johnston and cartoonist J.B. Fitzmaurice entertained the city's population.

Thanks to Alan Morley and his book, Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

No comments:

Post a Comment