Bert McKay of Moosomin
- “A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living”
Publishing a story in The Miner-Journal, Placenames, Bert McKay delves into the tale of the origins of eleven school districts of Saskatchewan in his column “From Bert’s Notebook” in the year 1939. Bert McKay, was very active in the publishing realm, being “editor and publisher of the Moosomin World-Spectator, The Wapella Post, Esterhazy Miner, Langenburg Journal and Maryfield News.” McKay served also as the president of the Prairie Publishers Co-operative in 1962.
- “A newspaper is the center of a community, it’s one of the tent poles of the community, and that’s not going to be replaced by Web sites and blogs.”
It was in August of 1971, that McKay of Moosomin, president of McKay Publications, merged the Langenburg Journal with the Esterhazy Miner to develop a weekly newspaper known as the Potashville Miner serving Esterhazy, Langenburg and Churchbridge areas of Saskatchewan. Although The Esterhazy Miner had been sold in 1965, it had been acquired again by McKay publishing for the merger. It is interesting to note that the Esterhazy Miner began publication in 1907 under the name of the Esterhazy and Pheasant Hills Observer under Arthur Ford. It was under Bert McKay’s ownership in 1952, that the name of the weekly newspaper was changed from the Esterhazy Observer to the Esterhazy Miner.
- “A world community can only exist with world communication, which means something more than extensive software facilities scattered about he globe. It means common understanding, a common tradition, common idea’s and common ideals.”
Robert M. Hutchins
McKay was the publisher of the Langenburg Journal since 1956, and in 1960 took over publication of the Wapella Post operating out of Moosomin, SK. The Moosomin World-Spectator, The Esterhazy Miner, The Wapella Post, The Langenburg Journal and The Maryfield News were weekly newspapers published by McKay Publications. In 1972, Mr. and Mrs. McKay sold The Moosomin World-Spectator to John C. Meen of Moosomin, the previous editor. McKay had been part owner of the Moosomin World-Spectator since 1936, and became the sole owner five years later. As well, The Potashville Miner-Journal was sold to Robert (Bob) Koskie of Fleming Saskatchewan.
It was in the Jubilee year, 1955. that Phil Flude of the Indian Head News and Bert McKay attested to being the province’s oldest newspaper. Both newspapers began publication in October of 1884. The Moosomin weekly newspaper first started publication in 1884, making it the oldest provincial newspaper in continuous publication.
- “To me, the newspaper business was a way to learn about life and how things worked in the real world and how people spoke. You learn all the skills – you learn to listen, you learn to take notes – everything you use later as a novelist was valuable training in the newspaper world.”
The private library collection of McKay was consulted by Kenneth Bagnell when researching The Little Immigrants: The Orphans Who Came To Canada.Besides being consulted, McKay, in his own right, authored books himself; Tennyson at Moosomin 1883-1899 reached the book shelves in 1976; History of Moosomin United (Methodist) Church, 1889-1929, c1975; The “Peanut”
Reston-Wolseley C. P. R., 1906-1961 in 1976 Moosomin and the Mounted: A History of the Force at Moosomin 1882 to 1973 was published in 1974 researching through archival materials at the provincial archives, as well as the newspapers of McKay Publications.
McKay, active in community work was also president of the citizen’s organization, Keep Our Doctors, ; secretary Moosomin Agricultural Society; secretary of the Moosomin-Pipestone Lake Resort authority and director of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. McKay pointed out that the KOD committee was acting as a support group for information and inquiries regarding the dispute between the province and doctors in light of the proposed compulsory medical care plan of 1962. McKay felt that, “in a measure we have lost the battle,” as physicians were seeking practice outside of the province. McKay, was a proud supporter of the potash industry, Saskatchewan communities and local needs. In 1973 McKay was present at the dedication ceremony for the Rocanville 23 foot high oil can by the Chamber of Commerce who paid tribute to Ernie Symon’s efforts as “Rocanville’s Oil King.”
- “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself”.
The community newspapers represent the lifeblood of the community. McKay was known for saying that one may find flyers in the garbage pail, but not the community newspaper which was relevant, and always read.
- “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”
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