Grandview newspaper closes after 117 years in business

A small Manitoban town has lost its newspaper. The Grandview Exponent recently announced Friday’s paper would be its last edition, after 117 years in business.

Town will miss The Exponent, says president of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association

The community newspaper in Grandview, Man., The Exponent, announced last week it is closing after being in business for 117 years. (Google Maps)

A small Manitoba town has lost its newspaper.

The Grandview Exponent has announced Friday's paper would be its last edition, after 117 years in business.

"That decision there was, I'm sure, made with great difficulty and a great deal of thought," said Ken Waddell, president of the Manitoba Community Newspapers Association.

"No community wants to lose its newspaper … I think they will miss it."

The Chaloner family has owned the paper for more than 80 years.

In a story marking the paper's 100th year in business, publisher James Chaloner wrote in 2000 that the first editions of the paper followed local industries: the creamery, flour mill, sawmill and the establishment of James Holman, a carriage and wagon manufacturer.

It carried stories steeped in the community of around 1,000 people — like the number of tin buckets manufactured for the maple syrup season and problems with mail delivery.

Within six years of the paper's first issue, the population of the town rose to 6,700, including rural residents, Chaloner wrote. In 1906, the town of Grandview was incorporated.

An Exponent article published that year boasted of the town's bustling businesses, including three hotels, two furniture stores, a baker and jeweler. There was also a tobacconist, three stationery stores, two drug stores, five grain elevators, a restaurant, churches and a bank.

During the Great Depression subscriptions to the newspaper sold for $1 per year and many subscribers had to exchange chickens, eggs or produce to make a purchase, said Chaloner.

The Exponent survived two fires, one in 1963 and a particularly bad one in 1938 that destroyed four buildings downtown including the town's post office and the newspaper building. But within new weeks the paper was back in business, Chaloner wrote.

"Our readers will be interested to know that in getting the paper to the subscribers and the replacing of office equipment, the publishers travelled over three thousand miles by motor and rail, worked from twelve to eighteen hours every day, and some weeks used as many as four offices to complete the issue," wrote the editor at that time, as quoted by Chaloner.

Waddell believes papers in nearby Roblin and Dauphin will help to cover current events in Grandview, although nothing can quite replace the Exponent.

"Communities of Manitoba and certainly anywhere else in North America for that matter are gradually beginning to realize that they're never going to read the kind of news in their local paper anywhere else," he said.

"The local newspaper has to be the one that provides you with the local news and that's the strength and that will be the salvation."

In 2016 Statistics Canada reported the population of Grandview, located about 290 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, was 1,482, down 1.7 per cent from the last census in 2011.