Your community newspaper enters 143rd year

The special edition mock-up.

Son of the pressroom gifted a special birthday ‘issue’

MANITOULIN—This week will see a minor change to The Expositor front page, as the volume number in the left-hand corner under the banner will change from 142 to 143, marking the newspaper’s first edition in its 143rd year. The Expositor is Northern Ontario’s longest continuously published newspaper. For nearly a century and a half, The Expositor has chronicled the news and events of importance to the residents of the world’s largest freshwater Island.

First published in Manitowaning in 1879, for a full 142 years and counting The Expositor has expanded beyond newsprint and into the digital world with its online edition at manitoulin.com and other digital products such as ExploreManitoulin.com and our popular job board at manitoulin.com/jobs.

Over the years The Expositor has impacted many lives, but few more so than Haweater Lloyd Joseph Belanger, known to most as “Buck,” and his family. Mr. Belanger was born in 1951 on Manitoulin Island, but his family moved away when he was just four years old as Mr. Belanger’s father, like many Islanders through the years, took a position down south. Five years later, in 1960, the family returned to Manitoulin when his father was offered the job as printer at The Manitoulin Expositor in Little Current. For most of their existence, newspapers also operated as printshops and The Expositor was no exception. The Expositor’s original Washington Flatbed, the very one that printed our first edition in 1879, can be found cemented into the grounds of the Assiginack Museum. In those early days the paper used individual lead letters assembled in a vice-like contraption still used almost 100 years later in 1960.

“I remember watching my father putting the lead type together,” recalled Mr. Belanger. “His hands were going every which way as he grabbed the different pieces of lead from boxes around him.” The art of typesetting was a very physical operation in those days.

As the child of an Expositor employee, Mr. Belanger garnered a fair bit of fame—albeit uncredited. His baby photograph was featured on the back page of the very first ‘This is Manitoulin and the North Channel’ published in 1960.

“I was in the second edition too,” he said. “But that one was an older picture of me.”

Mr. Belanger flipped through a dogeared copy of the first edition of what was to become the Island’s premier tourism lure magazine.

“It had all kinds of information about Manitoulin in it,” he said, pointing to the ferry service schedule featuring the sailing times of both the venerable SS Norisle (now docked as a tourist attraction at Manitowaning) and the MS Normac (which went on to become a restaurant in Toronto and later Port Dalhousie and remains docked though vacant at the Port Dalhousie Pier Marina).

In 2021, Mr. Belanger’s sister Jo-Anne Mott celebrated the occasion of her brother Buck’s 70th birthday by creating a mock-up edition featuring the aforementioned baby picture on the front along with the notable events, fashions, television programs, popular songs and stars born in 1951, the year of his birth.

Inside the mock-up were copies of the many times Mr. Belanger was mentioned in The Expositor, including letters to the editor extolling his virtues, the time he won a $102,404 Ontario Lottery and Gaming prize, his favourite country song (‘Daddy’s Girl’ by Red Sovine), the time his uncle, the late Humphrey Beaudin was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994 and plenty about his collecting hobbies, especially Elvis Presley, his Beehive Hockey cards and Haweater coins.

The Expositor continues to serve Island communities with tales of interesting people doing interesting things, advertising of local products and services, including comprehensive real estate listings and employment opportunities—all wrapped up in a neat and accessible package.

In these days of ‘iffy’ information being propagated through social media, The Expositor continues to practice professional journalism through our dedicated and experienced staff.

The Expositor is currently conducting a subscription drive and, if you are new (or newish) to Manitoulin, give our service manager Debbie Bailey a call to learn about our welcome gift to you, 705-368-2744 or services@manitoulin.com.