Re­mem­ber­ing Ce­cil Day

Liver­pool build­ing named af­ter for­mer news­pa­per ed­i­tor

South Shore Breaker - - Front Page - VER­NON OICKLE ver­non.l.oickle@east­link.ca

The Liver­pool build­ing that once housed the now shut­tered weekly news­pa­per, the Queens County Ad­vance, has been named in hon­our of one of the pub­li­ca­tion’s for­mer edi­tors, G. Ce­cil Day.

Those who knew Day re­mem­ber him as a staunch sup­porter of the com­mu­nity he adopted as his home in 1931 and de­scribe him as a fear­less cham­pion of the place where he plied his jour­nal­is­tic craft. They say the news­pa­per was his pas­sion and pride, so nam­ing the Main Street build­ing where the pa­per was lo­cated in his mem­ory is a fit­ting trib­ute.

In a pre­sen­ta­tion to Queens Re­gional Coun­cil in early Septem­ber, Day’s daugh­ter, Bev­erly Bur­lock, said she was con­cerned that since re­turn­ing home in 2001, she be­came in­creas­ingly aware of how few peo­ple re­mem­bered her fa­ther, let alone even knew about him.

“Upon my re­turn, out of both in­ter­est and cu­rios­ity, I went to the mu­seum to see what they had about him in their files,” she ex­plained.

“I dis­cov­ered very lit­tle, and also, to my hor­ror, that the photo they had was not even of him.”

Bur­lock said she com­pletely un­der­stood why the pa­per, like so many week­lies, was shut down re­cently. How­ever, she said, she was dis­mayed there was noth­ing in the fi­nal edi­tion about him, ex­cept one mere men­tion in a cut­line un­der a photo of the build­ing.

In his life­time, Day, who im­mi­grated from Wales, U.K. to

Canada at age 13 with his fam­ily, spent 51 years as a news­pa­per­man, but Bur­lock said her fa­ther did not be­come rich through the me­dia.

“Ev­ery­thing was re-in­vested back into the busi­ness,” she said. “We likely will never know how much Ce­cil con­trib­uted fi­nan­cially to things, such as the hos­pi­tal. How­ever, there is no doubt that he al­ways con­trib­uted sub­stan­tial free pub­lic­ity, ad­ver­tis­ing and print­ing to the hos­pi­tal, as well as to most other wor­thy causes. And he never blew his own horn.”

Bur­lock ex­plained that her fa­ther could have turned tail and ran in 1931 when he first saw the news­pa­per fa­cil­i­ties in Liver­pool.

“Since he’d al­ready had con­sid­er­able ex­pe­ri­ence with sev­eral oth­ers; more ad­e­quately housed and equipped pa­pers around the prov­ince,” she said, “It must have been quite a heart-stop­ping shock ... that bare-bones, 18x28 barn be­hind the post of­fice.”

But he stayed. She ex­plained that in the early days, her fa­ther used to go around on Fri­days to col­lect par­tial bill pay­ments so his staff would be paid.

“He not only pro­moted this town, county and prov­ince, as well as every worth­while project un­til the day he died, he also in­vested him­self fully dur­ing the 45 years he lived here. And he suc­ceeded against many ob­sta­cles, all odds.”

He re­ceived recog­ni­tions from over­seas and many na­tional and provin­cial news tro­phies for his ef­forts. Yet, sadly, Bur­lock said, he wasn’t al­ways treated well.

“And it wasn’t al­ways easy be­ing his daugh­ter, ei­ther,” Bur­lock added.

“I caught it from school­mates echo­ing their par­ents’ con­ver­sa­tions af­ter par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing ed­i­to­ri­als. None­the­less, he never re­frained when he saw in­jus­tice or what he thought was im­por­tant for dis­cus­sion. Ap­par­ently, he would him­self some­times write let­ters to the ed­i­tor — and re­spond — to get con­ver­sa­tions go­ing.”

The logo on the pa­per and all busi­ness sta­tion­ary was of the main of­fice door with the slo­gan: “Open door to Queens County.”

The Queens County Ad­vance of­fice, lo­cated at 271 Main St., was the heart and hub of Liver­pool back then, Bur­lock said.

“Count­less peo­ple were in and out daily, at all hours. Nu­mer­ous com­mu­nity cor­re­spon­dents de­liv­er­ing their col­umns, peo­ple buy­ing or re­new­ing sub­scrip­tions, cor­rect­ing ad­dresses, bring­ing news in­for­ma­tion, wed­ding pho­tos and write­ups, cu­ri­ous items, ad­ver­tis­ing copy, print­ing or­ders, need­ing of­fice sup­plies,” she re­called. “On Thurs­days, there were line­ups to buy the pa­per.”

And more of­ten than not, peo­ple merely wanted to chat with Day, get his opin­ion and to ar­gue. Or just see­ing him as they passed the win­dow. They’d come in to say “hi.”

“Any­body and ev­ery­body were equally wel­comed.”

The Queens County Ad­vance was a voice for shar­ing and re­ceiv­ing lo­cal news, events and meet­ings. For pro­vid­ing im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially ac­tions and de­ci­sions by all lev­els of gov­ern­ment, as well as a voice for cit­i­zen com­plaints and con­cerns, Bur­lock said.

Jes­sica Dawn Keans

Eric Goulden (left) the new owner of the Queens County Ad­vance build­ing at 271 Main St., Liver­pool, and Bev­er­ley Day Bur­lock, daugh­ter of the for­mer ed­i­tor, G. Ce­cil Day, who built the build­ing in 1940, un­veiled a com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque for Day dur­ing a cer­e­mony Sept. 18.

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