Newspapers

The Doig block in the 1920s. The Bolton Enterprise office is to the left and Smith and Schaefer Hardware is in the two adjacent storefronts.

 

  • The earliest newspaper in Bolton was started in 1872 by Jesse N. Bolton.  Initially named the ‘Cardwell Observer’, 1  by 1873, the weekly was being distributed as the ‘British Standard and Cardwell Advertiser’, or British Standard, for short.2.
  • The one-man operation and printing press were located on the east side of Queen Street,  The newspaper struggled financially but the printing operation kept the business solvent
  • In 1888, Herbert H. Bolton purchased the business from his cousin and moved it to what is now 62 Queen Street North.  He renamed the newspaper ‘The Enterprise’. 3
  • Herb, a lawyer and the youngest son of Charles Bolton, was Reeve of Bolton at that point in time, having served since 1886.  He was also the elected Warden of Peel County for 1880.4
  • With no experience running a printing operation, Herb hired 18 year old Frank Leavens who had been apprenticed to the ‘Pickering News’ for the previous four years.  Frank settled in quickly and took charge 
  • Frank purchased the newspaper and printing operation in 1893 and continued renting the building
  • Then, in 1900, an opportunity came along.  Merchant George Scott’s ‘Scott & Son’s General Store’ occupied the first unit in the iconic Doig Block which had been built on the west side of Queen Street North around 1881
  • Scott was a member of council for the 1900 term and is notable for having defeated plans to install water mains in the village core,5
  • Perhaps realizing that  he voted against the popular will and with little chance for re-election, Scott abruptly gave up his store location, sold it to Frank and Allerta Leavens and left town.6
  • Frank immediately set up a storefront newsroom and by positioning the newspaper in the heart of the Bolton community, both literally and figuratively, The Enterprise took on a life of its own
  • The printing plant operation took up the rear of the building and the Leavens’ family moved into the residence above

Herbert H. Bolton who served as Reeve 1886 – 1888
  1. Marjorie E. Leavens, The Bolton Enterprise Observes its Centennial 1888-1988
  2. Directory of the County of Peel  1873-74, published by John Lynch
  3. Marjorie E. Leavens, The Bolton Enterprise Observes its Centennial 1888-1988
  4. Esther Heyes, The Story of Albion 2nd Edition, printed by The Enterprise, pg 
  5. water mains were not installed in Bolton until the mid-1930s
  6. The Enterprise, Nov 5th, 1975,Werden Leavens Scratch Pad notes