62 Queen St. North
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.
Werden Leavens

  • 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
    • From 1908 until 1911 when the Bolton Telephone Company built their own premises, the telephone switchboard was first located in a corner of the Enterprise office.  Frank Leavens served on the Board of the Bolton Telephone Co. 
    • Frank also served as Bolton’s Reeve for 3 annual terms: 1913 to 1915
    • In 1941, Frank’s son Werden Leavens became publisher/editor of ‘The Bolton Enterprise’,
    • Werden Leavens was responsible for documenting pieces of Bolton’s History through his regular ‘Scratch Pad Notes’ feature
    • Werden and The Enterprise also published The Story of Albion by Esther Heyes, chapter-by-chapter as a weekly serial and later, in multiple editions, as a hardcover book.  This has immortalized early stories about Bolton and Albion and has preserved documents such as Samuel Walford’s Autbiography, and J. H. Bolton’s ‘The History of Bolton” 
    • Werden Leavens eventually sold the newspaper to Metrospan in 1976.  The building continued as the newspaper office until the late 1980s
    • In 1988, The Bolton Enterprise celebrated their 100th year publishing a commemorative issue

    And the building?

    • 62 Queen Street North was built by William Dick as a showroom for products from the Dick Agricultural Works, such as plows, wagons, sleighs.  From 1901, it housed real estate and insurance businesses starting with Jack McDonald.  By the 1950s, it had been retrofitted as a restaurant for Art Betts’ ‘Village Grill’, later the ‘Riverside Grill’ and is currently a pub and eatery
    • The storefront at 52 Queen Street North is now ‘Coletti’s Creations Hair Studio’..  The rear portion of the building operated as the Leaven’s Printing operation until around 2010
Herbert Bolton
Frank Leavens
Cy Wallace sketch marking the centennial of the Bolton Enterprise (1888 – 1988)
  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