By Daniel Kirchin
Local Journalism Initiative
In a celebration of a half-century of service, the Townships Sun stands tall as it marks its 50th anniversary this week (Feb. 8, to be exact) with the launch of its latest edition. This non-profit magazine, born in the wake of Quebec’s Bill 101 in 1974, has been a steadfast companion of English speakers facing restrictions during challenging times.
Rachel Garber, the editor for the Townships Sun, shared reflections on the magazine’s historical journey. “We started in 1974, when Bill 101 came into fruition. It was a shock to the English community, and we wanted to fill the vacuum of English publications,” she explained, underlining the magazine’s mission to be a voice for a community.
Originally the ‘Eastern Townships Social Action Group,’ the magazine has remained true to its non-profit roots, an embodiment of community-driven journalism. In its nascent years, it was steered by the efforts of volunteer students from Bishop’s University who engaged in research and focus groups, acting as a vital organ for communicating Townships events.
Over the course of five decades, a tapestry of community-based publications has woven itself into the fabric of Township life. Among these, Garber fondly mentioned ‘the sun switchboard,’ an avenue where pages contained letters to the editor addressing community concerns and individuals sharing their written stories, accompanied by poignant visuals and artwork.