Peter Paterson

Past editor of the North Island Gazette dies

PORT HARDY – A strong voice for the North Island has been silenced.
Former North Island Gazette editor Peter Paterson died in his sleep Feb. 12 at the age of 80.

  • Feb. 17, 2011 3:00 p.m.

PORT HARDY – A strong voice for the North Island has been silenced.

Former North Island Gazette editor Peter Paterson died in his sleep Feb. 12 at the age of 80.

Mr. Paterson was a man of many talents and worked in a variety of occupations but journalism was his passion, says his daughter Becky Deans, who worked by his side at the Gazette.

Mr. Paterson was born in Victoria, but after studying the arts at the University of Victoria and the University of B.C. and travelling around North America, he turned to journalism at McGill University and served as editor of the McGill Daily.

In 1953 he married Elin, who he met while at McGill.

In 1956 the family moved to Toronto where Mr. Paterson worked for the CBC.

“He would sell radio plays to the CBC when we needed money,” said Deans. “He started as a stage hand and moved his way up.”

In 1964 he became production manager for the CBC public affairs program This Hour Has Seven Days.

Wanting to escape the city and return to the land, the Patersons returned to Vancouver Island in 1971. They rented a house in Quatsino and Mr. Paterson worked at Utah Mines, running the pumps in the pit and earning the nickname Peter Pumper, says Deans.

In 1974 Mr. Paterson was hired on at the North Island Gazette as a reporter; a year later he was named editor. For the next 10 years Mr. Paterson gave voice to the concerns of the booming North Island.

Most memorable were his provocative weekly column In Left Field, and his tenacious determination to shame the provincial government into putting the highway through to Port Hardy. Dubbed the “Carrot Campaign” because the highway was dangled as an election promise several times, Mr. Paterson kept the issue in the news until the highway was completed. A wooden carrot marks the accomplishment at the end of the road, at the waterfront in Port Hardy.

During Mr. Paterson’s tenure as editor, the Gazette won many prestigious awards including best all-around newspaper in the Canada in 1977. When Mr. Paterson heard the news he took the whole staff, more than a dozen people, to the award ceremony in Vancouver. Other awards over the years included best editorial, best advertising campaign, best Christmas edition and community service.

During this time Elin and the family operated three stores in Thunderbird Mall. When they closed in 1984, the family moved to Halifax where Mr. Paterson went to work for a community newspaper.

In 1989 Mr. Paterson partnered with former Gazette owner Roland Shanks to produce the Food and Drink News and work as a freelance writer.

In 2001, the Patersons returned to Port Hardy this time to start a newspaper in competition with the North Island Gazette, the MidCoast Beacon. Former Gazette reporter and editor Bruce Winfield, who was trained by Mr. Paterson, was editor of the new publication.

The MidCoast Beacon closed in 2002 but Mr. Paterson didn’t stop writing.

“He was brilliant,” said Deans, who added her father loved literature, poetry, history, philosophy and the arts. “He never wrote his book; he wanted to. There are still tons of manuscripts that were never finished. He always had something on the go.”

Just Posted

North Island Tour De Rock rider Benjamin Leah leads team to Port Hardy

“You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through.”

North Island local elections face a number of acclamations

Alert Bay, Sayward, and Zeballos have unopposed mayoral elections

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Fishin’ Corner: Stand up for your fishing rights

“Don’t give in to DFO and their quota bureaucracy that the fish belong to everyone.”

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

Most Read