G. Cecil Day, the former publisher and editor of the now-shuttered Queens County Advance, was one of eight Atlantic Canadian journalists and journalism builders recently inducted into the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame.
The induction took place during the Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) gala reception and awards ceremony at the Halifax Harbourfront Marriott Hotel on May 11.
Day, who was honoured posthumously, was described in his citation as truly a “newspaper man.”
The award reads: “He concluded his illustrious journalism career as owner/publisher and editor of The Advance — the community newspaper in Liverpool, NS. In his early years he worked at the Charlottetown Guardian, The New Glasgow Daily News, The Sydney Post Record and The Pictou Advocate. He received many awards for his work.”
Day’s daughter, Beverley Burlock, who attended the ceremony and accepted the award, said she was proud that her father has received such a long overdue and well deserved honour.
“He would react to this award much the same way he did to all the other awards he received during career,” she said. “He would be blown away, speechless and tearful. He was never one for blowing his own horn so this award means a lot to me and it would mean a lot to him.”
As for herself, Burlock says she was very proud to receive the award in his honour.
“I just feel that he did so much for Queen County and the province, and even Canada, that he deserves to be recognized for his work,” she says. “I am very proud of him and what he did through his work.”
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.
Day, who immigrated from Wales to Canada at the age 13 with his family, spent 51 years as a newspaperman, but Burlock had previously explained that her father could have turned tail and run in 1931 when he first saw the newspaper facilities in Liverpool he’d risked all to come to.
“He not only promoted this town, county and province, as well as every worthwhile project, until the day he died, but he also invested himself fully during the 45 years he lived here. And he succeeded! Against many obstacles, all odds.”
The Advance office located at 271 Main Street 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 write ups, curious items, advertising copy, printing orders, needing office supplies,” Burlock recalled. “On Thursdays, there were lineups to buy the paper.”
“And more often than not, people merely wanted to chat with Cecil, get his opinion and to argue. Or, just seeing him as they passed the window, they’d come in to say hi,” she added. “Anybody and everybody were equally welcomed.”
The 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.
In 1976, during the 57th convention of the Canadian Weekly Newspaper Association CWNA in Halifax, Day was awarded the Sydney R. Stone Trophy recognizing his 61 years as a newsman. This was only the seventh time in CWNA history that that trophy had been awarded.
The trophy inscription read, “In recognition of meritorious achievement in the service of their fellow man and their community, with great appreciation for their ceaseless effort and personal self sacrifice.”
He died a week later on August 21, at age 78, in the Advance’s 99th year.