William Edge Mason

Birthplace
Walkerton, Ontario

Birth Date
March 4, 1882

Deceased
June 22, 1948

Photo Credit
www.southsidestory.ca


William Edge Mason was born on March 4, 1882 in the town of Walkerton, Ontario.  He completed his schooling in Bruce County and then began an apprenticeship with the Walkerton Telescope.  He became a Journeyman Printer. His first job would take him to Toronto to work as a proof reader and a handyman for the Toronto Saturday Night.

He and his wife Alice Maud Tinlin came to Sudbury in November of 1907 and worked as a printer for the Sudbury Mining News.  This enabled him to get to know many of Sudbury's business people.  He was successful in convincing some to invest in The Sudbury Star Publishers Ltd., a semi-weekly newspaper.

For Mr. Mason, these were humble beginnings as he would go on to build his career and business interests.  Through his newspaper, he built a large following of readers who agreed with his pro-business and anti-union beliefs. 

W.E. Mason has gone down in the Sudbury area history books as being well known for community involvement.  He served as President of the Sudbury Cub Wolves.  They won their first Memorial Cup tournament in 1932.  He also served as President of The Board of Trade and the Chairman of the Public School Board.  The Sudbury Parks Commission was founded as a result of Mason's tireless efforts.  The group is credited with having the foresight to preserve the Memorial Park and Lakeside Park (today known as Bell Park) areas.  W.E. Mason bequeathed money so that the children's wading pool would be installed in Memorial Park.

W.E. Mason literally became the voice of the north, when CKSO Radio went on the air in 1935.

The radio studio was first located on Elgin Street in Sudbury.  This was in the same building that housed his newspaper operation. The station was powered at 1,000 watts.  It had two 95-foot, wooden transmitters, located on 4th Avenue.

Mr. W.E. Mason passed away on June 22, 1948.  He was predeceased by his wife.  They had no children.  His will was filed for probate later that summer.  The bulk of Mason's estate was to be left to the W.E. Mason Charitable Foundation.  It was said that the estate held over two million dollars and was to be used for charitable purposes including religious, educational and sports organizations.  The Ottawa Journal reported in its December 22, 1950 edition that Mr. Mason had named a number of beneficiaries including Sudbury hospitals, the Civic Hospital in North Bay, the Canadian Red Cross Society for its poliomyelitis rehabilitation centre, the Sudbury Library and Sudbury Community Centre.  Other funds were earmarked for scholarships set up by Mr. Mason.  In fact the Sudbury community at large became the beneficiary of The W.E. Mason Foundation as hospitals, libraries, schools and many charitable and sports organizations were included as recipients.

Mr. Mason was described in a CP news release, June 22, the day of his death, as a "thick-set, white-haired publisher who loved a fight whether it was in the field of politics, business or sport".  The news item appearing in various newspapers stated that Mason found the tension of the Ontario election that year was too much for him.  Just one day after the Progressive Conservative Party was returned to power, Mason entered the hospital.  He had been very active in his support for the party and rallied almost daily.  Mason had been considered powerful behind the scenes of both federal and provincial politics.  Mason had suffered an attack of coronary thrombosis earlier in June of 1948.

Mason's will however, did place CKSO Radio in a rather unique position in Canada as he insisted that all profits from the radio division were to be distributed to charity, and in addition, CKSO Radio was to be completely divested of the Sudbury Daily Star.  Sudbury area businessmen George M. Miller, Judge James Maxwell Cooper and W.B. Plaunt Sr. purchased CKSO Radio and The Sudbury Star from the Mason Foundation.  When the corporate paperwork was completed the radio station would be licensed to CKSO Radio Ltd. with G.M. Miller, as president and W.J. Woodill as secretary-general manager.  Woodill had been general manager for a number of years.  Still in possession of The Sudbury Star, the owners would seek out a buyer and in 1955 the paper, considered to be one of Canada's largest daily newspapers with a circulation of 23,925 readers was finally sold to the Thomson Company Ltd.  The announcement, published in a CP news item dated May 10, 1955, came from J.R. Meakes, who was the general manager of the paper at the time.  The new owners were slated to take possession on August 5, 1955 with no change in management, staff or polices announced.  The news item went on to quote George Miller of CKSO Radio Ltd., who said the sale of the paper consummated Mr. Mason's intentions that "the paper would be operated in the interests of this district and that the management be in the hands of those personally interested in the welfare of Northern Ontario."

One of the north's well known figures, W.E. Mason was considered a "tough" boss, known for his hot temper and described as ruthless and blustery, but he was also credited with molding many men who gained prominence in journalism.  In 2009 the Sudbury Star celebrated its 100th anniversary with several articles.  A January 10, 2009 item quoted Leslie McFarlane who came to work at the paper in 1920.  McFarlane said in reading the riot act Mason told him, " 'When you work for The Sudbury Star you,' he said, leaning back in his swivel chair with his thumbs in his waistcoat pockets, 'you begin with the understanding that we are entitled to your services 24 hours a day. If you don't like that idea, you can quit right now.' ".  Although McFarlane worked as a reporter he would become famously known as the original author of The Hardy Boys, writing the first of the series, "The Tower Treasure".  It is said that he wrote in a cabin on the shores of Ramsey Lake, but under the name, Franklin W. Dixon.  He would later prove himself as a television screenwriter.

W.E. Mason was 66 years of age at the time of his death.