The backbone of free press in Canada came from Combermere

COMBERMERE – A1929, MacLean’s Magazine article by M. Gratton O’Leary said, “Dafoe took to journalism like a mosquito to a shantyman back home.” Back home for John Wesley Dafoe was Combermere.

According to O’Leary, “Young Dafoe’s youth was the average life of the sons of pioneer parents. Canada in those days lived by candle light. The Ottawa Valley was a backwoods; lumbering the sole industry; farming restricted to the needs of shantymen.”

If Dafoe’s youth was “average,” his adult years were anything but. He became one of the leading newspaper editors in the English-speaking world, and was one of the great architects of Canadian foreign and domestic policy, even though he never held office.

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