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Former P.E.I. editor G. Cecil Day inducted into Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame

Beverley Day Burlock stands next to a plaque on the Queens County Advance Building in Liverpool that honours her father, G. Cecil Day. Day, who is a former editor at The Guardian, will be inducted into Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame today during a ceremony in Halifax.
Beverley Day Burlock stands next to a plaque on the Queens County Advance Building in Liverpool that honours her father, G. Cecil Day. Day, who is a former editor at The Guardian, will be inducted into Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame today during a ceremony in Halifax. - Contributed

Beverley Day Burlock has fond memories of her father, G. Cecil Day, as the editor of The Advance, a community newspaper in Liverpool, N.S.

“His office window was on the street and people walking by would see him working at his desk, always smiling, always welcoming. They would wave to him,” says Burlock about her father, who was also an editor of The Guardian in Charlottetown for a number of years of years, beginning in 1915.

An impeccable dresser, Day always wore a white shirt and string bow tie, like Colonel Saunders.

“Ties were long, but this one was short. It was also a clip-on, so it wouldn’t get caught in the machinery. And, if it did, it would pull off. He was always safety conscious.”

As a child, Burlock recalls her father working late at night as he tried to make a deadline or, on the weekends, covering meetings and sporting events.

“In the early days he used to go around on Fridays to collect partial bill payments so his staff could be paid.”

G. Cecil Day receives the Sydney R. Stone Trophy in July of 1976 in recognition for his 61 years of service as a “newspaper man”. He died a week after the presentation.
G. Cecil Day receives the Sydney R. Stone Trophy in July of 1976 in recognition for his 61 years of service as a “newspaper man”. He died a week after the presentation.

Then, when he wasn’t working, Day would take Burlock and her brother in the car to meet with the editors from other weekly newspapers.

“They would have their business chats and we would twiddle our thumbs,” she laughs.

Burlock always loved to tag along.

“He was charming. He loved practical jokes. And he had a wonderful laugh,” she says.

When he wasn’t visiting with colleagues, he was traveling all over Queens County in Nova Scotia meeting people, learning about new businesses and collecting story ideas.

“He was a very outgoing person who cared about his community. He promoted every worthwhile project until the day he died. In spite of the obstacles he faced I never heard him complain,” says Burlock, whose father contracted polio in 1901, when he was three and spent the rest of his life on crutches.

He died in 1976, a week after being presented the Sydney R. Stone trophy, recognition for his 61 years of service as a newsman.

Today, the newsman – and a former P.E.I. resident – is remembered in a special way after being inducted into the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame (AJHF).

Day was one of eight journalists honoured during the Atlantic Journalism Awards gala reception and awards ceremony at the Halifax Harbourfront Marriott Hotel Saturday.

The citation, provided by the AJHF, reads: “G. Cecil Day concluded his illustrious journalism career as owner/publisher and editor of The Advance. In his early years he worked at the Charlottetown Guardian, The New Glasgow Daly New, The Sydney Post Record and the Pictou Advocate. He was truly a newspaper man.”

“He was a very outgoing person who cared about his community. He promoted every worthwhile project until the day he died. In spite of the obstacles he faced I never heard him complain.”

- Beverley Day Burlock

Burlock, who lives in Nova Scotia, will accept the award on behalf of her late father.

“I’m thrilled beyond words. It’s also recognition of the importance that weeklies once had in communities. And, the power they had to be reckoned with – by every level of government – when they got behind an issue.”

Burlock is also thankful.

“I’m appreciative because, for so long, I felt he had been forgotten,” says Burlock who, since returning home to Liverpool from Kingston, Ont. in 2001, was concerned how few people remembered her father, let alone knew him.

Shortly after her arrival she went to the museum to see what they had on her father in their files.

“I discovered very little. And they had the wrong picture.”

With a strong desire to rectify the situation, she researched his life.

Day was born in 1898 in Wales and immigrated with his family to Prince Edward Island in 1911.

At the age of 16, he entered pre-law studies at Prince of Wales College Charlottetown.

When his financial situation forced him to drop out, two years later, he started work as a night editor of The Guardian in Charlottetown, making $3 a week in 1915.

Over the next two years he became a linotype operator, covered sports and took night school and business college courses.

Day also worked at the New Glasgow Daily News, The Sydney Post and The Pictou Advocate, concluding his career as an owner/publisher of The Advance – the community paper in Liverpool, N.S.

After his retirement G. Cecil Day took up painting from 1973-75. He also moved from crutches to a wheelchair.
After his retirement G. Cecil Day took up painting from 1973-75. He also moved from crutches to a wheelchair.

In her work, Burlock wanted to make others aware of her father’s contribution to the town.

“My father was involved in promoting Nova Scotia and what he did put Liverpool and Nova Scotia on the map. He went to the World’s Fair in 1939. He was an UNESCO representative. On one overseas trip, he and my mother were totally outfitted in Nova Scotia tartan.”

As a result of her efforts, her father’s contributions are being recognized.

In 2018, Eric Goulden, the new owner of the Queens County Advance Building, unveiled a commemorative plaque honouring Day during a public ceremony in 2018.

And with today’s induction, Burlock feels the situation is finally rectified.

“I’m just very proud and so pleased that my father is getting the kind of recognition that will be in the history records.”

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JUST THE FACTS

  • What: Atlantic Journalism Awards gala reception
  • Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame inductees: Andrew Vaughan; Bill Hunt; G. Cecil Day; Bill Skerrett; Hubert and Edwina Hutton; Michel Doucet; Vince Gallant; Yvonne Colbert

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