Powell River Digester
Published by and devoted to the interests of the employees of Powell River Company Limited and the welfare of the community.
Browse through our collection of Digesters and read any of the listed years online. Click to open searchable PDF files.
The Powell River district's population in 1922 was approximately 2,100, and the Powell River Company employed about 500. In September 1922 the Powell River Company's paper mill was operating 4 paper machines, producing some 5700 tons of newsprint per month. In 1921, Powell River became the first community in British Columbia with dial telephones, but only a privileged few had access. World news was available through imported newspapers brought by ferry or float plane from Vancouver, and radio's arrival was still on the horizon, so there was an opening for a local news medium for the growing populace. Thus the Digester was born.
The first issue of the Digester was dated September 18, 1922. For the next five years it would be the only local news medium of the Powell River district. The magazine carried the news from the Powell River Company's mill, workers and surrounding area, interspersed with entertainment, gossip, humour, philosophy and historical items. It circulated twice a month until the end of 1922, when it became a monthly publication with the 1923 January issue.
The first editor T.B. Medforth, was joined by 19 reporters forming the original staff of 20. The 1922 reporting staff included:
The Digester operated from September 1922 until the final issue in December 1965. A hiatus from publication was taken from March 1932 until December 1936. This 58 month break from publication was taken due to the economic challenges of the Great Depression. The following gives the reasoning for the suspension in the March 1932 issue:
"In order to meet the continued severity of competition in all markets, and to operate at a reasonable capacity and give regular employment to the greatest number of our employees, it is essential that further drastic economies be effected, where this can be done without interference with the quality of our product and the proper maintenance of the Company's properties. In pursuance of this policy, we have reluctantly decided to suspend the publication of the Digester with this issue. Publication will be resumed when justified by economic conditions."
- A.E. McMaster