It's hard to overestimate the role newspapers played in shaping the cultural landscape of Manitoulin Island in the 1870s. During this time period newspapers emerged as influential beacons of information, opinion, and community identity within the region. As the farming community in Tekhummah grappled with financial, technological, and social upheaval, newspapers became a crucial means by which knowledge was shared, engagement fostered, and this geographically isolated population connected with the outside world.
In an era when channels of communication were much fewer than they are today, regional newspapers were important sources of news, updates, and educational material. They spread ideas and details of innovations that otherwise would have been inaccessible to this remote community. With the expansion of railways and improved postal services, newspapers became indispensable tools for connecting the isolated settlements on Manitoulin Island to the rest of the world.
When the Manitoulin Expositor was founded in 1878, it helped to foster a sense of community among the island's residents. It kept locals apprised of events, agricultural advancements, and social developments, enabling them to stay informed about what was going on in neighbouring communities and elsewhere in the province and the world. In sharing stories of individual achievement, cultural practices, and the multitude of challenges faced by the early settlers, the Expositor helped to solidify a collective sense of belonging and shared destiny.
In addition, many significant political changes occurred in the 1870s. Following the Confederation of Canada in 1867, newspaper editorial sections and opinion columns provided readers with insights into emerging political debates and encouraged active participation in the democratic process. Moreover, local newspapers advocated for social reform, voiced dissent, and influenced public opinion, all of which helped to shape Manitoulin's political evolution and had a lasting impact on the future, culture, and politics of the island.