William Edge Mason

Photo Credit: William Edge MasonGreat Lives Lived In Greater Sudbury, South Side Story
(MySudbury.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. He 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 and they had no children.  Mason's will was filed for probate on August 24th of that year.  The bulk of the 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.

Mason's will however, did place CKSO Radio in a rather unique position in Canada as the will stated that all profits from the radio division would have to be distributed to charity and in addition, CKSO Radio would also need to be completely free of the Sudbury Daily Star.  When the paperwork was completed, the radio station would be licensed to CKSO Radio Ltd. with G.M. Miller, K.C., as president, and W.J. Woodill as secretary-general manager. Woodill had already held this post for a number of years.  Then in 1949, CKSO Radio Ltd., which included George M. Miller, J.M. Cooper, W.B. Plaunt, Sr. and W.J. Woodill, purchased the radio station from the estate of W.E. Mason.

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.

One of the north's well known figures, W.E. Mason was considered a "tough" boss but he was also credited with molding many men who gained prominence in journalism.  Mason was 66 years of age.