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Born exactly 90 years ago, the DCN has been there for construction

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by Vince Versace

So what do you get a newspaper that is celebrating its 90th year of serving the construction industry with key industry news and project information? How about a reverent look back at our beloved Daily Commercial News’ (DCN) first front page.
Born exactly 90 years ago, the DCN has been there for construction
Photo: DCN ARCHIVES

For the longest time during my decade at the DCN I had a copy of its Nov. 8, 1927 front page hanging near my desk and now it is in my home office. Safe to say that every day of my life over the last 10 years I've looked at it, at times closely to see something I may have missed or to chuckle that no matter how much time goes by, some issues still prevail in this hardworking industry. Don't believe me, here are some of those headlines from 90 years ago today:

Eight Hour Day to be Enforced, Federal Minister of Labour Instructs Welland Canal Contractors: this story was about some carpenters on that Welland Canal build reporting that they had been instructed to sign a paper saying "they expressed the desire" to work 10 hours straight at a time daily despite an eight hour day being "sanctioned by the Minister of Labour" on this project. (Imagine that, a subtrade and a general contractor not getting along...)

Scarboro Utilities Commission to Ask Labour Preference: this story was about the utility asking the "Bell Telephone Company to employ a large percentage of township labour during their operations in Scarboro Township." (Hmm...local preference in a contract? Not so novel of an idea 90 years later I guess...)

Similarity of House Design Protested at Outremont: this is a Quebec story about residents on Hazelwood Avenue in Outremont, Que. submitting a petition to their local council claiming the likeness in design of their homes will depreciate their property values and that it will make Outremont look like "a manufacturing town."

The city's building committee was to look into the matter. (I had to laugh. Look at the urban sprawl neighbourhoods in any major Canadian city since the 1980s and tell me how much variety you can actually see and if that impacted the recent bidding wars on homes...)

I'd be remiss not to mention the publisher's note on that first front page of the DCN.

It explains the paper would now be called the Daily Commercial News and Construction Record instead of its previous name of the Journal of Commerce and Construction News.

It turns out its previous name was too similar to a monthly trade magazine in Quebec called the Journal of Commerce of Canada, causing "confusion in the mail, among subscribers and advertisers" it reads. The two publishers had a conference call and the DCN name was born as a result.

Since then the DCN has become the "industry bible" as many state. It has regularly delivered the project intel so many stakeholders need to thrive and the industry news to give them a competitive edge and insight on issues impacting them.

This first evolution of the DCN in changing its name and then thriving is something it has continually done and continues to do right now with so many digital tools at our disposal.

We will continue to provide our subscribers, advertisers and casual readers with "the reliable advance construction news service," as our publishers said in their note 90 years ago. It is not just our goal to do so, it is our mandate.

Our thanks to all the previous staff who have worked under the DCN banner, you have helped build something great and we will continue that heavy lifting now.

Happy Birthday DCN.

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