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LESLIE

W. Bruce Leslie 1909 1995 By Scott Leslie Bruce Leslies life as a writer and newspaper publisher was preordained when his father, Frank Howard Leslie, sold the modest Tavistock Gazette in 1904 and moved to Niagara Falls to purchase the more promising Niagara Falls Weekly Review. Born on 27 September, 1909, William Bruce Leslie was an only child whose early days were filled with the activity of his fathers fledgling business and spent many a high school summer working in the printing and bindery department, learning the tricks of newspaper trade before he officially joined The Review staff in 1928. Starting in the editorial department, Bruce Leslie held several positions including telegraph editor where he was responsible for gathering and editing the various stories that came across the newswire. In the years to follow, Bruce matured into a steady city reporter, covering everything from the collapse of the Honeymoon Bridge in 1938 to the latest goingson at city hall. By the late 1940s, he had shifted into the papers advertising department, working closely with the citys local merchants as an ad salesman and manager eventually assuming the role of general manager, editor and acting publisher of The Review in 1956. Over the years, Bruce Leslie was also a popular columnist and wrote several daily columns for The Review including Scouse (a comic news column that ran from 1931 to 1940) and Letters That Missed The Mail (a folksy humour column that ran from 1958 to 1969) which featured a character named Joe Swampweed. In local circles, Bruce was often nicknamed Joe Swampweed due to his strong connection with his column. His most well-known column was From One Angle which started in 1970 and largely reflected on the small moments that took place around his rural Willoughby home. Often referring to himself as the Observer, Bruces column featured several recurring characters including his two Yorkshire terriers, Moppet and Pixie; his pet cats, Pussy Galore and Dusky; and most notably Mrs. Greenthumb, a pseudonym he used for Wyn, his avid gardening wife.

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When the Leslie family sold The Review to the Thomson Corporation in 1973, Bruce chose to retire the following year but continued writing his From One Angle on a weekly basis well into his eighties. In fact, Bruces column developed into one of the longest running newspaper columns in Canada, running in The Reviews pages for twenty-five years. Bruce was actively associated with many local boards and civic groups through the years including Rotary, the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Guaranty Trust Company of Canada, the Greater Niagara General Hospital and Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Although he was a prominent figure in the Niagara Falls community for many years, Bruce preferred to avoid the limelight, often making generous donations to important community causes with little public knowledge or fanfare. Bruce Leslie passed away on 19 December, 1995 at the age of eighty-six, having spent nearly seven decades as a writer, publisher and community leader.

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