Legendary Petrolia publisher dies


A Petrolia legend has died.

Charlie Whipp, who was the publisher of The Petrolia Advertiser Topic has died in BC of natural causes at the age of 92.

Whipp was born in the Maritimes in 1925, spent his childhood in Niagara Falls and served in the RCAF during the Second World War, flying reconnaissance missions along the west coast. After the war, he launched into a career in journalism, reporting for a variety of newspapers across Canada.

In the late 1950s, he became a widely read and respected reporter for the London Free Press, his beats including city hall. During that time he earned a reputation for scooping other reporters by any means possible. He once hired people to pack phone booths so other reporters could not file the story of London’s amalgamation to their newsrooms.

After several years in London, Charlie fulfilled a lifetime dream and bought a weekly newspaper that had become a landmark, the Petrolia Advertiser-Topic.
He became an icon in the community, his voice widely heard and respected. Whipp not only owned one of the few community papers with its own press, but was the first weekly publisher to move from hot type into the radical field of cold typesetting, a precursor to computerized newspapering.

His editorials informed readers, community leaders and local, provincial and federal politicians.

He went on to sell the paper, moving first to Kincardine and later retiring to Pender Island, BC.