Reporter returns to Echo 21 years later

By Sue Tiffin

Published April 4 2017

Things have changed a bit since the last time I started writing from the offices of the Haliburton County Echo . It was March then too but it was 21 years ago in 1996.

According to that week’s Echo Mr. Holland’s Opus was being held over for the second weekend at the Molou Theatre. Wings were 25 cents at the Moose Bar and Grill at the Wigamog. The Echo office itself was in a completely different location – nestled into the corner of York and Maple rather than overlooking the lake on Highland Street.

The picture taken of me on my first day as an HHSS co-op student shows a nervous 17-year-old sitting in Martha Perkins’s office next to a desk with a now-ancient Macintosh computer and a photo of my baby nephew. He’s not such a baby anymore – he’s now five years older than I was at that time – and his photo has been replaced with screenshots of toddlers of my own.

Some things haven’t changed so much really. The profile I wrote then details my busy extracurricular life as a highland dancer and drama club actress. Now I still stuff my spare time full by volunteering for the Minden Hills events committee Festival of Banners committee Cultural Centre Foundation and annual Catch the Cure event. I do still act from time to time and I can still do a fling if plied with a few adult beverages first.

At the start of my co-op placement I planned to channel my innate interest in people and their contributions into a profile column about local students. Now as I begin maternity leave coverage for Echo reporter Angelica Ingram I’m almost finished conducting interviews for a book I’m writing that chronicles the lives of people living in Haliburton County. It turns out that people in this place are still fascinating.

Rereading the profile makes me think of the way choices can impact a life’s course.

After I misused the high school photocopier after hours to self-publish a story I had written it was then-principal Gary Brohman who first disciplined my actions and then suggested I become a writer.

That’s why I found myself training at the Echo rather than working as a teaching assistant at JDHES. I write back then of considering the journalism program at Centennial College or Ryerson University  – with Martha’s influence I followed in her footsteps to Ryerson.

Had I been elsewhere I might not have met my husband of 13 years Justin and without a degree we might not have been able to teach in Korea for nearly a decade after university before returning home to the Highlands in 2014.

If I hadn’t resigned from the Highlander last year around this time I might not have been available when the Echo asked me to help keep Angelica’s seat warm for the next few months coming full-circle two decades later.

Then you could probably reach me only by phone. Now I’m accessible by office phone cellphone or email (

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to catch up or if you want to fill me in on what’s been happening.