Gazette ceases publication

I came to Burlington to marry Pia Simms.

I did that on December 19, 2011

Before that I formed Our Burlington Inc., and began publishing a newspaper on a web site.  The name of that newspaper was changed to the Burlington Gazette.

The publication was being read by more than 20,000 people.

Then my health took a turn and I have decided that I will stay home in the evenings and be with the woman I came here to marry rather than be at city hall.

The Burlington Gazette has ceased publication.

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50 comments to Gazette ceases publication

  • Cora Slikker

    Oh no! Just when I am moving to Burlington and had found this newspaper! I do not know you but I hope your health will allow you to enjoy peaceful evenings with your wife. Nobody else who wants to take over?

    Best wishes!

  • Donald

    come back Pepper! We miss you already

    • Stephanie Cooper-Smyth

      roger that, Donald. I’m going thru withdrawal.

      The Post…the Spec…vanilla at their very best. Palatable solely for the unwashed

      I need a Pepper hit badly!
      (especially with all that’s recently happened in our community – on which no media has (intelligently) reported or missed entirely.)

  • G. Stevenson

    “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    Pepper, your style of informing the people will not soon be forgotten. You gave us, the public, an opportunity to express our views about our community and you did so with eyes wide open. There was no need to register as a delegate to get our 10 minutes in front of our elected officials. We could debate freely and openly through your columns, read the points of views from many, and in the end came out better informed.

    You will be missed. God speed, and always kiss your beloved good night.

  • Chris Walker

    Thanks Pepper for your hard work and dedication to keeping the community informed about important City matters. You certainly kept us at Shaping Burlington on our toes! I also personally really appreciated your kind and wise words during my recent kidney transplant and recovery. All the Very Best to you and Pia and may you have many years of happiness.

  • Pat

    That’s great. Thanks a lot. Now What?

    We are approaching some critical times and you decide to leave us hanging like this?

    The wheels are going to fall off this city now because of you.

    There will be anarchy like never before in history. The city will drop in its top rank as being one of the best places to live. Lava will flow on the streets of Roseland from volcanic activity and swallow up all the old houses to make way for high rise office towers and windmill farms, the pier will collapse into the raging waters of Lake Ontario, the airport fiasco will turn into an affordable housing development and jail site, Dennison will subdivide his property into 12 lots, Sharman will lose his accent, Taylor will grow back all his hair, Lancaster will become mayor, Goldring will finally make a decision, and Rick Craven will end up marrying Marianne Meed Ward – she will propose.

    It’s all going to be your fault.

  • Frank Myers

    I don’t know what I can add to what so many have expressed so well Pepper. Perhaps just that I am full of admiration for the work you have done bringing the real news to Burlington. Best wishes for a speedy recovery my friend.

  • Thanks for giving a damn Pepper. Loved that you always said what you meant. We’re all hoping that for you and for us that as one door shuts and window is opened. All the best Pepper.

  • Jim Frizzle

    Pepper, I am saddened and happy. Happy because you made the tough decision, but the right one, to spend more time with your lovely bride Pia. And to focus on the import issue in your life right now – to regain your health! Saddened (selfishly) because I’m being deprived of my daily dose of Burlington reality! Your viewpoints and opinions, always supported by substantial information, will be sorely missed by many, many of us in Burlington. Please, let’s keep in touch Pepper!

  • Gene

    Thank you for devoting your time and efforts into your publication. It was a pleasure to read, thought provoking and interesting! It kept me coming back.

    All the best to both of you!!


    Oh Pepper, It was lovely meeting you for coffee recently and I now read your online paper daily to be “in the know”.
    Family and Health are so important so I understand your choice.

    You are a bit of a tough cookie, but tell it like it is, so you have earned respect for your publication.

    Cheers and all the best Pepper!

  • greg.fabian

    Cheers to Pepper Parr and the Burlington Gazette.

    My daily fix for local information was fulfilled like no other single source, actually mutiple sources.

    A great service was done to the citizens of Burlington through the journalism of Pepper Parr. Now a huge void will be evident to me, and I am sure many others, as we struggle to find out the details and the truth about so many issues that affect us all.

    This is the kind of paper, and person in Pepper Parr, that every town needs to provide information to everyone in order for them to hold local politicians accountable.

    But there were other stories too, not just political ones. Local interest stories. We are all the wiser because of these.

    Best wishes Pepper.

  • What can I say that hasn’t already been so eloquently said? We are loosing a true champion. Frankly, I’m worried about how Burlington will function without tough and constructive criticism from someone so plugged-in. In a media vacuum, will we all start to believe our own press releases?
    Please get well Pepper, and enjoy a much-deserved rest and a full and balanced life – but please don’t be gone for too long. Really.

  • John Birch

    Pepper, I am so sorry to read this news. Of course you made the right decision, because it is your decision to make. While the community will soldier on, it will never the less be somewhat diminished in your absence.

    Wishing you both strength and as much happiness as possible through this ordeal.

    Know this Pepper, you made a difference my friend.

    ‘God’s work on earth must truly be our own’ – JFK

    Strength, and best wishes.

    Kindest regards,


  • Jim Riley

    Take care of yourself. Your enthusiasm and dedication will be missed. I am saddened by this news but hope to see you healthy and and about.

  • What a blow for Burlington. Can well understand your reasons for stepping down Pepper, but still, it’s a blow for Burlington. Who will step up to fill the vital role you played to keep citizens appraised of the doings at City Hall and elsewhere within our ‘hood? Burlington doesn’t need much more pablum ~ it needs a dose of your grit. Ah well. Somehow I just can’t believe you’ll be gone for good … Maybe Metroland (via Burlington Post) will bring you in periodically for a ‘As I see it’ monthly compedium? They’d do well to note your numbers and readership. And you, (with Pia’s blessing?), could keep a foot in the door … Otherwise, you’ll be sorely missed. Very best to you.

  • Rob Narejko

    The community will miss your voice. I have been enlightened by your insight. Your viewpoint and willingness to address tough issues will be missed by all.

    Best wishes for your improved health.

    Enjoy your time with Pia.

  • Mr. Wonderful

    Married? aren’t you too young for that?

    As for me, I would rather be at city hall than with the woman I married. She is still upset that I took her to the blacksmith after she complained about not having new shoes to wear.

    And here we were, you, the deranged readership, and Mr. Wonderful, selflessly helping all those in need of help in this most wonderful city.

    Pepper will be back!

  • Monte

    Fully understand your decision, however there will be a huge void in Burlington.
    No other community that I have lived in had a voice that was honest, direct, unmoved and unafraid of controversy.
    The Gazette was the true voice of Burlington citizens.
    I wish you all the best, my friend you have done a great job and well deserving of a rest.

  • Susan Lewis

    It isn’t always easy, but when you’re not feeling well … hope it helps to know others are thinking of you … and hoping that you’ll be better very soon. Take good care of yourself.
    – Author Unknown

  • Alan Harrington

    This is a loss for us.
    I didn’t always agree with Pepper’s politics but he brought issues to the forefront and was a great reporter of events in the community. Take care buddy.

  • Dear readers,

    I learned earlier today that Pepper Parr, editor and publisher of the Burlington Gazette, has decided, for personal reasons, to cease publication of the paper henceforth. So the last column you received from me is the last column.

    Pepper was committed to the idea of a different kind of news publication, a more critical-thinking perspective – in contrast to the sleepy reporting style of the Metroland chain of media which predominate in communities like Burlington. If you would like to comment there is a last opportunity to register your sentiments.

    I have truly enjoyed researching, writing and following your comments on my work. Until our paths cross once again, I want to thank you for your loyalty as readers. It has been my pleasure.


    • Tony Pullin

      Thanks Ray for your valuable weekly perspective in the Gazette. It was always informative and thought provoking, and elicited great contributions by other readers. I am grateful for having the opportunity to participate in this excellent venue, The Gazette.
      When you say “until our paths cross once again”, I take that to mean that you would like to buy us all a pint at some local establishment. You will have to let us know when and where, before the curtain falls.

  • Ray Rivers

    Over the last year I have enjoyed writing and sharing my column with your readers – those who disagreed as much as those who were at one with me. And I know that you had to bite your tongue on a number of occasions where you and I differed – but you never disappointed me. You stayed true to yourself and to your journalistic professionalism. That is a rare commodity and will be missed.

    I share the sadness and loss all of us feel as a result of your decision today – but it is your decision and we all respect it. And what better to give it up for than LOVE. You and I developed a friendship over the course of the last year and I fully expect that to continue, paper of not. Best wishes to you and Pia for the future


  • Roger

    You will be missed – Burlington will have a void

  • Shannon Gillies

    I’m very sorry to hear this, Pepper. Reading your insights had become a daily habit that I’ll miss. Your honest, witty, call-it-like-you-see-it style of writing is something this city could use much more of. What’s really important now though is your health and your family. I might just phone you with some updates from City Hall now and then, but will try not to call during The Good Wife. 😉 Be well, my friend.

  • Diane

    Your bulls-eye approach to issues in the community will be sorely missed Pepper. Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.

  • […] immediately, the Burlington Gazette ceases publication. What a shame. I hope restful times ahead with his wife restores Pepper Parr’s […]

  • Thank you for putting Burlington first – to keep us so much better informed, more inquisitive and a little off-balance (which is a healthy thing).

    Glad to hear your new priority is you, and Pia.

    While it’s ‘ciao for niao’ in terms of the Burlington Gazette online, I look forward to the next time when my path crosses with Pepper Parr in the real world.

    Take care, and try to be good, until then…

  • Pepper, I’m so sorry to hear this. It was exciting to see the traction you made in the city and the perspective you brought, which was to report the news as a true journalist rather than writing what you thought was the safest thing to write. You have always been very courageous both in your quest for the truth and with your personal health struggles. I admire your energy and spirit.

    I wish nothing but the best for you and your wife Pia. Your writing will be missed in the community. I think it would be great to see someone from your editorial team step up and take over the reigns of this wonderful thing you started.

    Best to you and the fam.

  • I’m saddened to learn that your health has been suffering. It seems like just yesterday that you started ‘Our Burlington Inc.’! Your unique perspective has provoked thought and enriched lives. I hope that you will return to this work when you are well.

  • Pepper,

    It has been a pleasure getting to know you and reading the Gazette the last little while. It is unfortunate that it was only a short time but I can completely understand your decision to focus on the truly important things and people in your life.

    You had your pulse on the goings on in this wonderful city, providing a direct and thoughtful perspective. Like James said, hopefully there will be a protege that will pick up the baton and carrying on this important publication.

    Regardless of that, all the best and I wish you continued “success” in your “new” endeavour 😉


  • Michelle Bennett

    Pepper your passion, energy and dedication has been inspiring. Thanks for all the support you’ve offered along the way.


  • Wowsers! Was it something I said?
    But seriously I do understand and respect your decision.
    Even though he’s Welsh let me quote Dylan Thomas:
    “Old age should burn and rave at close of day” You have certainly done that for many in this burg.
    I second Marianne’s suggestions about Burlie’s Best 2015 and do hope that you can interest someone in taking up the reins of BG. Cities like Burlington need the kind of voice you’ve been adding to the city.
    So let me quote Yeats when he said:
    “Talent perceives differences; genius, unity.”
    Burlington is a better place because of your efforts to see what’s good and great and what unifies us here in Burlie.

  • David Burns

    Pepper, You will be missed as your paper was marvellous and I have enjoyed reading it so much. All the local news and information that we could get no where else. Where would we folk in rural Burlington be without you fight against the airport expansion. Regards to you and Pia, please give her my best regards from the days in the Bank of Montreal at Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road, we still miss her also, it must run in the family!

  • Dear Pepper,

    What a choice. I wish it was not either or. I appreciate your writing and coverage. Wishing you and Pia well. Warm regards always, Louise

  • Tony Pullin

    I am very sorry to hear that. As Marianne said, health and family come first. You have done a tremendous service for this City. Anybody who read the Gazette was a beneficiary of your hard work and effort.

  • Pepper,I have met you just a mere few times. Twice in interview mode….at a local coffee shop to get to know each other,the next time at my shop over biscotti and coffee. Lately, I caught up with you “off the record” before a council meeting.

    In three short visits with you,I realized that you had many characteristics that most people envy…comforting,honest and dedication.

    Your passion for writing,getting to the truth, and no holds bar approach,as well as the detail political knowledge you have enriched our community with…is commendable. Your direct approach to journalism will inspire others in their own way to try and do the same.

    You are a good man Pepper. Diane and I wish all the best for you and Pia! The Burlington Gazette may have said goodbye…but Pepper Parr is always welcome in my circle.

  • Donald

    you will be missed.

  • Joan

    I have just read your announcement Pepper. I am happy you are with the woman you love. I am sorry your health is unwell at the moment. I am sorry you must cease to publish the Burlington Online Gazette. For a long time I have been aware of the need for a meeting place for the exchange of ideas for solutions of pressing issues of the day and you have provided that. I shall very much miss this exchange and the positive results and commentary of a number of persons. I hope I can meet with those with whom I had a proacative discussions with on very vital issues in some other format or hopefully and soon your recovery and return to the Gazette. Best Wishes to you and Pia.

  • Sorry to see one of my daily “reads” has ceased publication. Residents of Burlington were well served by the Burlington Gazette. It will be greatly missed.

    Pepper, I hope your health improves quickly and you have many more happy decades with the woman you came to Burlington to marry. Be well!

  • Kurt


    I am so sorry to hear of your decision, but fully understand. Best wishes with your health and many enjoyable evenings with Pia.
    Perhaps when your health turns around and with the help of others you can resurrect the Burlington Gazette. Your coverage of the political scene in Burlington was by far the most extensive of all the media in our community, we will all miss it sorely. Our community is the poorer for it.

  • Pepper, So sorry to hear about your health issues and the resulting end to Burlington Gazette. Heath and family always come first.

    The end of the Gazette will leave a void for Burlington residents who relied on your “lively, informative” take on Burlington news, issues and events. You provided a unique perspective and insights that weren’t available anywhere else. You held everyone’s feet to the fire – citizens, civic leaders in business and philanthropy, elected representatives.

    As a fellow journalist I respect the need for an independent voice on matters of public interest, and you provided that in spades. Thank you for your service to our community, and I wish you and Pia all the best.

    I hope someone in the community will step up to continue the work you have started and keep the Gazette going, though you have left very large shoes to fill. Willing to assist anyone who wants to pick up the torch.

    You deserve a nomination in 2015 as one of Burlington’s Best for your voluntary service as the scribe-in-residence of our great city.

    • Stephanie Cooper-Smyth

      Like you Marianne, when it really matters, Pepper would rather be correct, than politically correct.
      This is why the Gazette (and you) make a real difference to so many lives within our City.

      It would be remarkable to find anyone of his genre to publish the calibre of news and editorials he’s addicted us to.

      Damn you Pepper Parr!

    • Mrs. Wonderful

      I agree that Pepper deserve a nomination Marianne. He did actually get nominated this year; however we heard later that he declined the nomination. I am sure we haven’t heard the last from this energetic man. Best wishes for a speedy recovery from surgery Pepper!

  • Stephanie Cooper-Smyth

    There is a time when the toughest professional choice may also be the right personal choice. This is obviously that time.

    However saying that Mr. Parr, shuttering The Gazette will be leaving a HUGE void in the lives of many Burlingtonians. In recent years, there’s not been more accurate, detailed and thought provoking media coverage of our local events.

    To say that you’ve motivated intelligent interest and action in our municipal affairs, by citizens and authorities alike, is an understatement. Ditto for providing attention, validity and, in some instances, support to the issues that (should) matter to the aforementioned parties.

    I wish you and your bride well – and that the rose returns to your cheeks in its former, full glory.

    • Gary Scobie

      I am at a loss for words, Pepper. So I’d just like to say that Ms. Cooper-Smyth has expressed herself so well that I’ll be happy to say “ditto” in every respect. Be healthy and happy. You’ve earned both.

  • Bob

    Way to ruin my Sunday morning Pepper….

    While I applaud and understand your decision, I am definitely going to miss your website and our little visits.
    Enjoy your time with the woman you love, and be well.
    As my father used to say. Yesterday is history, tomorrow never comes, and today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.

    All the best my friend.