meet the newsmakers.

It takes a dedicated team of professionals to cover the community. Meet the people that deliver the best all-round community newspaper in the business.

Observer Staff

Joe Merlihan


519.669.5790 ext 107

Donna Rudy

sales manager

519.669.5790 ext 104

Damon MacLean

Reporter | Photographer

519.669.5790 ext 101

cassandra Merlihan

graphic designer

519.669.5790 ext 108

Steve Kannon


519.669.5790 ext 103

Patrick Merlihan

print | web manager

519.669.5790 ext 105

Sean Heeger

reporter | photgrapher

519.669.5790 ext 102

About your newspaper

talk to us.

The Observer is an independent Community Newspaper serving Woolwich and Wellesley Townships. Located in Elmira, Ontario Canada. The Observer is a division of Cathedral Communications Inc. founded in 1996.

The Observer is a member of the Ontario Community Newspaper Association (OCNA) and News Media Canada.

The Observer is a member of the National News Media Council, a voluntary regulatory organization that deals with journalistic practices and ethical behaviour. If you have an unresolved complaint about news stories, opinion columns or photo please visit our website at or call 1-844-877-1163.

There was no shortage of historical milestones in 1996. It was a leap year with big expectations. 1996 was the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty – no easy feat.

There were plenty of debuts in the early part of the year leading up to the creation of The Observer. The first clamshell flip phone (Motorola StarTAC) goes on sale. The first genetically modified foods hit grocery shelves. The first surface photos of Pluto are captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. RENT opens off-broadway, Tupac Shakur releases “All Eyez On Me”, Howard Stern premieres on radio and Shawn Michaels beats Brett Hart for the WWF title in Wrestlemania XII.

The events of 1996 were the foundation for what would become one of the best community newspapers in Canada, and it would be created in Elmira, Ontario.

The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival is world renowned. It’s now a Guinness Book Record Holder as the World’s Largest One-Day Maple Syrup Festival. In 1996, they were preparing to celebrate their 32nd year, and The Observer was preparing to make their debut at the Festival.

After a successful launch, the plan was to publish weekly. We had a few deficiencies in our plan: no budget, no bankroll, no long-term advertising contracts and only three people to cover the news, sell and create ads and produce the newspaper. Youthful spirit and a drive to succeed didn’t present too many opportunities for second thought. Failure wasn’t an option. The enormity of what we would eventually accomplish with The Observer can only be comprehended after reflecting the two decades it took to get to where we are now. We’re looking for many more years of serving our communities.

How we serve our community.

The Observer’s mandate is to inform, engage and educate its audience on the communities we cover both in print and online. In a world awash of news, The Observer provides essential information of interest to our local communities that meets and exceeds the needs of our readers. It continually strives to stay ahead of the curve in its presentation and coverage.

Written by professional journalists, it is firmly committed to rewarding readers for their time. Our unique coverage and vision of community news has secured us numerous awards, ranking among the top community newspapers in Canada. 

It’s no surprise that our local advertising partners continue to support community news — the results speak for themselves. A well-read newspaper is a successful one, that has been our driving force since inception.


This statement of principles expresses the commitment of Canada’s newspapers to operate in the public interest. A newspaper is a vital source of information and a private business enterprise with responsibility to the community it serves.

Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the press is an exercise of every Canadian’s right to freedom of expression guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is the right to gather and disseminate information, to discuss, to advocate, to dissent. A free press is essential to our democratic society. It enables readers to use their Charter right to receive information and make informed judgments on the issues and ideas of the time.


The newspaper’s primary obligation is fidelity to the public good. It should pay the costs of gathering the news. Conflicts of interest, real or apparent, should be declared. The newspaper should guard its independence from government, commercial and other interests seeking to subvert content for their own purposes.

Accuracy and Fairness

The newspaper keeps faith with readers by presenting information that is accurate, fair, comprehensive, interesting and timely. It should acknowledge its mistakes promptly and conspicuously. Sound practice clearly distinguishes among news reports, expressions of opinion, and materials produced for and by advertisers. When images have been altered or simulated, readers should be told.

Community Responsibility

The newspaper has responsibilities to its readers, its shareholders, its employees and its advertisers. However, the operation of a newspaper is a public trust and its overriding responsibility is to the society it serves. The newspaper plays many roles: a watchdog against evil and wrongdoing, an advocate for good works and noble deeds, and an opinion leader for its community. The newspaper should strive to paint a representative picture of its diverse communities, to encourage the expression of disparate views and to be accessible and accountable to the readers it serves, whether rich or poor, weak or powerful, minority or majority. When published material attacks an individual or group, those affected should be given an opportunity to reply.


The newspaper should strive to treat the people it covers with courtesy and fairness. It should respect the rights of others, particularly every person’s right to a fair trial. The inevitable conflict between privacy and the public good should be judged in the light of common sense and with decency.

Adopted by the Canadian Daily Newspaper Association in 1977, revised  by the Canadian Newspaper Association in 1995

Do you have a complaint about an article in a newspaper?

STEP 1: Contact your newspaper’s public editor or ombudsman.

This individual is in charge of receiving and investigating concerns from newspaper readers about materials published in print or on online. It is their duty to monitor the journalistic practices at the newspaper and act as a liaison to the public.

Contact the editor by email:

STEP 2: Contact your local media council

After contacting the paper, if you feel that your issue has not been resolved, you may choose to contact your local media council. Individuals and organizations who are concerned about the ethical conduct of a newspaper in gathering and publishing editorial content can file a complaint with their local media council by following the links below.

Canada’s media councils are non-governmental, non-profit organizations that have been established to receive and adjudicate public complaints regarding press performance.

If you have a question regarding media councils, contact Patricia Perkel, Executive Director, National NewsMedia Council:

Observer Office Hours:

  • Monday……………………..8:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday……………………..8:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday………………..8:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Thursday…………………….8:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • Friday………………………….8:30 am – 3:00 pm
  • Saturday…………………….Closed
  • Sunday……………………….Closed

The Office is closed on all statuary holidays.
Christmas holiday office hours are advertised in The Observer.

20-B Arthur Street North,
Elmira, Ontario, N3B 1Z9 CANADA

Elmira, Ontario, Canada is located in Woolwich Township within the Region of Waterloo just 10 minutes north of Kitchener-Waterloo.


Drop Us A Line.

Observer staff are searching for the next tip to a great community story. Call a reporter or use our online news tips form to let us know. Talk to us.