About us

Contact Info:
Editor: Dee Gilbertson –
Phone: 250.551.8800
Mail: Box 140, Crawford Bay, BC, V0B 1E0

History of The East Shore Mainstreet

The first East Shore Mainstreet was printed in July of 1991.

That first four-page paper from 1991 was carefully coaxed into life by editors Janet Schwieger, John Smith and Lorna Robin. The issue contained the first “Tom’s Corner” as well as “Gray Creek Pass Report”, the community calendar, “Info Booth News”, “Chamber News”, handibus and ferry schedules, a few classifieds, and exactly fourteen display ads – several of whom (Crawford Bay Store, Riondel Market, North Woven Broom, Kootenay Forge, Kokanee Springs and The Lakeview) continue to be loyal advertisers to this day, doing their part in feeding the local economy.

Starting in July of 1991, the editors counted their copies as such: July 1991, Vol. 1, No. 1. For many years, they chose to not produce a January edition. This method of marking the editions continued. In July of 1992, it was Vol. 2, No. 1 and was up to an impressive 16 pages with editorials, an expanded letters section, poetry and crosswords, and a few new contributions, including Robert Agnew’s “Dumpster Musings.” Alvin Dunic’s “Riondel Clips” continued on their merry way, with help from Colin Turner and well over forty new advertisers emerged from the business community. This year also saw the birth of the Mainstreet’s most stalwart and reliable column: Gerald Panio’s “Seldom Scene.”

Somewhere in the early ‘90’s (archives are missing a chunk of editions between July 1993 and 1996), the Mainstreet added one-spot colour to the print and began to implement a price per issue of one dollar. By now, John Edwards and Brenda Panio were on board as well, and the paper was printing as many as 48 pages (booklet style).

In the spring of 1997, the paper went to tabloid style (as it remains today) and Fran Kinder was now in the mix. This dynamic group of volunteer editors and contributors continued the well-established tradition of information and idea sharing for several years until January of 2002, when Ingrid Zaiss Baetzel took over ownership and the position of editor with help from Doreen Zaiss.

Today, it is a reasonably well-oiled machine in full colour and digitized. As owner and editor of the paper edition, Ingrid saw the paper through a strong period of growth and was pleased to be able to offer this website to long-time and new readers alike –  a place to stay current with East Shore news and events. Please join us by subscribing and a short email will be sent to you (less frequently than even once per week) to keep you informed when a news item is posted.

In December of 2022, Dee Gilbertson purchased the paper from Ingrid (after a 20 year run as editor) and the paper moved into a new cycle of life. At the time of writing (Nov 2022), this transfer of ownership is in progress and much will be determined about the future of Mainstreet in the coming years. Welcome Dee to her new role!

“To Ingrid”: a speech by Heath Carra, delivered to her on March 4, 2023 at the Grand Opening of The Mainstreet’s first office, also a successful surprise retirement celebration. 


The Mainstreet’s horizon…

In the transition of business ownership, a new company had to be formed to house The Mainstreet, and that company is named Bluebell Publishing. Having moved to the East Shore in 2019, Dee and her family settled in comfortably to a homestead developed in the late ’70’s, a timber-framed home that originally had been the shower-house for miners at in Riondel. Living on Bluebell Mountain, the name seemed a good fit to accompany a journey that continues to unfold. Proud to continue the legacy this local community newspaper carries, Bluebell Publishing aims to assist in the telling of stories of our local community by working with authors to bring their work to readership in the Kootenay’s and beyond, as well as continue the publication of The East Shore Mainstreet for years to come. 

We look forward to promoting local events, business, and being a forum for issues that matter most to our community. Continuing to connect people from Wynndel to Riondel, as well as those who may call somewhere else home, yet hold a special place in their heart for this unique area. Having a physical office space is exciting, and will likely contribute to the inevitable changes time will bring. Visit us at 16898 Hwy 3A, inside East Shore Art & Wellness.