50 years ago this past weekend, NASA landed two astronauts on the moon. All around the world, eyes were on this significant scientific accomplishment – and what it might mean for the politics back on Earth.

In Ontario community newspapers, a great number of op-eds and reflections were being written by local religious leaders (and many still are!).

In the Newmarket Era‘s “A Word for the Week” column of rotating clergy, we are reminded that belief in the Christian resurrection would make the moon landing rather less impressive:


One public speaker expected a great return to the church to come along with the awe and majesty of the moon landing:

From the Canadian Statesman, July 30th, 1969.

Secular columnists include Bill Smiley in the Newmarket Era (and syndicated in many other communities), writing about the political ramifications:

From the August 6th, 1969, issue of the Newmarket Era.

“An all-out attack on poverty, illness, starvation appears more rational than flying half a million miles to pick up some rocks….

“If the moon becomes merely a pawn in the power struggle among earthlings, the whole thing was a pitiable failure. If man merely transports his greeds, aggressions and other assorted stupidities to the moon and beyond, there is no hope for his future.”

The Orono Weekly Times editorial urged much the same keeping of perspective:


But it wasn’t all so serious. The Era also noted that over 100 potential clients had been put on a “waiting list” by Air Canada, to be on the first commercial flight to the moon:

From the July 23rd, 1969, issue of the Newmarket Era.

Some papers, rather than long missives about the poignancy of the experience, made a variety of local connections. Richmond Hill’s The Liberal from July 24th noted several moon landing parties, a local scientist’s commentary, a short pro-American op-ed, and the aspirations of a mother and son inspired to take up astronomy:

The Georgetown Herald also found local commentary, including an interview with a 103-year-old resident on how times have changed:

“In his day a hundred mile journey on horseback took as long as today’s man’s trip to the moon.”


Of course, advertisers took advantage too – with “prices out of this world!”

From the July 23rd, 1969 issue of the Acton Free Press.