Independent newspapers were first established in Canada between about 1800 and 1850. During that period, printing presses became less expensive to establish and operate, and literacy rates and an appetite for news and views developed. Since publishers were less dependent on government subsidy than before, they were free to question and criticize the powers that be. As a result, an independent but not impartial journalism developed. From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, newspapers became more profitable as populations and commerce expanded and reader and advertising revenues grew. During this time, mainstream newspapers represented the interests of political parties and cultural groups.
Le Canadien was a French-language newspaper published in Québec City from 1806 to 1893. The paper was founded by Parti canadien leader Pierre-Stanislas Bédard and its first edition was published 22 November 1806. Created in order to counter the Quebec Mercury, the voice of the British elite in Lower Canada and a vocal opponent of the Parti canadien, Le Canadien educated French Canadians on their constitutional rights, promoted the aims of the French Canadian majority in the elected assembly, and fought for the preservation of the French Canadian nation. Its motto was “Nos institutions, notre langue et nos lois” (Our institutions, our language and our laws). Though many editors guided the newspaper, it was under the direction of Étienne Parent (1831–42) that it became one of the most influential in the colony, playing an important role in the rise of the famed Parti patriote. The newspaper shut down in 1893 and was briefly revived in 1906–9.
Newspapers are printed publications that are issued daily, weekly, or at other regular intervals. They provide news — that is, new and noteworthy reports of important or interesting recent events —opinion and analysis of those events, and other information that is of public interest. They are staffed by reporters, editors, photographers, and designers. Newspapers generate revenue by publishing advertisements, as well as through paid subscriptions and individual sales. Their content is available online, where it is published with greater frequency than in print. Almost a third of daily newspapers in Canada charge readers for their some or all of their online content. Some Canadian newspapers now publish solely online, having discontinued their print edition. Others were started as online news platforms, serving the same function as newspapers.
The Canadian newspaper industry moved away from political patronage and partisanship about the turn of the 20th century, when the number of daily newspapers peaked. Objectivity rather than partisanship gradually became the focus of newspaper journalism, which became increasingly professional. As more people moved to cities and literacy rates climbed, competition among newspapers became fierce in markets where multiple daily newspapers were sold. As a result, many newspapers closed, merged with others or were acquired by growing media conglomerates, which became highly profitable corporations. By the 1980s, media concentration was the subject of government study and concern. However, no changes were implemented for fear of encroaching on press freedom. Near the end of this period, experiments with electronic publishing signalled the great changes ahead.
The Vindicator was a short-lived weekly English-language newspaper published in Montréal from 1828 to 1837. It was founded by Daniel Tracey, an Irish immigrant who arrived in Montréal in 1825. Tracey was a staunch Irish nationalist, and his newspaper was the voice for Irish members of the Patriotes in Montréal. He supported the Parti patriote, and, similar to Ludger Duvernay’s editorial direction for La Minerve, he favoured the party’s more radical reformist ideology. Following Tracey’s death in 1832, Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan took over the newspaper and continued Tracey’s editorial line. Though The Vindicator lasted less than a decade, it played a major role in promoting Irish involvement in the Patriote cause.
The first newspapers in what is now Canada were published in Nova Scotia and Québec in the early 1750s, followed by Upper Canada in the 1790s. Known as gazettes, they were instruments of colonial governments that were tightly controlled and monitored by the government officials who subsidized them. It wasn’t until 1800 to 1850 that independent newspapers were first established. During that time, printing presses became less expensive to establish and operate, and literacy rates and an appetite for news and views developed.
La Minerve was a weekly French-language newspaper published in Montréal from 1826 to 1837 and from 1842 to 1899. It was founded in 1826 by Augustin-Norbert Morin and was purchased by Ludger Duvernay in 1827. Prior to 1837, the newspaper endorsed Louis-Joseph Papineau and the Parti patriote, promoting the party’s more radical agenda. Shortly after the start of the Canadian Rebellion, the newspaper shut down for five years after Duvernay escaped to the United States. Following his return in 1842, Duvernay transformed his newspaper into a more moderate publication, endorsing Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine’s Reformers. Following Duvernay’s death in 1852, the newspaper became a conservative organ.
The Quebec Mercury was a weekly English-language newspaper published in Québec City from 1805 to 1903. The opposite of the famous French-language newspaper Le Canadien, the Quebec Mercury represented and defended the political and economic interests of the British mercantile elite (the Château Clique). The newspaper opposed all reform that would give more authority to the French Canadian-dominated Legislative Assembly. It also promoted the political marginalization of French Canada, and sought to strengthen the colony’s ties with Great Britain. Throughout most of its existence, the newspaper was owned by the Cary family, a famous family of newspaper moguls. In 1863, the newspaper was renamed the Quebec Daily Mercury. It was shut down in 1903.
Le Soleil is a French-language daily newspaper published in Québec City. It was founded in July 1880 under the name L’Électeur by a group of moderate Liberals including Wilfrid Laurier (who was its main éminence grise for close to 40 years). Its name changed to Le Soleil in 1896, and from 1936 to 1957 it gradually evolved into a major general newspaper. It still exists today in print and online, and is one of the main newspapers written in Québec City.
Two days later, the 3 main UNION CENTRALS defied a municipal ban to organize a huge march in solidarity with the newspaper workers. More than 12 000 people clashed with 100 Montréal policemen. The outcome was some 50 arrests, several dozen injuries and one death from natural causes.