Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor


The Calgary (Alberta) Herald was first printed in 1883 in a tent at the junction of the Elbow and Bow Rivers. A teacher named Thomas Braden and his friend, printer Andrew Armour, produced the first issue. At that time it was known as the Calgary Herald, Mining and Ranch Advocate and General Advertiser. The first edition was four pages long and had a circulation of 150 copies.

The Calgary Herald, financed by a five-hundred- dollar interest-free loan from a Toronto milliner, Miss Frances Ann Chandler, was a questionable enterprise during its first few years. The cost for a year's subscription was $3. By 1884 the founders had replaced their tent with a shack and had hired their first editor, Hugh St. Quentin Cayley. At that time, Braden and Armour found that westerners wanted more updated information about the growing Riel Rebellion in the Northwest Territories. One year later, the Calgary Herald went daily. To meet demand, a new press was purchased that could print up to 400 papers an hour, if a strong man was turning the crank. The paper was still experiencing growing pains and financial uncertainty in 1894, when J. J. Young took over the paper, saving it from near bankruptcy.

During those early years, the Calgary Herald was not so much published as improvised, with updated news provided by bulletins from passengers on the Canadian Pacific Railway. By 1902 business had improved so much that the newspaper bought the city's first two Linotypes, which allowed fresh type to be cast, a line at a time, from molten metal. This revolutionary invention was used to publish the daily paper for the next seventy years.

In 1906 James Hossack Woods was traveling on holiday when he stopped in Calgary. The journalist and advertising man met Young, who offered Woods an option on half the Calgary Herald. A year later Woods approached William Southam, who already owned the Hamilton Spectator and the Ottawa Citizen, to buy a share of the Herald. In 1908 Southam bought 301 shares of the newspaper. Herald circulation reached 20,000 in 1914, when the advent of World War I placed extraordinary demands on newspapers to provide fast-breaking news. The Calgary Herald was becoming an important source of news for Alberta. In 1923 the paper was also influential in founding the Alberta Wheat Pool, which gave farmers more leverage for better grain prices in the marketplace. The newspaper grew and expanded over the course of the twentieth century, covering news about the Great Depression, both world wars, the economic recession during the mid-1980s, and the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

In the early 1990s competing media, new technology, and changing lifestyles began to restrict further growth of the Calgary Herald. The eight-month strike of 230 Calgary Herald newsroom and distribution-center employees against owner Conrad Black in 1999.2000 also forced the newspaper to retool various departments. New technological innovations were implemented to increase the quality, accuracy, and efficiency of the growing daily.

In November 2000, in Canada's largest media deal to date, CanWest founder and chairman Israel Asper bought the Calgary Herald from Hollinger International Inc. chairman Conrad Black. This latest transaction will likely lead to the convergence of the printed word of the Calgary Herald with the Internet and broadcasting capabilities owned by Can- West. As of September 2000 the Calgary Herald's circulation was at 114,533 daily Monday through Thursday, 151,374 on Friday, 130,387 on Saturday, and 113,532 on Sunday.

See also CITIES AND TOWNS: Calgary, Alberta.

Diane Howard University of Calgary

Sumner, Jeff. Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media. 134th ed., vol. 2. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000.

Vickers, Reg. The Calgary Herald. Calgary, Alberta. 1982.

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