British Columbia

How Vancouver's Georgia Straight became a 'hippie newspaper'

Arts and entertainment weekly publication has been ruffling feathers at city hall since its first issue

CBC News

July 22, 2017

Georgia Straight, 'hippie newspaper'  5:33

The inaugural issue of the Georgia Straight newspaper would have been its last if Vancouver's mayor at the time had gotten his way.

The May 5, 1967, issue featured a photo of Kitsilano's hippie mecca on West Fourth Avenue.

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After it was published, then-mayor Tom Campbell tried to get the police to prevent a second issue from being printed, according to Dan McLeod, founder and publisher of the weekly paper.

The closeup of the cover of the first issue of the Georgia Straight newspaper. (The Georgia Straight)

McLeod said the Straight had humble ambitions before it riled city hall.

He said the group of founders was made up of poets who had been publishing a poetry magazine and simply wanted to promote the local arts scene. 

"We thought we were just going to help the arts scene in Vancouver. Then we were drawn into the whole hippy thing as an issue," McLeod told Gloria Macarenko, host of CBC's Our Vancouver.

"People were coming to town in droves … There was a youth movement that was just starting and they were flocking into our offices.

"It suddenly became a very different proposition to publish a paper than we had originally envisioned." 

This year, Mayor Gregor Robertson proclaimed May 5, 2017, Georgia Straight 50th Anniversary Day.

Watch Dan McLeod's interview with Gloria Macarenko in the Our Vancouver video above or watch it here.

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