Canwest timeline: The empire Izzy Asper built

A timeline on the rise of Izzy Asper's media empire and its recent debt problems

The rise of a media giant, and the debt problems it now faces

A Global Television employee leaves the station in Dartmouth, N.S., on Oct. 4, 2007. ((Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press))

Canwest's story began in the early 1970s when Izzy Asper, a tax lawyer and leader of the Manitoba Liberal party, moved into the media world by applying for a new Winnipeg television station.

Here are some key dates in the company's growth into one of Canada's largest media conglomerates:


Asper launches Winnipeg television station CKND.


Canwest adds stations in B.C., Saskatchewan and the Maritimes.


Canwest completes acquisition of 100 per cent of Global.


Canwest begins trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The same year it acquires 20 per cent stake in TV3 New Zealand.


Asper purchases controlling stake in Network TEN Australia.


Canwest lists on the New York Stock Exchange.


Izzy's son Leonard becomes CEO.


Canwest acquires WIC Western International Communications to form a national network.  The same year, Canwest borrows heavily to acquire the former Southam chain of 14 newspapers from Conrad Black's Hollinger Group, paying $3.2 billion.

Oct. 7, 2003

Izzy Asper, 71, dies at home in Winnipeg. 

Aug. 15, 2007

Canwest buys Alliance-Atlantis Communications to boost its stake in specialty-TV channels.

Oct. 4, 2007

Canwest announces it will cut 200 Global TV newsroom jobs across Canada.

Nov. 12, 2008

Canwest cuts 560 jobs Canada-wide.

Nov. 14, 2008

Canwest reports a $1.02 billion loss in its fourth quarter.

March 2009

Canwest Media Inc. defaults on $30.4 million US interest payment to bondholders.

April 14, 2009

Canwest gets the first of many extensions of interest payment deadlines key creditors.

May 29, 2009

Canwest LP fails to meet interest payments of $10 million due to senior creditors.

June 29, 2009

Canwest says it will sell TV stations in Montreal and Hamilton to an affiliate of Channel Zero, an independent Canadian broadcaster.

July 22, 2009

Canwest announces it will shut down TV outlets in Victoria and Red Deer by the end of August. On Sept. 4, it makes a deal with local investors to sell the Victoria station, CHEK.

Sept. 24, 2009

Canwest sells stake in Australia's Ten TV network

Oct. 6, 2009

Canwest announces that some of its business units, including the National Post newspaper and Global Television, have obtained court protection from their creditors.