A brief history of Calgary newspapers

Photos of the ink, the paper and the people that helped build our city.

A front page history of our city's papers

Newspaper editors, complete with bowler hats, gathered in Calgary in this photo taken in 1910. (Glenbow Archives)

So the Calgary Sun continues — still rolling off the presses as a separate paper — although the newsroom will now be merged with the Calgary Herald.

Calgary has a long newspaper history, with the earliest printing press arriving in our city by rail addressed to "the end of the line."

The first newspaper in our city was the Calgary Herald, then called the "Calgary Herald, Mining and Ranche Advocate and General Advertiser." It was first published in 1883 — less than 10 years after the North West Mounted Police established their fort on the banks of the Bow.

Other papers are now part of our past. Some only came out once — a single edition, while some were written by hand. Many hung around for years.

Each newspaper added to the Calgary conversation. Helped shape the small Prairie town, which turned into our city.

Here are a few of the front pages from papers past, and a couple of the folks who worked on them.

Calgary Tribune 

The Calgary Tribune was owned by Thomas Braden, who started the paper in 1885.

Braden also helped found the Calgary Herald in 1883. 

The newspaper was housed in the Tribune Block on Stephen Avenue, now home to The Trib restaurant, and boasted a state-of-the-art printing press.

The paper was eventually renamed the Alberta Tribune. 

Ethel M. Heydon 

Ethel M. Heydon was the women's editor, general reporter and city hall reporter for The Albertan. She wrote under the pen-name of "Alberta West," and was the founding member of Calgary Branch, Canadian Women's Press Club.

The Morning Albertan

The Morning Albertan was published between 1902 and 1924 before undergoing a series of subtle name changes under different owners. It was the main rival to the Calgary Herald and eventually became the Calgary Sun. 

Bob Edwards

Bob Edwards was the hard-drinking owner, publisher, editor and writer of the infamous Calgary Eye Opener. Edwards was a biting satirist who had a huge following across Canada and was relentless in attacking social injustices and, well, people and things he didn't like. 

The Eye Opener

Bob Edwards' paper was a collection of news, commentary and satire that often made it difficult to know where one began and the other ended. It was published semi-regularly depending on the health (sobriety) of its proprietor.

Const. Thomas Clarke

The Calgary Herald found itself a little short-staffed in the early days, so the North West Mounted Police loaned it Const. Thomas Clarke, who helped put the paper together. This photo was taken in 1885.

The Western Independent

The Western Independent, which was only published between 1919-1920, was the official paper of the United Farmers of Alberta Political Association. Printing its own paper must have been effective, as the UFA went on to govern Alberta from 1921 to 1935.

Early days of the Calgary Herald

The first offices and the first publishers of the Calgary Herald in 1883, the year it was founded. 

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker was the newspaper of the Non-Partisan League, an agrarian protest movement steeped in socialism. W.M. Irvine was the founding editor of the Nutcracker and served as an MP for both the UFA and the Dominion Labor Party. He helped establish the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, which became the NDP. The Nutcracker later became The Western Independent. 

Nate Horodezky

Nate Horodezky was a paper vendor for the Calgary News Telegram in 1913. He was the winner of a competition for the largest sales of the paper in a two week period, according to the Glenbow archives. 

The Calgary News Telegram

The News Telegram only published from 1910 to 1918. According to the book 22 Provocative Canadians: In the Spirit of Bob Edwards, it issued an eight-page "Prosperity Edition" on Saturday, June 14, 1913 — the front page of which featured a "lavishly imaginative bird's eye view of a mythical Calgary. That cover was even printed in black, golden brown and scarlet."

The Nor'-Wester

The Nor'-Wester was founded, published and edited by George Babington Elliott, but very little is known about it. Elliott described himself as the "accountant, auditor, arbitrator, and correspondent of the paper."

The Nor'-Wester was considered an early rival to the Calgary Herald

Calgary at a Crossroads is CBC Calgary's special focus on life in our city during the downturn. A look at Calgary's culture, identity and what it means to be Calgarian. Read more stories from the series at Calgary at a Crossroads.


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