The Power of the Press

The Lasting Impressions Made by Canada's Early Printers

by Chris Raible

The story of the early presses and colourful figures behind the fight for editorial freedom in Canada.
The story of the early presses and colourful figures behind the fight for editorial freedom in Canada
Printing came to Canada as a tool of colonial rule, and the first printereditors depended on the goodwill of officialdom. If they disagreed with those in office, they kept silent -- or were silenced. But the press was too powerful to be muffled forever. There was a growing market for political debate, and some editors sought a larger role, using their newspapers to voice opinions, challenge policies, expose errors -- and even promote candidates at election time.

The Power of the Press traces the exponential growth of the industry over 150 years, intertwining portraits of key figures with the history of the development of printing in Canada, from the king's printers to editors Joseph Howe (the Novascotian in Halifax), William Lyon Mackenzie (the Colonial Advocate in York), George Brown (the Globe in Toronto), Buckingham and Caldwell (the Nor'Wester in Fort Garry) and Amor de Cosmos (the British Colonist in Victoria), whose impassioned words sparked controversy and even rebellion during the formative years of the nation.

Illustrated throughout with photos of printers and presses in action at historic sites including Upper Canada Village, Black Creek Pioneer Village, Kings Landing, Mackenzie House, and the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum, this book will appeal to readers interested in the early press's role in the history of Canada and the equipment and tools of the letterpress era.

About the Author

CHRIS RAIBLE, a former interpreter at Mackenzie House in Toronto, has written two books about William Lyon Mackenzie and is historical advisor to The Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum in Queenston.  He has written articles and reviews for the Beaver, Ontario History, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail. He lives in Creemore, Ontario.

Subjects (BISAC)


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