(Daily Colonist/1858-12-11)

This weekend, the University of British Columbia announced their recent acquisition of the first newspaper ever printed in Vancouver – it was an issue of The Vancouver Weekly Herald and North Pacific News, published on January 15, 1886.

So we decided to try and hunt down the first newspaper publication right here in Victoria,

(UVic/Hugh Doherty)

and came up with some interesting results.

According to a study conducted by the University of Victoria graduate history department in 1973, about ten newspapers started publishing in Victoria in the same time period, between 1858 and 1865.

The very first newspaper seems to be The Victoria Gazette, published on June 25th, 1858. However, there are no readily available archives of this issue yet.

The next best thing

So instead, we found the archived online version of the very first issue of The British Colonist, founded by Amor de Cosmos and published on December 11th, 1858.

A precursor to today’s Times Colonist newspaper, The British Colonist provided competition to the established Victoria Gazette and was published every Saturday.

(Daily Colonist/1858-12-11)

The very first article is entitled “The Fraser Mines Vindicated; Or, The History of Four Months. By Alfred Waddington”, and is much more opinionated than almost anything you can find in today’s mainstream media.

At a price of $5 for one-year’s worth of newspapers, subscribing to The British Colonist seems to have been fairly affordable – albeit reasonable for the times.

Other publications

Besides The Victoria Gazette and The British Colonist, these were the other 8 newspapers that began circulation between 1858 and 1865:

  • Vancouver Island Gazette, 1858
  • News Letter for Vancouver Island and New Caledonia, 1858
  • Le Courier de la Nouvelle Caledonie, 1858
  • The British Colonist, 1858-1980 (The Daily Colonist)
  • New Westminster Times and Vancouver Island Guardian, 1859-1861
  • The Daily Press, 1861-1862
  • The Victoria Daily Chronicle, 1862-1866
  • The Daily Evening Express, 1863-1865

Do any of them ring a bell?

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