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Monday, 27 August 2012

Remembering the Winnipeg Tribune

The Winnipeg Tribune's 90 year run came to an end on August 27, 1980. Here's a brief look back at a paper that still has a place in the hearts and minds of many Manitobans.

Tribune Employees ca. 1910 (Heritage Winnipeg)

The Trib wasn’t Winnipeg’s first major newspaper. The Manitoba Free Press began publishing as a weekly in 1872, two years later it went daily. The Telegraph came in 1878.

In the two decades that followed numerous short-lived publications hit the newsstands, one of them was the Winnipeg Daily Sun (1881 - 1885). It was from the ashes of the Sun that the Tribune was born after Robert L. Richardson
and D. L. McIntyre purchased its old presses.

Free Press and Tribune Buildings (Manitoba Archives)

The Tribune's offices were located on "Newspaper Row", the block of McDermot Avenue between Princess and Main streets where the Telegram, Free Press and Tribune were all located. As the city grew, so did the major dailies and the Trib and Free Press went in search of new homes.

Left: ca. 1936 (Library and Archives Canada)
Right: ca. 1969 (Tribune Photo Collection)

John D. Atchison designed the new Tribune headquarters which was built in 1914 at Smith and Graham, (across from the old Post Office /new PSB Building
.) The building's most unique and intriguing feature were the 14 gargoyles that watched down from above, the artist's name has been lost in history.

In 1920 the Trib absorbed the Winnipeg Telegram and
Richardson sold out to the rapidly expanding Southam News chain.

Over the next 50 years the Tribune was home to a number of journalists who became household names, such as Victor Murray, Lillian Gibbons, Val Werier, Gene Telpner and Eric Wells.

Expanded building ca. 1957 (Tribune Photo Archives)

Between the late 1950s and late 1960s the headquarters underwent a major renovation and expansion. Things looked rosy for the paper. The 1970s were another matter, though.

Southam's western papers were feeling the effects of the recession and high inflation. Revenues fell and the corporation wanted to expand its portfolio of non-newspaper holdings to act as a buffer. The decision to close the Tribune was unexpected and was the only newspaper that Southam shed. Around 375 people lost their jobs.

June 7, 1930, Manitoba Free Press

What happened to the Trib's old homes?

On May 16, 1930 the Trib's former McDermot Avenue building burned to the ground taking a couple of clothing retailers and numerous offices with it. The Royal Bank, owners to the block, announced that a new building would soon be built but, with the Depression starting, nothing happened. It is still an empty lot.

Graham Avenue, Winnipeg

The Trib's final home, which also housed a number of other tenants and a bank, remained open until 1982 and was demolished the following year. It, too, remains an empty lot ! The property changed hands in early 2012.

1979 Paperboy (Tribune Photo Collection)

Winnipeg Tribune fonds at the U of M
Photos: Trib (History); Trib (General); Trib (Bylines)
Tribune Building
U of M Building Index
The Closure of the Tribune Winnipeg Time Machine
Picturing Manitoba: Legacies of the Wpg Tribune
There's also a Facebook group for former readers / employees of the Trib


Anonymous said...

I was a paperboy for The Trib for 2 years up until it's very last day. That was a sad childhood memory when it folded.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the stars and stripes are flying in the 1936 photo of the Trib building...

Christian Cassidy said...

Anon 1: A tough lesson for a kid. Downsized by the time you're 12 Q

Anon 2: I didn't notice that before. I am guessing that it was the offices of the US Consulate. The building had numerous other tenants. Also, I found this pic at Library and archives Canada so there must have been some sort of fed gov't connection.

Anonymous said...

I have 5 - 1937 Winnipeg Tribune newspaper mats . Not sure what to do with them .

Colin Corneau said...

83 years as an empty lot (the original McDermot Ave. location) has got to be some kind of record, even for Winnipeg.

Andrew said...

The lot at SE Bannatyne and Albert is said to have been empty since the Bulman Bros. brand-new office building burned down on October 11, 1904 (along with Ashdown's across the street). So that's 109 years.

It's a great story, Christian, although you wouldn't want to leave the impression that the newspaper declined through the 1970s. In fact, the last five years of the paper, relaunched with its flashy new design in 1975, were probably its most successful period ever. The problem was that the success was costing money and Southam decided, out of the blue, to pull the plug.

Unknown said...

My parents used to be the agents in Dryden, Ontario for the Winnipeg Tribune back in 1973- the time it ended.