The Winnipeg Tribune

Winnipeg Free Press Ottawa Citizen Royal Commission on Newspapers
The Winnipeg Tribune
TypeDaily Newspaper
Owner(s)Southam Newspapers
FoundedJanuary 28, 1890; 130 years ago (January 28, 1890)
Ceased publicationAugust 27, 1980; 40 years ago (August 27, 1980)
Headquarters257 Smith St.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 3B2
Free online archiveshttps://digitalcollections.lib.umanitoba.ca/islandora/object/uofm%3A1243378

The Winnipeg Tribune was a metropolitan daily newspaper serving Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada from January 28, 1890 to August 27, 1980. The paper was founded by R.L. Richardson and D.L. McIntyre who acquired the press and premises of the old Winnipeg Sun newspaper. It was often viewed as a liberal newspaper focused on local news and events. The paper was owned by Southam Inc at the time of its demise. It was frequently referred to as The Trib.



The Winnipeg Tribune began publishing on January 28, 1890 as a city newspaper,[1] after the old Winnipeg Sun closed down. The initial edition contained four pages of local, national and international news. It was in competition with two other newspapers at the time — the Manitoba Free Press and the Winnipeg Telegram.

In 1914, the Tribune moved its editorial offices from the Exchange area to the Central Business District area of downtown on Smith St. They remained there until their closing in August 1980.[2][3]

During the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919, the newspaper sided with the Citizens' Committee of 1000, declaring, "Winnipeg is now under the Soviet system of government."

Southam Newspapers bought the paper in 1920.

In 1922, Winnipeg Tribune launched a radio station, CJNC-AM, broadcasting on a frequency of 410 KHz, which closed down a year later on March 9, 1923.[4][5] Said the station manager at the closing:

We have some important news for you. Some of you may not consider it good news. The Tribune will give its last radio concert next Friday night. It will then dismantle its radio equipment and retire permanently from the broadcasting field.[5]

During 1942, the newspaper published a famous army publicity photo of Mary Greyeyes, the first Indigenous woman to enlist in the Canadian Women's Army Corps. The photo was soon picked up by British newspapers overseas.[6]

On Friday, September 5, 1969 the Tribune replaced its small user-folded TV listings printed on yellow paper with a glossy-covered 32-page booklet, called TV Times.[7] The TV magazine was also featured in the Ottawa Citizen and the Montreal Gazette.

On Sunday, June 21, 1970 a new Centrex telephone system was installed for advertisers and subscribers to use when calling. This allowed direct dialing without requiring the person to first contact the switchboard operator.[8]


By the mid-1970s the Tribune's daily circulation figures began to slip to 70,000, and was falling. The Southam chain decided to totally redesign the paper. The new design made its debut on September 6, 1975. Although the offset press was capable of printing a 112-page newspaper, the September 6 edition was 124-pages, including the 48-page Trib Classifieds. This forced the press operators to print the Trib Lifestyle section separately.[9] Within a few months, The Trib's circulation gained 30,000 paid readers, which made the upgrade a success.

A few days before the design change, on September 1, they made all private sale listings in the Tribune Classified free in the form of a Want-Ad Free-for-All promotion.

In response to fierce competition between the Winnipeg Free Press and Winnipeg Tribune in the late 1970s, the Tribune tried to attract more subscribers by offering Free Classified Ads.

In March 1979, they had bought some space atop the Casa Loma building (Portage Avenue & Sherbrook Street) to hold Winnipeg's largest billboard. The sign read "[logo] With the Trib, it's Winnipeg. First." The billboard was designed by the advertising firm Martel-Stewart Ltd. and was larger than any billboard seen in Winnipeg ever, and the largest in all of Western Canada. It measured 23 feet tall by 60 feet wide, and had 4,200 light bulbs. The billboard space had previously been used by Export A cigarettes as early as 1959.[10]

When Southam's weekend magazine The Canadian merged with FP Newspapers' Weekend, the Tribune decided to differentiate itself from the Free Press by creating the locally written tabloid, Trib Magazine started November 24, 1979.[11]

In the late 1970s, the Tribune started publishing the weekend color comics in booklet form, as "collectible comics", being one of the first newspapers (and one of the very few in Canada) to use this short-lived format. The first issue, Vol.1 No.1, was published September 24, 1977. The final issue, Vol.4 No. 34, was published August 23, 1978, when these strips returned to the main edition.

The trademark name is now owned by the Tribune's old rival, the Winnipeg Free Press.


On August 27, 1980, without warning, the Tribune was abruptly closed and 375 people were out of work. Gene Telpner joked that he had just gotten new drapes and furniture. Val Werier, who was with the Trib for 35 years, said it was a shocking moment. However, people in the pressroom knew that something was coming because management had stopped the presses that morning, something they did rarely and only for major events.

Shockwaves moved through the community also, with many Winnipeggers angry about losing a competing public voice.

Worse yet, the Trib's closure happened at the same time as the closing of the Ottawa Journal. In 1980, the Ottawa Journal had been purchased by Thomson Newspapers and was closed on August 26, 1980. This left Southam's Ottawa Citizen as the only major newspaper in Ottawa, and the Thompsons' Winnipeg Free Press the only major newspaper in Winnipeg.

The Royal Commission on Newspapers, popularly known as the Kent Commission, was created in 1980 in response to allegations of collusion following the same-day closings of the Thomson-owned Ottawa Journal and the Southam-owned Winnipeg Tribune.

The last issue of the Trib, with the headline "It's Been 90 Great Years", remains a collector's item to this day.

After the closing

A number of employees from the Tribune later helped form the Winnipeg Sun.

The University of Manitoba archives and special collections holds a collection of over 500,000 photographs, 250,000 newspaper clippings arranged into morgue files, and microfilm copies of the newspaper.

In 1994, the Lion's Club announced their intention to build an 18-storey apartment tower on the old Winnipeg Tribune site. To be called Tribune Towers, it would be for seniors age 55 and older, and contain 132 suites. There would have been skywalk connections to the Millennium Library.[12][13] The project was never completed.

In April 2013, an Ontario-based real estate investment firm, Fortress Real Development, announced a 45-storey 'SkyCity' condominium project at the old Trib site.[14] However since 2018-19 the project has been cancelled due to financial issues relating to the investment and development company.[15]

The University of Manitoba Library digitized all pages of the Trib between 1890 and 1980 and have made it freely available online.[16]

Further reading


A documentary, 'The Trib: The Story of an Underdog Newspaper', was released in 2012.[17]


  1. ^ "Good Afternoon!". The Winnipeg Daily Tribune. January 28, 1890. p. 2.
  2. ^ "The Winnipeg Tribune's new home on Smith and Graham Sts". The Winnipeg Tribune. March 1, 1913. p. 1.
  3. ^ "The Winnipeg Tribune's new building". The Winnipeg Tribune. January 24, 1914. pp. 26–29.
  4. ^ "CJNC-AM". Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Govt. Telephones To Assume Control All Manitoba Radio". The Winnipeg Evening Tribune. March 8, 1923. p. 1.
  6. ^ Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian military : historical perspectives. Lackenbauer, P. Whitney., Mantle, Craig Leslie, 1977-, Canadian Forces Leadership Institute., Canadian Defence Academy. Winnipeg: Canadian Defence Academy Press. 2007. ISBN 9780662458760. OCLC 181078599.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ "Trib to Offer TV magazine". Winnipeg Tribune. August 29, 1969.
  8. ^ "Trib's new phone system". Winnipeg Tribune. June 19, 1970. p. 1.
  9. ^ Haslam, Gerry (September 6, 1975). "Oh, Oh, Oh you Trib!". Winnipeg Tribune. p. 1.
  10. ^ "The Trib's new sign a blockbuster". Winnipeg Tribune. March 16, 1979. p. 13.
  11. ^ "Another FIRST". Winnipeg Tribune. November 23, 1979. p. 34.
  12. ^ Flood, Gerald (May 8, 1994). "Seniors directing growth: Growing population fuels downtown development". Winnipeg Free Press. p. A8.
  13. ^ Kuxhaus, David (June 7, 1994). "Towers to soar at old Trib location". Winnipeg Free Press.
  14. ^ "New highrise to go up in downtown Winnipeg". CBC News Manitoba. April 30, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  15. ^ Levasseur, Joanne (April 18, 2018). "Future of Winnipeg's SkyCity condos questioned after RCMP raid". CBC News Manitoba. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  16. ^ Prest, Ashley (September 11, 2018). "Defunct Winnipeg Tribune enters digital age: Ninety years of archives from newspaper to be accessible for free". Winnipeg Free Press.
  17. ^ Kelly, Paula (January 1, 2012). "The Trib: The Story of an Underdog Newspaper". Winnipeg Film Group.