Vancouver Centennial Plaque #30 – The First Newspaper


206 Carrall Street


Now a Royal Vape store


Missing, but the building is on the Heritage Site Finder, although not related to this topic



George Brown, the owner and editor, began The Vancouver Weekly Herald and North Pacific News on January 15, 1886 using a hand-operated press. The paper continued after the fire but later gave way to the Daily Advertiser, which began publishing May 8, 1886.”

Credit: Vancouver Centennial Commission, Historic Plaque Program – list and documentation plaques 1-49 (June 18, 1986). Courtesy of Vancouver Archives

Let’s hope they corrected the name before this plaque was installed – William Brown was the owner of Vancouver’s first newspaper. He was born in Scotland around 1827, moved to Walkerton, Ontario, where he owned and operated The Bruce Herald newspaper from 1863 to 1883. He brought a printing press from Toronto to Vancouver and set up operations here.

The first issue of The Vancouver Weekly Herald and North Pacific News was published on January 15, 1886, three months before the city was incorporated. It wasn’t even officially called “Vancouver” then and the articles and advertisements in the paper reflect that – calling it Granville, Coal Harbour, Burrard Inlet, or Gastown.

The newspaper was only four pages long – printed on one large sheet and folded – and published weekly out of the same building as Tilley’s Bookstore. In April, the store was destroyed in the Great Fire, but William was soon printing again in a new location, by what is now Victory Square. The Herald ceased publication in October 1887.

William became a real estate agent, but was also elected school trustee and served nine terms as alderman, He died in 1916, leaving behind a wife and two grown sons. His great-grandson, Stephen Macbeth Brown  was editor and publisher of The Vancouver Herald from 1977 to 1985.

For many years, there was only one documented copy of the Herald that had survived the fire and it was owned by Vancouver’s first archivist, Major Matthews. However, it had been in a shipwreck(!) and was too damaged to recover. In 2018, a book collector bought a pile of old newspapers and discovered the only other copy known to exist. You can view it online or in person by taking a tour of UBC’s Rare Books Collection.

The plaque notes in the Archives say “direct contact needed” for this location, so plaque #30 was maybe never installed.

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published