The Canadian Western Jewish Times, established in 1914, was the first Jewish newspaper published in English in Western Canada and the earliest attempt to produce a Western Canadian regional Jewish newspaper in English. Like many other efforts to publish Jewish newspapers in Canada between 1891 and the first decades of the 20th century, it proved to be ephemeral.
|Headquarters||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
Jews first came to the Prairie Provinces of Western Canada in 1877. Although there were only about 3,000 Jews in Winnipeg (Western Canada’s largest city) in 1905 out of a total population of some 80,000 people, Arthur Chiel notes that “the Jews of Manitoba early desired a press of their own” to such an extent that in 1914, the Canadian Israelite (founded in 1910) became the only Yiddish daily newspaper in Canada when it converted from a weekly.
The Canadian Western Jewish Times was operated by Winnipeg-born Jewish brothers Jacob Bell Barron (1888–1965) and Abraham Lee Barron (1889–1966). The two were lawyers by training, graduates of the University of Chicago Law School who had moved to Calgary in 1911. In 1915, Jacob Barron was a barrister at Tweedie & MacGillivray, and in 1917 Abraham Barron was a law student working with his brother. By at least 1920 they formed (with Samuel Joseph Helman, 1894–1981, Jacob Barron’s Jewish brother-in-law) reputedly the first, or one of the earliest, Jewish legal partnerships in Calgary, Barron Barron & Helman. Jacob Barron, who had married in Winnipeg on July 8, 1914, later became a well-known theater impresario.
When the Barron brothers moved to Calgary in 1911, a construction boom was underway there. Calgary’s population had increased by over 1000% in the previous 10 years, going from 4,398 in 1901 to 43,704 in 1911, while the Jewish population grew from one person in 1901 to 604 in 1911, a “handsome synagogue” had been built and a Talmud Torah underway. But in 1913 the real estate boom collapsed and depression set in.
In 1914, Abraham Barron was listed as the Business Manager in Calgary of The Canadian Western Jewish Times, with an office at 6 Thomson Block in Calgary. At the time, there were 14 other newspapers and periodicals in the city.
The launch of The Canadian Western Jewish Times as a monthly, published from Winnipeg but with associate editors across Western Canada, was noted in the March 1914 issue of Printer and Publisher, a trade publication. The first issue of The Canadian Western Jewish Times, with Jacob Barron as Editor-in-Chief, is dated April 1914 (the equivalent Hebrew date of Nisan 5674 is cited). The cover was designed by Stafford & Kent, with the seal done by P. Waterman, both of Calgary. The claimed staff of 16 came from across Western Canada, with correspondents in British Columbia (Vancouver); Alberta (Calgary, Edmonton, and Lethbridge); Saskatchewan (Moose Jaw and Regina); and Manitoba (Winnipeg).
- It is the first to appear in Gloria M. Strathern’s Alberta Newspapers, 1880-1982: An historical directory (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1988), p. 37. The first English-language Jewish newspaper in Canada was Montreal’s Jewish Times, Dec. 10, 1897 (Lewis Levendel, A Century of the Canadian Jewish Press: 1880s-1980s. Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1989, chapter 1).
- In 1906 The Echo, a Yiddish-language newspaper “devoted entirely to the interests of the Jewish population of western Canada”, appeared for a short time (Arthur A. Chiel, The Jews in Manitoba. University of Toronto Press, 1961, p. 124). Canada’s first Yiddish weekly, Der Keneder Adler, proclaimed in its first issue that it would “faithfully represent Canadian Jewish interests” (“To the Jews of Canada,” Keneder Adler, August 30, 1907, translated by David Rome, Through the Eyes of The Eagle: The Early Montreal Yiddish Press 1907-1916. [Montreal]: Véhicule Press, 2001, p. 33). Reuben Brainin’s Der Veg, a competing Montreal Yiddish newspaper launched in September 1915, aimed to be a “strictly up-to-date newspaper for the Jews of Canada” (The Fourth Estate, New York, January 23, 1915, p. 25). It lasted two years (Rome, p. 46).
- Several such attempts are cited in Abraham Rhinewine, “The Jewish Press in Canada,” in Arthur Daniel Hart (ed.), The Jew in Canada (1926; Toronto: Now & Then Books, abridged facsimile edition, 2010), p. 457; “Clearly there was no lack of Winnipeg [Jewish] papers [pre-1914] in the Momma Loshen [Yiddish], but their life expectancies were far from impressive” (Stuart E. Rosenberg, The Jewish Community in Canada. Vol. 2, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1971, p. 166].
- Harry Gutkin’s Journey Into Our Heritage (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1980), pp. 179-81 lists four Yiddish-language newspapers in Winnipeg published between 1900-21 which failed to survive for long. Gutkin dates the Guardian, the first English-language newspaper in Winnipeg, to 1920, with it surviving only half-a-year. The major Anglo-Jewish newspapers in Western Canada did not appear until the Jewish Post of 1925 and Western Jewish News of 1927.
- “Jews in Western Canada to mark centennial of settlements,” JTA Daily News Bulletin, August 25, 1976, p. 4.
- Clarence I. de Sola., “Winnipeg,” Jewish Encyclopedia vol. XII (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1906), p. 535.
- Chiel, The Jews in Manitoba, p. 123.
- Chiel, The Jews in Manitoba, p. 125.
- For information about the Barrons, see “Family Histories,” in Land of Promise: The Jewish Experience in Southern Alberta 1889-1945 (Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta, 1996), p. 246.
- A.L. Barron death notice, Calgary Herald (June 7, 1966), p. 29.
- For Jacob Barron, see Barron Enterprises Ltd. Fonds, Glenbow Museum, Calgary; for Abe Barron, see Calgary Herald (June 7, 1966), p. 29; “J.B. Barron dies here at age 77,” Calgary Herald (September 29, 1965).
- Henderson’s Calgary City Directory For 1915 (Calgary: Henderson Directories Alberta, Ltd. 1915), p. 411.
- Henderson’s Calgary City Directory For 1917 (Calgary: Henderson Directories Alberta, Ltd. 1917), p. 256.
- “Distinguished city lawyer [S.J. Helman] dies at 86,” Calgary Herald, March 16, 1981, p. B5, which incorrectly dates Helman’s arrival in Calgary.
- Henderson’s Calgary City Directory For 1920 (Calgary: Henderson Directories Alberta, Ltd. 1920), p. 722; Donald B. Smith, Calgary’s Grand Story: The making of a Prairie Metropolis from the viewpoint of two Heritage buildings (University of Calgary Press, 2005), page 230.
- Donald B. Smith, Calgary’s Grand Story: The making of a Prairie Metropolis from the viewpoint of two Heritage buildings (University of Calgary Press, 2005), page 230 and chap. 12.
- Donald B. Smith, Calgary’s Grand Story: The making of a Prairie Metropolis from the viewpoint of two Heritage buildings (University of Calgary Press, 2005), page 88.
- Max L. Foran, “Calgary,” The Canadian Encyclopedia (Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, 2nd edition, 1988), volume 1, page 315.
- “Urban Jewish Communities in Canada,” Table 197, in Louis Rosenberg, Canada’s Jews. A Social and economic study of Jews in Canada in the 1930s (1939) (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1993, ed. By Morton Weinfeld), p. 308.
- Jewish Review and Observer (Cleveland), August 30, 1912, p. 8. A report on Calgary estimated that the number of Jewish families there had increased from 50 in 1910 to 350 in 1912.
- Donald B. Smith, Calgary’s Grand Story: The making of a Prairie Metropolis from the viewpoint of two Heritage buildings (University of Calgary Press, 2005), page 112-3.
- Henderson’s Calgary City Directory For 1914 (Calgary: Henderson Directories Alberta, Ltd. 1914), pp. 295, 482, 1031.
- Henderson’s Calgary City Directory For 1914 (Calgary: Henderson Directories Alberta, Ltd. 1914), p. 1031.
- “A new monthly publication for the Jews of Western Canada is soon to be published at Winnipeg. It will be known as the Canadian Western Jewish Times and will have associate editors in Western Canadian cities. A. L. Barron is business manager,” Printer & Publisher vol. XXIII (March 1914), p. 74. The newspaper was previously thought to have been “published briefly in Calgary” (Gutkin, Journey Into Our Heritage, p. 179).
- The cover of The Canadian Western Jewish Times for April 1914 is reproduced in The Jewish Star, Calgary Edition, August 22, 1980, p. 7 and Gutkin, Journey Into Our Heritage, p. 179.
- “’Kosher is Class’ in Calgary,” The Jewish Star, Calgary Edition, Dec. 12, 1980, p. 1.
- Bibliographers had identified the newspaper from at least 1970, but had not located a copy of it (Gloria M. Strathern, Alberta Newspapers, 1880-1982: An historical directory. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1988, pp. 37, 558). Strathern was unaware that a copy had turned up in the Glenbow Museum in Calgary in 1974 (David Lazarus, "Jewish paper provides glimpse of Prairie life," Canadian Jewish News, Jan. 30, 1992, p. 4)
- Gloria M. Strathern, Alberta Newspapers, 1880-1982: An historical directory (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1988), p. 37.
- The Archives of the Glenbow Museum contains a copy of The Canadian Western Jewish Times.