Activities and Resources on the Periodical Press in Canada


  1. Investigate the publication history of a favourite author or text. What do you discover? What role have periodicals played in the publication and/or promotion of this writer or text?
  2. Find a piece of periodical literature (you might look in your campus newspaper, a student-run magazine, a professional publication such as The Walrus or Geist, or anywhere else). Read the text on its own first, in isolation, and then read it within the material and cultural context of its publication. What happens to the text when you see its relationship to the world around it?
  3. Explore some early periodicals firsthand. What archives (digital or physical) are housed at your library? How do you go about accessing them? If your institution subscribes, look through Canada’s Heritage from 1844—an online, digitized version of the Toronto newspaper The Globe since its first issue in 1844—paying attention to the literature published there. Select a specific time period: What topics were authors engaging with? What styles were they adopting? What genres were they using? For whom were they writing? Now, compare with another time period.

Further Resources

  • Canada’s Early Women Writers. Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory. Web. 13 Dec. 2017.
  • Distad, Merrill. “Canada.” Periodicals of Queen Victoria’s Empire: An Exploration. Ed. J. Don Vann and Rosemary T. Van Arsdel. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1996. Print.
  • Early Canadian Periodicals. Canadiana. org. Web. 13. Dec. 2017.
  • Fetherling, Douglas. The Rise of the Canadian Newspaper. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1990. Print.
  • Fiamengo, Janice, ed. Home Ground and Foreign Territory: Essays on Early Canadian Literature. Ottawa: U of Ottawa P, 2014. Print.
  • Fleming, Patricia Lockhart, and Yvan Lamonde, eds. History of the Book in Canada. 3 vols. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2004-7. Print.
  • Globe [Toronto]. Canada’s Heritage from 1844 – The Globe and Mail. Web. 13 Dec. 2017.
  • MacDonald, Mary Lu. “English and French Language Periodicals and the Development of a Literary Culture in Early Victorian Canada.” Victorian Periodicals Review 4 (1993): 221-27. Print.
  • Morra, Linda, and Jessica Schagerl, eds. Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace: Explorations in Canadian Women’s Archives. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2012. Print.
  • Rutherford, Paul. A Victorian Authority: The Daily Press in Late Nineteenth-Century Canada. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1982. Print.