Hamilton Spectator

(1846)

Spectator Building


This building was constructed in 1926 to house the expanding Hamilton Spectator newspaper. The modern printing plant was attached to the rear of the building. It still stands at the southwest corner of Catharine and King William Streets. The newspaper operated out of a number of downtown locations before then. Presses rolled at this plant until 1976, when operations were moved to the Frid Street location.

The Spectator was founded in 1846, when local Conservatives recruited Robert Smiley to head up a new publication. Its aim was to combat the rhetoric of the local Reform newspaper, the Journal & Express.

Newspaperman William Southam bought the paper in 1877. Southam used the Spectator as a base from which to grow a national publishing empire. He eventually acquired the Ottawa Citizen, the Calgary Herald, the Vancouver Province, the Edmonton Journal and the Winnipeg Tribune, among others.

While the Hamilton Spectator eventually became the city’s only daily newspaper, for much of its history, it competed with a number of local newspapers with names like the Herald, Times, Standard and Gazette, among others.

For close to a century, typesetters at the Spectator were members of one of the city’s first craft unions, the International Typographical Union No. 129, organized in 1846.