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5 things you (probably) didn't know about Vancouver newspapers

From some Titanic errors to Babe Ruth's time as a local sports writer
Clockwise from top left: The first edition of the Moodyville Tickler, the Moon supplement in the Sun, The Vancouver Daily Province's Titanic headline, Babe Ruth in Vancouver.

As with any major city, newspapers have played an important roll in Vancouver's development.

In the earliest days of the City of Vancouver as settlers moved to the area newspapers were the only form of current mass media. Radio stations wouldn't arrive until the 1920s in Vancouver, and the first stations were almost all started by local newspapers eager to jump on the new medium.

Over the years there have been dozens of different newspapers around the city, and while the media landscape shifts, they go on.

With that, here are five things you (probably) didn't know about newspapers in Vancouver, including one Titanic error.

1. When the first astronauts landed on the moon, the Sun published a special supplement called "The Moon!"

The moon landing was arguably the biggest moment for the world's news media ever. A truly world-changing event that everyone could keep track of through broadcasts and newspapers, it captured the attention of people world wide, including in Vancouver.

Given the event was scheduled, the editorial team at the Vancouver Sun came up with a clever lunar supplement for their regular paper on Monday, July 21,called it The Moon!, and wrapped it around the paper.

2. The first paper on the Burrard Inlet was called the Moodyville Tickler

Before Vancouver existed there were several settlements around the Burrard Inlet including a sawmill at Moodyville, located in what is now North Vancouver near the northern end of the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge.

It was there that a man named William Colbeck, a 26-year-old clerk, published the first newspaper along Burrard Inlet (New Westminster's Times was the first in Metro Vancouver in 1859) on July 20, 1878.

The small paper had a humorous edge to it; in it's first article it noted that having a newspaper was a sign that a city was civilized.

"Moodyville, then, can now claim to be, what it really is, a go-ahead, prosperous, civilized locality. For here is the proof—here is its newspaper!" read some of the first lines.

Colbeck then went on to note he wrote most of it when he should have been sleeping. Other topics he promises not to cover because others already do include where the mosquitoes are, the state of roads, and the strength of different coffees.

3. Three papers covered Vancouver while there were only 1,000 residents

The City of Vancouver was officially founded in 1886, and with the promise of a transcontinental railway terminal coming, there was excitement in the city and plenty of hope for prosperity.

Seeing big things in the future, three newspapers launched within a few months of each other, even though there were roughly 1,000 people living in the city's earliest boundaries.

The three papers were the Herald, Advertiser and News. The first, the Vancouver Weekly Herald, actually published before Vancouver was officially founded, on January 15, 1886.

A few months later, and after Vancouver was founded in April, the Advertiser was first published. And then on June 1 the Vancouver News was first printed.

And then on June 13 the Great Vancouver Fire burned the city to the ground, including all the newspaper offices. All three returned.

Throughout all of this Vancouver's population was quite low, estimated to be around 1,000 throughout the 1880s.

4. Babe Ruth at the Sun

Coming off an amazing season with the New York Yankees, Babe Ruth travelled North America, making appearances at theatres across the US and Canada.

In Vancouver he spent a week at Pantages Theatre. And during one of his days in the city he spent some time at the Vancouver Sun.

It wasn't for an in depth interview or a special photo shoot. Instead he penned his own story about his own contract negotiations with the Yankees, published in the Nov. 29, 1926 issue of the paper.

While the column was on the front page of the sports section, more prominent were photos of Ruth in the office, with three shots of him working away and a short blurb about Ruth's time in the office.

5. A Titanic mistake

110 years ago information moved a little differently, and while news of the RMS Titanic being in bad shape was quickly reported across Canada, the scope of the issue wasn't.

In fact, multiple Vancouver newspapers, which were trying to get the morning paper ready for April 15, printed some inaccurate stories.

In the Vancouver Daily Province, a headline proclaimed "Titanic sinking, but probably no lives will be lost" and noted that efforts would be made to tow it to Newfoundland's coast.

Meanwhile the Vancouver World simply said no lives would be lost, passengers had been moved to others ships and that "all were safe."

"Titanic is now on her way to Halifax" read a subhead.