Your Lives, Our Pages

140 Years of Free Press Memories

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Nov. 30, 1872. The brand new Manitoba Free Press hit the streets of Winnipeg and beyond. The only Canadian daily paper west of Toronto printed on the only cylinder press north of Minnesota, it was truly one of a kind. Soon, its 900 subscribers were paying 25 cents a week for all the local news fit to print and then some.

In 1931, it became the Winnipeg Free Press and continued to live up to its motto of "Freedom of Trade, Liberty of Religion, and Equality of Civil Rights," those words still gracing the paper’s editorial pages today.

This Nov. 30, the Free Press will mark 140 years of telling Manitobans’ stories. Now, we are inviting you to tell us your memories of the newspaper. Did you have your own paper route? Did you enter the Christmas colouring contest? Did your group do something special for the paper’s Pennies from Heaven campaign? What about that time your team got its photo in the paper?

We want to know. Fill out the form below and tell us your best story about the paper. If you have a photo, even better. We’ll run a few in the paper and all of them online.

We’re calling this memory project, Your Lives, Our Pages. But really, think of them as your pages, too. Because that’s what they are.

  • An early paper carrier

    Circa 1927 to 1935

    The Free Press' Your Lives, Our Pages project has done me a big favour. On reading the article about the paper boy who lived on Toronto Street, I decided to tell you a little about my days delivering the Free Press back in the late 20s and early 30s.

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  • The death of a type-setter

    1962

    My family’s relationship with the Winnipeg Free Press began with my great-grandfather Nathaniel Insch. A compositor by trade, he arrived from Scotland in 1912 and retired in 1938.

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  • Papers 'gone with the wind'

    1950

    This story goes back to the spring of 1950.

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  • First your news... now your weather

    No photo

    I had no idea all the years I spent delivering the news to people’s homes would one day lead to my delivering the news inside people’s homes.

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  • Paper carrier Renee felt very special

    1979

    In 1979 our daughter Renee, 11 years old, became a Free Press carrier, along with her sister, nine years old. Renee was very excited about her very first job.

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  • Grey Cup the highlight of father’s life

    1984-90

    My father, Peter Ahoff, was a long-time employee of the Winnipeg Free Press. He was the supervisor of the mail room for many years.

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  • Fort Rouge memories

    1940s

    Our 1940's Fort Rouge appeared to be a protected enclave where most families had little money but really didn't care. There were few neighbourhood cars as most people walked, rode bicycles or took the streetcars plying Corydon, Stafford and Osborne to downtown.

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  • Memories of a paper boy or girl

    1970s

    I am the mother of four sons who are now in their 50s. They all took turns delivering papers after school on the same route, Valour Road and St. Matthews Avenue.

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  • Selling papers in 1912

    1912

    Reading the Winnipeg Free Press was a daily part of my father’s life, even as a resident of a personal care home in his later years.

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  • A special way to read the Free Press

    1930s-today

    When I was a teenager, we went on Saturdays to Eaton’s for the “5-cent special.”

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  • Elm Creek paper boy

    1946

    The 11.47 train from Winnipeg was on time and I was waiting on the platform for the papers.

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  • Carriers take train to '66 Grey Cup

    1966

  • Brother and sister paper carriers

    Date unknown

    Just a few words to let you know that my brother and I delivered the Free Press in the country when we were young.

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  • Reasons to love the Free Press

    Pre-1976

    The Free Press has been important in my life for several reasons.

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  • Youngest paper carrier ever

    Date uncertain

    Memories of a paper boy for the Winnipeg Free Press brought back memories also for me.

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  • Paper boy memories

    1940s

    I am a senior at 79 years old. My first paper route was on Carlton Street and the area downtown up to Garry Street. It was a small route. I was 10 years old.

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  • It's a small world

    1970s

    Here is my contribution from being briefly employed in the Free Press circulation department when some long-term staff were fixtures of stability among other dedicated workers there. My recollection is poignant and remarkable for being filled with serendipity and coincidence (or Karma) later in life.

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  • (Eric Bailey)

    The Homecoming

    Jan. 7, 1946

    For the past few weeks I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Your Lives, Our Pages and the many ways in which the Winnipeg Free Press has become a part of so many lives. I, too, have a story to share about the Winnipeg Free Press and its role in my life.

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  • 1961

    1961

    I have fond memories of reading the Free Press throughout my life.

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  • The day our Free Press Weekly arrived

    1950 -1962 or so

    As a child on the farm, our connections with The City were quite few and far between. So the day of the week that our Weekly Free Press would arrive by mail was very exciting.

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  • Youngest Free Press paper boy

    1955-1964

    Reading the story Memories of a paper boy has brought back a flood of memories I had long forgotten.

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  • Plugged in?

    January 1967

    In January 1967 I was transferred from Montreal to Winnipeg. Driving a US route my first encounter with Winnipeg was Confusion Corner. I had to seek directions in order to find Portage Avenue.

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  • My Canadian friend

    1960-2013

    I came to Canada from Ireland in May 1960. I chose Winnipeg because I had friends here with whom I could stay.

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  • Yvonne and Marcel Raffard met through the Free Press' Home Loving Hearts section in 1939 and married within four months. ()

    The Free Press brought parents' Loving Hearts together

    1939-1954

    My parents’ love story began in 1939 thanks to the Free Press Weekly Prairie Farmer newspaper, a small newspaper published by the Manitoba Free Press for the Prairie Provinces.

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  • Thanks to Peter Crossley and Julie Dale

    1972+

    Way back in 1972, I had written an article on the origins of the ancient traditions of Ukrainian Christmas.

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  • Ab Sproul retired in 1969 after working as a pressman at the Free Press for 54 years. ()

    Free Press a big part of her life

    1900-1969

    I was brought up on the Free Press. My dad was born in 1900, and his first job was as a Free Press paper boy.

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  • Alex Ritchie and his dog, Skipper, prepare to deliver the Free Press in 1939. ()

    Gold watches run in the family

    1938-1969

    From 1938 to 1942, my Free Press paper route was on Spence Street from Portage Avenue to the river. It was Route #193 with 80 papers.

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  • Alex Ritchie stands atop a very wonky ladder to post the latest war news in 1943 at the old Free Press building on Carlton Street. (Winnipeg Free Press archives)

    My 46 years at the Free Press

    1943-1990

    I did many different tasks during my 46-year career at the Free Press.

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  • Peter Kuch's satire

    1950s - 1970s

    My favourite memory of the Free Press is the political satire.

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  • Route 454

    1969-1972

    My memories of the Winnipeg Free Press to back to the 1960s.

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  • Maria Rogalski and her chocolate soldier, Cornelius O’Sullivan, finally met nearly 50 years after the British soldier shared his chocolate with a little German girl on her birthday. ()

    My chocolate soldier

    1983

    I owe a great debt to The Winnipeg Free Press because it was instrumental in bringing about an incredible story that made my dream come true.

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  • Christmas flight to Tadoule Lake 1975

    1975

    I remember flying home for Christmas from Thompson to Tadoule Lake in 1975 and Winnipeg Free Press reporter Bob Lowery was on the flight with us.

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  • A line of traffic finds its way to Morris on Highway 75 on May 5, 1997. (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press)

    Flood of the Century

    1997

    Very few people had the chance to see the 1997 Red River Flood of the Century up close, in all its glory, a massive, slow-creeping, sea of water moving north through our province.

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  • Free Press colouring contests were tops

    1936

    I am a senior going on 87 years of age and I sure remember the Free Press arriving at our home.

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  • Royal Winnipeg Ballet principal dancer Evelyn Hart takes part in an amusing skit with Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra composer-in-residence Patrick Carrabre in 2003. (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press)

    Stunning Evelyn Hart

    1980 - 2003

    One of my favourite memories of working at the Free Press was meeting Evelyn Hart, principal dancer of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She is one of the funniest and most comfortable people you would ever want to meet.

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  • Memories of a paper boy

    1950s

    Who wasn’t a paper boy when they were growing up? On Toronto Street between Sargent and Ellice, I can remember four of us. My brother Dave, who became a Free Press photographer, two friends, who opened their own business and me, now over 70 years old and still reading the Press after 60 plus years.

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  • An editorial cartoon by Olaf Reinart, marking the arrival of the Assiniboine Park Zoo's first Siberian tiger. (Olaf Reinart)

    Cartooning at the Free Press

    1959 and 1971

    In 1959 the Assiniboine Park Zoo acquired its first Siberian Tiger, and the citizens of Winnipeg played an important role in making it possible. I don't recall if it was through some form of fundraising.

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  • 'I have a paper to get out'

    1950

    My Dad worked at the Free Press for 50 years. 

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  • Business career started with paper route

    1957

    I began as a Free Press paperboy in 1957.

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  • Debbie Wall and her dog, Sage, make a supply run on the Assiniboine River on a snowy day. (Ken Gigliotti/ Winnipeg Free Press)

    A man and his dog -- sort of

    Jan. 22, 2001

    One winter day, I was on the Assiniboine River, trotting behind my dog Sage who was in harness and pulling a sled bearing supplies.

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  • ()

    Winnipeg's own Santa Claus

    1950s

    I worked for the Free Press from 1960 to 1995. I was the pressroom superintendant in 1978 when Thompson took us over.

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  • Our newsroom

    1970s

    After 10 years with The Winnipeg Tribune (I had immigrated from Germany in 1956 to an initial job with a German-language paper here), I arrived in the Free Press newsroom in September, 1970 to be the paper's medical reporter. (I retired as a general assignment reporter on Dec. 31, 1999.)

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  • ()

    Our tribute to the Bombers

    August 30, 1975

    It was the summer of '75. My best gal pal and I were huge Bomber fans and one evening we decided to pen an ode to our favourite team.

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  • First Summer Job

    July to August 1977

    In the summer of 1977 when I was a boy of 14, I got my first summer job at the Winnipeg Free Press.

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  • No smoking, Mr. Asper

    We need to look at the photo for a date

    I was sent to Izzy Asper's Wellington Crescent home to photograph a portrait of Mr. Asper, which was in some way connected with the branding of the Asper School of Business.

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  • Couldn't have been prouder to be a FreePresser

    1979-80

    One of my first and fondest memory was a photo assignment to go and meet then-premier Howard Pawley.

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  • Saturdays at the Freep

    1960s

    My dad worked at the Freep for 41 years. He used to take my sister and I in on the odd Saturday, into the press room where those big, noisy presses worked their magic. It was loud and frightening and I remember it fondly. I loved that old building.  

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  • Paul Williamson, 9, of St. Norbert cools his feet in a welcome puddle Sunday after a 20-mile walkathon to raise funds for the St. Boniface Hospital research fund. (Unknown)

    Photo first point on path leading to Free Press

    May, 16, 1977

    My first memory of the Winnipeg Free Press was May 16, 1977. That was the first time my photo ever appeared in the paper. There I was on the front of the City News section, standing in a puddle, wearing a tank-top and cut-off denim shorts.

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If you don’t have access to a computer, you can drop off your stories and photos to the Free Press office at 1355 Mountain Ave. Photos cannot be returned so please submit copies only. Thank you.

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