Morning Star – 303 West Pender Street

The city’s newspapers clustered around Victory Square – or in earlier years around the Courthouse that was located there. The Province had their office and printworks there, as did the News Herald. The News Herald was established by journalists no longer working for the Morning Star, a newspaper whose offices were around the corner across from Victory Square on Pender Street. Here’s the Morning Star offices in 1929, five years after the paper started life as the Star, published as an evening paper. After a rapid change of ownership and a deal with one of the rival papers, the Sun, the Star became the Morning Star and the Sun the Evening Sun.

As was true of some, but by no means all of the papers of the day the Star aimed for accuracy and fairness, even in politics. The Star claimed a link back to the city’s first successful paper, the News Advertiser, initially published in 1887 and merged into the Sun in 1917. The Star never really made any money for its owner, Victor Odlum, and was sold to a new owner in Calgary who lost $300,000 in the venture before selling it back to Odlum in 1931. The losses continued, a proposed 15% wage reduction was rejected by the workforce, and the paper closed in 1932, leaving no morning newspaper in the city.

The newpaper office the Star occupied were originally a new home for the News Advertiser. Like the later Star, it was noted for its painstaking accuracy and detailed reporting, but unlike the Star it was a strong Conservative supporter. It was run for many years by Francis Carter Cotton, and occupied a number of buildings before moving to a new building on the corner of Hamilton and Pender in 1907. That’s the building in the picture, which has no identified architect in its heritage write-up, but Dalton and Eveleigh are said to be the designers. In 1910 Thomas Hooper designed additions to the building, the same year another owner acquired the paper, which would end up being merged into the Sun newspaper.

The building is still there today, stucco covered and without the cornice, but still solid for over 100 years of history.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, Morning Star Building 1929, CVA 99-3784

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