preserves 19th-century religious periodicals

The Early Canadian Periodicals (ECP) project recently added approximately 1,000 issues of religious publications to its rich source material in religion and spirituality. With a wide and loyal readership, religious periodicals were a staple of the 19th-century press in Canada. In addition to charting Canada's varied spiritual traditions, these titles carried news and commentary on a wide range of political and social issues important to the historical understanding of early Canada.


Religious periodicals were the most prolific genre published in early Canada and have been a traditional area of collecting strength for The Methodist Book and Publishing House was arguably the leading publisher in Canada by the late 19th century, achieving remarkable success with The Methodist Magazine (84 issues, 1884-95) and a host of Sunday school supplements: Happy Days (207 issues, 1886-1899), Sunbeam (1891-98), Home & School (208 issues, 1883-90), Pleasant Hours (684 issues, 1881-1900). The Church of England also developed a well-oiled publishing machine, printing the Halifax Church Guardian (744 issues, 1879-95), the Ottawa Church of England Magazine (37 issues, 1891-94), and Toronto's Canadian Church Magazine (34 issues, 1895-97), among many others.

Mainstays of Catholic editorial thought in Canada include Chelsea's Voice (28 issues, 1880-82), Montreal’s True Witness (2,594 issues, 1850-1900) and Catholic Shield (11 issues, 1881-2), Halifax's The Cross (307 issues, 1843-49), the Catholic Record of London (19 issues, 1881-1910), and Manitoba’s Northwest Review (656 issues, 1885-1906). In Quebec, the Catholic Church relied on a staunchly conservative press to curb the influence of the 19th century liberal reformers. The views of its clergy were promoted through titles such as Les cloches de Saint-Boniface (445 issues, 1902-20) les Mélanges religieux (149 issues, 1840-42), E. Sénécal's Le messager de la foi et des bonnes œuvres (107 issues, 1873-1875), Le propagateur (238 issues, 1890-1900), Le messager de Sainte Anne (204 issues, 1883-1900), La semaine religieuse de Québec (676 issues, 1888-1901), and Revue ecclésiastique (198 issues, 1896-1905).

New titles

• The Young Churchman (13 issues, 1851-52) / Toronto Anglican youth weekly

• British American Presbyterian (297 issues, 1872-77)

• St. Luke's Parish Post (12 issues, 1873) / St. Luke's Church Association, Halifax, with content from London's Penny Post

• The Canada Christian Monthly (65 issues, 1873-78) / Chatsworth, ON

• The Toronto Diocesan Gazette (22 issues, 1874-8) / Anglican Synod of the Diocese of Toronto

• Shaftesbury Hall Weekly Bulletin (262 issues, 1880-85) / organ of the Toronto YMCA

• Letter Leaflet of the Woman's Auxiliary to the Board of Domestic and Foreign Missions of the Church of England in Canada (94 issues, 1893-1900)

• Le messager de Saint-Antoine (60 issues, 1895-1900) / leaflet of the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Vallier, Chicoutimi, Québec

• The Monthly Letter Leaflet (127 issues, 1886-97) / newsletter of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Western Section

• The Endeavor Herald (25 issues, 1896-1899) / organ of the evangelical United Society of Christian Endeavor

• The Cathedral Monthly (6 issues, 1897-98) / Fredericton, N.B.


This subset of ECP draws heavily on microfilm produced by the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM, now From 1978 to 2003, CIHM produced microform copies of early journals and monographs, distributing these across the broader scholarly community for improved access. This pioneering effort helped reduce handling of the originals, limiting the wear from inter-library loans and substantially halting their physical deterioration. To learn more, see History of

About Early Canadian Periodicals

Early Canadian Periodicals (ECP) is an initiative to digitize systematically all periodicals published in Canada prior to 1921. To ensure the project supports current research needs, ECP is steered by an Advisory Committee of scholars, librarians and archivists. ECP digitization yields over 250,000 pages annually and is funded through individual and institutional subscriptions, as well as by contributions from members.