July 31, 2013

The Louis Roy printing press

The use of newspapers in Upper Canada before and during the War of 1812 was essential for keeping the population informed. Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe hired Louis Roy from Quebec to be the first King’s printer in Upper Canada.

The Roy Press
In 1792, the new lieutenant-governor arrived in Upper Canada and began to organize the government. He brought Louis Roy and his printing press with him and on April 18, 1793 Roy issued the first number of the Upper Canada Gazette in Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake), the provincial capital. Roy used the new printing press to distribute pamphlets, speeches, posters, regulations, and general local and international news to the people of the province.  

By 1798, the printing press was moved to the new provincial capital at York (Toronto). During the War of 1812, the press was in York during the American sack of the city in 1813. The press survived and continued to be used until it was replaced by new technology. Over the years, the press changed hands until it was sent to the Mackenzie Printery where it is currently on display.

On this long weekend, you can head to the Mackenzie Printery for their Simcoe Days event. You can learn more about the Louis Roy printing press that helped Simcoe shape the province of Upper Canada. Click here for more details.

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