The Winnipeg Free Press is a daily newspaper published in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It has a daily circulation of 129,000 and a Saturday circulation of 191,000, making it the most widely-read newspaper in the province. The newspaper is owned by FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership, making it the largest independent newspaper in Canada. The Free Press is the only local broadsheet newspaper in Winnipeg.

The Free Press, then known as the Manitoba Free Press, was first published in 1872 by William Luxton. Shortly afterwards, the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway caused Winnipeg to enter an economic boom period, and the Free Press grew along with it. In 1898, the Manitoba Free Press was sold to Clifford Sifton, a member of Wilfrid Laurier's cabinet and former Manitoba Attorney General. Sifton hired John W. Dafoe as editor in 1901, a post he would hold until his death in 1944. Under Sifton and Dafoe, the Free Press became known for its support of the Liberal Party, a reputation it carries to this day.

Following Sifton's death in 1929, ownership of the Free Press passed to his sons Clifford Jr. and Victor (who already owned the Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon Star-Phoenix). The brothers helmed the newspaper until 1953, when a split left Victor in sole control of the paper. He formed a partnership with Calgary newspaperman Max Bell called FP Publications, which also controlled papers in Calgary, Ottawa and Victoria. Victor died in 1961, and FP was sold to media giant Thomson in 1980.

During the Thomson era, the newspaper enjoyed great success, eventually leading to the demise of the rival Winnipeg Tribune. The monopoly didn't last long, as the upstart Winnipeg Sun quickly took the Trib's place. In 1991, the Free Press left its downtown offices and moved into a state-of-the-art facility in the northwest area of the city. Thomson sold the Free Press (along with the Brandon Sun) on December 2001 to local businessmen Ronald Stern and Bob Silver.

Personal experiences:
When I was in the fifth grade, I took on a paper route for the Free Press' rival, the Sun. Most of the boys in my neighborhood had paper routes then, as we needed money to spend for our stamp collections, comic books and Slurpees. The luckier ones had Free Press routes, usually inherited from older brothers or cousins. The Free Press had more readers, meaning shorter paper routes. Also, the paper was delivered in the afternoon, giving paperboys an extra hour of sleep every morning (crucial on weekends. The Sun was strictly a morning newspaper.

As boys are wont to do, we would select the most random reasons to beat each other up. As most of us delivered one of the two newspapers, we split into teams and had "Newspaper Wars," much to our teachers' collective dismay. I moved from the neighborhood halfway through the eighth grade, never having fulfilled my dream of being a Free Press carrier. I could, however, take solace in the fact that shortly before I quit, the Free Press switched to morning delivery.

The Winnipeg Free Press -
The Siftons -
The Manitoba Author Publication Index -
Thomson Media Timeline -

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