World Events: The Opening of the Suez Canal

This series will look at how Toronto’s press has covered major world events. First up: the opening of the Suez Canal 150 years ago.

Given the time period, with its slower pace of news delivery, limited space available in a standard four-page edition, and emphasis of local politics over most foreign events outside of the United Kingdom or United States (an average session of the Ontario legislature or Toronto city council would have received miles more print than the opening of the canal did), there wasn’t much to browse.

globe 1869-11-19 opening of suez canal

The Globe, November 19, 1869.

The “Darien Canal” discussed here relates to proposals for a canal through present-day Panama connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Scotland made an unsuccessful attempt at the end of the 17th century that cost over 2,000 lives and was a motivating factor behind the Acts of Union in 1707. Suez Canal developer Ferdinand de Lesseps started work on a canal in 1881 but the project was bankrupt by the end of the decade. The United States acquired the Canal Zone in 1903 and finished the Panama Canal in 1914.

The Globe‘s conservative rival, the Leader, ran a lengthy reprint of the Cincinnati Gazette‘s coverage on its front page (the Globe ran a shorter reprint the next day). Toronto’s other daily, the Telegraph, offered no coverage.

And now, a few words from your local advertisers…

leader 1869-11-19 eyewear ad

The Leader, November 19, 1869.

leader 1869-11-19 dineen ad

The Leader, November 19, 1869.