William Southam

William Southam




Class of 1995

William Southam, an early giant in the Canadian newspaper publishing business, and founder of Southam Press, was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1843.

William began his career in the print business at the age of 12, delivering papers for the London Free Press in London, Ontario. In 1877, after completing his printers’ apprenticeship, and learning all he could about the editorial side of the business, he became an investor in the Free Press.

At age 34, he and William Carey bought the money-losing Hamilton Spectator. Through diligence and hard work, the paper flourished, and in 1881 Carey and Southam purchased a Toronto printing business. The partners invested the profits into acquisitions of major Canadian newspapers, including the Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald, Windsor Star, and Montreal Gazette.

Throughout the 1920’s William, now joined by his two sons, merged all of his national holdings into William Southam & Sons Limited.

The Southam Publishing Co. Ltd., formed in 1927, continued to operate as Southam Inc. for decades to come. The century-old legacy made a tremendous contribution to Canadian business through its diverse holdings, including newspapers, printing businesses, book retailing, trade shows, and electronic information services.

William, a man with a strong sense of public service, said of life: “People usually receive from life what they put into it; give your best, and the best will come back to you.”

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