Vintage TV Guide

TV Guide History

Prior to the Canadian publication of TV Guide, Canada was served by the American publication which was published by Triangle Publications. The first national TV Guide published was on April 3, 1953. The front cover featured Lucille Ball's newborn son Desi Arnaz Jr with a small picture of Ball in the top curner. The headline read "Lucy's $50,000,000 baby". Throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, TV Guide would expand its coverage into more markets and service as many as eleven markets in Canada in addition to the markets served in the United States. In 1977 Telemedia acquired the rights to TV Guide in Canada and as of Jan 1, 1977 all TV Guides sold in Canada were published by Telemedia. The Canadian publication of TV Guide would continue until the November 25th issue in 2006 after which the printed edition ceased operations.

TV Guide History

TV Guide before Telemedia

Up until 1977; TV Guide in Canada was virtually identical to the version sold in the United States including the ads in the colour section of the guides. The first issue of TV Guide sold in Canada was the June 26, 1953 issue. It was the New York-Lake Ontario Edition of TV Guide and was available at newstands in most areas of Southern Ontario. This edition of TV Guide featured listings for 5 channels including channel 9 in Toronto (CBC) and 4 stations from various cities in New York State including Buffao, Rochester and Syracuse. The second edition to serve Canada was the St. Lawrence edition which covered Montreal, Ottawa as well as neighbouring US markets. The St. Lawrence edition started circulation sometime in 1957. The third edition to cover Canada arrived in 1961 with the Dakota-Winnipeg Edition.

Canadian TV Guide June 26, 1953

In some cases certain edtions of TV Guide served both Canada and the Unites States. Some examples include Alberta-Montana Edition, Dakota-Winnipeg Edition, Lake Ontario Edition and Montreal-St Lawrence Edition.

Starting with the December 4, 1965 issue, the printed listings section of TV Guide began to be published by McMurry Publishing for editions that were sold in Canada. This also marked the end of single edition TV Guides that covered areas in the United States and Canada. The colour section of TV Guide remained identical to the U.S. version. Weekly subscriptions also began to be distributed by McMurry Publishing as well.

McMurry Publishing printed the following editions starting with the December 4, 1965 issue; Western British Columbia Edition, Alberta-Eastern British Columbia Edition, Manitoba-Saskatchewan Edition, Western Ontario Edition, Toronto-Lake Ontario Edition and Montreal-St Lawrence Edition.

Canadian TV Guide June 26, 1953

TV Guide Canada is Born

Starting with the issue on January 15, 1977; Telemedia took over TV Guide in all Canadian markets. In most cases the editions that were published by Triangle Publications/McMurry Publication remained the same. In the early years of Telemedia ownership, some covers and many articles were the same as the U.S. version with some Canadian content added. Eventually all editorial content was unique to the Canadian publication. Initially Telemedia printed eight regional editions of TV Guide. By the late 1980's there was 16 regional editions.

Canadian TV Guide January 15, 1977

This cover below marks the first time where the Canadian editions of TV Guide featured a cover that differed from the American publication. The first eleven covers printed by Telemedia were identical to the American publication with only slight differences in the headlines and page numbers for the featured articles.

Canadian TV Guide April 2 1977

TV Guide Pay-TV Listings

Starting with the January 29, 1983 issue; TV Guide began listing Pay-TV channels along with the local listings. This coincided with the national launch of Pay-TV services in Canada on February 1, 1983. Below is a list of pay channels that were listed in each edition.

Canadian TV Guide January 29 1983
Edition Pay-Channels Listed
Western British Columbia Edition First Choice, C Channel, World View
Calgary-Southern Alberta Edition First Choice, C Channel, Superchannel
Edmonton-Northern Alberta Edition First Choice, C Channel, Superchannel
Saskatchewan Edition First Choice, C Channel
Manitoba Edition First Choice
Western Ontario Edition First Choice, C Channel, Superchannel
Hamilton & Region Edition First Choice, C Channel, Superchannel
Toronto Edition First Choice, C Channel, Superchannel
Oshawa-Peterborough Edition First Choice, C Channel, Superchannel
Eastern Ontario Edition First Choice, C Channel, Superchannel
Montreal-Quebec Edition First Choice, Premier Choix, C Channel, Superchannel, TVEC
Maritime Edition First Choice, C Channel, Star Channel

Starting in the August 25, 1984 issue, MuchMusic was added to the Pay-TV listings to coincide with the August 31st launch. TSN was added starting in the September 1, 1984 issue. The September 1st issue also showed the merging of First Choice and Superchannel. Editions printed in Manitoba and West had First Choice Superchannel listed with the abbriviation SUP while Ontario and east had FC. Starting in the November 10, 1984 issue, A&E (Arts & Entertainment, CNN (Cable News Network) and TNN (The Nashville Network) were added to the listings. For a number of years, the Manitoba Edition of TV Guide only included listings for First Choice Superchannel due to the fact that both cable systems servicing the Winnipeg region were unable to add any additional Pay-TV services until the late 1980s.

Pay-TV and Cable listing expansion in the 80s and 90s

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, pay-tv and cable channel listings would expand in the various Canadian editions of TV Guide. Below is a summary of channels added to the listings over the years.

Channel Label Date Added Notes
Life Channel LIF Nov 16 1985 This channel ceased operations on Nov 30 1986
MusiquePlus MP Aug 30 1986 This channel was only listed in Montreal Edition
La Chaîne Française CF Dec 27 1986 Launched on Jan 1, 1987. This channel was only listed in TV Guide Editions in Ontario. This channel eventually became TFO
Family Channel FAM Aug 27 1988 Launched on Sep 1 1988. This was a pay-tv channel on most cable systems until the fall of 1997
Vision TV V Aug 27 1988 Launched on Sep 1 1988.
YTV YTV Aug 27 1988 Launched on Sep 1 1988.
Le Canal Famille LCF Aug 27 1988 Launched on Sep 1 1988. This channel was only listed in Montreal Edition.
TV5 TV5 Aug 27 1988 Launched on Sep 1 1988 This channel was intially only listed in Montreal Edition. By the early 1990s, this channel was listed in most Canadian editions.
CBC Newsworld NW July 29 1989 Launched on Jul 31 1989.
Reséau des Sports RDS Sep 2 1989 Launched on Sep 1 1989. This channel was only listed in Montreal Edition. This channel began to be listed in other editions such as Eastern Ontario and Martime Edition starting in the late 1990s
TBS Superstation TBS Aug 31 1991 Listed in most Canadian editions of TV Guide.
WSBK Boston SBK Aug 31 1991 Listed in most Canadian editions of TV Guide in Manitoba and East. Eventually listed in all editions by mid-late 1990s
KTLA Los Angeles TLA Aug 31 1991 Initially only listed in Western Canada editions. Was in all editions by mid-late 1990s
WGN Superstation WGN Aug 31 1991 Listed in most Canadian editions of TV Guide.
The Learning Channel TLC Aug 31 1991 Available in Canada since the mid-late 1980s. Initially only listed in Toronto Rogers Edition. Was listed in most editions by 1992-1993.
First Choice 2 FC2 Oct 17 1992 Launched in May 1992 in key test markets and wider distribution in Sept 1992. Listed only in some Eastern Canada editions. Eventually was listed in most Eastern Canada editions by late 1990s
First Choice 3 FC3 Oct 17 1992 Launched in May 1992 in key test markets and wider distribution in Sept 1992. Listed only in some Eastern Canada editions. Eventually was listed in most Eastern Canada editions by late 1990s
First Choice 4 FC4 Oct 17 1992 Launched in Sept 1992. Listed only in some Eastern Canada editions. Eventually was listed in most Eastern Canada editions by late 1990s
MovieMax! MAX Nov 5 1994 Launched Oct 1994. Listed only in editions in Manitoba and West.
Moviepix PIX Nov 5 1994 Launched Oct 1994. Listed only in editions in Ontario and East.
Bravo! BVO Dec 31 1994 Launched Jan 1 1995.
Discovery Channel DIS Dec 31 1994 Launched Jan 1 1995.
Life Network LIF Dec 31 1994 Launched Jan 1 1995.
Showcase SHO Dec 31 1994 Launched Jan 1 1995.
Women's Television Network WTN Dec 31 1994 Launched Jan 1 1995.
Canal D CD Dec 31 1994 Launched Jan 1 1995. Initially only listed in Montreal Edition. Eventually listed in Eastern Ontario edition and Maritime Edition
Reseau de l'information RDI Dec 31 1994 Launched Jan 1 1995. Initially only listed in Montreal Edition. Eventually listed in most editions by late 1990s

Specialty Channels not listed in TV Guide

There were many specialty channels offered in Canada that were not listed in TV Guide. In addition to the wide distribution of A&E (Arts & Entertainment), CNN (Cable News Network) and TNN (The Nashville Network) many cable systems also offerd Headline News, Financial News Network (Later CNBC-FNN and then just CNBC), Country Music Television (US version replaced by New Country Network in 1995), Telelatino, Chinavision and later Viewer's Choice Pay-Per-View. These channels were not listed in any TV Guides. Some channels such as CNBC were eventually listed in Canadian TV Guides starting in 1997 or later. Other cable channels such as Parliament/CPAC, Provincial Legislatures, The Weather Network and Shopping/Classified channels were not listed though some editions would make reference to their dial position in the cable converter guides.

Cable Editions of TV Guide

Starting in September 1991 TV Guide Canada began publishing editions specific to cable systems serving large metropolitan areas. These TV Guides featured channel bullets that referenced the cable dial position rather than the over-the-air position and abbreviated bullets for cable and pay channels. Cable editions were available in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and by mid 1990s, Northern Ontario (Sudbury, Elliot Lake). The regional editions continued to be available in these markets. Consumers often had a choice of which TV Guide to purchase at newstands.

Satellite Edition of TV Guide

Starting in the fall 2000, TV Guide Canada began advertisting a Satellite Edition which was compatible with ExpressVu and Star Choice. It is not known if this edition was sold in newsstands or if it was available by subscription only. This edition was likely discontinued when regional editions began to include ExpressVu and Star Choice in the cable converter charts and primetime grids starting in 2002

Canadian TV Guide Satellite Edition

Sale to Transcontinental Media and conversion to Super Digest

In 2000, Telemedia sold the Canadian TV Guide rights to Transcontinental Media. Major changes to TV Guide Canada started with the February 29, 2004 issue where TV Guide Canada switched to the super digest format (similar size to a comic book). Other changes included the eventual elimination of overnight hours and condenced weekday listings. In mid 2005 TV Guide Canada was reduced to 6 editions; Maritimes, East (Montreal-Eastern Ontario), Rogers Toronto-Central Ontario, Western Ontario, Prarie, and Shaw Vancouver-BC. Starting with the November 5, 2005 issue, TV Guide was reduced to just two editions; one for Eastern Canada (Ontario and east) and Western Canada (Manitoba and west).

End of printed TV Guide in Canada

On October 19, 2006; Transcontinental Media announced that it would cease printed publication of the magazine with the November 29, 2006 issue. The magazine transitioned to a web only publication following the last printed issue of TV Guide. A new website tvguidelive.ca launched on December 1 2006. The online publication of TV Guide continued until Decemebr 2012 when it was replaced by The Loop. Starting in July 2014, the American publication once again became available in Canadian markets however the magazine does not feature any local listings.

Canadian TV Guide November 25 1977

TV Guide Channel

Starting in 1991 several Canadian providers such as Rogers began offering a TV listings channel using the TV Guide brand. Throughout most of its history; TV Guide Channel featured channel listings on the left half of the TV screen while the right half featured TV, movie and network previews as well as advertisments. By the mid-late 2000s TV Guide Channel became one of the only TV listings providers and eventually replaced services such as Prevue Channel and Zap2It. Starting in 2012 the TV Guide brand was discontinued and now most providers use the TV Listings Channel brand. The TV Guide Channel brand used in Canada should not be confused with the TV Guide Channel available in the U.S.