Individuals of Russian origin first immigrated to Canada as agricultural and industrial workers in the 1890's. For many years the only Russian newspaper in Canada was Vestnik (Herald), published in Toronto between 1941 and 1998 by the Federation of Russian Canadians (FRK), a leftist cultural organization for Canadian Russian immigrants and their descendants. In 1944, at the peak of its popularity, the FRK had fifteen branches across Canada and 4,000 members.
Vestnik was the successor to the Kadskii gu'dok (Canadian Factory Whistle), a pro-Soviet newspaper founded in 1931 and circulated amongst the Russian workers' clubs that had developed in Canada circa 1930. In 1940, the clubs and the Kadskii gu'dok were banned by the Canadian government for their Communist leanings. When Russia became allied with the West in 1941, the FRK replaced the workers’ clubs and the Kadskii gu’dok was re-invented as the Vestnik. The newspaper was mainly printed in the Russian language, but contained some English; issues published in the last two years of its run were completely bilingual. In its early years, Vestnik was very pro-Soviet, particularly during the war years, but it became increasingly moderate in its political views in later years. The paper included news stories from Canada, Russia and other countries; editorials; health, literary and youth sections; advertising and obituaries. Issues of Vestnik dating from 1941 to 1993 have been digitized and are made available here.
Contributed by Multicultural History Society of Ontario.