Satirical newspapers first appeared in France in 1830, with Le Charivari having the largest impact. Some ten years later, the British followed suit with Punch, originally subtitled “the London Charivari.” A similar pattern occurred in Canada, with the earliest satirical papers being French (Le Fantasque in 1837), and English ones appearing soon after (Punch in Canada in 1844).   

Over 40 satirical newspapers were published in Quebec and Montreal from 1830 to 1890. Most were short-lived and pushed a political agenda. Some existed solely for the duration of a political campaign. Using wordplay, puns, verse, and cartoons, they mocked local elites, rival newspapers and—most of all—politicians.

In the early 1860s, three English-language satirical newspapers existed in Quebec City. The Saw (1863-1865) and The Sprite (1865) opposed Confederation, the latter taking a more pro-British approach. The Stadacona Punch (1865) was less political, drawing inspiration from the British magazine Punch (1841-1992). Its masthead featured a Punch puppet (of Punch and Judy fame) made over as a stereotypical “Indian.”

The Stadacona Punch
Musée de la civilisation, Bibliothèque du Séminaire de Québec, SQ051350.

Further Reading

Aird, Robert and Mira Falardeau. Histoire de la caricature au Québec. Montreal: VLB, 2009.