Nova Scotia > Justice > ORR > Royal Gazette Part I Office of the Registrar of Regulations

Royal Gazette Part I

The Royal Gazette Part I began as the Halifax Gazette, Canada's first newspaper, and continues to this day as the Province's official weekly government record of proclamations and other statutory notices.

In May of 1996, the Office of the Royal Gazette Part I joined with the Office of the Registrar of Regulations, which is responsible for the publication of the Royal Gazette Part II - Regulations.

The Royal Gazette Part I is issued Wednesday of every week and is available by subscription or may be viewed at most libraries across the Province.

A Brief History of the Royal Gazette

Over 260 years ago, in September of 1751, Bartholomew Green Jr., the grandson of the man who printed the first American newspaper, came to Halifax from Boston and set up a print shop on Grafton Street. Unfortunately for Green, he took ill and died four months later at the age of 52. Upon news of his death, John Bushell, Green's former partner, sailed for Halifax and immediately assumed management of the new enterprise. Bushell arrived about the end of January and, on Monday, March 23rd, 1752, he published the very first issue of the Halifax Gazette, recognized as Canada's first newspaper.

So far as it is known, the Halifax paper is also the 3rd oldest on the North American continent. Authoritative sources agree that the earliest newspaper in the American colonies was "Publick Occurences" published on September 25, 1690. The 2nd newspaper was the "News-Letter" of Boston, published from 1704 to 1776 (founded by Green's father). The 2nd Canadian newspaper did not make an appearance until more than 10 years after the Halifax Gazette, when the "Quebec Gazette" was published in June of 1764. The Halifax Gazette began as a small newspaper, merely a half sheet containing European news, some local items and advertising-- but official government notices were the mainstay of the business. The original newspaper had a wood-cut on the right side of the title representing a fowler pursuing game, and on the left was shown a ship under full sail. (View images of the first issue of the Halifax Gazette on the Nova Scotia Archives website:

The Halifax Gazette continues in existence today. The paper was published under various names over the years, including: the Nova-Scotia Gazette and the Weekly Chronicle, and the Royal Gazette and Nova Scotia Advertiser under the first printer to be appointed as "King's Printer" for Nova Scotia in 1788, Anthony Henry, and then as simply the Nova Scotia Royal Gazette under his successor, John Howe (father to Joseph) in 1801. The Nova Scotia Royal Gazette received official sanction as the government's newspaper. With its roots in the Oxford Gazette (now the London Gazette), this official sanction ensured that the publication was more than the mere "scurrilous gossip and rumour" that these commonwealth gazette publications had emerged as an alternative to, and also served to provide the government of the day with a measure of control over the tone and content of the newspaper contents.

The current Royal Gazette is still the official government publication for proclamations and all legal notices made pursuant to statute. In 1977 Part II of the Royal Gazette was created to publish regulations made pursuant to the Province's Statutes. And the Gazette is still published under authority of the Queen's Printer. Since May of 1996, the two Parts of the Royal Gazette have been reunited in the Office of the Registrar of Regulations, Department of Justice.

In 2022, the Gazette celebrated 270 years of publication. Part II of the Gazette celebrated 45 years of publication that same year.

Not bad for a newspaper that began publication printed on a single half-sheet of paper.

On June 20, 2002, Library and Archives Canada announced the acquisition of the first issue of the Halifax Gazette from the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. It is the oldest Canadian item in Library and Archives Canada's rare book collection.

Further interesting reading:

Nova Scotia Archives: Halifax Gazette - Canada's First Newspaper

Library and Archives Canada, Engine of Immortality: Canadian Newspapers from 1752 until today, including a scanned image of the original issue of the Halifax Gazette, and featuring articles like:

"The Founding of Halifax and the Halifax Gazette, 1749-1753", by Ronald Rompkey, which puts the beginnings of news publication in Halifax into an historical context

"Hebert Jefferie—First Canadian Printer?", by Douglas G. Lochhead which poses the question of what ever happened to Jefferie, a "printer" who arrived in Halifax in 1749 with Cornwallis

"The First Newspaper Published in Canada", by Beauséjour, which disputes the Halifax Gazette as the first Canadian newspaper, because Nova Scotia was not yet a Canadian province

"Canadian Newspapers Celebrate 250 Years", by Stephen Kimber (National Library of Canada Bulletin 2002, Vol 34, no. 2), in which Kimber exposes the newspapers humble, and unlikely, beginnings.

"Canada's Oldest Newspaper Finds Its New Home at the National Library of Canada", a National Library of Canada News Release - June 20, 2002, announcing the acquisition of the first issue of the Halifax Gazette from the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. (News release no longer available online.)

"Foreign Intelligence", a list of related links compiled by the National Library including links to an article entitled "The First Nova Scotia Newspapers" (from the Yarmouth Herald, August 30, 1883), an article entitled "The Oldest Newspaper in North America" from the Morning Chronicle, Halifax, January 1, 1914) and excerpts from "History of Printing in America" by Isaiah Thomas (2nd Edition, 1874) (see link entitled "The Oldest Newspaper in Canada").

Biographies of Anthony Henry and John Howe (father to Joseph Howe), the first King's Printers for Nova Scotia: and

Bishop, Olga Bernice, Publications of the Governments of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick 1758-1952. Ottawa : National Library of Canada / Bibliothèque nationale du Canada, 1957