The Halifax Herald Limited published two daily newspapers until March 1, 2004. The Chronicle-Herald was the older of the two, starting on January 14, 1875; and, The Mail-Star, starting on October 23, 1879. Following extensive research with the public and staff, it was decided that, effective March 1, 2004, the two newspapers would be combined into one product and packaged as The Chronicle Herald. The Sunday Herald began publication on April 19, 1998.
The Dennis family connection with the newspaper is as old as the first issue of the Morning Herald. William Dennis, who had emigrated from England to Nova Scotia in the early 1870’s as a penniless boy, was able by 1875 to commit $50 to the purchase of one share in the firm and was also the junior of two reporters. In 1907 Dennis acquired the remainder of the shares from the estate of Mr. John James Stewart, first Publisher of The Herald. William provided the leadership in the establishment of the city in the successful effort to build circulation. His frequent trips throughout the province in search of new subscribers and news for both the morning and afternoon papers are a family legend, the single-mindedness with which he pursued his journalistic goals a public one. Upon Dennis’ death in 1920, a majority interest in the company passed to a nephew, William Henry Dennis (1889-1954).
His nephew, William Henry, although less flamboyant, was at once more business like and more closely in touch with public opinion; but, unlike his uncle, he believed his first duty to be the production of more attractive newspapers than offered for sale by competitors. Both men were admired and attacked in their time, as men of impulsive character are. Senator William Dennis built the present Herald Building after fire destroyed The Dennis Building on Granville Street in 1912. William Henry Dennis conducted the affairs of the company until his death in 1954 when control passed to his son Graham William Dennis.
Graham William Dennis is the present owner of the company while his daughter, Sarah Dennis, currently holds the position of President and CEO. He is a graduate of McGill University and has received honorary degrees from Acadia University, University of Kings College, Saint Mary’s University, St. Francis Xavier University and Mount Saint Vincent University. His numerous philanthropic accomplishments were recognized in 2003 when he was the recipient of the Red Cross Humanitarian Award. His business acumen was recognized by his induction in the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame in 2005. He has the longest record of service as a publisher in the Canadian daily newspaper industry and has presided over a period of expansion of the newspapers for more than 50 years. The Halifax Herald Limited, under his direction, has become a rarity in Canadian journalism - a substantial daily newspaper operation free of chain ownership. His newspapers not only deliver the most comprehensive package of Nova Scotia news, but also provide coverage of the rest of Canada and the world. In the words of one former editor: “Not a sparrow falls in Stellarton, they used to say, but it finds its way to the pages of the Herald”.