The Narwhal co-founders Emma Gilchrist and Carol Linnitt

Welcome to The Narwhal

Canadians are hungrier than ever for journalism that looks beneath the surface and holds power to account

When I started reporting on the environment for the Calgary Herald back in 2007, it was hard to imagine the way Canada’s media landscape would be transformed in the next decade.

Between 2010 and 2016, 225 weekly and 27 daily newspapers closed in Canada. But even before this latest downward spiral, Canadian journalism was in trouble.

Take this quote:

Some newspapers dig.
Some newspapers are a constant embarrassment to the powerful.
Some manage to be entertaining, provocative, and fair at the same time.
There are a few such newspapers in Canada.

That’s from a report written nearly 50 years ago by the Special Senate Committee on Mass Media.

Fast-forward to today and Canadians are hungrier than ever for journalism that looks beneath the surface and holds power to account.

We have been so honoured to grow a loyal audience for this type of journalism through DeSmog Canada over the past five years.

Back in 2013, we started out with just one full-time reporter/editor. Never did we imagine that we’d become one of the most-read independent news websites in Canada.

If you’d told us back then that we’d make a video that would be viewed by nearly two million people, we probably wouldn’t have believed you. If you’d have told us then that our in-depth journalism would be cited in the New York Times, we’d have choked on our tea. And if you’d have told us then that hundreds of Canadians would donate each month to support our journalism, we’d have blushed and accused you of wishful thinking.

You, our readers, have expanded our horizons of what is possible. And for that, we are grateful beyond words.  

We are also incredibly grateful to the DeSmog network for incubating us and for providing mentorship, web infrastructure and name recognition as we stepped into the independent media world.

Our new name is about serving even more Canadians with independent environmental journalism at this crucial time in history. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with journalists at DeSmog around the world.

Why The Narwhal?

Choosing a new name is never easy, but we knew our new moniker needed to tap into the sense of awe and wonder Canadians feel for the vast landscape we share.

Narwhals have intrigued explorers and scientists for hundreds of years. Just a few years ago, scientists discovered the narwhal’s tusk is actually highly sensitive like an antenna (not a bad tool for an investigative journalist, eh?).

We could share fun narwhal facts until the cows come home, but for now, we’ll just share these three:

  • About three-quarters of the world’s narwhals call Canada’s Arctic home each summer.
  • Narwhals — often called the unicorns of the sea — depend on sea ice, which is threatened by rapid climate change.
  • Narwhals have one of the deepest dives of any marine mammal and can dive up to 1.5 kilometres deep.

We can’t think of a better icon for a team of Canadian investigative journalists.

Our new website

You’ll notice several improvements on our new website based on your feedback. First and foremost, we wanted to make it easier for you to find all of our coverage on a given topic.

We also wanted to improve the mobile reading experience, since we know so many of you read our stories on your phones.

As with any big change, there are sure to be some kinks. We’d love to hear from you if you have any feedback on our new site (good or bad). Please e-mail us your thoughts at editor@thenarwhal.ca. We look forward to hearing from you!

The future is bright

We are incredibly excited about what the future holds for independent journalism in Canada.

Canadians are tired of the same old battles in the news, of politics that divide, rather than unite.

Our readers have proven time and time again that they’re willing to pay for high-quality, public interest journalism. If you’d like to support our journalism, be one of the first to Become a Narwhal today (pssst … it’s the only way to get your hands on one of our new t-shirts).

In the meantime, please take a look around the site, sign up for our newsletter and share with your friends.  

We are so thankful for all you have done to make this next phase possible and we can’t wait to serve even more Canadians.

Like a kid in a candy store
When those boxes of heavily redacted documents start to pile in, reporters at The Narwhal waste no time in looking for kernels of news that matter the most. Just ask our Prairies reporter Drew Anderson, who gleefully scanned through freedom of information files like a kid in a candy store, leading to pretty damning revelations in Alberta. Long story short: the government wasn’t being forthright when it claimed its pause on new renewable energy projects wasn’t political. Just like that, our small team was again leading the charge on a pretty big story

In an oil-rich province like Alberta, that kind of reporting is crucial. But look at our investigative work on TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline to the west, or our Greenbelt reporting out in Ontario. They all highlight one thing: those with power over our shared natural world don’t want you to know how — or why — they call the shots. And we try to disrupt that.

Our journalism is powered by people just like you. We never take corporate ad dollars, or put this public-interest information behind a paywall. Will you join the pod of Narwhals that make a difference by helping us uncover some of the most important stories of our time?
Like a kid in a candy store
When those boxes of heavily redacted documents start to pile in, reporters at The Narwhal waste no time in looking for kernels of news that matter the most. Just ask our Prairies reporter Drew Anderson, who gleefully scanned through freedom of information files like a kid in a candy store, leading to pretty damning revelations in Alberta. Long story short: the government wasn’t being forthright when it claimed its pause on new renewable energy projects wasn’t political. Just like that, our small team was again leading the charge on a pretty big story

In an oil-rich province like Alberta, that kind of reporting is crucial. But look at our investigative work on TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline to the west, or our Greenbelt reporting out in Ontario. They all highlight one thing: those with power over our shared natural world don’t want you to know how — or why — they call the shots. And we try to disrupt that.

Our journalism is powered by people just like you. We never take corporate ad dollars, or put this public-interest information behind a paywall. Will you join the pod of Narwhals that make a difference by helping us uncover some of the most important stories of our time?

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An illustration, in yellow, of a computer, with an open envelope inside it with letter reading 'Breaking news.'
Our newsletter subscribers are the first to find out when we break a major investigation. Want in? Sign up for free to get the inside scoop on The Narwhal’s environment and climate reporting.
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An illustration, in yellow, of a computer, with an open envelope inside it with letter reading 'Breaking news.'
Our newsletter subscribers are the first to find out when we break a major investigation. Want in? Sign up for free to get the inside scoop on The Narwhal’s environment and climate reporting.
Hey, are you on our list?
An illustration, in yellow, of a computer, with an open envelope inside it with letter reading 'Breaking news.'