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Life and career
Born in Toronto, Ontario in 1928, Byfield moved with his parents to Washington, D.C. at the age of 17. He began his journalism career as a copy boy for the Washington Post. He returned to Canada in 1948 and worked at the Ottawa Journal and Timmins Daily Press. In 1952 he moved west to join the Winnipeg Free Press. Covering the city hall beat in Winnipeg, he once crawled into an air conditioning duct in order to eavesdrop on a secret city council meeting enabling him to get a scoop on a funding scandal.
In the 1950s, Byfield became interested in the religious writings of C.S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton and underwent a religious conversion. He worked with parishioners at Winnipeg's St. John's Cathedral to found a private Anglican school (Saint John's Cathedral Boys' School) and, in 1962, left journalism in order to become a history teacher at the new school. In 1968, he moved to Edmonton to found a second St. John's school west of the city (Saint John's School of Alberta), at Genesee, Alberta, near Edmonton.
Byfield decided to return to journalism in 1973 and launched the St. John's Edmonton Report, a local news magazine and later the St. John's Calgary Report in 1977 and then merged the two into Alberta Report in 1979 and then Western Report in 1983. B.C. Report was formed from B.C. portion of the Western Report subscribers in 1989 (which shared a third of its content with Alberta Report). B.C. Report also launched an initial public offering on the Vancouver Stock Exchange in 1990. In addition to covering news from a conservative viewpoint, the Report magazines challenged the prevailing Zeitgeist with regard to crime, homosexuality, abortion, and public education.
Until the 1980s the schools were run by lay religious order called the Company of the Cross, which paid employees $1.00 per day plus room and board. His magazines were originally run by the same group and the staff paid the same "wage", while living in a communal apartment building, a three-story walk-up in Edmonton on 149 Street and 91st Avenue called "Waverly Place."
The magazines articulated a growing sentiment of Western Canadian discontent and alienation. Byfield was one of the inspirations behind the founding of the Reform Party of Canada, was the key-note speaker at their inaugural meeting of the Reform Party in Winnipeg and coined the phrase "The West Wants In." Byfield's son, Link Byfield succeeded him as publisher but was unable to staunch the periodicals' declining circulation. Vincent Byfield, who had worked at the magazines from the start as a boy at age eight in 1973 and went on to manage B.C. Report in 1989, left in 1996. In 1997 all remaining subscribers were consolidated. In 2003 "Report Magazine" ceased publication.
He is currently the president and chairman of SEARCH (The Society to Explore and Record Christian History) and general editor of the Christian history book series The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years.
Ted Byfield and his wife Virginia (who predeceased her husband) had six children, two of whom, Philippa and Link, predeceased their father.
- Biography on a religious website, accessed 12 Aug 2007 Archived 12 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- . SEARCH has been managed by son Vincent Byfield since 2011.
- "Fourteen Albertans to receive a Senate 150th Medal in recognition of significant contributions made to their communities – Betty Unger, Alberta Senator". bettyunger.ca. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
- Profile, thecanadianencyclopedia.com, January 25, 1999.