Toronto Star

The Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper, was established in 1892. In 1899 its Liberal proprietors hired Joseph E. Atkinson to run the paper; by 1913 he had become the majority shareholder. Until Atkinson's death in 1948, the Star reflected the highly personal style of journalism he preferred. Stressing human interest and local issues over broader coverage, Atkinson made his paper dominant in the Toronto area, and then across the south-central portion of Ontario. At the same time, he maintained a liberal attitude to public affairs, and used his newspaper to advocate a left of centre point of view. In 1910 he established the Toronto Star Weekly, which plugged the gap left by the absence of Sunday newspapers in Canada.

Writing at the Star was determinedly lively. In the 1920s and 1930s, writers included Morley Callaghan, Ernest Hemingway, Gordon Sinclair and Gregory Clark. The Star's political stand earned it the enmity of Ontario's Conservative government during the 1940s, and after Atkinson's death there was a spectacular battle between the Government of Ontario and the Atkinson Foundation. Under Harry Hindmarsh, Atkinson's son-in-law, the Star became more partisan and was closely identified with the federal Liberal Party. After Hindmarsh's death in 1956, the paper recovered some of its independence, although it continued to favour the nationalist wing of the Liberal Party and particularly its spokesman, Walter Gordon.

The 1960s and 1970s brought expansion and prosperity to the Star, which dominated the Toronto evening newspaper field after the demise of its longtime rival, The Toronto Telegram, in 1971. A Sunday edition and finally a morning edition appeared. The largest-circulation daily in Canada, the Toronto Star was, until recently, independently owned. Since 1 March 1999, however, the Toronto Star has been affiliated with 4 other dailies through the TorStar Newspaper Group. Members of the TorStar Group include the Hamilton Spectator, the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, the Guelph Mercury and the Cambridge Reporter. TorStar purchased these papers from Quebecor for $335 million.

See also newspapers.