Milestones in Torstar History


    1892
    The first edition of The Evening Star appears in Toronto on Nov. 3. The four-page paper, published by 21 printers locked out at the Toronto News, sold for one cent.

    1899
    Joseph E. Atkinson is named as managing editor of the Star. He eventually acquired controlling interest of the paper and served as its publisher until his death in 1948.

    1901
    With Toronto in the grip of one of the worst heat waves on record, the Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund is created to help underprivileged children escape the summer heat.

    1906
    The Toronto Star’s Santa Claus Fund is established with the goal of ensuring no child under 13 was overlooked at Christmas.

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    1929
    The Toronto Star moves into new 23-storey building at 80 King Street West, describedas one of the most impressive buildings in downtown Toronto.

    1942
    The Atkinson Charitable Foundation is incorporated.

    1948
    Joseph E. Atkinson dies, leaving the Toronto Star to the Atkinson Charitable Foundation.

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    1949
    Ontario government moves to ban charities from owning a controlling interest in a private company, but gives Atkinson Charitable Foundation seven years to sell the Toronto Star.

    1949
    Harlequin is launched by Richard and Mary Bonnycastle of Winnipeg. The first book is The Manatee by Nancy Bruff. It sells for 25 cents.

    1958
    The Toronto Star is purchased by Toronto Star Ltd., owned by the five trustees of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation – J.S. Atkinson, Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh, Beland Honderich, Burnett Thall and William J. Campbell after promising to uphold the longstanding traditions of the Toronto Star. The purchase price is $25.5 million, the highest price paid to that date for a newspaper property anywhere.

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    1970
    Torstar's Class B non-voting shares listed publicly on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

    1970
    Harlequin Reader Service begins selling books through direct mail, filling requests from readers for titles they cannot find in local bookstores.

    1971
    The Toronto Star moves its operations from 80 King Street W. to One Yonge Street.

    1971
    Harlequin acquires Mills & Boon, a long-established British publishing house.

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    1975
    Toronto Star Ltd. acquires a controlling interest in Harlequin Enterprises.  In 1981 Torstar acquires the remaining interest.

    1977
    Toronto Star Ltd. is renamed Torstar Corporation.

    1981
    Metroland is established upon the merger of Torstar's Metrospan Community Newspapers and Inland Publishing Company, previously owned by the Telegram Corporation.  The combined operation initially publishes fewer than 25 weekly newspapers.  Metroland expands in the 1980s and 1990s to more than 100 newspapers.

    1984
    Harlequin acquires Silhouette Books from Simon & Schuster.

    1985
    Torstar and Southam sign a share exchange agreement under which Torstar acquires a 20-per-cent interest in Southam and Southam acquires 30 per cent of Torstar's non-voting shares.  Torstar and Southam each subsequently sell their interests in 1992.

    1989
    Torstar acquires an interest in Hebdo Mag, a classified-advertisement magazine company.  Hebdo Mag expands significantly in Canada and internationally in the 1990s.  Torstar sells its majority interest in 1997.

    1992
    New $400-million Toronto Star press centre opens just outside Toronto in Vaughan.

    1994
    Harlequin enters the single title publishing industry with MIRA Books, its mainstream women’s fiction imprint.

    1994
    Torstar enters the children's supplemental education publishing industry in the U.S. through the acquisition of Frank Shaffer Publications.  Torstar acquires additional educational publishers over the next several years, but sells  its interests in this area by 2003.

    1996
    The Toronto Star launches thestar.com,which grows into one of the most-visited news websites in Canada.

    1996
    The Toronto Star launches  the Toronto Star Television, a direct response teleshopping ShopTV channel, which is later re-named ShopTV Canada.

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    1998
    Torstar acquires an interest in the Sing Tao Daily Newspaper.

    1998
    Torstar partners with City Search and Bell Canada's Yellow Pages business to launch toronto.com, a leading Internet website for entertainment and event news and information.  Today, toronto.com is 100-per-cent owned by Torstar.

    1999
    Torstar acquires The Hamilton Spectator, the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, the Guelph Mercury and the Cambridge Reporter.

    2000
    Harlequin establishes eHarlequin.com, with a focus on creating a community for readers and authors and selling books.

    2000
    Workopolis, a leading job-search website, is founded as a partnership between the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. Workopolis ownership now reflects a 50/50 partnership with Square Victoria Digital Properties Inc., a subsidiary of Power Corporation.

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    2001
    Torstar joins Sweden-based Metro International to form Metro Toronto, a free daily newspaper. Metro later expands to Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa, London, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, London (Ontario) and also Halifax, which is jointly owned with Transcontinental.

    2002
    Torstar acquires a 19.35-per-cent interest in Black Press, a western Canada publisher of community newspapers.

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    2003
    Metroland acquires The Hamilton Community News group and the Fairway community newspaper group (Kitchener area).

    2005
    Torstar Digital is created to pursue digital media opportunities and to coordinate Torstar’s media segment’s digital strategy.

    2006
    Torstar acquires a 20-per-cent interest in CTVglobemedia, which subsequently acquired CHUM Ltd. later in 2006.  Torstar sells its interest in 2011.

    2006
    Olive Media, a leader in online advertising sales, is established by Torstar Digital.  Square Victoria Digital Properties Inc., a subsidiary of Power Corporation, now holds a 25-per-cent interest.

    2007
    Harlequin becomes the first major North American publisher to publish 100 per cent of its front list titles as ebooks.

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    2007-2010

    Torstar acquires and launches a number of websites including Insurancehotline.com, Flyerland.ca, Goldbook.ca, Eye Return Marketing, Travelalerts.ca and Save.ca.

    2010
    Torstar, together with Square Victoria Communications Group and The Globe and Mail, jointly invest in Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., a company established to acquire the operations of The Canadian Press news agency.

    2010
    Torstar Digital enters the rapidly growing group-buying space through the acquisition of online start-up, Wagjag.com.

    2011
    Torstar increases ownership of its Metro operation to 90 per cent.

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    2011
    Metroland acquires Performance Printing Ltd. of Smiths Falls, Ontario, a newspaper publisher and flyer distributor as well as a commercial printer with operations in several Eastern Ontario communities, including Kingston, Belleville, Brockville, Smiths Falls and Ottawa.

    2011
    Torstar acquires an approximate 25-per-cent interest in Blue Ant Media Inc., a newly established independent media company with interests in a number specialty televisioin channels and digital properties led by media veteran Michael MacMillan.

    2014
    Torstar sells Harlequin to a division of HarperCollins Publishers, a News Corp subsidiary.

    2015
    Torstar acquires 56% interest in VerticalScope, a leading North American vertically focused digital media company.

    2017
    Torstar completed a transaction with Postmedia Network Inc in which Torstar purchased and sold a number of daily and community newspapers. Torstar continues to operate the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review, Welland Tribune and Peterborough Examiner acquired from Postmedia.

    2020
    Torstar acquired by NordStar Capital, an entity owned by Toronto businessmen Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett.

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