Torstar Corporation
Traded as TSX: TS.B
Industry Mass media
Founded 1958
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Key people
David Holland, President
Number of employees
7,000 (2012)[1]
One Yonge Street, the Torstar headquarters

Torstar Corporation is a Canadian media and publishing company. The company is primarily a publisher of daily and community papers, including its flagship and namesake, the Toronto Star.


Torstar was founded after the Ontario government passed a law barring the provisions of late-Toronto Star owner Joseph Atkinson's will from being enacted. Atkinson had bequeathed the newspaper to a charitable organization he had founded. The Progressive Conservative provincial government of George Drew passed a law banning charitable organizations from operating profitable entities such as newspapers. Rather than sell the newspaper, the trustees of the Atkinson Foundation bought out the Star privately and founded Torstar as a private corporation.[2]

On November 26, 2010, it was announced that the Canadian Press news agency would be taken over by a for-profit corporation, with Torstar serving as one of its investors.[3] In December 2011, Torstar acquired a 25% minority stake in specialty television channel owner Blue Ant Media.[4]


Torstar's media operations are divided into three primary divisions, Star Media Group, Metroland Media Group, and Digital Ventures (VerticalScope)

Star Media Group

The Star Media Group division primarily comprises the Toronto Star and its associated properties, Torstar Syndication Services, the commuter paper Metro in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Halifax. The division also owns a stake in the Canadian edition of the Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily.

Metroland Media Group

The Metroland Media Group division owns two daily newspapers—The Hamilton Spectator and the Waterloo Region Record as well as more than 100 community papers, and other community-oriented properties.


On July 29, 2015, Torstar announced its acquisition of a 56% majority stake in VerticalScope, a Toronto-based operator of online communities, for $200 million. The company operates websites and message boards that focus on niche categories—particularly within the automotive industry. Torstar CEO David Holland explained that the purchase was designed to bolster the company's presence in digital media.[5]

Other investments

Torstar owns a 20% stake in the Victoria, British Columbia-based newspaper publisher Black Press.[6]

Past investments

Torstar launched a weekly celebrity-based magazine called Scoop in 2005, which folded one year later.

Though newspapers have been accused of missing the internet "revolution", in the early 1990s, Torstar became a pioneering investor in the early internet via its purchase of shares in JCI Technologies which created Jobmatch, Automatch and Realtymatch (an MLS search service). In 1995, JCI was selected to be one of the first content providers selected for Microsoft's MSN network prior to MSN's launch in the mid-1990s. By early 1996, JCI potentially had a dominant position in Canada's on-line classified ads with Southam also taking a stake in the company. Shortly after Conrad Black's Hollinger took over of Southam, financing for JCI was pulled and the investment failed just prior to the internet boom of the late 1990s.

Between late 2005 and early 2011, Torstar also held a 20% stake in CTVglobemedia, a Canadian media company which broke up when BCE Inc., the parent company of Bell Canada, purchased the company's media assets.[7] This caused some controversy because CTVgm owned The Globe and Mail, a competing newspaper to Torstar's own Toronto Star. There were no editorial hurdles between the two newspapers however. Torstar announced in September 2010 it had entered into agreements to sell its shares. The sale was completed in 2011.

On May 2, 2014, Torstar announced the sale of Harlequin Enterprises, a publisher of romance novels, to HarperCollins for $415 million.[8][9]

Corporate governance

Current members of the board of directors of Torstar are:

See also


  1. "Company Profile for Torstar Corp (CA;TS.B)". Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  2. Atkinson Principles - TORSTAR CORPORATION. (2011-12-16). Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  3. Dana Flavelle (2010-11-26). "Major publishers invest in Canada's oldest news agency". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  4. "Torstar acquires 25 per cent stake in Blue Ant Media". Toronto Star. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  5. "Struggling Torstar wagers $200-million on a niche digital company". The Globe and Mail. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  6. "Is spinoff in the cards?". Financial Post. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  7. Kiladze, Tim (13 September 2010). "Torstar walks away from BCE-CTV smiling". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  8. "News Corp. to Buy Harlequin for $415M". ABC News. May 2, 2014. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  9. Greenfield, Jeremy Greenfield (May 2, 2014). "News Corp Acquires Harlequin, Adds to HarperCollins Portfolio". Digital Book World.
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