Canada has a well-established, diverse and free print press that has a long history dating back several centuries. Unlike the broadcast media in Canada, which is often overshadowed by American programming, the print press in Canada is very independent, popular and despite losing market share to the internet, is still doing well financially.
The Canadian government does not regulate content or production of printed materials in Canada (except where hate speech laws are concerned). Regulations do exist, however, in regards to media ownership. While the regulations are somewhat lax, they do provide a tiny bit of anti-trust protection.
This hasn’t stopped major media outlets from franchising their operations. The TorStar group, which operates the left-wing paper The Toronto Star, also prints Star-like newspapers in every major city. The Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Halifax Herald, and the Metro News chain are all owned and operated by TorStar. TorStar also owns the global Harlequin publishing group, which distributes pulp romance novels to lonely housewives around the world.
One of Canada’s oldest and most respected national newspapers is The Globe and Mail. This paper stays fairly centrist in its views and has been around since 1844, making it Canada’s first national newspaper. Ernest Hemingway and Walter Cronkite both began their journalism careers with The Globe and Mail, and the newspaper continues to attract talented journalists and writers from around the world today.
With a circulation of more than 1 million readers daily, The Globe and Mail continues to be one of Canada’s premier national newspapers.
The newest competitor to The Globe and Mail’s dominance of the Canadian national market is Conrad Black’s brainchild, the conservative-leaning National Post. Founded in 1998, Conrad Black founded the Post to give voice to Canada’s conservatives in what he saw as a liberal-dominated media.
The National Post has been criticized for its unwavering support of Israel (calling Hezbollah “cockroaches” in one editorial) and its unapologizing pro-life stance on the abortion debate. Nevertheless, the newspaper is well-written, informative and intelligent and approaches subjects with journalistic integrity at heart. The National Post has gone on to become Canada’s third most popular daily broadsheet, with a circulation of over 1 million.
Quebec is home to a very heated newspaper market. Big dailies like the Montreal Gazette, an English-language newspaper for Quebec’s anglophone minority, compete with separatist dailies such as Le Devoir, Quebec’s major French-language daily and the world’s second-largest French language newspaper.
The Montreal Gazette was founded in 1778, making it one of the oldest regional newspapers in North America that still operates today. With a daily circulation of around 20,000 readers, it remains one of the more popular newspapers in Quebec.
Le Devoir is Quebec’s major French-language newspaper, which has more readership than Le Journal, La Presse and other French-language publications. Le Devoir was founded in 1910 by Quebec nationalist Henri Bourassa and has been a trumpet for Quebec nationalism and French-style social democracy ever since. With a circulation of nearly 100,000, Le Devoir is Quebec’s most popular newspaper.
It’s not all broadsheet journalism in Canada. The far-right Sun News group owns and operates several Sun tabloid newspapers across the country. The Toronto Sun is the biggest and most popular, but offshoots such as the Ottawa Sun and Calgary Sun are also big crowd pleasers.
The Sun is known for it’s big sensationalist headlines, conservative editorials and the ever-contraversial but popular “Sunshine Girl” found at the back of the newspaper. With a focus on sports, particularly hockey, conservative politics and women in bikinis, it’s no wonder that the Sun network is most popular among men in Canada.
Several former TorStar newspapers have since been bought-out by independent owners and gone their own way. City newspaper dailies such as the Victoria Times-Colonist, the Windsor Star and one of the biggest, the Ottawa Citizen, are now successful independent publications.
It’s not all newspapers in Canada’s vibrant print industry. Weekly and monthly magazines also fill shelves at convenience stores, supermarkets and pharmacies, all with a distinctly Canadian outlook on the world. Canada’s longest-running and most successful weekly news magazine is Maclean’s.
Founded in 1905 by Toronto journalist John Maclean, the magazine has gone on to gain a circulation of nearly 2 million readers a century later, making it the most popular magazine in Canada.
A host of other Canadian magazines fill the shelves as well, including the ever-popular Chatelaine, a women’s monthly digest with a focus on family, fashion, health and career. Chatelaine is one of the most popular women’s magazines in Canada. It offers non-sensational, informative and real-life articles for Canada’s modern women, and is the only women’s magazine in Canada that outsells lewd publications such as Cosmo.
A direct competitor to Maclean’s is the left-leaning The Walrus, a monthly magazine that is short on news but long on commentary. For the involved reader who can do without flashy graphics and sensational headlines, The Walrus is an academic and intelligent magazine.
Quebec’s biggest French-language newsmagazine, L’Actualite, has a large reader base and stays fairly centrist in its approach to journalism and editorials.
Some other Canadian magazines of note include: