, often called the Montreal Gazette
to avoid ambiguity, is now the only English-language
published in Montreal
, with three daily English newspapers having been shut down during the second half of the 20th century.
, Benjamin Franklin
founded The Gazette
, to help spread the cause of independence from Britain. In 1778
, Fleury Mesplet
, the printer who Franklin had brought with him from Philadelphia, carried on the mission with a French-language newspaper called La Gazette du commerce et littéraire, pour la ville et district de Montréal
. This paper was shut down in 1779, with Mesplet and the editor, Valentin Jautard
, being imprisoned. Mesplet began a second weekly in 1785, La Gazette de Montréal, which was the direct ancestor of today's Montreal Gazette. The Gazette evolved from a French-language newspaper to a dual French-English format to the present English-only paper.
For many years, The Gazette was caught in a three-way fight for the English newspaper audience in Montreal with the tabloid Montreal Herald and the Montreal Star. The Gazette was second in circulation to the Star, which sold more newspapers in the city and had a significant national reputation in the first half of the 20th century. The Herald closed in 1957, after publishing for 146 years. The Montreal Star, part of the FP chain (which owned The Globe and Mail and the Winnipeg Free Press), was hit by a long strike action and ceased publication in 1979, less than a year after the strike was settled.
In 1988, a competing English-language daily, The Montreal Daily News, was launched. The Daily News adopted a tabloid format and introduced a Sunday edition, forcing The Gazette to respond. After the Daily News folded in 1989, after less than two years in operation, The Gazette kept its Sunday edition going.
In 1968, The Gazette was acquired by the Southam newspaper chain, which owned major dailies across Canada. In 1996, the Southam papers were bought by Conrad Black's Hollinger Inc. Then in August, 2000, Hollinger sold the Southam newspapers, including The Gazette, to Canwest Global Communications Corp., controlled by the Winnipeg-based Asper family.
To celebrate its 150th anniversary, The Gazette published a facsimile of one of its earliest issues. Much effort was made to use a type of paper that imitated 18th century paper, with fake chainlines and laidlines to make the paper look old.
Today, The Gazette's audience is primarily Quebec's English-speaking minority, which accounts for about 8 per
cent of the population of the province. Out of the four dailies published in Montreal, the other three being the French-language newspapers (La Presse
, Le Journal de Montréal
, and Le Devoir
), The Gazette has the third largest circulation, behind Le Journal de Montréal and La Presse. Many francophones
(French mother tongue) also read English and more than half of the population of Montreal is bilingual. In recent years The Gazette has stepped up efforts to reach bilingual francophone professionals and adjusted its coverage accordingly. The publisher of The Gazette is Alan Allnutt
, who served as editor-in-chief of the paper from 1996 to 2000. Its editor-in-chief is Andrew Phillips
, a former editor of The Victoria Times-Colonist
who began his newspaper career as a junior reporter at The Gazette and later worked for CBC Television and Maclean's magazine.
Past and present Gazette personalities