The Globe and Mail is a Canadian English language nationally distributed newspaper, based in Toronto and printed in six cities across the country. With a weekly readership of 935 000, it is Canada's largest-circulation national newspaper and second-largest daily newspaper after the Toronto Star. The Globe and Mail is widely considered to be Canada's newspaper of record. It is owned by media conglomerate CTVglobemedia.
By the 1850s, The Globe had become an independent and well-regarded daily newspaper. It began distribution by railway to other cities in Ontario shortly after Canadian Confederation. At the dawn of the twentieth century, The Globe added photography, a women's section, and the slogan "Canada's National Newspaper," which remains on its front-page banner today. It began opening bureaus and offering subscriptions across Canada.
In 1936, The Globe (which had a circulation of 78,000 by this point) merged with The Mail and Empire (circulation 118,000), itself formed through a merger in 1895 between The Toronto Mail and Toronto Empire. The Mail was founded in 1872 by a rival of Brown's, Tory politician Sir John A. Macdonald. Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada and the founder of the party that spawned the modern Conservative Party of Canada, and The Mail served as a Conservative Party organ.
With the merger, The Globe became The Globe and Mail. Press reports at the time stated, "the minnow swallowed the whale". The merger was arranged by George McCullagh, who fronted for mining magnate William Henry Wright and became the first publisher of The Globe and Mail. McCullagh committed suicide in 1952, and the newspaper was sold to the Webster family of Montreal. As the paper lost ground to The Toronto Star in the local Toronto market, it began to expand its national circulation.
In 1965, the paper was bought by Winnipeg-based FP Publications controlled by Brig. Richard Malone, which owned a chain of local Canadian newspapers. FP put a strong emphasis on the Report on Business section that was launched in 1962, thereby building the paper's reputation as the voice of Toronto's business community. FP Publications and The Globe and Mail were sold in 1980 to the Thomson Group, a company run by the family of Kenneth Thomson.
The Globe and Mail has always been a morning newspaper. Since the 1980s, it has been printed in separate editions in six Canadian cities: Halifax, Montreal, Toronto (several editions), Winnipeg (actually printed in Brandon, Manitoba), Calgary and Vancouver. In 1995, the paper launched its Web site, globeandmail.com, which had its own content and journalists in addition to the content of the print newspaper. It later spawned a companion Web site, globeinvestor.com, focusing on financial and investment-related news. In 2004, access to some features of globeandmail.com became restricted to paid subscribers only.
Although the Thomson family has served as the figureheads of the paper since 1980 and remains its largest shareholder, control of the paper was sold to telecommunications company BCE Inc. in 2001. A year earlier BCE had also acquired CTV, a major private television network. With the sale, the Globe and CTV were merged into a new company named Bell Globemedia (now CTVglobemedia), which became a subsidiary of BCE with the Thomson family retaining a minority stake. In late 2005, BCE reduced its stake in Bell Globemedia, leaving the Thomson family, through its holding company Woodbridge, with a 40-percent stake. BCE, Torstar (owner of the Toronto Star) and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan each control a 20-percent stake.
While the paper was known as a generally conservative voice of the business establishment in the postwar decades, historian David Hayes, in a review of its positions, has noted that the Globe's editorials in this period "took a benign view of hippies and homosexuals; championed most aspects of the welfare state; opposed, after some deliberation, the Vietnam War; and supported legalizing marijuana." It was a 1967 Globe and Mail editorial that coined the phrase "The State has no place in the bedrooms of the nation," in defence of legalization of homosexuality. The line was later picked up by future Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to become one of his most famous slogans.
Under the editorship of William Thorsell in the 1980s and 1990s, the paper strongly endorsed the free trade policies of Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. The paper also became an outspoken proponent of the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Accord, with their editorial the day of the 1995 Quebec Referendum mostly quoting a Mulroney speech in favour of the Accord. During this period, the paper continued to favour such socially liberal policies as decriminalizing drugs (including cocaine, whose legalization was advocated most recently in a 1995 editorial) and expanding gay rights.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the paper generally supported the policies of Liberal Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. In the 2006 federal election, the paper turned away from the Liberals to Stephen Harper's Conservative Party of Canada.
Other satirical nicknames for the paper include Mop and Pail or Grope and Flail, both of which were coined by longtime Globe and Mail humour columnist Richard J. Needham. The University of British Columbia student paper the Ubyssey published a parody issue titled Glib and Male. The spring 2008 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism referenced the nickname "Old and Male" for the paper's employee base and perceived target audience.
Since the launch of the National Post as another English-language national paper in 1998, some industry analysts have proclaimed a "national newspaper war" between The Globe and Mail and the National Post. Thus far, however, The Globe and Mail has continued to outsell the National Post.
On April 23, 2007, the paper introduced significant changes to its print design and also introduced a new unified navigation system to its websites. The paper added a "lifestyle" section to the Monday-Friday editions, entitled Globe Life, which has been described as an attempt to attract readers from the rival Toronto Star. Additionally, the paper followed other North American papers by dropping detailed stock listings in print and by shrinking the printed paper to a 12-inch width.