Fonds F 138 - Maclean Hunter Limited fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Maclean Hunter Limited fonds

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Reference code

CA ON00009 F 138

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  • 1887-1999 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

85 metres of textual records
24500 photographs : prints, negatives, and slides
5 audio cassettes
14 video cassettes
1 plaque

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Administrative history

Maclean - Hunter Limited was a major Canadian publisher, from 1945 to 1994, of over 130 special interest magazines and 70 business periodicals; it also had stakes in the newspaper publishing industry, the radio and television industry, and the cable industry.

In 1945, John Bayne MacLean reorganized his MacLean Publishing Company as the Maclean - Hunter Publishing Company, with company president Horace Talmadge Hunter playing a more prominent role. Subsequently the name of the company was changed yet again to Maclean-Hunter Limited. After Horace T. Hunter, subsequent presidents of company included: Floyd S. Chalmers, Donald F. Hunter, and Donald G. Campbell.

Maclean-Hunter was the largest Canadian publisher in its time, putting forth over 130 magazines and 70 periodicals, including Maclean's Magazine, Flare, L’Actualité, Chatelaine, and, until 1987, the Financial Post. The company also published in the US and Europe, including many business periodicals. In March of 1973, MacLean-Hunter Limited completed financial arrangements for the purchase of The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited. Donald Campbell became Chairman of the Board, and George Gilmour, who was Vice-President in charge of the Maclean - Hunter Business Publications Division, became President and Chief Executive Officer of Macmillan.

With time, Maclean - Hunter became a diversified communications company, maintaining a majority interest in Toronto Sun Publishing Corporation, publishers of the Toronto Sun, Edmonton Sun, Calgary Sun and Ottawa Sun. It also developed interests in the radio and television and cable industries. As a broadcaster, the company’s holdings included the CTV affiliate CFCN-TV in Calgary and Lethbridge and 22 radio stations located in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Chatham-Wallaceburg, Ottawa, Sarnia, Leamington and throughout the Maritimes. It was also the third largest cable television operator in Canada, controlling 16 cable systems in 20 communities in Ontario, servicing over 700,000 subscribers in Ontario and the US. Other interests included book distribution, commercial printing, business forms, trade shows and specialized information services.

In 1994, Rogers Communications Ltd. gained control of Maclean-Hunter Limited.

Name of creator


Administrative history

MacLean Publishing Company Limited was a major publishing house in Canada from 1891 to 1945, producing many popular magazines and periodicals, including Maclean's Magazine, the Financial Post, and numerous trade publications.

The company history of the MacLean Publishing Company began with the founding of the Grocer Publishing Company by John B. MacLean on 26 September 1887, with capital partially supplied by MacLean's mentor, Thomas W. Dyas. It published one monthly, The Canadian Grocer. Low initial sales prompted MacLean to bring his brother Hugh C. MacLean, a printer by trade, into the business after the third issue of The Grocer. Thereafter the company prospered, launching new trade magazines such as Hardware and Metal, Dry Goods Review, and Printer and Publisher.

On April 30, 1891, the brothers incorporated as the J.B. MacLean Publishing Company of Toronto Limited. During the 1890s the head office of the company was briefly relocated to Montreal but returned to Toronto in 1905, upon which the company soon launched Canadian Machinery and Busy Man's Magazine, later to be renamed Maclean's Magazine, as well as the Financial Post, Plumber and Steamfitter, and The Power House.

On 31 December 1918, John B. MacLean transferred all publishing business owned and carried on by him personally to the J.B. MacLean Publishing Company of Toronto. Within six months, on 1 May 1919, the company changed its name to the MacLean Publishing Company Limited, launching Mayfair Magazine in 1927 and Chatelaine in 1928.

In addition to MacLeans, the company's executive included Horace Talmadge Hunter (1881-1961), who had started as an advertising representative for Hardware and Metal in 1903 and later was made business manager for Plumber and Steamfitter in 1907. In 1911 he was appointed General Manager of the John B. McLean Publishing Company of Toronto and was made Vice-President in 1916. He became President of the MacLean Publishing Company in 1934. Recognition of Hunter's increased importance came with the reorganization of the business as the Maclean-Hunter Publishing Company in 1945.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the corporate records of Maclean Hunter Limited, including minutes of meetings, financial records, annual reports, records of various presidents and vice-presidents, records of various divisions (advertising, business publications, magazines, industrial and trade shows, broadcast divisions), Financial Post records, and records of Macmillan of Canada Ltd.

For a more detailed description, use this link to the Archives of Ontario's descriptive database:

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The majority of the Maclean-Hunter fonds was donated to the Archives of Ontario in 1975, with subsequent additions in 1977, 1978, 1990, 1994, 2000 and 2003.


Fonds contains the following series: General Records, 1890-1969 (Series A); Presidential Papers, 1887-1969 (Series B); Vice-Presidential Papers, 1921-1958 (Series C); Advertising, 1942-1976 (Series D); Business Publications Division Records, 1942- 1972 (Series E); Magazine Division Records, 1938-1971 (Series F); Maclean-Hunter Publishing Corporation, U.S.A., 1961-1965 (Series G); Industrial And Trade Shows Division, 1965-1977 (Series H); George Gilmour Files, 1973-1978; J.L. Craig, Business Publications And General Files, 1964- 1973; Ronald McEchren Files, 1963-1969; Keith Campbell Files, 1975-1976; Herb Marshall, Broadcast Division Files, 1978- 1979; J.P. Martin Files, 1974- 1975, 1977; Harvey Botting Files, 1959-1970.

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Restrictions on access

Access to records younger than 30 years is available only with written permission from the President of Maclean-Hunter, or his or her Executive Assistant. Some materials received by the Archives of Ontario recently are accessible only through the discretion of the archivist as they have not yet been arranged and described. Contact a Reference Archivist for more information.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright transferred to Archives of Ontario by donor. No restrictions on reproduction or publication of material for which the donor is authorized to transfer the copyright to the Archives Other material may require permission of third party copyright holders.

Finding aids

For a more detailed description, use this link to the Archives of Ontario's descriptive database:

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Rev. Junje/12.

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