It was founded in 1905 by Toronto journalist/entrepreneur Lt.-Col. John Bayne Maclean. The 43-year-old trade magazine publisher purchased an advertising agency's in-house business journal — along with its 5,000-strong subscription base. The Business Magazine, launched in October of that year, was a pocket-sized digest of articles gathered from Canadian, US and British periodicals. It sold 6,000 copies. Inside its bright blue cover, the fledgling monthly anointed itself, "the Cream of the World's magazines reproduced for Busy People." Its aim, Maclean wrote a year later, was not "merely to entertain but also to inspire its readers." It was later renamed Maclean's in 1911. The magazine switched from a general interst publication including fiction and gossip into a pure news magazine in the 1960s.
Today Maclean's remains one of Canada's leading source of news and information. Maclean's is also famous for its annual ranking of Canadian universites. Since 2001 it has been edited by Anthony Wilson-Smith. The magazine is now owned by the Rogers Media conglomerate.