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The paper publishes weekly on all campuses during the fall and winter semesters and online throughout the year, along with two seasonal magazines.
Originally a broadsheet daily, it now issues in compact form. The paper's primary focus is on campus affairs and local news.
The Varsity usually assumes a centre-left stance on political affairs. The paper is published by Varsity Publications, a not-for-profit corporation, and is primarily financed by advertisement revenues with subsidies from a student levy.
At the height of debate on coeducation in 1880, The Varsity published an article in its inaugural issue voicing in favour of admitting women.
In 1895, the suspension of The Varsity's editor, James Tucker, led Latin Professor Dale to publicly attack the administration in The Globe, which in turn led to his own dismissal. University College students then approved a motion by Varsity staff member William Lyon Mackenzie King and boycotted lectures for a week. This is significant for William Lyon Mackenzie King's involvement as a member of the Varsity editorial staff and student leader. He would later become Canada's longest serving Prime Minister.
After Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau decriminalized homosexuality in 1969, a medical research assistant placed an advertisement in The Varsity seeking volunteers to establish the first university homophile association in Canada.
In 2017, The Varsity began publishing a Chinese-language edition of the newspaper on their website.
- Barbara Amiel, journalist, Maclean's columnist, socialite, spouse of Conrad Black
- Peter Gzowski, broadcaster and reporter, host of CBC's Morningside (1982–1997)
- Michael Ignatieff, public intellectual, academic at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Member of Parliament, and former Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
- Michael Kesterton, columnist for The Globe and Mail
- William Lyon Mackenzie King, 10th Prime Minister of Canada
- Mark Kingwell, professor of the University of Toronto, senior fellow of Massey College
- Naomi Klein, journalist, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine
- David Megginson, computer software developer
- Graham F. Scott, managing editor of Canadian Business
- Dennis Choquette, national editor of The Globe and Mail
- Linda McQuaig, Toronto Star columnist
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- Bob Rae, Rhodes Scholar, 21st Premier of Ontario, Member of Parliament
- Edward Roberts, 11th Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Frank Shuster and Johnny Wayne, comedians, best known for the comedy duo Wayne and Shuster
- Isabel Vincent, journalist for the National Post, former correspondent for 'The Globe and Mail
- Clive Thompson, journalist and science and technology writer for Wired (magazine)
- Conan Tobias, editor of Taddle Creek
- Jason Szep, Pulitzer Prize winner and International Affairs Editor with Reuters
- "What was front page news in the inaugural issue of the student paper The Varsity in 1880?". History Q & A. University of Toronto Department of Public Affairs. 2002. Retrieved 2007-07-19.[dead link]
- Q&A: What made the "blood fairly boil" in U of T student and future prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1895? Archived 2007-08-20 at the Wayback Machine
- "What made the "blood fairly boil" in U of T student and future prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1895?". History Q & A. University of Toronto Department of Public Affairs. 2002. Retrieved 2007-09-24.[dead link]
- Marshall, David B. (2000). "Dale, William". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- Bébout, Rick (January 2000). "Conception & birth". On the Origins of the Body Politic. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- Shrinkhala Dawadi (12 October 2017). "The Varsity Launches Chinese-language Edition". The Canadian Journalism Project. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
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