20 November 2013
Oldest mag in Canada reaches the end
STRAFFORDVILLE, ON—The Canadian Sportsman, touted as Canada's oldest magazine, will release its final issue with the December edition, ending its amazing 143-year run of uninterrupted publication.

The Canadian Sportsman's printing division, Sportswood Printing, will remain in business. It recently expanded into digital printing and says further expansion plans will be announced soon. Its clients include a range of magazines and a major Canadian fitness brand.


The Canadian Sportsman launched in 1870

Company president Gary Foerster says several factors led to the monthly magazine's demise. "Print magazines face unprecedented challenges in the digital age and the demographics served by the magazine pose their own unique challenges," he said in a release.

Dave Briggs, publisher and editor, expanded on those "unique challenges" in a conversation with PrintCAN, explaining that a 2012 decision by the Ontario government to scrap the Slots at Racetrack Program (SARP) financially devastated the province's horse breeders and racing industry. The $345-million-a-year SARP helped support the racing industry and generated over $1 billion for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. annually according to The Toronto Star.

Briggs pegs resulting job losses at 9-10,000. "The way they ended it was so abrupt it didn't allow people to transition out of the industry," he said. As breeders lost money and some fell by the wayside, Canadian Sportsman lost a significant number of advertising clients and subscribers, its main revenue streams.

The Canadian Sportsman staff includes 27 full-time, contract and freelance workers, including assistant editor Lauren Lee, and Briggs, who has been with the mag for 18 years.

The final issue will be oversized at 9.5 x 13", returning to its old dimensions after a cost-cutting switch to 8.5 x 11" in recent years. It will also include a number of tributes and contributor memories. "We'd like people to get a sense of who we were for 143 years," said Briggs.

A version of this story first appeared on our sister site Masthead.


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