The Canadian Sportsman, Canada’s oldest magazine, will cease publishing in December 2013. Dedicated to the sport of harness horse racing, The Canadian Sportsman produced its first edition in 1870 and ran continuously for 143 years.
“Several factors have led to this very difficult decision,” said Canadian Sportsman president Gary Foerster. “Print magazines face unprecedented challenges in the digital age and the demographics served by the magazine pose their own unique challenges.”
There has also been a severe contraction of the industry expedited by recent government policies in Ontario.
“Our major source of advertising revenue has traditionally come from Ontario horse breeders. Since the Ontario Liberal government under then Premier Dalton McGuinty announced in 2012 that it was scrapping the Slots At Racetrack Program (SARP) in just a matter of months, the breeders have suffered dramatic losses. The adverse financial circumstances visited on the breeders, and the industry at large, have been reflected in our advertising sales and subscription revenue which have plummeted to the point where, after nearly a century and a half, this magazine is no longer economically viable,” Foerster said.
“The current Ontario government has announced some details of a plan designed to support racing on a vastly reduced scale. Regrettably, we do not envision a scenario whereby our publication can continue to exist.”
The Canadian Sportsman’s printing division, Sportswood Printing, which underwent a recent major expansion into digital printing and with further expansion plans to be announced soon, remains in full operation.
The Canadian Sportsman has been a fixture for generations of families involved in racing. Our Sportsman family includes a staff of 27 in either full time, contract or freelance positions including publisher and editor Dave Briggs and assistant editor Lauren Lee.
“Dave and Lauren have done a tremendous job at the Sportsman,” Foerster said, noting that the magazine has won 17 awards for editorial excellence in just the past three years. “Both have a real passion for the racing industry and I cannot thank them, and all our writers, enough for their dedication to this publication and for the exceptional body of work they have produced.
“I also want to note the contributions of our two outstanding photographers Dave Landry and Claus Andersen. Over the years they have captured incredible images of the sport for our readers.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our advertisers and readers who have supported us for such a long time,” Foerster said. “People in the racing business are the best anyone will ever meet. It has truly been an honour to serve them through the pages of our historic magazine.”
More details on the closing of The Canadian Sportsman magazine, including information on subscriber refunds, will be contained in its farewell edition in December.
(The Canadian Sportsman)