Huntsville sells to Metroland

The Huntsville (ON) Forester, published by five generations of the Rice family over the past 125 years, was sold to Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing on Tuesday. The deal includes the Forester, the Almaguin Forester and the remaining shares of the Muskoka Advance and the Muskoka District Weekender.

The papers will be managed by the expanding Simcoe County Division under the leadership of Vice President and Regional Publisher Joe Anderson.

In her editorial this week, publisher Elizabeth Rice Aben wrote, “Some may condemn me for ÔÇÿselling outÔÇÖ my family heritage. Well, so be it. But over time I have come to the humbling realization that ownership of a newspaper means nothing. It is the people behind the title on the masthead who make the difference. Those people are still here. Long-time sales manager Bill Allen has been named general manager of the Huntsville Forester and the Almaguin Forester. Bruce Hickey continues in his role as managing editor, and the voice on the phone is the same friendly voice you have come to expect. I have also come to realize that a community newspaper is only as vital as the community it covers and the readers it serves. That isnÔÇÖt changing, either. There is no more vibrant and interesting a community in all of Ontario than Huntsville.”

Rice Aben will continue on with the company during the transitional phase. As a gesture of giving back to her community, the Rice family and the Forester have committed $100,000 to the building of the Chrysalis womenÔÇÖs shelter in Huntsville.

According to OCNA records, the only fifth-generation newspaper publishing family remaining in the province is that of the Perth Courier, led by publisher John Clement. Eighteen OCNA member newspapers have changed hands to date this year, of which 15 have been purchased by corporate groups: 10 by Metroland, three by Osprey and two by Sun Media.