The Guelph Mercury will stop publishing its print edition as of Friday, the paper's publisher Donna Luelo told CBC News in an email Monday.

No staff will remain at the paper, Luelo said. 

"Monday was a tough day and the staff were very sad," said Luelo in the email. 

"The Guelph Mercury has a great team; their concern was for each other, the hundreds of carriers that delivered the newspapers and the thousands of subscribers that invited us into their homes six days a week." 

'It's very much a loss.' - Chris Clark, former editor of the Guelph Tribune

Luelo said the Mercury will continue to have a web presence, but that it's too early to say where that content will come from. 

"The decision was not made lightly, but the decline of classified and national advertising in recent years has made it impossible for the printed copy of the daily newspaper to remain profitable," Luelo said in a release published on the paper's website. 

Without the physical paper, 23 full-time and three part-time employees will lose their jobs. Eight jobs will be lost in the Mercury's editorial department. 

In the release, owner Metroland Media Group said it will provide severance packages to affected employees. It's not yet clear what will happen with the Mercury's website. 

'Intensely local' paper

The Guelph Mercury was first established as a local daily newspaper in 1867, making it one of the oldest daily papers in the country. 

The paper's motto is "intensely local" and in 1950, it committed to putting 25 stories and 75 local names in every issue, according to the paper's website.

Despite that, the Mercury's circulation had recently declined to fewer than 9,000 home-delivery subscriptions, Metroland said. 

In light of those numbers, Luelo said shutting down the print edition was "the only viable option." 

"It's very much a loss," said Chris Clark, former editor of the Guelph Tribune, another Metroland publication. Clark retired last June, after 30 years with the Tribune. 

"I could sense trouble. You know, it's sort of been on the demise for a while," Clark said. "It's like when you know a person is dying, but when it happens, it hits pretty hard."

Real estate publication Guelph and District Homes, the lifestyle magazine Guelph Life and the Guelph Tribune will all continue, Metroland said in the release.