Xtra, the iconic gay and lesbian newspaper in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, announced on Wednesday it would be folding its print offerings.
The free weekly paper will transition to an enhanced digital offering, according to its publisher, Pink Triangle Press. It said getting out of the newspaper business is part of a strategic repositioning, which aims at financial stability not found in print publishing.
The paper first hit the streets in February 1984. It highlighted local political issues, celebrated queer art and emphasized a community involvement in the gay, lesbian and trans community.
Its website, DailyXtra.com, and gay adult dating website, Squirt.org, will expand this mission, according to Ken Popert, executive director and president of Pink Triangle Press. The new digital expansion will feature more social networking, including dating technology.
Final issues in February
“Most of our revenues already come through digital membership sales in the adult dating space, where we’ve had great success building a growing online community,” he said.
The final issues of Xtra Vancouver and Xtra Ottawa will appear on streets on Feb. 12. The final Toronto edition arrives on its 31st anniversary, Feb. 19.
The publisher reports 12 full-time employees from the company’s publishing and administration divisions will lose their jobs.
Another free local weekly, The Grid, which shared a publisher with the Toronto Star, ceased publishing in 2014.