Sun Media to buy Stratford Beacon Herald

The last independent daily newspaper in Ontario soon will be part of the Sun Media Corp. family. Sun Media's Bowes Publishers has announced it will buy The Stratford Beacon Herald, which has a daily circulation of 12,500.

The newspaper serves a loyal readership in southwestern Ontario. Stratford has a population of 29,000 and is home to the world-renowned Stratford Festival.

"It was a difficult decision to sell the newspaper, but we are pleased to be joining the Bowes group," said Charles Dingman, publisher and editor of the Beacon Herald.

The Dingman family has been in the newspaper business in Stratford for 113 years. The Beacon Herald employs 100 people. No financial details of the transaction were released by the Dingman family.

"This is a key strategic location for Sun Media and Bowes and enhances the corporation's presence in that area," said Paul Godfrey, president and chief executive of Sun Media.

News of the acquisition wasn't met with euphoria by everyone. Bob Meeb, who has worked on the Stratford daily for 26 years, said, "It's a sad day. We've been privileged to work for the Dingman family. They don't come any better as employers or as human beings."

The list of independent dailies in Canada keeps dwindling. Others remaining are The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Caraquet L'Acadie Nouvelle in New Brunswick, Montreal Le Devoir, The Whitehorse Star in the Yukon, the Amherst Daily News in Nova Scotia, The Red Deer Advocate in Alberta, and the felicitously-named Flin Flon Reminder in Manitoba.