Founded 159 years ago in 1863, the Huntingdon Gleaner was owned by various family businesses for most of its history. Even though it was technically a private business, local ownership conveyed the title of ‘community newspaper’ as is typical across Canada. Eventually, The Gleaner added a French language section in 1993 called La Source (back-to-back format).
As consolidation in the print media began at the turn of this century, The Gleaner/La Source was sold by the local owner to what became a series of re-sales to various media chains: Les Hebdos Montérégiens in 1985, Quebecor in 2011 and finally Transcontinental in 2013. In 2015, The Gleaner/La Source ceased publication as a standalone newspaper, with The Gleaner becoming an 8-page insert in the regional free-distribution weekly Le Journal St-Francois (Valleyfield), and La Source being closed completely. In 2017, Transcontinental sold Le Journal St-Francois (including The Gleaner) to a regional media company, Gravité Média.
In 2018, Gravité Média reached out to the English-speaking community in the Chateauguay Valley to see if there was any interest in acquiring the title. Rather than simply close The Gleaner, Gravité Média wanted to respect the heritage integral to the publication and provide the opportunity for the English-speaking community to continue to be served by a community newspaper. In November 2018, a public meeting was held in Ormstown, along with representatives from Gravité Média, to discuss the possibilities surrounding the community acquiring the rights to continue publishing The Gleaner.
From that meeting, a “Future of the Gleaner” steering committee was formed with the following outcomes:
A non-profit organization was formed called the Chateauguay Valley Community Information Services with the following objectives:
Produce and publish news content through a newspaper and website on topics of importance to the communities of the MRC Le Haut-Saint-Laurent and its surroundings, in accordance with journalistic methods and
Discussions were held with Gravité Media to acquire the assets of The Gleaner (title, web domain, etc.) and a transfer agreement was signed in May 2019.
June 2019 was set as the date to re-launch The Gleaner with a souvenir print version and a new website, followed by monthly editions published by a dynamic crew of volunteers.
After successful crowdsourced fundraising and subscription campaigns, The Gleaner started publishing print and we editions on a biweekly basis in January 2020.
Despite the COVID pandemic, The Gleaner has thrived into 2022 and is now distributed to nearly 2,000 paid subscribers and retail sales in nearly 20 local communities. In July 2022, the CVCIS received approval for Registered Journalism Organization (RJO) by the Canada Revenue Agency, which entitles CVCIS to issue tax receipts for donations.
“Future of The Gleaner”
Steering Committee (2019)
Mark Bye, Huntingdon
Gail Elliott, Ormstown
Chantal Hortop, Hinchinbrooke
Hugh Maynard, Ormstown (Chairperson)
Lorelei Muller, Ormstown
Stacey Pennington, Hinchinbrooke
Sarah Rennie, Elgin
Don Rosenbaum, Ormstown
John Ryan, Huntingdon
Emily Southwood, Dewittvile
Andrew Stairs, Hemmingford