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The Globe and Mail

Free newspaper Metro expands into six new Canadian cities

Metro newspaper boxes photographed at the Oakville GO Train station in Oakville, Ont. Oct. 20, 2006.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Six Canadian cities will see a new daily newspaper in their communities next month, as Torstar Corp. rolls out new editions of its Metro commuter paper.

Saskatoon and Regina will be the only communities with a physical paper printed each day, while online-only offerings will be made available in Hamilton, Kitchener, Windsor, Ont. and Victoria. The papers are targeted at "youthful, active metropolitans aged 18-49."

The papers are a mainstay in large cities such as Toronto and Montreal, where they are popular among those using public transit. In Saskatchewan, the papers will be distributed by hand on busy downtown corners, as well as in traditional newspaper boxes.

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Metro plans to print 20,000 copies a day in each city. Those paper and the digital versions elsewhere will start printing on April 2.

Torstar recently acquired a 90-per-cent interest in the chain of newspapers for $51.5-million, after previously owning a 50 per cent stake with the Stockholm, Sweden-based Metro International SA. It publishes papers in Ottawa, Toronto, London, Ont., Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The paper is published by Atlantic Free Daily Newspapers in Halifax, and in Montreal by Les Publications Metropolitaines.

Two of the new cities receiving digital papers – Hamilton and Kitchener – have daily papers that are owned by Torstar.

Toronto Star publisher John Cruickshank said in a conference call Wednesday that recent Metro forays into markets such as London and Winnipeg have gone "very, very well" as the company saw the chain of papers saw "improved national advertising."

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