Canadian Magazine Industry News
17 October 2013,     TORONTO
Revitalized Harrowsmith Almanac reconnects with readers
Following the Harrowsmith Almanac's shutdown and resurrection under new ownership, the title is now on firmer ground and reaching out to past subscribers.

The sixth edition of Harrowsmith's Truly Canadian Almanac--the second edition from Moongate Publishing and the first under the editorship of James Morris--hit newsstands on Aug. 8. In a phone conversation with Masthead, publisher Yolanda Thornton revealed that 3,000 of the issue's 90,000 circulated copies were mailed to select former subscribers.

The 2014 Harrowsmith's Truly Canadian Almanac dropped in August
The 2014 Harrowsmith's Truly Canadian Almanac dropped in August

While cost concerns prevent Moongate from reaching the entire list of subscribers at once, Thornton hopes to eventually put a checkmark beside every name. "It's part of a continuing strategy for us, to communicate and reach out to them in a friendly spirit," she said. "I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that used to subscribe…who love the brand and perhaps don't even know that we exist."

A partnership with Home Hardware, in which the retailer carries a variant run that reads "Home Hardware presents…" on the cover, seeks to garner new readers as well.

Another way the brand is spreading the news about its reincarnation is through social media. With help and guidance from founding editor Bridget Wayland, Moongate has been cultivating Harrowsmith's presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and will be adding Pinterest, Google+ and FourSquare in the future.

A spread from the sixth edition of Harrowsmith's Almanac
A spread from the sixth edition of Harrowsmith's Almanac

Thornton admits she was unsure how former subscribers would respond after being left in the lurch. "I was a little scared initially, wondering if there was going to be a lot of backlash. But everything has been very positive and we're very fortunate in that respect," she said.

Spurred by what Thornton calls brisk newsstand sales for the 2013 and 2014 editions, the publisher is readying to launch an annual sister publication next spring called Harrowsmith's Gardening Almanac, also edited by Morris. The Gardening Almanac will expand on Harrowsmith's popular garden trial content that examines where and when certain vegetables, flowers, plants and fruits grow best.

Masthead will have more info on the Gardening Almanac closer to the February launch date.
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