Monday 5 January 2009

John Kerr's exit

Few outgoing Toronto Sun columnists have had the opportunity in recent years to say goodbye to readers after being axed by Sun Media.

John Kerr, the Sun's popular Outdoors columnist for 27 years, did get to say goodbye in his final column in December, but it quickly vanished from

Suddenly, John Kerr was missing without a trace after 27 years.

Goodbyes in print are a rarity and when John's readers who missed his farewell column asked about it, TSF decided to track it down.

John's final column reads:

"All journeys involve travelling roads or trails where there is invariably an intersection or at least a Y. Then, choices have to be made whether to continue on or turn in another direction.

"The current global economy is, for the moment, on a crash course, no matter which way it turns. And, for companies around the world, lightening the financial load and putting on the brakes is perceived as being one solution to keeping on firm ground. The publishing industry is no different.

"The Toronto Sun has moved to eliminate some columnists, and, it seems, freelancers first. In short, after 27 years of filling this space, this will be my last column.

"I will leave judging whether this is being penny wise or pound foolish up to company executives and, ultimately, readers.

"It is the end of any Toronto newspaper covering the angling and hunting community on a regular basis (something I have always had pride in the Sun for doing). I hope the latest move is not a further sign of the disconnect between rural and urban society, and how each envisions their connection - or not - to the natural world.

"It’s been a long road for me.

"My first stab at writing on the outdoors for magazines was in 1976. By the late 1970s, I was also a stringer for the Globe and Mail newspaper. At the time, under Editor Bob Rife, the Globe ran two full pages weekly on hunting and fishing, with various contributors.

In 1981, however, I was asked to pen an outdoor column for the Sun and share this space (then a full page or more, with photos) with Ted Gorsline. Soon, I found myself being the sole columnist.

Shortly afterwards, I also accepted a full-time staff position with Ontario Out Of Doors (OOD) magazine, where I served in various capacities as copy editor, fishing columnist, and then executive editor.

"Through both newspaper and magazine, I have had the privilege of serving the angling and hunting community by keeping it informed of the issues and how and where to successfully spend time outdoors.

"Overall, despite continued development destroying wildlife habitat, angling and hunting opportunities continue to remain strong in Ontario through wise management and sustainable-use practices - things I have always espoused in this space.

"I've watched the rebirth of fantastic salmon and trout fisheries in the Great Lakes, after invading sea lamprey nearly wiped out many native species.

"The reintroduction of wild turkeys in the 1980s was been equally successful, with a self-sustaining turkey population now supporting both spring and fall hunts.

"As well, the provincial deer herd has expanded north, offering even more hunting opportunities.

"I will miss producing this column each week, but the journey continues.

"The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters has purchased OOD from Rogers Media. And, I have decided to stay aboard as editor-in-chief.

"With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Peterborough-based Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting, and conservation organization in Ontario.

"So, you will see even more of me on the provincial scene in the years ahead.

"Thanks for nearly three decades of loyal readership. See you in the woods and on the water.


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