It’s here: HuffPo launches in Canada

Arianna Huffington was in Toronto yesterday for the Canada launch of the Huffington Post. So what did she have to say?

For starters, she’s had her eye on Canada — which will operate at the HuffPo’s testing ground for international expansion — for some time.  

As Huffington told The Globe and Mail: “I have been wanting to launch in Canada for a while … We had a constituency that was interested in more, and now being able to superserve it with Canadian stories and Canadian bloggers is a really exciting prospect”

This is probably good news if you’re one of the 1.5 million Canadians who visited the site in March. However, as Marketing magazine pointed out, this may not be such good news “for Canadian media outlets worried that [the launch] means fewer precious online eyeballs” and advertising dollars for their own sites.

Here’s what Huffington told Marketing in response:

“We don’t operate from a scarcity model, more from an abundant model. We’ll link to [other media] sites and drive traffic to your site, then that can be monetized. We’re basically a good thing.”

In case you’re wondering what that “good thing” will look like going forward, Huffington also explained the site’s editorial mission in a blog posted to the site:

“HuffPost Canada  will provide readers with a turbo-charged, Canada-centric version of the site you already know, featuring our signature blend of news, opinion, entertainment, community, and information — all delivered with our familiar look and attitude, and tailored to Canadian issues and perspectives. Canadian politics and business will be at the forefront of our coverage, which will make the site a go-to place both for Canadians and for Americans looking to get some insight into their neighbors to the north.”

As for staffing: the AOL Canada team and the HuffPo Canada team have merged, for a total of 24 staff. New hires include: Kenny Yum and Rashida Jeeva of  The Globe and Mail, as well as Brodie Fenlon and Lisa Yeung. The site has said it will hire two or three more people for the Canadian team, and then evaluate from there. Heather Reisman, Indigo Books and Music CEO, is the editor-at-large.