Strip leads at OCNA awards

The Grand Bend Strip leads all community newspapers in Ontario with eight nominations for this year’s Ontario Community Newspaper Awards, including best overall paper (a first for the paper) and photographer of the year for Casey Lessard, a two-time runner-up for this award. The paper also recently won two national awards, first prize ad design and third for photo essay in the Canadian Community Newspapers Association Better Newspapers Competition.The top three OCNA entrants were announced March 1. The Parry Sound North Star has the second most nominations with seven. Winners will be announced at the OCNA’s annual conference in Toronto May 14. CCNA winners were announced March 15 and will receive their awards May 13 at the CCNA conference. To learn more about the Grand Bend Strip’s history of awards since its first publication in May 2007, visit

The Grand Bend Strip and publisher Casey Lessard are nominated in the following categories:

Canadian Community Newspapers Association

Best Ad Design (circulation up to 3,999) 1st place – – ad promoting website Runners-up: The Chief (Squamish, BC), Wainwright Review (Wainwright, AB)

Best Photo Essay (circulation up to 3,999) 3rd place – Five days of good, clean fun – Parkhill Five Fun Days Winner: The Provost News (Provost, AB)

Ontario Community Newspapers Association

General Excellence (best overall) Class 1 [under 2,000 circulation] Other nominees: Cobden Sun, Manotick Messenger

Photographer of the Year Casey Lessard Other nominees: Belleville EMC and Peterborough This Week

Education Writing Chicago! – SHDHS music trip Other nominees: Parry Sound Beacon Star and Richmond Hill/Thornhill Liberal

Best Photo Layout Five days of good, clean fun – Parkhill Five Fun Days Other nominees: Ajax/Pickering News Advertiser and North York Mirror

Best Feature Photo (circ under 9,999) Best Seat in the House – Dashwood soap box derby cover photo Other nominees: Aylmer Express and Bracebridge Examiner

Best Sports Photo Hockey Night in Zurich – Mark Buruma in dressing room Other nominees: Brampton Guardian and Mount Forest Confederate

Best Rural Story (circ under 9,999) Fields of Gold – Marcus Koenig, potato farmer Other nominees: Listowel Banner and New Hamburg Independent

Best Creative Advertising (circ under 9,999) – ad promoting website Other nominees: Mount Forest Confederate and Nunavut News/North