Desi Life cut short

The Toronto Star suspends its bi-monthly magazine for GTA's South Asian community.

The Toronto Star has suspended publication of its bi-monthly magazine Desi Life, a lifestyle and entertainment glossy that targeted the South Asian community in the GTA. ‘There’s quite a cost to it, and we’re facing recessionary pressures due to declining advertising,’ says Bob Hepburn, Toronto Star director, community relations and communications.

Desi Life launched in April 2007 under then-publisher Jagoda Pike, with the intent to provide culturally specific content to Toronto’s ethnic communities. Freelance writers and a small full-time staff covered stories in film, cooking, music and business. Advertisers ranged from local hotels and restaurants to larger companies like Jeep and Telus.

There are about one million South Asians living in Canada, with about 600,000 in the GTA alone. And it’s a demographic that is still important to the Toronto Star, says Hepburn. ‘In just the last few months we’ve opened a bureau in Delhi; we’ve boosted our reporting on immigration issues,’ he tells MiC. ‘Overall we’ll increase our local coverage of issues and activities affecting the South Asian community.’

No jobs will be cut as a result of the suspension – the team working on the magazine will be reassigned, says Hepburn. Desi Life had a circulation of 70,000 that included targeted home delivery and drop-offs at retail locations throughout Toronto suburbs. It was also published digitally at The recently released February/March issue is the final one, and it remains available online.