Toronto Life unveils redesign » Media in Canada

Toronto Life unveils redesign

The St. Joseph Media publication adds columnist Jan Wong and debuts a new culture section and back-page memoir.

In 1966, when Toronto Life magazine was established, the city looked much different – people were told to ‘avoid Yorkville Village at night’ and Queen West residents were not hipsters but Portuguese worm-pickers who worked on Toronto’s golf courses, said Douglas Knight, president of St. Joseph Media, at the unveiling party for Toronto Life‘s new redesign.

And while Toronto is much changed since then, the magazine’s mandate to cover the city’s major character, events and institutions has not. Unlike national magazines, Toronto Life does not have to avoid being ‘too Toronto,’ said Knight, to a room full of media industry influencers like Moses Znaimer, National Post‘s Shinan Govani and CBC’s Matt Galloway at The Loft in Toronto.

In the first redesign for the magazine since 2005, there is a heavier focus on covering culture with new sections such as the Urban Diplomat that helps readers cope with ‘tricky situations,’ explains editor Sarah Fulford in her editorial. There is also an Ego Meter, which measures the city’s self-esteem, and the back page is no longer a Q&A but a memoir.

Former Globe and Mail journalist Jan Wong has been added as a columnist, and Chris Nuttall-Smith is now the magazine’s restaurant critic, following the dropping of James Chatto this past May.

There is more white space in the magazine, but also lengthier articles with bolder headlines and bolstered visual creative.

The strength of a print magazine in a digital word is that ‘it’s a beautiful object of design,’ said publisher Sharon McAuley, in a June interview with MiC. ‘Visuals, photography, the way that the words and visual elements combine together in very exciting ways – it’s an object that people see as something that they want to take time with.’

According to the PMB 2010 Spring Topline Report, Toronto Life has a circulation of 95,000 and readership of 739,000.

Singer-songwriter Jason Collett performs at last night’s party.