T.O. Life: looking and feeling great

Dear Friend,Sorry it has taken so long for me to write but I've just been so busy.Toronto never stops. If it's not a gallery opening, it's a restaurant review or a new play. It's not easy keeping the city up to...

Dear Friend,

Sorry it has taken so long for me to write but I’ve just been so busy.

Toronto never stops. If it’s not a gallery opening, it’s a restaurant review or a new play. It’s not easy keeping the city up to date but, hey, somebody’s got to do it, right?

So where do I start? This last year has been crazy, so let me fill you in.

I have a new editor, John Macfarlane.

Good guy, but a bit of a nit-picker.

I thought I was just fine before, but he wasn’t happy with me. He insisted I needed a face-lift and a few nips and tucks.

I didn’t think I looked too bad for a 27-year-old, but, I must say, I look quite fresh since the redesign.

I certainly feel better and I’ve been receiving a lot of compliments from the media. In fact, I received the Magazine of the Year Award from the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors in June.

And did I mention to you the last time we talked that I had implants? The editorial team has added Tribute to hail the city’s unsung heroes, Jungle Drums to reveal the hot new gossip around town, and Super Shopper for bargain hunters.

I don’t want you to get the impression that my redesign has been strictly cosmetic. I’ve made a resolution to become more controversial, street-wise and gritty.

There was the odd jealous competitor that accused me of being too elitist in the old days, but I don’t believe this was ever the case.

I know there is always room for improvement, but I care about all of Toronto. Hey, I was born here in 1966 and have lived here all my life.

I reside in a less than glamorous warehouse office, not far from where I was born. I think the thing that makes this city great is the blend of people, neighborhoods, culture.

Do I sound like I am making a speech? Sorry. You know I always get carried away when discussing my favorite city. Nevertheless, I’m now committed more than ever into getting under the skin of Toronto.

My social life is still a whirlwind. Last year I visited more than 100,000 homes and was read by more than 352,000 people. Oh, the torture of public life.

By the time they are finished with me, I have usually been a guest in their homes for more than eight months, have been handled a million times for references on where to dine, shop, where to visit in the city, and had my editorial eaten up.

I have got to tell you, though, that being sent to subscribers’ homes is a walk in the park compared with the jungle out on the newsstands. There I sit, with a million other mags, in really cramped quarters, wanting to scream, ‘Buy ME. Toronto Life. Toronto Life.’

31% more

My only consolation is that I do not stay on the newsstands for long. In fact, readers are buying 31% more of me than last year.

At times I struggle with my insecurity that my readers, who I consider friends, are only using me.

They only turn to me when they want to read about their city, find out what is going on around town and about the people who make it all happen.

Do they ever stop to think about my feelings? Alas, no. But, that’s the life I have chosen for myself.

There is not a corner of Toronto that I will not explore, a story I will not consider, an injustice I will not uncover. Yeah, okay, the last part is a little much. So, I get a little emotional. So, sue me.

It’s not like it would be the first time. Oops.

Well, my friend, I hope all is well with you, but I really must run. Places to go, people to see, things to do. The life of a city mag never ends, thank God.

Best regards,

Toronto Life

Shelagh Tarleton is publisher of Toronto Life and Toronto Life Fashion magazines.