Toronto Life

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Toronto Life
Editor-in-chiefMalcolm Johnston
Former editorsSarah Fulford (2008-2022) John Edward Macfarlane (1992-2007)
PublisherKen Hunt
Total circulation
(June 2015)
First issueNovember 1966 (1966-11)
CompanySt. Joseph Media
Based inToronto

Toronto Life is a monthly magazine about entertainment, politics and life in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Toronto Life also publishes a number of annual special interest guides about the city, including Real Estate, Stylebook, Eating & Drinking, City Home and Neighbourhoods. Established in 1966, it has been owned by St. Joseph Communications since 2002. Toronto Life has a circulation of 87,929[2] and readership of 890,000.[3] The magazine is a major winner of the Canadian National Magazine Awards, leading current publications with 110 gold awards including 3 awards for Magazine of the Year in 1985, 1989, and 2007.[4] Toronto Life also won the Magazine Grand Prix award at the 2021 National Magazine Awards, with the jury writing that it is "alert to the cultural moment, bold in its journalistic exposés, up-to-the-minute in its services reportage and smart about the platforms it uses to deliver content to readers. The issues its editorial team assembled during the pandemic showed just how relevant and useful a first-class city magazine can be."[5] It is also known for publishing an annual 50 most influential people in Toronto list.[6]


Established in November 1966,[7] Toronto Life was purchased by Michael de Pencier in 1972 and held until 2002, when it was sold to St. Joseph Media.[8] The publisher also owns the tourism magazine Where Canada (published in several large cities), Fashion, Wish, Wedding Bells, and several smaller magazines. The current editor-in-chief is Malcolm Johnston, who succeeded long-time editor Sarah Fulford (since 2008) in February 2022.[9]

In 2015, an article titled "Jennifer Pan’s Revenge: The inside story of a golden child, the killers she hired, and the parents she wanted dead"[10] by Karen K. Ho brought the previously relatively obscure Jennifer Pan murder case to international attention.[11][12]

In October 2018, it was announced that Toronto Life will launch a membership program with access to Toronto Life’s events, as well as special offers from local venues.[13]


Libel Suits[edit]


In November 1987, Toronto Life published a 50,000-word article on the Reichmanns family written by Elaine Dewar. In January 1988, Paul, Albert and Ralph Reichmann sued Dewar and Toronto Life for $102 million, claiming that the article defamed their family. In 1991, after exhausting the cover of Toronto Life's libel insurance policy, an out-of-court settlement was reached between the parties that saw the article retracted and Toronto Life make “a substantial donation to four charities” designated by the Reichmanns.[14] In its apology, Toronto Life said its article "incorporated many allegations and insinuations about the Reichmann family which ... there was no reasonable basis for" and said it now realized that "none of the allegations and insinuations should ever have been raised." Stephen Trumper, the president of Toronto Life Publishing Co., said “we should have been much more rigorous in that process and more precise in our conclusions,” and that “any and all negative insinuations and allegations in the article... are totally false.”[15]


In April 2015, Canadian entrepreneur Michael Elder, the son of Jim Elder, attempted to sue the magazine to prevent publication of a feature about him.[16] Superior Court dismissed the motion for an injunction and awarded the magazine $17,000 in costs.[17]

Unlawful Employment Practices[edit]

In March 2014, Toronto Life was required to shut down its unpaid internship program implemented in 2009, after the Ontario Ministry of Labour declared that its longstanding practice of not paying interns was in contravention of the Employment Standards Act.[18] The magazine responded, saying "The idea that we can start paying everybody completely misunderstands the nature of the economics of the magazine industry at the moment."[19] Toronto Life's first (unpaid) intern, Derek Finkle, started with the magazine in 1993. During his internship he wrote a cover story for the magazine for free. He weighed in on the controversy saying that he backs the decision of the Ontario Ministry of Labour.[20]

Journalism Ethics Violations[edit]

In December 2014, Toronto Star published an investigation stating that in 2013, the magazine dismissed a feature about 15 women Jian Ghomeshi was dating after the protest of his PR team.[21]

In January 2018, the magazine was accused of hiding a published negative review of steakhouse BlueBlood from its website.[22][23]


  1. ^ Alliance for Audited Media. October 30, 2016.
  2. ^ Alliance for Audited Media. June 30, 2015.
  3. ^ October 14, Bree Rody-Mantha; 2016. "Steady as she goes: Toronto Life turns 50". Retrieved 2019-01-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "National Magazine Awards searchable archive". Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  5. ^ "Magazine Grand Prix". National Magazine Awards. 2018-06-20. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  6. ^ November 15, Toronto Life |; 2018 (2018-11-15). "The 50 most influential Torontonians of 2018". Toronto Life. Retrieved 2019-01-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "The weirdest covers from Toronto Life's first 50 years". Toronto Life. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Home Depot enters shelter category". Masthead Publishing Ltd. 28 September 2006. Retrieved 2010-10-22. Michael de Pencier, remember, was the long-time proprietor of Key Media, which was sold to St. Joseph Media in February 2002 for an estimated $36 million. Titles included Toronto Life, Fashion, Where Toronto and a stake in Gardening Life.
  9. ^ "New Toronto Life editor-in-chief Malcolm Johnston gives a taste of the 'Best New Restaurants' issue | The Star". Retrieved 2022-09-22.
  10. ^ Ho, Karen K. (22 July 2015). "Jennifer Pan's Revenge: The inside story of a golden child, the killers she hired, and the parents she wanted dead". Toronto Life. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  11. ^ Wang, Yanan (27 July 2015). "Tragedy of 'golden' daughter's fall resonates with Asian immigrant children". Washington Post. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  12. ^ Editorial (15 August 2015). "Is it possible to love and hate?". Northwest Asian Weekly. ProQuest 1706574280.
  13. ^ October 29, Catherine Phillips; 2018. "Toronto Life sets sights on membership program". Retrieved 2019-01-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ DEACON, JAMES. "A magazine apology | Maclean's | FEBRUARY 11, 1991". Maclean's | The Complete Archive. Retrieved 2020-04-26.
  15. ^ "A Magazine Apology". Toronto Life. February 1991.
  16. ^ "Toronto Life Stands Ground In Face Of $100-Million Lawsuit From Businessman". HuffPost Canada. 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  17. ^ "Court bid against Toronto Life fails to stop publication | The Star". Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  18. ^ "Ontario labour ministry cracks down on unpaid internships at Toronto Life, The Walrus", The Canadian Journalism Project, March 27, 2014
  19. ^ "Unpaid Internship Crackdown At Toronto Life, The Walrus Magazines", Huffington Post Canada, March 27, 2014
  20. ^ "The Unpaid Internship Conspiracy",, March 31, 2014
  21. ^ "How Ghomeshi's publicist worked to shut down Toronto Life story | The Star". Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  22. ^ Burton, Monica (2018-01-12). "Why Did This Magazine Take Down a Negative Restaurant Review?". Eater. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  23. ^ Hiltz, Robert. "Toronto Life Pulled Down A Critical Review Of An Advertiser's Restaurant". Retrieved 7 November 2019.

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