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Bring Back The Old Toronto Life!
    By Chloe Tejada

(andPOP) - It's so sad. Toronto Lifehas been resurrected as an elitist, materialistic, self-absorbed magazine that only caters to the wealthy or wannabe-wealthy and doesn't hold any meaning for regular Torontonians.

Many of the front pages flip into advertisements that are large enough to be pinups on your wall- Hummers (August 2005 issue) and a bottle of wine (June 2005 issue) are some examples.

The advertisements are clearly geared towards the fortunate who can afford to spend at least $30,000 on another Hummer, who enjoy reading such fine literature like “I have a bed made of Buttermilk pancakes” (it was vouched for by Vogue so it must be good!), who employ private brokers from TD Waterhouse and who shop at Tiffany's for reasonably priced (snicker) watches.

Many of the feature stories are about rich people. Take the story “Angrily Ever After” by Michael Posner: The basic premise of the story is about Louise Hockey-Sweeney, a once rich and fabulous socialite who got divorced from her millionaire husband and lost everything. “Everything” includes her Bentley, her $8,000 a month house and her $2-million yacht. And now, poor woman, she lives in “a single room on the seedier side of Cabbagetown.”
The author is falling over himself fawning over the treasures and precious heirlooms, the Bechstein grand pianos and the Jaguar XK8, trying to cram as many dollar digits that the word count will allow.

Amidst the text is a glamour shot of Ms. Hockey-Sweeney; her long dyed blonde hair spread across the ground and a smug look on her face, revealed in the upward twist of her right eyebrow, the half open mouth and the unfaltering blue eyes. In your dreams, she mocks.
In our dreams is exactly where most Torontonians will be able to own 6,000 square-foot houses, be able to vacation in our $400, 000 Muskoka cottage/palace, be able to afford a wedding planner for $75,000 and attend Brazilian Balls. However if you were reading the new Toronto Life for the first time, you would think that a typical reader is a Rockefeller.

There is hardly and space dedicated to the average reader- or average person who lives in Canada . As a result, most readers can't relate to any of the content or issues that are being discussed. The articles hold no meaning and do not reflect the people of Toronto .

Take the June 2005 cover story of “the city's most powerful couple” Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, “whose net worth is estimated at $758 million,” crowed author Marci McDonald. What does that figure mean to the rest of us? I can't even comprehend a million dollars let alone $758 million. It means nothing to me and I really could care less how much Reisman and Schwartz are worth. There must be more important and interesting people to write about. But I guess that's the flaw- how does the editorial staff of Toronto Life decide who is interesting and who is important? Judging by the articles, it seems that the people who have the most money are the most important and therefore front-cover worthy. Those with money deserve the space and publicity, according to Toronto Life.

McDonald recites million-dollar facts at the reader as if having an extravagant lifestyle and hobnobbing with celebrities are the most important goals in life. “They cultivated a lifestyle so extravagant that most book buyers [Reisman is CEO of Indigo books] could only conceive of it in the pages of an airport potboiler,” McDonald gushes. They are untouchables, in a league of their own and us, the readers, can only fantasize over having such a perfect life. Or if you're like me, stick my finger down my throat and gag.

Please, bring the old Toronto Life back! The Toronto Life I once knew and loved went into the lives of people who were making a real difference for Torontonians. People who were making a change were being profiled, not people who were making millions.
Toronto Life wasn't afraid of going into the homes of the “working-class” and asking their opinions and ideas. The Toronto Life I knew liked to go into bars and not be afraid to talk to the local yokels.

As Toronto Life reader Eric Schwarz put it in a letter to the editor: “Aside from the occasional ‘Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap,' Toronto Life is for the rich. In the June issue, you quote a wedding planner who says that ‘weddings have become simpler,' at $60,000. Then there's fashion for dogs, Chanel faux pearls at $2,275, a profile of Victoria Jackman and, of course, Heather and Gerry. I don't want to read about how the rich live. I want to read about how the interesting live.”


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