Magazine company acquires Torontoist

Online news site Torontoist has been bought by St. Joesph Media, one of Canada’s largest magazine pulishing companies (and the largest privately-owned consumer mag publisher). The Globe and Mail calls the move a “major vote of confidence in online media“, noting that the acqusition will provide a much-needed financial lifeline for the site. St. Joseph also publishes Toronto Life, Ottawa Magazine, FASHION magazine, Quill & Quire and Canadian Family. The specifics of the acqusition have not been published.

Torontist was the first online-only media company to win a National Magazine Award, for its 2009 coverage of the Tamil protest that shut down the Gardiner Expressway.

The site was launched in 2004 and acts much like an altertnative weekly, with a quirky tone and heavy focus on local arts and urban affairs stories.

The Globe reports that “The site was originally set up by New York’s Gothamist as part of a chain of city-oriented blogs. In dire financial straits and arguing with its parent site over editorial direction, Torontoist announced in December, 2008 it would close. The decision was quickly reversed and, the following year, a small company [Ink Truck Media] was set up explicitly to buy the blog.”

In a publisher’s note posted on Torontoist, Ken Hunt (representing himself and his Ink Truck partners Rob Silver and Amanda Alvaro) notes that St. Joesph Media “loves Torontoist … they are not investing in something so that they can change it, they they are investing in it so that it can continue to grow stronger and become more ambitious. The publication we all know and love is not changing in any fundamental way. We remain a Gothamist franchise. We remain independent from the other titles within St. Joseph Media, our editorial team remains unchanged, and I remain in my leadership role, helping to guide us forward. Hamutal Dotan, our editor-in-chief, is as excited about this opportunity as I am, and her passion and dedication will continue to shape how we grow as well.”