© Ken Partridge
Canadian Living editor-in-chief Jennifer Reynolds discusses changes to the magazine during an interview in the TC Media offices in Halifax on July 31.
When editors at Canadian Living decided the magazine needed a complete overhaul they asked for input from those most invested in the product — their readers.
“It is their magazine, and that’s how we refer to it. This was not two people in a room deciding what to do. Canadians told us what they wanted and we responded,” said newly-appointed editor-in-chief Jennifer Reynolds.
Reynolds, who was in Halifax on July 31 touting the major makeover of not just the magazine, but their digital products as well, said the time was right to reinvent Canadian Living.
“We are at the top of our game this year. We won Magazine of the Year and Website of the Year, but we don’t want to just rest on that. We want to make sure that we’re reinventing and offering something to our readers for years to come,” she said.
Surveys went out not only to subscribers, but newsstand customers as well, asking what they wanted to see more of, and less of, in the magazine. They even got input from non-readers about what it would take to win them over during the nine-month project.
The September issue — on newsstands Aug. 5 — will incorporate more fashion and beauty finds, new columnists and health experts, stories about sex and relationships, tips for busy moms, easy home decor solutions, timely life news and topical buzz, as well as travel stories and original photography for every “tested till perfect” recipe.
“I want this magazine to talk to my mom, who’s had it for a long time, and I want it to be my magazine, and a magazine for my friends, and I know that we can do that through a lot of the content,” Reynolds said.
While Canadian Living will always be known best for recipes, Reynolds said changes to the magazine’s health section will further enhance the magazine’s reputation for trustworthiness.
“It’s fun and it’s graphic, but one of the biggest things we’ve added to health is our experts,” she said. “We also have all of our health and medical content vetted by the experts at the Women’s College Hospital.”
Canadian Living launched its new website July 23 on the Marilyn Denis Show out of Toronto, and traffic to the site is already up.
Reynolds said the traditionally red Canadian Living logo was reproduced in black on the website to allow the large, colourful images to jump off the page. A cleaner, less cluttered look was created for the home page, while still offering users all the features they have come to depend on.
“Probably the sexiest thing we have right now is our iPad. It is so much fun. We have 25 per cent more content than we have in the magazine in our iPad edition and our readers are spending lots of time on it,” she said.
One of Reynolds’ personal favourite features in the September issue is called 30 meals for 30 days. Not only does each recipe include a photo of the finished product, you can go to the website to download a grocery list of everything you will need to make each week’s worth of meals and watch how-to videos.
“I’m a busy mom and I know in September it’s like chaos,” said Reynolds, who plans to prepare each of the 30 meals in her own home for the month of September.
Reynolds, who describes herself as a “mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a pet lover, a feminist, a pretty good cook, a half-marathon runner, a ball hockey player, an on-again-off-again CrossFitter, a shoe lover, a nature lover, an adventurer and, most days, just an all-around goofball,” says there are pros and cons to working in the same building in Toronto where all the Canadian Living recipes are tested.
“All of our recipes are tested until perfect.. and I get to be in charge of quality control,” said Reynolds, who vows to exercise everyday while on the job to counter balance all the extra calories.
Canadian Living, now in its 38th year, is published by TC Media, one of Canada’s leading provider of media and marketing activation solutions.