By Jen McNeely
When I RSVP’d for Toronto Life’s 43rd anniversary, the subject line of my e-mail was “RSVP for 43.” This, apparently, incited a mini panic attack when the intern managing the list assumed I had brazenly requested to bring my entourage of forty-two. Uh, no.

Why is 43 a birthday worth celebrating? Well, it’s impressive longevity in the Canadian publishing world today, but that’s not really why we all got dressed up to clink glasses and hobnob on Astroturf. The real reason for the fancy do? To unveil a new look and feel, which was outlined in a sassy invite, “…instead of blowing 80 grand on a sports car or running off with a hot young thing, we’ve decided to face mid-life the right way: with a new look and a big party.”

Once a magazine synonymous with Rosedale hoi-poloi and Chestnut Park real estate, Toronto Life swaggers to a different beat now – and this can be as easily identified in its August issue as it can be amongst the stylish young staff that spin the stories. Pusateri’s, private schools and uptown gossip are still hot topics, but balanced with Queen West antics and Parkdale personalities. The party, at The Loft of Andrew Richard Design, represented both worlds – which is always more fun.

Guests included CBC’s Matt Galloway (who was applauded for his fantastic transition as the host of Metro Morning from the much loved Andy Berry) and CBC’s host of Q Jian Ghomeshi (who I personally applaud every morning at 10AM), The Drake Hotel’s charismatic Jeff Stober, Filmmaker Barry Avrich (currently cornering Hollywood amidst documenting the controversial life of Harvey Weinstein), PR Mavens Christine Faulhaber and Susan Chong, National Post’s King of Wit Shinan Govani, haute master of The Bay’s Room Nicolas Mellamphy, Marben’s Simon Beastead (have you checked the recent reno yet?), Joe Fresh stylish duo Alison Lawler-Dean and Elaine Quan (who loyally sported the Joe’s new pastel polish), and TSO’s vibrant publicity conductor Laura Quinn.

St. Joseph Media’s President, Douglas Knight, gave a speech that described Toronto Life’s beginnings in 1966, when advertisements included clubs for swingers and Yorkville was avoided at all costs for fear of hallucinating hippies. How many people are cursing the fact they didn’t invest in Hazelton real estate? Many accolades were given to fellow media, tasteful indeed, and Knight finished with a lovely address and intro to Editor Sarah Fulford, who in turn congratulated talented Artistic Director, Jessica Rose.

Once the business was done, musician Jason Collett, formerly of Broken Social Scene, serenaded the crowd. Although he can draw crowds that curve corners for surprise concerts at The Dakota, several of the guests were more interested in sampling the array of Niagara wines on offer.

“OMG – tell us about the new look already!!” Drum rollllllll – the red and white logo is now transluscent!! Okay, so that may be exciting only to graphic designers but as you turn the pages, you will notice more variation of font and illustration that feels less stuffy and more playful. Beyond the typeface and refreshed layout, it’s obvious that sensationalism and sizzling hooks are a top priority with titles like “Subway Jumpers” and “Justin Bieber’s Certain Doom.” New features have also been added including the gamesome Ego Meter; a nifty chart marking Toronto’s latest insecurities and boasting rights. Apparently, we are more ‘bruised’ than ‘boosted’ at the moment.

Above all, this was a night to celebrate Toronto. And after the fuckery nonsense that was the G20, it was a welcomed reminder of how cool we are – even in the blistering heat.

August’s issue, themed “Best of the City,” hits newsstands July 15.