How this founding member is finding virtual experiences: A Q&A with TL Insider, Alison MacKenzie-Armes
Toronto Life Insider is a membership club that gives you front-of-the-line access to the best experiences and offers in the city. With your membership, you get an upgraded subscription to Toronto Life and FASHION magazine that includes access to intimate pop-up food & drink experiences, weekly deals and promotions from top Toronto brands, and virtual fireside chats and workshops with some of the city’s most interesting characters.
We caught up with long-time TL Insider Alison MacKenzie-Armes about her experience with the membership and how she’s enjoyed its virtual integration.
How have you been holding up during the pandemic?
I’m definitely an urbanite by nature. My husband and I live in midtown Toronto and would certainly describe ourselves as foodies. We love to go out to eat, enjoy live theatre and really take advantage of the wide variety of events that go on in the city. Of course, there hasn’t been as much of all that lately.
I’m grateful to be in a household that hasn’t been hugely affected by COVID, from either a work or housing perspective. I recognize that so many people are struggling with different realities, whether they’ve lost their job or are working in health care—it’s a tough time, and I have so much admiration for them.
How long have you been a TL Insider, and what prompted you to join?
I became a member about two years ago. The dining experiences for TL Insider have always been in my wheelhouse—that’s what prompted me to join.
Do you remember your first event?
I can’t say for sure which was my first, but one of my most memorable experiences was quite early on: a dinner at Tanto with an incredible meal prepared by chef Julian Iliopoulos. He incorporated everything that a whole Jersey cow has to offer—it was mind-blowingly good. I’ve been introduced to so many restaurants outside my neighbourhood through the program. My husband and I have been back to Tanto many times since that event.
How have you enjoyed the membership’s virtual pivot since the pandemic?
The shift to the virtual world has been interesting. I really appreciate how creatively TL Insider has given me and so many others a continued way to participate in the experiences. It’s been keeping me engaged with the city.
Any favourite experiences so far?
I was especially inspired by the recent Fireside Chat with Antoni Cimolino, artistic director of the Stratford Festival. He was so thoughtful, and shared such an important perspective on the pandemic. It was a glimpse into the kind of society you want to see on the other side of this, and aligns with the city-wide movement to support local, and to support the arts.
I’ve done some of the Evelyn Chick cocktail classes as well, and although I can never seem to keep up with her efficiency, they’ve turned out great and we really loved it.
What would be your advice for new members, or for those thinking about joining?
I would say do it! Dip your toes into everything and see what works for you. What I like about TL Insider is that there’s a real variety of experiences and events available. It keeps you engaged and thinking about the city in different ways. It’s really an opportunity to try something new.
What would you like to see from TL Insider come 2021?
I’d love to see TL Insider continue to support the independent food scene and businesses in the city. I’d love to be a part of supporting those restaurants and getting them back on their feet. The same goes for the community of artists and filmmakers in Toronto.
Experience TL Insider today for the very special rate of $75 a year (Regular price is $95). Sign up here using promo code TLDECEMBER.