Membership has its privileges

Membership has its privileges

TL Insider helps Torontonians get the most out of their city

One of my favourite places to have lunch in the city is the Chase seafood restaurant, in its plush fifth-floor dining room. It’s housed in an elegantly refurbished 19th-century office building on Temperance, a narrow side street between Yonge and Bay, in the heart of the financial district. The fish is excellent, but to be honest, I go for the view. Looking out the window, you feel high above the hustle and bustle of the city below, but also energized by it.

The Chase was Toronto Life’s choice for best new restaurant five years ago, and it’s been a destination for the business lunch crowd ever since. One Sunday evening in late February, when the restaurant was closed to the public, Toronto Life hosted a seven-course dinner there for 40 people. Each course was introduced and explained by the Chase’s ebullient executive chef, Taylor McMeekin. The evening was part of Toronto Life’s new membership program, TL Insider, and it was an unforgettable experience. Guests who began the night as strangers left as friends.

Toronto Life has always helped its readers get the most out of their city. The magazine’s restaurant reviews recommend where to eat; its culture pages tell you about the best shows; and its shopping guides point you in the direction of cool stuff. Our membership program takes that spirit one step further—we now facilitate our own events and experiences to enrich your relationship with the city.

Here’s how it works. You pay an annual membership fee of $125 (or just $95 if you’re already a subscriber), and we send you invitations to sign up for our exclusive events. For example, you might want to attend a custom-designed dining experience like the one at the Chase, or the one we hosted in February at Actinolite on Ossington. All the restaurants in our program are on Toronto Life’s list of the city’s 100 Best Restaurants—in other words, we’re only partnering with restaurants we know are superb.

One of our most popular membership offerings so far has been a series of cocktail master classes we call “Sunday School,” where Robin Goodfellow, one of the city’s best bartenders, teaches groups of aspiring mixologists to make the perfect negroni, margarita and manhattan. The sessions book up fast.

A cocktail master class with bartender Robin Goodfellow. Photograph by Josh Fee

The program offering I’m most excited about is the discussion series. It’s a salon-like monthly wine-and-cheese gathering, usually at Toronto Life’s offices, where I interview someone who has been featured in the magazine. I love bringing our stories to life, from the page to the stage, in large part because I get to meet readers and learn which issues resonate most with them.

Join Toronto Life’s membership program and we’ll send you a card like this

Members are loving the program, not just because we curate such great experiences for them and simplify the business of planning evening itineraries, but also because we are starting to build a community. People who come out to our events are beginning to recognize each other. They’re bonding over shared interests and enthusiasms. They’re part of something special, a self-selecting club that makes them feel connected to one another in this occasionally alienating metropolis.

In late spring, Toronto Life will host a members-only dinner at Momofuku Kō jin, this year’s number one new restaurant and the cover of this month’s edition. It promises to be a fantastic night. I hope to see you there.

Sarah Fulford is the editor of Toronto Life. She can be found on Twitter @sarah_fulford.