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“Signing up was a no-brainer”: A Q&A with TL Insider Joseph Ly

The long-time Toronto Life reader turned TL Insider shares why he recommends becoming a member too

“Signing up was a no-brainer”: A Q&A with TL Insider Joseph Ly

Toronto Life Insider is a membership club designed to connect you to the city you love. Membership comes with an upgraded subscription to Toronto Life and FASHION magazines, access to Toronto’s most-prized restaurants and patios, invitations to workshops, cooking and cocktail master classes, exclusive giveaways, and more.

For a closer look at the TL Insider experience, we caught up with member Joseph Ly, who shared what he loves most about being an Insider. Ly is a nephrologist and internal medicine specialist at St. Michael’s Hospital and Scarborough Birchmount who has been experiencing the city through a new lens since joining TL Insider in 2020. “It was especially useful during times of pandemic burnout,” he says. “It reminded me how important social interactions are in terms of quality of life.” At the top of Ly’s list of programming: food and drink, of course. 


What do you look for in a great food and drink event? I think highlighting new restaurants in Toronto that are working really hard to deliver high-quality food is a win-win situation. We as TL Insiders get exposed to something new, and the restaurants gain visibility. The Best Restaurants event, for example, is one I always look forward to for this reason. There are so many different vendors and cuisines to choose from. It’s great to have access to such a wide variety of Toronto’s culinary scene in one place.

Is that access what prompted you to join TL Insider? It was definitely part of the reason. Back while I was studying at university, I would pick up a copy of Toronto Life’s annual Best Restaurants issue and collect them over the years. I stopped for a while when I was finishing my residency, and after that, it seemed like the city had grown so much and there was so much more to discover. So, as a gateway to so many of Toronto’s best restaurants, signing up was a no-brainer. What are some of the standout events you’ve recently attended?
Dova, the Sicilian and Mediterranean restaurant in Cabbagetown, was fantastic. One of the reasons I really liked it is because we were not just seated at a table, but we could explore the space and mingle. I think that’s the type of atmosphere I most look forward to. It makes for a great experience. Plus, the chef and and his wife made an extra effort to welcome every single guest. I felt as if I were being invited to his house for a private party, where everyone was guaranteed a good time, let alone decadent food.

How does TL Insider fit into the busy life of a doctor?
I think it complements my professional life well. TL Insider provides an excellent space for me and my partner, whom I often attend with, to grow our social lives and prioritize social connection at a time when work can get very busy. Another great thing about this membership program compared with others I’ve joined in the past is that there are truly so many choices. You know, I might be able to attend one event this week, but there will often be something else happening soon afterward.

Has membership kept you in the know when it comes to city events and culture?
I think the city has exploded in terms of size and the visibility of different cultures in different neighbourhoods. For instance, Scarborough has a very different culture compared with downtown. For a lot of people, there may not be many things pulling you to visit different neighbourhoods in the city. I guess what’s great about TL Insider is that easy exposure. 

Do you have any tips for new Insiders wanting to make the most of membership?
My advice is to let yourself try something new. Actually, try a ton of new things. The TL Insider event listings can sometimes feature a very eclectic mix, and I would encourage new members to try a variety of them. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the opportunity to step out of your shell and gain some memorable experiences. 

Become a TL Insider today at a special rate of $45! Sign up here

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