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In April 2004, when the first issue of the Canadian Immigrant Magazine hit the streets, we got an overwhelming response from readers, advertisers and people interested in Canada's growing diversity. We had only been in Canada for five years, yet Sabrina and I dug deep into our meager savings to build the magazine to where it is today, often stretching our personal lines of credit, maxing out our credit cards and re-mortgaging our house several times.
In the years since we began, we have had direct feedback from our huge readership about how the magazine spoke to them. How it inspired them to succeed. Last year, in association with Ashton College, we launched the Lilian To Scholarship for Immigrants, giving immigrants $25,000 worth of education free. Earlier this year, we launched the Top Employers for Workplace Diversity awards.
In spite of all this growth, I always felt that to effect true change in immigrant lives, we had to grow beyond B.C. We had to be a national magazine. We started looking for a partner who would help us in doing so, and we have found a meeting of minds in the Torstar Media Group. Based on the bedrock of principles laid down by the late publisher Joseph Atkinson, the group has similar social values to ours. The Toronto Star also has the most compassionate view of immigrants and their struggles in a new country.
We started the dialogue and were happy to see the media company's enthusiasm for our magazine. We, therefore, took a decision that the magazine would grow tremendously with them as partners.
On November 30, we transferred ownership of the magazine to the Torstar Media Group. The changes include the launch of a Toronto edition in the new year and then a Calgary edition. We will also have increased circulation in B.C. Being a huge newspaper and magazine powerhouse (the Toronto Star is Canada's largest circulated daily), we will have access to their enormous resources as well. What will not change however is our team. Sabrina and I will continue, as will our team.
I must also acknowledge the huge assistance from business partner Minto Roy of CareersToday Canada for his support, trust and friendship, but most of all for believing in us and the magazine.
In closing, I have one more thing to say: it was never about ownership; it was always about making a difference in immigrant lives. I believe this change will do exactly that with a larger canvas!
The Canadian Immigrant Magazine