New magazine ON the DANFORTH

-taken from the East Toronto Observer

Publisher Stan Byrne (centre) stands between editors-in-chief Nicole Chaplin (left) and Jason Rhyno at the 2009 launch celebration of On the Danforth magazine, held at Myth Restaurant and Lounge on March 18.
Publisher Stan Byrne (centre) stands between editors-in-chief Nicole Chaplin (left) and Jason Rhyno at the 2009 launch celebration of On the Danforth magazine, held at Myth Restaurant and Lounge on March 18

Inside the Myth Restaurant and Lounge on Danforth Avenue, students, teachers, family and friends have gathered together to welcome spring — and summer.

The weather outside isn’t quite conducive, but the front cover of the new spring and summer issues of On the Danforth magazine reflect
change and new beginnings.

“Spring was about how young people and old people work together in this neighbourhood in a really interesting way,” publisher Stan Byrne said. “(Summer) has kind of like an entrepreneurial spirit of the Danforth — people coming to the Danforth, like artists and new businesses.”

On the Danforth magazine is a biannual produced by the book and magazine publishing students at Centennial College’s East York campus.

The magazine, now in its sixth year, allows students from the program to create, design and sell their own magazine with little or no faculty involvement.

Denise Schon is the co-ordinator for the one-year post-graduate program.

“The faculty is barely involved at all,” Schon said. “We try to keep students out of trouble and we exercise some guidance to them in how the money flows.”

Besides selling ad space, which helps fund the magazine, students begin the process of creating the magazine in October of each year.

“First of all, they come up with what they want the overarching theme of the magazine to be,” Schon said. “Then they come up with stories within that theme, they write all the stories, they edit all the stories, they do all the design and they sell all the advertising.”

The amount of time producing the magazine and the effort put forth by the students is something similar to what will be expected of them after graduation.

“It can demonstrate they have had experience,” Schon said. “They just have to go out and show the magazine to a prospective employer and it’s a very impressive calling card.”

Applying for the various editorial and staff positions within the magazine helps give students a chance to see how a real magazine works.

Hesitant at first, student Byrne chose to be the publisher for both issues.

“When I first got into the program, I thought I would take a small role in the magazine,” Byrne said. “After I was in the program for a couple of months I just realized that it was supposed to be about putting yourself forward and learning something and wasn’t supposed to be about taking the easy route.”

Fellow student Lindsay Benjamin felt the uneasiness that comes with writing for a different kind of audience.

“It was a kind of overwhelming for me at first,” Benjamin said. “Once I got past the intimidation factor I guess that was probably it — just trying to write something that people would find interesting.”

Benjamin, who wrote a story about the history of the Bloor Street Viaduct for the spring issue, enjoyed seeing her story in the magazine… and now on the street.

“It was a lot of hard work and a long process,” she said. “It was nice to write something and have a tangible copy, something you could hold in your hand and read and show to your friends and family.”

Now that the magazine has been released, the publisher is pleased with the success of the project.

“I’m really happy with how it turned out,” Byrne said. “We are only here for a year and we just get to do it once, so in some ways it kind of reinvents itself each year.”

“I’m excited to read next year’s and see how it’s reinvented,” she said.
Copies of On the Danforth are distributed free to some households in the East York area — and at the annual Taste of the Danforth food festival.