How Covid-19 is affecting 2020 marketing trends: 14 takeaways for brands

The pandemic continues to have ripping effects on consumer behaviours. To help brands navigate their Covid-19 marketing strategies, we followed up with our subject-matter experts for an update on their 2020 trend predictions made (way back) in January. How have they held up?

We found a common and interesting theme. While the world is very different, the relevance of the predictions remains. In many cases, the effects of the pandemic have accelerated the trends and brands have been forced to quickly adapt to keep up with changing consumer habits and expectations.

Here is an overview of the multi-platform trends so you can focus on the ones most applicable to you and your brand. We follow with each expert’s explanation of how the pandemic is affecting that trend. The resulting takeaways can help guide your Covid-19 content and marketing strategy for the remainder of this extraordinary year, and beyond.


  • Authenticity
  • Sustainability
  • Brand Values


  • Voice Search
  • Digital
  • Ecommerce
  • Omnichannel
  • Podcasts
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Digital Print
  • Package Design



January 2020 Prediction
We will see rising value in quality and authenticity, driven by the ever-growing attention being paid to fraud and privacy.
– Duncan Clark, VP Strategy, SJC Media and Publisher, Ottawa Magazine

The Pandemic Effect
With four months to observe and reflect on people’s communication patterns, the trend towards quality and authenticity is even more relevant now – because, maybe more than ever, quality content can mean the difference between life and death. But also, because the conversation about privacy has never been more complicated. Citizens in jurisdictions all over the world are being asked to share their whereabouts and medical histories as a means to protect the whole – and are naturally and fairly asking questions about the safety and necessity of that information, where it’s stored, and how it will be used.

Takeaway for Brands
The increasing prevalence of data collection is accelerating the public’s questions and interest in privacy. Consumers are relying on quality content from authentic sources they can trust.


January 2020 Prediction
For brands that market to women, I think we’re ushering in a new era of authenticity and telling it like it is. No more being coy about the confusions and challenges of women’s lives by talking around it, or showing air-brushed, sanitized versions of life. No more assuming that only white, cisgender, thin, straight women buy your products.
– Sasha Emmons, Director of Lifestyle Content, FLARE, Today’s Parent and Chatelaine

The Pandemic Effect
Many things have changed since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and more recently, since anti-racism protests have spread around the globe. But I think the trend of authenticity is more relevant than ever. It still behooves brands to be transparent and true to the lived experiences of their customers.

Takeaway for Brands
It will be tricky to get it right. Brands with a track record of not walking the walk will be called out by customers and staff, and should expect being held to account on social media. For instance, Ben and Jerry’s bold public statement about dismantling white supremacy rings true because of their long-standing and vocal commitment to social justice.



January 2020 Prediction
We will see more and more brands developing holistic strategies around sustainability efforts. Marketing will be focused around communicating stronger values and supporting recycling, reusing, refilling and reselling.
– Sylvie Lamont, VP Creative, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
Plastics are indispensable during a pandemic (masks, gloves, gowns and disposable bags). Covid-19 will bring more attention to plastic pollution.

Takeaway for Brands
As companies have lifted their decisions to ban plastic bags and other single-use plastics, it will become even more evident for consumers to make choices that lead to a cleaner and sustainable future. Shopping at bulk stores or shops with refill models, purchasing reusable masks and the need for reusable shopping bags has increased. Cooking tips to help reduce waste and DIY projects will resonate more with customers as we look to create a healthier future through the principle of reduce, reuse and recycle.


Relatable Brand Values

January 2020 Prediction
To cut through the massive volume of messages vying for our attention, above all it will be important to understand the motivators for each generation when making choices about the brands they surround themselves with. Defining our identity is an ongoing exercise for humans. Content, storytelling and brands are key to this exercise.
–  Nadine Silverthorne, Director, Branded Content, Audience & Events

The Pandemic Effect
I believe that in light of current circumstances, brands whose values align with individual or collective identities matter even more. With the news changing by the minute, most of us are looking for information that leads to a better understanding of the world and our place in it. Canadians are seeking information on how to plan our day to day, and our long-term future based on real issues. Many of us are hoping to see ourselves, our joys and our struggles within our pages and online.

Takeaway for Brands,
As content brands we now have a deeper obligation to tell difficult stories, to cast our research net wider, to question how we tell those narratives, but I know we are up to the task.


Voice search in a touchless society

January 2020 Prediction
There will be an increase in content creation for search in 2020.
– Jacqueline Loch, VP Client Innovation, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked an accelerated rise in the adoption and usage of voice-activated devices in homes, specifically in the cooking at home and recipe category as well as in the health category with Covid-related health queries.

Takeaway for Brands
Consider content that is based on semantic search queries. Creating custom branded voice scripts for Amazon Alexa and Google Home that drive to e-commerce will quickly become the norm. As voice-enabled devices shift from voice only to voice and digital screen, marketers will have the opportunity to layer in interactive video with rich content such as product demos, buying guides and tutorials that will all drive to e-commerce conversion.


Personalized digital experiences

January 2020 Prediction
With the growing number of Gen Z consumers (loosely, people born from 1995 to 2010), we must develop content that reflects their interests and media consumption habits. We need to make the experience of viewing content a personalized, rewarding and valuable one. We need to make sure they feel that if they chose to engage with your content, they feel they are winning out on that value exchange.
– Dave Dolejsi, AVP Content Strategy, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
The strategy behind relevant content delivered through digital channels has never been more important. Where we saw a movement towards e-comm adoption and digital experiences back in January – we now have seen an acceleration of the timetable. Where we saw a slow and, in some cases, reluctant, adoption of digital from groups other than Gen Z, we now see mass adoption out of necessity, a desire for interesting digital experiences to replace the physical ones we temporarily can’t enjoy.

Takeaway for Brands
Big ticket items we traditionally needed to see and touch in person (appliances, cars etc.), now need to somehow be communicated and experienced through digital devices. As such, new content, from Augmented Reality and 360 photography to interactive mobile and video programs, are now more critical to the path to purchase than we dreamed they would be so soon.


January 2020 Prediction 
The focus will be on creating meaningful highly-personalized content, a quality over quantity approach, targeting niche audiences on niche platforms will continue to evolve. – Amanda Eaton, Content Director, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
Now more than ever, brands need to adapt to the current situation by finding ways to stay connected to their customer base. Navigating this “new normal” has pushed retailers into rethinking how they are doing business, and in some cases has forced them to find new and creative ways to narrow their focus, buff up the e-comm experience, and personalize communications and services.

Takeaway for Brands
During this crisis, not only is it important to have a digital plan in place but it also means humanizing that digital experience. The upside is that there is opportunity in this climate to test innovative approaches to customer care and digital platforms that may have been too high risk before.


Content that converts to e-commerce

January 2020 Prediction
The role of content is quickly expanding from its top-of-funnel role of inspiration and engagement to a deeper role of driving e-commerce conversion. The demand for mobile-first shoppable content will increase the amount of content required by marketers well beyond the traditional marketing ecosystem.
– Jacqueline Loch, VP Client Innovation, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
Today’s retail landscape is rapidly changing with an increased digital transformation that has been accelerated by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The competitive set has expanded to include many new digital-first entrants and platforms and direct-to-consumer sales by brands is on the rise. Social platforms are now shoppable with in-app commerce, and the growth of content required for e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Shopify and retail DTC e-commerce sites will fuel the need for a high volume of content to guide the customer experience to sales conversion.

Takeaway for Brands
With the upcoming launch of 5G mobile networks and 5G-enabled mobile devices, the mobile wallet will take over as the e-commerce platform of choice. Brands will take on the role of content always-on publisher across channels and will require a content strategy that includes content built for e-commerce conversion.


Omnichannel marketing

January 2020 Prediction
Omnichannel marketing is a content vampire and requires a high volume of content produced to align with an agile content strategy. Retailers and brands will struggle to evolve in-house marketing teams and in-house e-commerce content on-boarding needs to meet the demand for the increased amount of content required. In addition, we will continue to see marketing budgets shift from a variety of marketing channels into content to meet the consumer expectation for real-time content, access to product information and frictionless purchase via e-commerce.
– Jacqueline Loch, VP Client Innovation, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
Since the start of the Covid-19 era, consumers have accelerated the shift to mobile and digital showrooming with an increase in demand for omnichannel content that is required to drive e-commerce sales conversion.

Takeaway for Brands
Retailers need to produce a high volume of content that is required for their Covid-19 marketing strategies that spans across channels and meets consumer demands and expectations for always-on commerce.



January 2020 Prediction
Podcasts will grow in popularity.
– Douglas Kelly, President, Strategic Content Labs

The Pandemic Effect
Deep engagement never goes out of style. The social isolation around Covid-19 has only increased audience desire for meaningful experiences with content. The platform and much of the content associated with podcasts remains compelling.

Takeaway for Brands
The challenge remains how to monetize podcasts both as either a pure editorial product or a content with a marketing-related component.



January 2020 Prediction
Publishing formats have entered a more mature phase with the recent double-digit growth in audiobooks creating a mixed market of print books, ebooks and This is learned behaviour that I think is accelerating the public’s interest in privacy – and makes my January take even more relevant now. Publishing strategy will use the format that makes the most sense to the book and reader.
– Alison McGill, Publisher, Quill & Quire

The Pandemic Effect
The mixed publishing formats have become even more relevant to books and to the economic survival of the publishing industry during the pandemic. With the necessity to stay at home, the opportunity for some of us to read more has often meant a return to books and the break from daily stress they can provide. The ability to access books online during the lockdown has made continued revenue possible for many publishers and writers. And some local bookstores have added delivery and curbside pick-up options. Local stores have become a way for people to get the items they want quickly and also a way for people to support their neighbourhood businesses.

The Frankfurt Book Fair, like so many international conferences, is undergoing an evolution planning a hybrid event of in-person and virtual attendance. This innovation may also have potential after the Covid-19 era as a way to facilitate large trade gatherings while also mitigating some of the environmental impact of business travel.

Takeaway for Brands
The trend with books can be applied to Covid-19 content marketing in general; flexibility is key and depending on the content and the audience, we will see a mix of publishing mediums across print, digital and audio.



January 2020 Prediction
I’m heading into 2020 with a sense of optimism in circulation. We’re starting to see some of the print declines that publishers experienced over the past few years flatten out.
– Allan Yue, Director of Circulation, SJC Media

The Pandemic Effect
As people were forced to stay indoors over the past few months, newsstand sales took a hit and saw some fairly steep declines as a result of store closures and reduced foot traffic. However, subscriptions became even more relevant with people seeking out information about the virus and just looking for different ways to pass the time. As a result, we saw significant growth through our introductory offers across all magazine brands. While the sample size is small, the results have been extremely encouraging and we intend to put additional efforts into the low price/auto renew strategy going forward for new subscribers.

Takeaway for Brands
With some people spending more time indoors (and hence more time to read at their leisure), and all Canadians on the lookout for trusted sources of content, magazines offer an important vehicle for advertisers and brand storytellers to extend their reach.


Digital Print

January 2020 Prediction
Digital printing will grow in popularity.
– Andrew Borelli, VP, Operations & Manufacturing, SJC Print

The Pandemic Effect
The Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented drop in consumer and B2B spending. Our clients need to choose the best avenue possible to communicate their messaging. Valuable insights ranging from the importance of engaging and authentic content, personalization benefits from targeted DM campaigns, environmentally sound and sustainable product offerings and accurate market forecasts are relevant now more than ever.

Digital print affords the opportunity to “print less, more often.” Traditional offset print supports large static runs to capitalize on the economies of scale associated with higher volume runs. The problem there, is that you need to stick with the “one time” common messaging of that particular offset run. Digital print provides the client with multiple, short-run messaging opportunities and at an affordable cost due to the low prepress infrastructure. The benefit here is that clients can change the nature of the messaging to cater to the relevance of their changing business needs. This is particularly advantageous now, in our era of Covid-19.

Takeaway for Brands
With print as part of your overall strategy, digital print will give the flexibility to change messaging as frequently as needed, and at a lower price point.


Package Design

January 2020 Prediction
As we start off into a new decade with most of the population trying to deal with information overload, a major trend in package design will be simplicity.
– Bryan Raymond, Account Director, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
Nothing has forced the shift to online shopping more than our current situation due to Covid-19 and your package design needs to perform on the digital shelf like never before. Browsing the aisles in real life versus online presents its own challenges for how your package design engages consumers, delivers key messages and stimulates impulse purchases. When tackling your next brand design update or launching a new brand into the marketplace you must consider more than just the competitive landscape in-store and how you perform in shelf sets and focus groups.

Takeaway for Brands
Your online presence is key. How does your design perform in the digital space?  What supporting content can you create from your existing packaging assets beyond the standard front/side/back panel shots to help educate the consumer at a glance, show your points of differentiation, features and benefits?  Our fully integrated end-to-end package design solutions can help you get the right message, in the right way, to the right consumer.

The making of an editorial branded content cover (during Covid-19)

Strict pandemic restrictions didn’t stop FASHIONs editorial branded content campaign with L’Oréal Paris for its September cover. The issue features French modelling star – and L’Oréal Paris’ newest international spokesperson – Cindy Bruna.  Bruna is passionate about stopping domestic violence against women. She’s on the advocating team for Stand Up Against Street Harassment, the brand’s international initiative to train a million people in bystander intervention.

Here we give you a peek at how our FASHION team executed the cover shoot across countries and time zones.


FASHION Creative and Fashion Director George Antonopoulos tuned in virtually for a nine-hours-plus shoot from Toronto. Bruna (and her tiny, socially distanced team) were on set in Paris. How did that work, exactly? Through FaceTime, Antonopoulos and Bruna selected the cover and editorial looks. Next, a virtual location scout determined the best possible spots at the Nolinksi Hotel Paris, the luxurious location for the shoot. Via Zoom, Jacques Burga (art director), Mira Metter (creative director), Claudia Revidat (assistant photographer) and Antonopoulos joined from different time zones to share ideas and work as if they were all there in person.


The team captured BTS video of Cindy highlighting the “making of,” which will appear on FASHION and L’Oréal Paris’ websites and social handles.


While Bruna did her own make-up for the shoot, Val Garland, L’Oréal Paris’s global makeup director, sketched looks from her studio in London. SJC’s post-production team applied the makeup looks remotely in studio for both the print and digital content. Consumers can try on the looks on using the Virtual Beauty Tool.

Product shots

L’Oréal Paris make-up items featured in September FASHION spread were safely shot at at SJC’s studio in Toronto.

Digital content

This L’Oréal Paris x FASHION video shared on social features Bruna introducing FASHION‘s first every virtual cover shoot that readers can re-create at home.


To see the editorial branded content produced across three countries, the September issue is on newsstands August 10 and available today on Apple News. Bonus: The issue includes QR codes to scan and virtually “try on” the looks Garland created for Bruna.


Cindy Bruna in FASHION
Jacket and scarf, $5,850, Louis Vuitton. Hoop earrings, $12,990, and necklace, $28,210, Messika. Top, Bruna’s own.


Cindy Bruna in FASHION 2
Jacket, $4,800, and top, $3,050, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello. Dangle earrings, $260, Helene Zubeldia. All stud earrings worn throughout, Bruna’s own.

Sobeys names SJC its Content Partner of Choice

In a new multi-year agreement starting summer 2020, SJC will be Sobeys’ full-service partner, using our “content factory” model to create integrated marketing assets including flyers, in-store marketing, digital and social.

We will serve all of Sobeys’ Canadian grocery banners including Safeway, Foodland, IGA, Thrifty Foods, FreshCo and Lawtons Drugs.

SJC Content has been working with Sobeys over the past year to produce effective print and social campaigns such as this one for Cinca de Mayo:

“We are excited to expand our successful relationship as an all-encompassing partner for Sobeys,” says Tony Gagliano, Chairman & CEO of SJC.  “With both organizations sharing a foundation of family values and strong guiding principles, the partnership is a natural fit. Our unique combination of process, technology and creative expertise will provide a continuous stream of meaningful content to engage the Sobeys consumer for years to come.”

A mini-issue of Today’s Parent reveals how kids are moving #forwardtogether

Months into the pandemic that upended every aspect of our lives, Today’s Parent partners with Rogers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto to put the spotlight on kids.

“Despite a few tears and frustrations, our children have shown an incredible amount of grace, patience and baking assistance in this uncertain time. So let’s hear what they have to say,” says Today’s Parent Editor-in-Chief Kim Shiffman in the introductory letter.

Today’s Parent asked 21 Canadian children to share how they are managing. The mini-issue also includes conversations with Sevaun Palvetzian who leads communications and CSR for Rogers and Leanne Nicolle, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto.

Today's Parent and Rogers Tomorrow's Future inside spread

Content will lead the transformation of auto retail

At some point over the last five years, our connection to car culture as we have known it has started to shift. Perhaps the experience of buying a car at a dealership has become less inspirational, aspirational and special – and frankly, more of an expensive chore or necessity. More likely however, we have seen consumers look to online resources and word-of-mouth in their car-buying decision-making process.

And while COVID-19 has accelerated the course to full digital retail for a number of businesses, the push for the auto sector to enter the e-commerce world started years ago.

A change in consumer preferences and habits

In a 2015 study by Accenture [1], 10,000 consumers in eight major countries found that 80 per cent of drivers seeking to purchase a new vehicle were using some form of digital technology to research their buying preferences. Nearly two-thirds were initiating the car-buying process online, including consulting social media channels, before entering a dealership.

Additionally, three-quarters of the survey respondents said that if given the opportunity, they would consider making their entire car-buying process online, including financing, price negotiation, back-office paperwork and home delivery. These results speak to a consumer base looking for a new way to make the second biggest purchase in their lives. And that was five years ago.

In May of this year, Google released a study [2] identifying five key trends shaping the auto sector moving forward, including the consumer desire to have the dealer experience closer to home. Here are the activities auto shoppers ranked by preference as good alternatives to a dealer visit:

  1. At-home test drive
  2. Review videos
  3. Digital showroom
  4. Online configurator
  5. VR test drive
  6. Videoconference

While these suggestions make a lot of sense given our current climate – and it’s likely that post-pandemic, shifts in consumer behaviour will persist – dealers and OEMs should think aout the specific kind of content assets that need to be developed to support these activities in market.  What is the purpose of each asset and where, and how, can the consumer interact with it? These are important considerations to create what is needed without overspending.

How content can be used to support the preferences of today’s auto shoppers


Before the pandemic, auto shoppers were turning to YouTube to experience digital test drives, product reviews and feature demos. This practice has become even more important given the current crisis. Brands that want buyers to engage with specific models and initiative specific activities (like arranging a test drive at your home) need to consider highlighting video content of interior overviews, walk arounds, test drives and review videos. Here are examples we have created for our clients.


Online brand experiences

Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis Canada started to test and push a full online brand experience in 2017 and 2018. Offering everything from maintenance pickup, vehicle replacement, detailed digital information on all Genesis vehicles and service offerings as well as a full, online purchase and delivery functionality, SJC created a series of multi-format videos to highlight, promote and convey this high-end, ultra-convenient offering.

In the the years since, Hyundai and a number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have made a push to create more and more video and digital content to assist the consumer in their preliminary research including product videos, walk-arounds, and full 360 interactive views of the exterior and interiors of their vehicle lineup.


Interactive 360 photography

If car buyers can’t physically see and sit in the vehicle, content needs to be created to convey that experience in the best possible manner. Fully interactive 360 views of the interior and exteriors of the vehicle is a great execution that truly gives the consumer the opportunity to learn and discover everything they need to understand and appreciate the car.  At any time, users can drill down on a highlighted feature through pop-up video or animated content, without leaving the 360.  Interactive 360s are essential in grabbing and keeping a consumer’s interest. In terms of conversion, consumers can click to other content offerings, arrange a test drive or video conference with a nearby dealer, or even begin the purchase process.

You can also check out a 360 interactive example for Subaru here.

Augmented reality and virtual test drive

While virtual test-drive also made the list of desired consumer experiences, there are a number of ways to go about delivering on it. The most common virtual test drive experience isn’t actually virtual; it is essentially a POV (point of view) video. This is an easy-to-produce asset that does a good job of conveying the functionality of the various features, systems and aesthetics of the driving experience. It is not however, an adequate representation of the actual driving experience and all the momentum, power and feel that goes with it. Nor does it convey how one physically feels in the various seats, the sight lines or the actual function of features like cruise control or switching from automatic to manual.

Augmented reality (AR) is proving to be an invaluable tool to assist in the explanation some of the more advanced technology currently available. Like many OEMs, Mitsubishi has been active producing new electric and hybrid drive vehicles. Though this technology is becoming more common, it can still be complicated to explain in easily understandable visuals to a consumer. To improve this customer experience, SJC created an AR-assisted sales tool. Preloaded onto an iPad, the object-based augmented reality tool is activated by simply pointing it at the vehicle in question. Sales associates and the consumer can then see an overlay of the various drive systems, and interact with each for a better understanding of the function and benefits of each.



The Road Ahead

Perhaps unlike any time in history, OEMs need to truly remember what it is to be a consumer making a big purchase. Car buyers have reset their expectations around how they wish to research, explore, compare and ultimately arrive at their buying decision. Any digital tactic that can bring confidence to that decision process is of tremendous value.
For any tactic to be effective however, it must be executed with exceptional and affordable content, that goes beyond the flash of a broadcast ad. It’s content that is readily available in the format the individual needs in the moment.

That’s why SJC continues to push the boundaries of exceptional retail experiences for auto.


  1. Accenture Newsroom 
  2. Think with Google

Go live with Maclean’s

In the latest edition of Maclean’s Live, an extraordinary group of writers – Esi Edugyan, Robyn Maynard, Syrus Marcus Ware and Ian Williams – sat down with guest host Desmond Cole or a conversation about systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement. Desmond is the author of The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power.

Watch a recording of the conversation here:

With the start of the pandemic, Maclean’s pivoted its in-person conversation series, usually held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, to virtual. Maclean’s senior writer Paul Wells goes live every week via Zoom and recordings are available following the event.  Here are two more of the recent weeks’ conversations. For information on upcoming Maclean’s Live conversations, visit

On May 7, Paul Wells sat down with singer-songwriter Steven Page to talk about life, work and the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on creativity. 

On May 22, Paul sat down for a conversation with Dr. Maskalyk, who practices emergency medicine and trauma at St. Michael’s, Toronto’s inner-city hospital. He recently gained social media notoriety through guided meditation sessions he offers on Facebook Live. He shared his unique perspective on the COVID-19 outbreak.

FASHION creates a buzz-worthy co-branded program with Burt’s Bees

FASHION Magazine, in partnership with Burt’s Bees, celebrated women who are a #TrueForceOfNature. FASHION led a call out to readers asking what natural beauty means to them for their chance to be featured in a FASHION x Burt’s Bees co-branded program. The winners shared their personal stories of natural beauty in both print and digital, with Burt’s Bees products appropriate for each reader being featured as well. A slide show of products appearing with the digital story linked to e-commerce.

Check out the digital content and below are two of the editorial co-branded spreads that appeared in FASHION.


FASHION x Burt's Bees editorial spread
FASHION x Burt's Bees editorial spread

Toronto Life and Maclean’s take home 10 National Magazine Awards

Celebrating excellence in Canadian journalism in a time when it matters more than ever, we are proud to announce our four Gold wins and six Silver win at the 2020 National Magazine Awards announced on June 12, 2020. For the first time, the winners were announced during a live virtual broadcast and through digital channels.

Toronto Life‘s Michael Lista captured a Gold in both Long-Form Feature Writing and Investigative Reporting for “A Doctor’s Deception.Toronto Life swept the Profiles category, winning Gold for Chris Nuttall-Smith’s “David Zilber Is the Future of Food” and Silver for Katrina Onstad’s “A Star Is Born.” Toronto Life also won a Gold in the Portrait Photography category for “Musai Ujiri,” a Silver in Art Direction for a Single Issue for “Where to Eat 2019” and a Silver for Best Editorial Package for “The Vertical City”.

SJC Media’s Maclean’s took home three Silver awards for Scott Gilmore’s “You are horrible people“ in the Columns category, Kyle Edwards’ “Not a Drop to Drink” in the Long-Form Feature Writing category and Shannon Gormley’s “Into the Dark” in the Long-form Feature Writing 6,000+ words category. Maclean’s also earned 11 Honourable Mentions.

Toronto Life and Maclean’s were the top two nominated magazines at this year’s awards, with 15 and 14, respectively.

Other SJC Media publications to be recognized are:

Chatelaine: Honourable Mentions in the Best Editorial Package category for “It’s Political” and “Save the World;” the Feature Writing category for “Are You There, Margaret? It’s Me, Perimenopause;” and the Profiles category for “What she said.”

Châtelaine: Honourable Mention in the Personal Journalism category for “Traverser un cancer à deux.

Today’s Parent: Honourable Mentions for “Secrets of Daycare Teachers” in the Service Journalism category, and “Dinner on the Cheap” for Art Direction of a Single Article.

FASHION: Honourable Mention for New York London Milan Paris in the Illustration category.

“While trusted journalism is always at the core of the Canadian media landscape, more than ever, Canadians have a need and appetite for informative, relevant and engaging content,” says Tony Gagliano, Chairman & CEO of SJC. “Our nominated work is a testament to the talent and dedication that is serving the diverse needs of readers all across our country. I am so proud of our teams.”

For a complete list of all of this year’s award winners, click here.

Thank you to our healthcare heroes

Our healthcare institutions are the bedrock of these uncertain times and SJC is proud to provide support by donating ad space to our community partners St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation, Mackenzie Health Foundation and Humber River Hospital Foundation. Indebted to their courage, strength and sacrifice, we also reach out to individual healthcare workers with a small token of our appreciation.

We started out with our associates, asking them to nominate their healthcare hero; a family member or friend who is risking their lives on the frontlines to protect ours. They each received a voucher for a one-year subscription to one of our magazines. Their inspiring nominations were featured in our ad appearing in June issues of Toronto Life, Maclean’s, HELLO! Canada, Today’s Parent and Chatelaine. (Check it out here.)

Next we opened it up opening it up to our clients, magazine readers and SJC community. We asked, who is your healthcare hero?

The first 1,000 people to nominate received a voucher for a complimentary one-year magazine subscription to send to their hero. Heroes could choose from Toronto Life, Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Châtelaine or Today’s Parent.

We thank all those who participated, helping to extend appreciation to our incredible healthcare heroes. We share just a handful of the heartfelt submissions we received below. These days especially, it is the many small acts of gratitude and kindness that are having ripple effects in our communities and giving hope to brighter days ahead.


Healthcare Heroes, in your words

“My cousin Jenn is a nurse that works in an Emergency Department near Sarnia. During this stressful and scary time for front-line nurses, she continues to go to work and provides skilled and compassionate care to people. She works long shifts in hot and restrictive equipment without complaining, and bakes treats to bring in for the staff to keep their spirits up!!! She is amazing and I’m so glad to recognize her for her extraordinary work during this time.”

“The dental staff at Princess Margaret Hospital are all heroes. Being the most at risk profession for contracting Covid-19 they remained open throughout and saw patients prior to their radiation and cancer treatments/surgeries. They are selfless and true heroes for showing up to work and risking their health/lives everyday in order to help their patients. Not many people even know they exist. But they do and they are warriors!!!”

“My son Adam is an ER Nurse at Toronto Western Hospital. He helps COVID-19 patients and works 12 hour shifts, 4 days in a row. I am so proud of my son, who tirelessly places his life on the line day & night. I call him my Earth Angel.”

“My sister-in-law is a family physician, ER doctor and hospitalist in Ingersoll, ON. She inspires me with her unwavering commitment to her community and her patients during this time of COVID. She works long hours at the hospital without complaint, and spends hours more at home reading up on the latest recommendations and procedural guidelines to ensure her patients receive the best and safest care possible.”

“Christine has been a Registered Practical Nurse at Lee Manor Nursing Home in Owen Sound for many years. She was there helping patients during the SARS outbreak. She has had a very strenuous year as she is continues her duties as a RPN during the COVID crisis while also working on her specialized training in wound care.”

“My Mom Ingrid, is a dedicated health care hero, looking after others with kidney disease. She provides compassionate care to those who need life sustaining treatment. She has worked through the Covid crisis. Her courage inspires me. Thanks Mom.”

“My sister is a nurse in Toronto, working with families with high risk pregnancies. As family members and partners are not allowed to accompany people to their appointments, she has stepped up to provide more support than ever at a scary and vulnerable time for many families. She makes sure the pregnant people feel supported, takes more time to check in with them about how they are feeling, and advocates for them to have the follow-up they need. She goes to work in challenging circumstances without complaining, and is more committed than ever to women’s health care during this pandemic.”


Healthcare Heroes art hearts
These are some of the “art hearts” we received from our associates’ children that were  included on the vouchers for our healthcare heroes. From left to right: Noah, age 6; Keira, age 13; Michael, age 11 and Kaylee, age 7.


Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) partners with Today’s Parent to share safety tips

Make sure every outlet has an intact cover plate with a safety sliding latch, which acts as a barrier between tiny hands and exposed wires. When loading the dishwasher, point knives, forks and any other sharp objects downward.

These are two of the tips included in the “Home Safety Hotspots” PSA piece crated by Today’s Parent for Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). The sponsored content appeared as a double page spread in the print edition of Today’s Parent as well as on, reaching the magazine’s audience of engaged parents likely to put the tips into action and improving home safety across the country.