Media Central Corporation Inc (CSE:FLYY) (FRA:3AT) announced Thursday that its subsidiary NOW Magazine has published its annual edition of the Readers' Choice Awards, marking 25-consecutive years of the accolades.
NOW's Readers' Choice is a chance for readers to share what they love about Toronto - from restaurants and retail stores to drag performers, parks and politicians.
With the negative impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on small and local businesses, Media Central said the issue is more important than ever, as it draws attention to the city's best-loved businesses and people.
READ: Media Central to deliver health information through branded content deal with iMD Health Global
It noted that the voting process is not only great exposure for the winners and runner-ups, but the nomination and polling periods give all local people, places and businesses increased visibility across the millions of readers who rely on NOW in print and online.
A Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey found that one in seven Canadian businesses may not survive the COVID-19 pandemic. NOW recognizes the impact of the pandemic on its city's local businesses, big and small, and knows that this year's awards bring much-needed attention to ones that are excelling in their specialities, the group said.
Acknowledging the nuances of 2020, Media Central said NOW added new categories to reflect the ways life has changed during the pandemic, including Best Drive-In Venue, Best Virtual Fitness Instructor, Best Online Party Series, and Best Face Mask Designer.
"This year, the pandemic forced us to push the Readers' Choice issue back a bit later than we normally run it, but we felt it was more important than ever to highlight businesses and cultural organizations struggling during the financial crisis," said Kevin Ritchie, NOW Magazine’s editor, in a statement.
"We've added new categories to ensure each poll reflects the changing ways people interact with local culture and business. In the spirit of the poll, we definitely welcome reader suggestions for new categories to add in next year. NOW Magazine has always been the voice of the city and this issue is a way of celebrating our readers' and their favourite places, people and things across Toronto."
Media Central said winners are typically a mix of independent and mainstream businesses and people. Although NOW has added new categories over the past 25 years, its readers' tastes can be consistent.
For example, Ikea was voted Best Furniture Store in 1995 and again in 2020. Voters are also always on the cusp of trends. In 2019, NOW readers picked Priyanka as Toronto's best drag performer and she was featured on the cover. This year she won the reality competition TV series Canada's Drag Race.
Contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter @PatrickMGraham