Toronto Standard launch showed off publisher’s assets

Last night, Toronto Standard went live, and a party held to fête the new Toronto-focused site, a “daily digital briefing on the life of the city,” made no effort to hide the strong financial backing provided by founder and publisher Lee Polydor, investor and founder of Queen Street Capital Partners.

An open bar, swanky hors d’oeurves, and cute, young PR types working the front door infused the launch with the distinct scent of  money—not that attendees sipping their free champagne were complaining. The party was held at the trendy Burroughes Building, which is owned by Polydor; it will also house Toronto Standard‘s offices and will serve as the venue for a monthly music series, Friday Night at the Standard.

For our first post about the site, editorial director Chris Frey told us that the Polydor intends to pay writers a “decent rate,” and based on the names on the site’s masthead, that promise has attracted some impressive talent. At the launch, Polydor said that though he is a newcomer to the online media world, he intends to “raise the bar” with his new venture and offer “something unique.” While the initial content posted on the site has already underwhelmed some critics, Frey promised at the launch that new features are going up on the site in coming weeks. A promise to use video extensively is, too, something that could set it apart from the competition.

Whether the site will find a workable business model remains to be seen—and the city’s online news community, and potential investors, will be watching. But for freelancers both in Toronto and abroad, the Standard adds to a growing list of online publications that offer worthwhile rates and, for now, that’s  reason enough to wish them a healthy start.

Posted on April 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm by editor ·

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