The Rural Route – News and Lifestyle Magazine was officially launched with a gala wine and cheese party at the fabulous Meiklejohn House in Harriston on November 30.
Over 100 well-wishers, friends, family, local business people and other community members attended the gathering to help launch the magazine and pick up an advance copy of the inaugural issue, which was delivered to readers the following day. Dignitaries in attendance included Minto Mayor David Anderson, Deputy Mayor Judy Dirksen, councillors David Turton and Tammy Reiner and treasurer Gordon Duff.
The event was the culmination of months of preparation for the magazine, which was born out of discussions between local printer John Burgess and veteran journalist Patrick Raftis.
“I approached John in the spring of 2009, with the idea of starting a publication. I was thinking newspaper at the time, but John had something a little classier in mind,” recalls Raftis, who has worked as a reporter, photographer, editor and manager of several community newspapers around southwestern Ontario over the course of a 25-year career.
Burgess, whose business, Kimbal Printing Ltd., is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2010, had been kicking around the idea of producing something in a high-quality magazine format for some time.
The result, says Burgess, “is sort of a cross between Harrowsmith and Maclean’s, with a totally local flavour.”
The two felt a publication like The Rural Route would fill a niche in regional coverage, providing an in-depth, feature-oriented approach, with an emphasis on lifestyle stories about the people, businesses and organizations that make this area unique.
“It’s local, yet not local. The subjects may be local, but we wanted stories that would be interesting to any reader who picks up the magazine,” stated Burgess.
“The full-colour, glossy format allows us to showcase local people and events photographically, in a way that other publications just can’t,” said Raftis.
Irmgard Kuersten, a graphic designer at Kimbal Printing, generates the publication’s eye-catching look.
Response to the publication has been outstanding and the decision was made to expand the circulation into the Mount Forest area for the second issue, due to the high level of interest from that community. The magazine now boasts a circulation of 7,000 throughout the Minto and North Wellington area.
Now that the magazine is up and running, the publisher’s aim is to have it become part of the fabric of the community.
“We’d like people to become involved and submit articles, photographs and historical items – anything to do with the area. We want to ensure The Rural Route becomes a true part of the community,” said Burgess.