Cover image by Angela Gzowski
December has come to mean many things for Yellowknifers. If left completely to our own light-sensitive biological rhythms, I suspect we’d curl up into the darkness and slumber our way to spring. But hibernation is not a viable option, at least until the holiday shutdown that gives most everyone – regardless of traditions and beliefs – a chance to slow down. At EDGE YK, December is our birth-month, and we have a LOT to celebrate.
It’s year three for the magazine (that’s 21 in Dog-Days-of-Winter years), and month three for EDGEYK.COM, our new subscription website with daily news, opinion and features about life in Yellowknife. You are all invited to our Christmas party Dec. 6th at the Elks Club – lots of music – as our way of saying thanks for supporting both ventures, which operate with very different business models. Let me explain.
EDGE YK, the free magazine, was born during a dinner party at publisher Brent Reaney’s home. We all know about those “great ideas” that get bandied about, but it took Brent’s chutzpah to give it wings. How does one start a magazine in an era when print publications are falling, or at least shrinking, like clear-cut forests? Do you get an arts council grant? No. How about government seed money for a small business? No. Bank loan? No.
You go around to Yellowknife businesses, government offices, cultural organizations, service providers of everything from acupuncture to architecture…and you ask if they’d like to advertise in a magazine that doesn’t exist, except in your head. And if you’re…say, Roslind Mercredi of Down to Earth Gallery, or Sandra Stirling of Overlanders, you show blind faith and hand over some money that gets the ball rolling.
Without the advertisers, there would be no EDGE YK magazine, and without the magazine, we could not have expanded into EDGEYK.COM, which is subscription-driven and ad-lite. People tell us they enjoy our magazine ads; that they look at them differently, in part because they have cool design, but mostly because the people behind them are your neighbours, your dentist, your MLA, your pet groomer.
This is where I give a shoutout to Jeremy Bird, our ad manager and co-owner of the business, who joked one day (there is a lot of joking here) that he’d never been mentioned in my editor’s note. Jeremy’s pounded the pavement since year two of the magazine, soft-selling opportunities for people to use it as a vehicle for connecting with their clients or customers. He really wants people to love their ad and have it serve them well.
That we’re still here, expanding our staff and growing an enthusiastic following to our unique, EDGEYK.COM mix of fun and facts (ice cream and broccoli as we say) is proof those connections are being made.
In my introduction to EDGEYK.COM last issue I said it was “not beholden to advertisers.” That’s true, but it leaves the wrong impression that the magazine in some way is. We have never felt any pressure from our advertisers to sway our editorial content, and we wouldn’t bend to such pressure in any event. It’s telling of the “magic” that is EDGE YK that the bulk of our content is contributor-driven. Stories you want to tell, not that we assign. And that seems to have worked out for everyone (OK, there was the EDGE YK “Hot or Not” Wing Wednesday takedown that ruffled a few feathers, but we had to call it as we saw it).
So shop, or not, this season (see Marianne Bromley’s poem on p. 39). Sink your teeth into Trek Restaurant’s Found Food recipe (p. 11) – better yet, take the family out to eat there. And give your brain a math/music workout by reading my profile of Donny Mackay on p. 43, and his attempts to prove the Riemann’s Hypothesis. We are nothing, if not eclectic.
However you choose to spend the holidays, take a minute to appreciate all the businesses and services that make living here possible, celebrate, and open your hearts to anyone who might need a hand.