The Grind: Toronto’s New Free Alt Newspaper

The Grind is a just-launched free print publication for the city of Toronto, and we need your help to cover the start-up costs. As a volunteer team, we put our hearts into the first issue, and covered immediate costs by making personal donations and giving loans. But there are more bills to pay. In order to keep publishing, your support is essential.

We’re a non-profit. We don’t have a big financial backer – no tech bros or hedge funds – and print ad revenues aren’t what they used to be. But we believe in Toronto, and in our ability to collectively rally behind things we want to keep alive. So we’re asking you, the readers of The Grind, to donate. We can have a high-quality, free, widely-distributed paper telling important stories about our city. Let's make it happen.

More info, from our Editors’ letter in the first issue:

Toronto is an incredibly vibrant place made vibrant by everyday people. It’s a unique corner of the world, located on the shores of Niigaani-gichigami, Lake Ontario, our source of water.

Honestly, we love it. There’s so much going on, any hour of the day. The creative spirit of the people of this city is incomparable.

But for all that’s good about Toronto, life here is often bleak. So many of us are working hard — soul-crushingly hard — just to get by. A small portion of the city has a lot of money and lives in decadence. Most people don’t. We see you. We are you.

We’re with you, taking the TTC, dealing with delays, with subway lines shutting down, with packed shuttle buses. Dealing with bad bosses and demanding customers. Praying neglectful landlords won’t raise the rent too much, and that schools will be funded well enough to give kids the attention and care they deserve.

In Toronto, independent media have a critical role to play holding elected officials accountable, telling stories of resistance and challenging authority. While mainstream media outlets too often uncritically repeat police talking points and create scares around things like “quiet quitting,” a number of independent media worked to shine a light on evictions, exploitation in the workplace, and countless other stories of working class people.

There’s a void in this city, especially with NOW Magazine seemingly out of print. An important, no-bullshit voice has pretty much gone silent. But Toronto needs a gritty free magazine now as much as ever. We’ve watched with deep sadness as NOW’s staff have reportedly gone unpaid for months, still putting their souls into it.

But the decline of NOW, founded in 1981 by leftists and artists in Toronto, has lit a fire in us. We couldn’t just sit idly by. So we, as a small group each involved in independent online publications, including The Hoser, Media Co-op, Briarpatch, PressProgress and others, dreamed up a new publication. A smaller group of media workers came together to solidify and produce The Grind. This issue is a mix of excellent journalism from progressive publications across Canada republished in print, plus brand-new writing and art.

To get this first issue together we worked as a volunteer team, making time in between our jobs. There’s no big investor behind The Grind — no tech bros, no hedge funds — and we’re incorporated as a non-profit with a mandate to put all the money we raise into the publication itself. We managed to scrape some money together, including money we donated ourselves and loans we gave the magazine, and it has been just enough to pay writers, photographers, designers, and the printer.

To make this publication viable long-term — which means hiring paid staff — we’re going to need your help. Part of the reason NOW didn’t work out in print is it didn’t really ask readers to support it financially, instead relying almost 100 percent on advertisers for revenue. We have some ads in this issue and we’ll gladly run more. But we know that to really be an independent magazine telling important stories, calling out injustice, and being a voice for workers, we need help from readers like you.

So if you like what you see, please donate today to help cover the start-up costs. Anything raised above $20,000 will go to production for the next issue, including (hopefully!) hiring staff. And we will set up a monthly donor program soon.

Thanks, and happy reading!

Donations (143)

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David Gray-Donald
Toronto, ON

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