Fourteen years ago, a very small company, Crailer Communications, took over two magazines from a very large publishing company. The magazines, Canadian Interiors and Building, were both suffering severely the effects of the early 1990s recession that had hit Canada’s construction and development industry and their prognosis was not good. Crailer was my company and initially I was its only employee. What could I have been thinking of?
Well, a great deal happened over those 14 years, the company grew, the magazines evolved. I learned a lot and worked with some talented people who taught me more. I’m proud of where we took the magazines and of what they have become.
But nothing stays still. The Business Information Group (BIG), which also publishes Canadian Architect, has now bought Crailer and the two magazines. BIG is truly big, with the resources and the determination to take the magazines to a level to which we could only dream about and then only with several glasses of wine in hand.
The January/February issue of Canadian Interiors was my swan song. When you read this, I will have moved on, right now to sunny Florida where I am involved in renovating a 1923 house. And don’t get me started on the joys of hurricane-proofing.
However, this is my chance, with the orchestra waiting to play me off stage, to say thank you. To two former editors, David Lasker and Kelly Rude, who were instrumental in growing Canadian Interiors. To three staff writers/editors, Julie Allin, Erin Donnelly and Peter Sobchak, who joined to learn and then helped lead the magazines. To art director Roy Gaiot, production manager Kevin Pagcaliwagan and printing manager David Robinson, who created the look that is Canadian Interiors, with Roy and Kevin also responsible for Building. To Albert Warson who provided knowledge and experience as editor of Building; and to three freelance writers, Janet Collins, Rhys Philips and Leslie Smith, who wrote gracefully and skillfully for both magazines and almost always met their deadlines. To our sales people, both past and present, Sheila Henry, Philip Knox, Paul Macygyn and Dan Powers, who worked with clients to bring in the advertising that paid the bills. And in a class of her own, to office manager, circulation manager, computer whiz and cover critic, Beata Olechnowicz, involved with Crailer, almost from the beginning, providing stability and a dose of reality when ideas were grandiose but bank balances were not.
Thank you also to the many talented designers and architects who provided us with the excellence of the work that they do, who collaborated with us and inspired us. In particular, thank you to the II By IV duo, Dan Menchions and Keith Rushbrook, who generously helped lead Canadian Interiors to its new format in 1999. And thank you to the advertisers who supported us and even to those who didn’t, because that was a great incentive to try to prove how wrong they were.
Finally, to my husband, Jack Ruttle, who was always willing to transport magazines, set up and provide booth duty for trade shows, who trudged through countless NeoCons, made sales calls when needed, was a masterful master of ceremonies for nine Best of Canada Design Award galas, who always cooked dinner and complained only when necessary.
Many of the people mentioned are continuing with the magazines as part of BIG. I will continue organizing Canadian Interiors’ Best of Canada Design and Building’s Outside the Box competitions. I hope to keep connecting with you in that capacity. And I wish everyone the best of adventures. What seems foolhardy may indeed turn out to be foolhardy. But it may also be fun.