NOW Communications

now logo

  NOW Magazine was founded in 1981 by Michael Hollett and Alice Klein. In many ways, NOW was modeled as a Toronto equivalent to New York’s Village Voice; a weekly newsprint publication combining progressive news coverage with extensive and literate coverage of the cultural events occurring in the city. However, one essential difference between NOW and its predecessors was that NOW was completely supported by ad revenue and thus available for free. While this was a new concept in 1981, the majority of North American cities now have at least one such publication.
  Over the course of its history, NOW’s arts writers have provided in-depth coverage of the film, theatre, music, dance, poetry and visual arts scenes in Toronto. The emphasis in this coverage has been on independent and alternative artists whose work gets little or no exposure in the mainstream press. NOW’s news coverage has also been influential, providing a voice for a variety of communities that were traditionally marginalized elsewhere (including LGBT people, sex workers, labour organizers, environmental activists and so on).
  In the course of its coverage of politics and the arts, NOW has published original photography by nationally and internationally renowned names such as Larry Towell, David Hlynsky, Paul Till and Chris Nichols. The magazine has also printed original art by people such as Margaret Hathaway, Buzz Burza, Thach Bui and Kris Patterson.


NOW Magazine website

Siklos, Richard. “The Radical Success of NOW.” Financial Post, September 25, 1991, 43.



In 2004, the Media Commons hosted an exhibition of NOW’s photographs called NOW and the 1980s: A Photographic Exhibition. The exhibit was curated by Media Commons Director Brock Silversides, and held at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.


Accession No.
Physical description

8 m of textual records

34,458 photographs
· 2,267 negatives (2,150 b&w, 117 col.)
· 320 contact sheets (319 b&w, 1 col.)
· 293 Transparencies (293 col.)
· 31,578 prints (31,503 b&w, 75 col.)

105 graphic materials
· 105 posters

203 audio recordings
· 199 cassettes (241 hr.)
· 3 microcassettes (1 hr.)
· 1 CD (1 hr., 20 min.)

92 video recordings
· 2 DVDs (1 hr., 22 min.)
· 90 VHS cassettes (96 hr.)

187 artifacts

39 bound volumes

Scope and content

This fonds is divided into 4 series: ‘NOW Communications Inc.’, ‘NOW Magazine Photo Archive’, ‘The ‘Photo’ Series’, ‘NOW Magazine Audiovisual’.

The first series, ‘NOW Communications Inc.’, consists mainly of textual material relating to the production of the magazine. It is divided into 14 sections: ‘Administration’, ‘Advertising’, ‘Contracts’, ‘Awards’, ‘Circulation’, ‘Correspondence’, ‘Ephemera’, ‘Financial’, ‘Legal’, ‘Photography’, ‘Posters’, ‘Printing Subcontracts’, ‘Promotional’, ‘Publicity’, and ‘Research’. This series also includes 39 bound volumes of NOW Magazine (a complete run dating from Summer 1981 to August 2001).

The second series, ‘NOW Magazine Photo Archive’ consists of several thousand photographs related to the production of NOW Magazine (Vols. 1- 9). These photos document current events, personalities, buildings and businesses, streetscapes, conventions, demonstrations and rallies, theatre rehearsals and performances, film production stills, promotional portraits, and advertising and product shots used for advertising/illustrations/cover shots. This also includes 23 pieces of original artwork.

The third series, ‘The Photo Series’, consists of several thousand photographs related to the production of NOW Magazine (Vols. 10 - 13).
The photographs feature the same subject matter as those in the second series.

The fourth series, ‘NOW Magazine Audiovisual’, consists of audio and video items including production meetings, speeches, radio advertisements, interviews with Michael Hollet and Alice Klein, interviews with celebrities conducted by Michael Hollett, seminars, music compilations, and radio and television profiles of NOW Magazine.

Rights and access

A) Some restrictions exist. Please consult archivist an list.

B) Material is subject to copyright restrictions; please consult an archivist.