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In a major vote of confidence in online media, one of Canada's largest magazine publishing houses has bought the Torontoist blog.

The move, announced Monday evening in a joint statement with St. Joseph Media, represents a financial lifeline for the website, which has had ownership troubles in the past.

Torontoist, which has operated since 2004, is similar in content and tone to an alternative newsweekly, with a heavy component of local arts coverage and commentary on urban affairs. In recent years, the site has moved towards more ambitious journalism, with well-researched features and breaking news coverage.

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Last year, the site become the first online-only media organization to take home a National Magazine Award, for its coverage of the May, 2009 Tamil protest that shut down the Gardiner Expressway.

The site was originally set up by New York's Gothamist as part of a chain of city-oriented blogs. In dire financial straits and arguing with its parent site over editorial direction, Torontoist announced in December, 2008 it would close. The decision was quickly reversed and, the following year, a small company was set up explicitly to buy the blog.

The exact terms of St. Joseph's acquisition were not made clear.

St. Joseph publishes several titles, including Toronto Life, Ottawa Magazine, FASHION magazine and Canadian Family.

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