Jeffrey Vallis is a freelance writer and communications specialist living in Toronto.

Thoughts and reflections on my life and work.

Thoughts and reflections on my life and work.

This website was five years in the making

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When I was 22, I started a culture and lifestyle magazine with my friend Braden called Sandbox. We created it to celebrate our Prairie hometown that we have so much pride and love for. We also wanted a space where we could build and play with no rules or restrictions.

Fortunately, the magazine blew up after the publication of our first print issue, and we spent the next two years immersed in a magical creative community. We published eight quarterly print issues and eight online issues; won multiple awards—including Best New Magazine at the Western Magazine Awards; and amassed a loyal audience ready to embrace the Sandbox lifestyle.

After two years, we said goodbye to the magazine (mostly for financial reasons, as these things go) and the content disappeared with it. The previous Sandbox web domain expired and, strangely enough, an unknown person bought it and made a fake Sandbox landing page with our real names next to stock photos of models (flattering, but bizarre). Past issues were only available in the hot little hands of those lucky enough to still have their printed editions.

I always wanted to create an archive site for Sandbox to honour the work of our tireless contributors and to ensure the content lives on forever. But time and money never seemed to be on my side and before I knew it five years had disappeared.

That’s why I’m so thrilled that Sandbox magazine finally has a permanent home online, with all of the past print and online issues available.

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As I anticipated, this was an undertaking—probably why I put it off for so long. From tracking down the files from our printer and laying out the online-only issues into a single document, to preparing and uploading the PDFs to the publishing platform Issuu and building the website using Weebly. But I had the best time building this archive site and reliving all the magic.

And now that Sandbox is back in people’s social media feeds, we've heard calls for a relaunch. It's not in our immediate future, but who knows what will happen down the road? For now, check out the site and let me know your favourite issue, story or photo shoot.