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Torstar, Tele-Direct, CitySearch Create Toronto Service

Torstar Corp., publisher of the Toronto Star newspaper, Tele-Direct Publications Inc. and CitySearch formed a new partnership to provide an Internet service that designed to let buyers and sellers conduct business online in the Greater Toronto Area.

Building on the Toronto Star CitySearch.com site and integrating business data from Tele-Direct's award-winning YellowPages.ca site, the new partnership will evolve the city guide model to integrate more and more electronic commerce, the companies said.

The new partnership is called 'Toronto.com' and the service will be accessible at http://www.toronto.com.

". . . this new alliance will benefit all our customers in the Greater Toronto Area as the premiere Internet site to connect buyers and sellers," said Tom Bourke, chairman of Tele-Direct, Bell Canada's directory company. "Tele-Direct brings our powerful Yellow Pages brand, significant new media experiences, and sales and marketing network to the partnership. Combined with the Toronto Star's strong brand recognition and consumer demand, its popular online classifieds and new media content expertise, Toronto.com will provide both residents and visitors to the Greater Toronto Area with a vital source of information and new opportunities for electronic shopping experiences."

Toronto.com will provide event guides, mapping, and topical community information, as well as shopping opportunities for tickets, books and CDs. The partnership said it intends to take advantage of the new Mpact Immedia/Bell Emergis alliance for the development of e-commerce merchant tools and capabilities.

The major shareholders in the new partnership are Torstar and Tele-Direct, each holding a 45% share. CitySearch will hold a 10% share and will provide its proprietary technology platform.

Toronto.com will be a member of the CitySearch Network of key North American and worldwide city guides.

Publisher of the new partnership will be Bruce Annan, formerly publisher of Toronto Star CitySearch.com. George Jewell, formerly Director of Internet Services for Tele-Direct, will join Toronto.com as director of sales and marketing.

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