I began reading The Fitness Report back in the early 80s and never stopped subscribing to the publication. When it was renamed Active Living, it seemed an excellent title for the coming age of our fitness profession.
When Active Living arrived in my mailbox, I read it cover to cover within days. I was always curious about what Joe was reporting on. Every two months he provided us with a straight shooting, up-to-date editorial that fired the mind and senses into thinking about solutions for the challenges he presented.
I loved this about Joe – his honesty and outside-the-box approach. I was always inspired by his comments. Several times I picked up the phone to thank him for his latest publication and let him know how much I appreciated being kept current.
It was so Canadian
Joe presented Active Living information in an easy to digest and down to earth style. I loved how he bridged the fitness industry with medical and wellness connections. His professional writing and organizational abilities shone as he pulled together an excellent collection of past, present and future information and perspectives pertaining to research, trends, organizational updates, programs, publications, products, conferences and services.
I was always circling things to buy and people to contact, and Active Living kept me motivated as an professional working from my home office.
In addition, different organizations, like ALCOA and SPRA Fitness, would submit their four-page newsletters to share with everyone.
A tribute to us
Active Living was an ongoing salute to Canadians working in the fitness field. Those of us who curled up every two months to read Active Living will miss his unique and personable approach and the ability to pick up the phone and have an intelligent conversation with someone who truly cared.
In fall 2011, our company began purchasing Active Living as our membership magazine. This was exciting for all of us, and we delighted in regular communication with Joe over the past two years.
We meet Joe
In May 2013, my husband and business partner, Morrie Zaitlin, visited Joe in the Collingwood hospital. Marika and Walter Hanych hosted and escorted us to Joe’s home and office. His wood home was a reflection of the Collingwood north environment, filled with warmth and beautiful crafted African art that he and his wife had collected.
In the middle of his living room sat a large round indoor open fireplace where Marika told us he loved to entertain Canadian musicians of merit, record music and listen to his amazing jazz collection. His office overflowed in a cozy fashion with books, journals, letters, magazines and office supplies. I was thrilled to visit the place where Joe created his hundreds of Active Living issues. We wandered his beautiful backyard where spring flowers were bursting, water sparkled in his pond and the sun filtered through the lush greenery and stately birch trees.
After all the years of reading his work and speaking to him over the phone, we finally met Joe in person. I sat beside him and held his hand as he ate some of the blueberries and blackberries we had brought.
We spoke about how much we appreciated his longstanding contribution and how much we loved him. We held hands and he glimpsed up at me with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile. My heart now feels at peace for this opportunity we had to be together. Yes, it was unfortunate we met when he was not well, however, we are very grateful for the visit. Joe passed away just 13 days later.
There is interest in keeping Active Living magazine going, which in itself is a tribute to a true blue Canadian journalist who with his mind, heart and soul made a significant difference in many people’s lives. Active Living, with Joe Taylor behind it, encouraged, educated, challenged, nurtured and thus shaped each professional who read his work.
We will miss you Joe and will always remember you in our hearts. Thank you for all you gave us!
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