Top 10 Best Issues of Canadian Magazines | NMA 2016 Nominees

The judging is complete and the nominees for the 39th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced. This year the judges have selected 10 finalists for the award for Best Single Issue, an award sponsored by Rolland Enterprises, Inc.

The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed at the National Magazine Awards gala on June 10 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. [Tickets & Gala Info].

And now, we invite you to learn more about the magazines that made top 10:

Air Canada enRouteThe Food Issue


The entire November 2015 issue actively delivers on supporting the development of a national food identity, promoting the contributions of new and established Canadian chefs, sommeliers and industry players and fostering a sense of community from farm to kitchen to table. This issue is shaped around culinary themes, from front of book personality profiles to culinary-minded hotels.

This issue includes features on the new concept restaurant/performance space from the Adrià brothers and Cirque du Soleil, how one sustainable Caribbean destination is taking resort food out of the international buffet trough and into local hands, and also a look into the happy hour scene in Austin. The goal of this issue was to dish up tasty and thoughtful stories and to whet the appetite for great food as well as knowledge.

AzureToronto, A City on the Rise


This issue celebrates three decades of Azure by highlighting some of the most exciting architecture and design underway in Toronto. With stories looking into how Union Station’s expansion is addressing the city’s need for citizenry, how architects, city planners and developers worked together to host PanAm athletes in the pre-sold but not-yet-occupied waterfront condominiums and also how the city has attracted top-calibre architecture, through an in-depth look at the Aga Khan Museum and Ismali Centre in Don Mills.

This issue represents what Azure is all about: presenting the future of design in a format that encourages readers to get excited about the great changes to come – and those that are underway.

Cottage LifeThe Hot Issue


The centrepiece of this issue is the Canoe Love package, which consists of two parts: an essay about the canoe and its special place in our national consciousness and also a collection of anecdotes from readers about “courting” with their own canoes, complete with original photography and quirky illustrations. Together these pieces hit the right balance of entertainment and information, in true Cottage Life-style.

Readers will also come across a profile of entertainment expert Trish Magwood, a story about the latest dockside accessory, the portable fire pit, an in depth look at the dragonfly and also a look at the hottest trends in décor from international design superstars Colin & Justin.

explore – Winter 2015


For their Winter 2015 edition, explore delivered on their mandate and epitomized the “live the adventure” ideal with great vigour. Working with writers, illustrators and photographers – both seasoned and new contributors – these diverse voices helped to deliver an exhaustive anthology of content that both accurately reflects their reader demographics and offers story angles that are fresh and unique.

Articles take readers through a one-of-a-kind backcountry skiing trip into Banff National Park, a floe-edge exploration in Nunavut, a youth-at-risk outdoor education program in British Columbia and an extreme race in Yukon. In addition, there is a dynamic service article, profiles, a how-to guide and product reviews.

FlareICYMI Issue


This is a clever, cohesive and incredibly vocal issue that exemplifies FLARE’s new millennial positioning – and non-conformist spirit. The issue dismantles the magazine’s existing architecture and rebuilt it as a year-in-review issue, exploring a wide array of topics such as what it’s really like to be young and trans in Canada, a look at why otherwise genius designers can’t distinguish between cultural appreciation and appropriation, and also recapped the year in feminist outrage.

Visually, the entire issue was treated as an editorial package, playing up graphic shapes, designing new typographic look-ups specific to the issue and colour coding each department in lieu of section openers.

Legion Magazine – The Fight for Italy


The goal for this issue was to produce a bold, definitive words-and-pictures publication that would convey the significance of the bravery and sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers more than 70 years ago to Canadians of all generations today.

Bursting with dramatic historical photography and artwork, colourful and detailed maps and infographics and original spot illustrations, the story of the fight for Italy comes to life in this issue’s pages.

Nouveau ProjetSpring/Summer 2015


This issue is dedicated to the new boundaries – both tangible and and less tangible – of modern Québec. The territorial limits are sometimes contested by cultural barriers and linguistic persistence (or not). Through the eyes of foreign migrants and symbolic borders, Nouveau Projet unfolds the concept of borders and the various incarnations currently in Québec. This issue includes stories on the Anticosti Island, architecture in the North, the border between Newfoundland and Labrador, the story of three refugees and also the unusual path of writer Guillaume Morissette, who left the Saguenay to seek literary fame in the English-speaking sphere.

Stories about solar power in Québec, innovative uses for urban underpasses and the state of the “sharing economy” are also included in this issue, as well as essays, critical commentary, poetry, etc.

Sportsnet What it’s Like to be Connor McDavid Right Now


The cover story of this issue tells the story of Connor McDavid; a young man who is on the cusp of superstardom, but all the while remains a teenager at heart. The story was a huge exclusive on a huge name. Another uniquely Canadian story is that of “Gulu Rises” which follows a Canadian man’s journey of starting a soccer club in the tiny Ugandan town of Gulu, hoping to give its children – and by extension community – a chance at a better life.

Aside from these two gripping features, you’ll find a quirky story about an athletes love of meteorology which exposes the real-life passion of a superstar, a story about pro football’s first openly gay player, as well as CFL previews, interviews and columns from Canada’s best sports writers.

Up Here The Fish Issue


This issue hopes to leave readers with a hearty appreciation for all the fish that contribute to the diet, the art, the history and the economy of Northerners, while remaining interesting to non-fish-nerds. Stories about the lakes in the Northwest Territories – on an ecological level – becoming the new Galapagos, how a family built a fishing lodge empire that built up a loyal, affluent clientele and also a look at why the North’s fishing industry isn’t booming. This issue also contains a look at career opportunities for young graduates, the party-spot Legion in Iqaluit and a pickers guide for the summer morel mushroom boom.

In addition to these stories, readers will also find beautifully photographed fish recipes, as well as other photography showing fish like you’ve never seen them before, in their pristine underwater habitat. The Up Here team jokingly refers to this edition as their “fissue.” Ha!

Western Living Magazine – Designers of the Year, September 2015


The September issue is always Western Living’s biggest and most exciting issue of the year, as it features their Designer of the Year awards; a celebration of the best designers in Western Canada, from architecture to interiors to fashion. Over 800 designers and architects attend both events, resulting in a space for the local design community to connect and celebrate their work together.

In addition to extensive coverage of the awards, this issue explored the inner workings of Canada’s most iconic hotel, the Fairmont Banff Springs and also shared insider tips for exploring New York’s best neighbourhoods. The remaining pages of their newly over-sized issue includes interviews, photography, designer tips and must-try recipes.

Which is your favourite? Leave us a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA16.

Tickets are on sale for the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala, Friday June 10 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto.

Meet the National Magazine Awards nominees for:
Best New Magazine Writer
Best New Magazine Photographer
Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Single Service Article Package

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Portrait Photography
Words & Pictures

Complete nominations coverage

Special thanks to Leah Jensen for her reporting.

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