Call for Judges: 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is getting ready to honour the best in Canadian magazine and digital journalism at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards and 2nd annual Digital Publishing Awards. The NMAF is currently accepting nominations for individuals to serve on the juries for this year’s awards programs, and join the great tradition of recognizing achievement by the creators of Canadian magazines and digital publications.

One of the reasons I volunteer as a judge for the NMAs is that the process is very well organized, completely transparent and fair. I really enjoy the discussion with my fellow judges. It’s collegial, and I almost always learn something. And every year I discover a few outstanding new writers who have produced great work. That’s a gift.
Kelly Toughill, Director, School of Journalism, University of King’s College, Halifax, NS

Ideal candidates should fulfill one or more of the following criteria:

  • Internationally renowned journalist, editor, designer or other expert with an interest in supporting the NMAF fulfill its new strategic mission to Celebrate Canadian Creators wherever they publish.
  • Editor, art director, publisher, web editor or other staff member (past or present) of a Canadian magazine, whether or not your publication participates in the National Magazine Awards or Digital Publishing Awards;
  • Freelance or staff writer, illustrator, photographer or digital creator, where a significant portion of your work is in Canadian publications (especially if you have been nominated for or won a National Magazine Award or Digital Publishing Award yourself);
  • Journalist (print, broadcast, digital) with expertise in a particular field represented by one or more NMA or DPA categories (such as health, business, photojournalism, science, service, politics, fiction, poetry, etc);
  • Academic or industry leader with expertise in a particular field;
  • BilingualNot all of our judges need be bilingual, but all awards juries will have at least one bilingual member.

Judging will take place during February and March 2017, and the NMAF is currently hard at work revising our judging procedures and awards criteria thanks to your feedback and participation in our surveys and working groups. We’ll be announcing our new Judging Procedure soon.

Contact us at for more information and to nominate someone to the jury.

The NMAF is proud to have some of Canada’s most respected journalists and experts serve on its past juries.

stevesI judge for the NMAs because I want to give back to the magazine industry and contribute its health. It also gives me the chance to see where other magazines in the country are having their successes.
Steven Sandor, Editor, Avenue Edmonton, AB

The NMAs focus on creators, the people who are create the work that makes everything else possible. Given all of the challenges that creators face in earning a living, participating in a process that recognizes and rewards their efforts is, I think, important and valuable work.
Kim Pittaway, former editor, Chatelaine, and journalism teacher, Dartmouth, NS

I think the NMAs themselves are a valuable measure of the accomplishments of Canadian magazine writers and editors. As to the process, we were given sufficient time and a workable structure both leading up to and in the conversation itself. My fellow judges offered interesting insights into the work considered and the process was both engaged and congenial.
Kim Jernigan, former editor, The New Quarterly, Waterloo, ON

I enjoy being part of any process that involves visual communication. It helps me to learn more about my work as well as connect with others in the industry.
Brent Morrison, Art Director, Swerve magazine, Calgary, AB

I enjoy the process because it gives me the opportunity to contribute both individually and collectively. Entering my own scores for each entry validates the time I spend reviewing and assessing each submission; discussing my assessments with the other judges during our conference call provides the opportunity to weigh the value of those assessments against the opinions of other industry experts and (on occasion) to argue in favour of work which I feel may have been undervalued.
Dawn Chafe, Executive Editor, Atlantic Business Magazine, St. John’s, NL

Having been involved since the 1980s, as a board member, president (1991) a member of a special review committee (Strategic Speculation) and a frequent judge, I have a real investment in the event. What I like most of all is the emphasis the awards have nurtured of rewarding the effort of individual creators (rather than the publications, which get to bask in the reflected glory anyway.) Some no longer seem to value, or understand, this. But it is one of the things which makes the MagAwards special.
D.B. Scott, publisher, Canadian Magazines blog, Cambridge, ON

I enjoy the chance to dive deep into excellent work that I might have missed the first time around. It’s also a chance to (literally) cast my vote for storytelling that serves the reader and the material, not just the reputation of the writer or magazine.
Susan Catto, editor, Hello! Canada, Toronto, ON

The NMAF is a bilingual, not-for-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to foster, recognize and promote editorial excellence in Canadian publications. Submissions will open in November for awards honouring the best in Canadian magazines and digital publications in 2016. The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala and the 2nd annual Digital Publishing Awards soiree will be held in the spring of 2017.

For more information, please contact

The Mag Awards Guide to Word on the Street


Canada’s largest magazine & book festival – Word on the Street – is coming to four Canadian cities this month, with opportunities for readers to browse great deals on magazine subscriptions, hear inspiring stories from their favourite writers and go home with an exciting stack of new reads.

  • Halifax – Saturday, September 17, Halifax Central Library
  • Saskatoon – Sunday, September 18, Exhibitor Marketplace
  • Lethbridge – Saturday, September 24, Main Library
  • Toronto – Sunday, September 25, Harbourfront Centre

Here are some of the events and speakers at Toronto’s Word On The Street we’re looking forward to, featuring NMA winners:

Lauren McKeon, 2-time NMA winner and editor of THIS Magazine (now celebrating its 50th anniversary year) leads a discussion with panelists: NMA winner Daniel Viola (Maisonneuve), Sheila Sampath (Shameless Magazine), Priya Ramanujan (Urbanology), and Shawn Micallef (Spacing) on why independent media is now more important than ever, and what role this form of journalism will play in the next fifty years. The hour-long discussion starts at 3:15 at the Canadian Magazines Stagethe-ward

John Lorinc, 7-time NMA winner for Spacing, Toronto Life, Report on Business and others, will speak about working on his latest book, “The Ward” at the Toronto Book Awards Tent at 2:00-2:30.

Randi Bergman, 2-time NMA winner, chats with Corduroy Magazine editor-in-chief Tim Chan and 7-time NMA winner Tanya Watt about what is and what isn’t Canadian fashion, with examples of designers and companies across the country at 4:15 at the Canadian Magazines Stage.

Emily Donaldson, editor-in-chief of NMA-winning publication CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries, joins Brick editor, Laurie D. Graham, and Nailah King in a showcase discussion of Canadian literary journals and magazines at 12:45 at the Canadian Magazines Stand.

NMA Gold winner in Poetry, George Elliott Clarke, is participating in the Diaspora Dialogues panel which will explore how to write about Toronto in the future at 3:00 at the Toronto Book Awards Tent.


NMA winners speaking at the Nothing But The Truth Tent, hosted by Sue Carter, editor at Quill & Quire and arts & ideas editor at THIS Magazine. 

Craig Davidson, 2-time NMA winner, talks about his new book “Precious Cargo: My Year Driving the Kids on School Bus 3077”. Starts at 12:15.

Diane Schoemperlen, silver NMA-winner for Fiction, talks about her new book “This is Not My Life”. Starts at 4:15.

Sandra Martin, 2-time NMA winner, discusses her book “A Good Death”. Starts at 5:15.


Check out these National Magazine Award-winning titles at the Exhibitor Marketplace and the Magazine Mews (MM). Word on the Street always brings out great deals on magazine subscriptions, often with gifts and back issues on sale, too. [Map of WOTS Toronto]

  • Alternatives Journal, Booth #225
  • Brick: A Literary Journal, Booth #334
  • Broken Pencil, Booth #MM7
  • Canada’s History, Booth #315
  • Carousel, Booth #MM10
  • CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries, Booth #532
  • Feathertale Review, Booth #MM3
  • NOW Magazine, Booth #311
  • Ontario Nature, Booth #MM8
  • Quill & Quire, Booth #MM5
  • Shameless, Booth #MM6
  • Spacing, Booth #221
  • Taddle Creek, Booth #MM4
  • The New Quarterly, Booth #334
  • The Walrus, Booth #312
  • THIS Magazine,  Booth #408
  • Toronto Life, Booth #213
  • Zoomer, Booth #313

Word on the Street, Toronto, is Sunday, September 25 from 11am-6pm at Harbourfront Centre, free and fun for all!

Check out all the events and speakers at the WOTS near you.

NMAF Announces New Strategic Initiatives & Board Members

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to announce a number of important changes and new initiatives as we get ready to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Magazine Awards and an exciting new year for the Digital Publishing Awards.

At its AGM and meeting of August 30th, the NMAF Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan that will ensure the National Magazine Awards and Digital Publishing Awards continue their important role in recognizing and celebrating Canadian creators.

These changes are designed to maintain and advance the NMAF’s 40-year status as the gold standard of creative excellence and the pinnacle of professional achievement for award recipients. Specific initiatives include:

  • Refining the categories of the National Magazine Awards to a more focused number of awards;
  • A reformatted awards event to facilitate more conversation and networking;
  • Introducing a more rigorous definition and criteria of the Magazine of the Year award;
  • Expanding the Digital Publishing Awards;
  • A more streamlined judging process for assessing English and French submissions in the same category;
  • Enhancing the national footprint of the awards through more regional events and closer collaboration with regional institutions outside of Ontario;
  • Being more inclusive of the diversity in Canadian magazine and digital publishing;
  • In a first for any Canadian publishing awards, raising the profile of Canadian creators on the international stage, by:
    • recognizing the excellence of Canadian contributors to international media, and
    • introducing judges from the international magazine community.

The NMAF invites all members of the Canadian magazine industry—whether you regularly participate in the awards or not—to join us in this process, whether volunteering to serve on the board, committees or working groups; volunteering as a judge; or simply providing your input on how the NMAF can best serve Canada’s magazine and digital creators. Get in touch with us at

The NMAF is pleased to announce that Nino Di Cara has been elected Board President for a two-year term effective August 30. Mr. Di Cara is the Executive Vice-President, Content Marketing, at Bookmark (formerly Spafax), and previously held senior titles at Rogers Communications and TC Media.

Mr. Di Cara has been elected with a broad mandate to spearhead new strategic initiatives for the NMAF, as well as to engage and work collaboratively with the Foundation’s stakeholders—creators, publishers, judges, partners, sponsors and more—to build on the NMAF’s core mission to Celebrate Canadian Creators.

To help achieve this exciting agenda for 2017 and beyond, the NMAF is pleased to announce the first wave of new additions to its board:

JoAnne Caza is a member of the Mercedes-Benz Canada executive team. She heads up the Communications and Public Relations department which is responsible for several of the marketing activities at Mercedes-Benz Canada. She is the company’s spokesperson and the PR aspect of her job includes day-to-day media relations on a corporate front as well for all of Mercedes-Benz’ brands.

Derek Finkle is the founder of Canadian Writers Group which represents independent Canadian writers, and which aligned with Parcel, a brand strategy and communications design firm, in 2016. He is the former editor of Toro magazine, contributing editor of Saturday Night, and a National Magazine Award-winning writer. He is the author of the book No Claim to Mercy, an examination of the troubling Robert Baltovich murder case. No Claim to Mercy won the Crime Writers’ Arthur Ellis Award for best non-fiction and was named a Notable Book of the Year by The Globe and Mail.

Tom Gierasimczuk is an award-winning journalist and media executive with a proven record of developing effective multi-platform, editorially driven marketing strategies that engage audiences and infuse brand communication with purpose and utility. Tom has built media properties for clients ranging from WestJet Airlines to Microsoft while working in senior leadership roles with Canada’s largest media and communications companies including Rogers Media, Transcontinental, Canada Wide Media and Yellow Pages, where he was Publisher and GM of Vancouver magazine and Western Living.

Peter McNeil is the National Director of KPMG Enterprise and a marketing executive with over twenty years of experience providing leadership and strategy to both start-ups and major Fortune 500 brands. He specializes in Global Brand Building and Management, Marketing Programs, Partnerships & Alliances, Marketing Strategy, People Management, Public Relations, Digital Media, Business Development. He has previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors of United Way of York Region.

Raf Katigbak is Creative Lead at Virtue, the agency arm of VICE. He started at VICE as a columnist in the magazine in 2004, eventually becoming the Canadian editor of the publication, and then Senior Editor of the ‪ website. Over the years, he’s produced engaging, multi-platform content including documentaries, photo essays, and field reports, and written stories for a variety of publications and companies including The Montreal Mirror, En Route, and ALDO.

Our new electives join an existing NMAF Board of Directors that includes:

  • Liana Bell, CA, CPA, Partner, Clark-Henning LLP (Treasurer)
  • Joyce Byrne, Publisher, Avenue Magazine (Past President)
  • Julie Cailliau, Editor-in-Chief, Les Affaires
  • Christopher Frey, Toronto Correspondent, Monocle
  • Curtis Gillespie, Editor, Eighteen Bridges
  • David Hayes, Freelance Journalist
  • Judith Pereira, Senior Editor, Report on Business
  • Marnie Peters, Associate Vice-President, Public Relations, Royal Ontario Museum
  • Paul Roelofs, Creative Director & Publication Designer, Vancouver Magazine & Western Living
  • Terry Sellwood, former President, Cottage Life Media (Executive-At-Large)
  • Melony Ward, Publisher, Canada’s History & Kayak
  • Lisa Whittington-Hill, Publisher, THIS Magazine

We are humbled by the fact that, according to feedback from our stakeholder surveys, Canadian magazine publishers and creators continue hold the NMAF brand in the highest regard as a not-for-profit, charitable organization that facilitates trustworthy, inclusive and transparent awards programs that reflect the strength and breadth of magazine and digital publishing across Canada.

We encourage all Canadian publishers, editors, art directors, staff and contributors to join us as we celebrate the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards and the 2nd annual Digital Publishing Awards.

The NMAF will provide regular updates this fall regarding strategic initiatives and changes to its awards programs.

Happy 50th anniversary to THIS Magazine

Back in 1977 Margaret Atwood–nearly a decade before she became a CanLit icon for The Handmaid’s Tail–won a Silver Medal at the very first National Magazine Awards for her “Two-Headed Poems” published in a zesty Toronto periodical known as THIS Magazine.

Founded in 1966 with the prosaic title “This Magazine Is About Schools” (cleverly truncated in 1973) with a mandate to cover education policy and “New School” philosophy in Canada, THIS has, over the last half century, evolved into one of Canada’s leading progressive publications covering issues of labour, healthcare, environment, race, Indigenous rights, feminism, LGBTQ rights and more, while also publishing some of of the best poetry, short fiction and visual art from emerging artists across the land.

And how about a shoutout to THIS Magazine, which celebrates 50 years of publishing this year. Also turning 50 this year: people going “Which magazine?” as a joke.
Chris Turner, on stage as host of the 39th annual National Magazine Awards

Next Thursday, September 22, THIS Magazine is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a party and fundraiser at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, open to all friends and alumni of the magazine.

Since 1977, National Magazine Award-winning editors of and contributors to THIS Magazine have included Naomi Klein, Clive Thompson, Lynn Coady, Doug Saunders, Moira Farr, Lynn Crosbie, Dan David, Hal Niedsviecki, Gordon Laird, J.B. MacKinnon, Evelyn Lau, and Rick Salutin, whose “Culture Vulture” column won the Silver Medal at the 1981 and 1983 National Magazine Awards. And, of course, many many more.

In total, THIS Magazine has been nominated for 85 National Magazine Awards, winning 12 Silver Medals and 7 Gold Medals, most recently for:

  • Clusterf*ck” by Catherine McIntyre, Gold Medal, Best New Magazine Writer, 2014
  • In the Shadow of the Oilsands” by Ian Willms, Gold Medal, Photojournalism, 2012
  • Moosehide” by Min Gyo Chung, Silver Medal, Illustration, 2016
  • Let’s Get It On” by Graham Roumieu, Silver Medal, Spot Illustration, 2010
  • “Crossing the Line” by Bill Reynolds, Gold Medal, Essays, 2005
  • “This Land is Whose Land” by Gordon Laird, Gold Medal, Investigative Reporting, 2001
  • “Confessions of a Playa Hata” by Clive Thompson, Silver Medal, Essays, 2004

The NMAF congratulates THIS Magazine on this golden anniversary. Here’s to 50 more!

Best Practices: How to leverage your National Magazine Award


Did you win a National Magazine Award at this year’s gala? Were you a nominee? If so, we’ve created a guide just for you.

The NMAF is pleased to introduce the first volume of our Best Practices Guide. This guide is an extensive resource for how National Magazine Award winners and nominees can best leverage their recognition of magazine excellence.

The guide provides detailed promotional strategies, insightful personal testimony and plenty of other useful resources to help award winners and nominees best leverage and optimize their National Magazine Awards.

Click here to download the full PDF version.

Winners’ Circle Webinar

On November 25, 2015, the National Magazine Awards Foundation presented Winners’ Circle, an exclusive learning and networking event. More than 70 NMA winners and nominees gathered at The Spoke Club in Toronto’s King West district to meet, mingle, network and learn about how a National Magazine Award can be a boost to your career.

In addition to our Best Practices Guide, the NMAF has created this webinar to uncover other effective ways to leverage and optimize your National Magazine Award win. In a discussion led by D.B. Scott, three NMA winners–Penny Caldwell of Cottage Life, Matthew Blackett of Spacing and Katherine Laidlaw of The Walrus–share their best practices on how they leveraged their recognition of winning a National Magazine Award.

Please stay tuned for when we announce our next Winners’ Circle event.

Download this year’s National Magazine Awards Winners’ Seals here.

Watch other videos on our YouTube channel here.

In Memory of Neville Gilfoy

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is deeply saddened by the loss of Neville Gilfoy, founder and publisher of Progress Magazine in Nova Scotia, who passed away yesterday from complications of lymphoma.

As an innovator and entrepreneur who built Progress Media Group into Atlantic Canada’s most trusted and important sources of business information, Neville was a strident proponent of economic development and entrepreneurial spirit in the region he dearly loved.

Neville often volunteered to serve on the jury for the National Magazine Awards, regularly offering his time and expertise in service to the industry and promoting excellence in Canadian magazines. Guests who met him at the annual National Magazine Awards gala were charmed and invigorated by his enthusiasm for the potential of magazine publishing and for business and innovation in Atlantic Canada.

For being an outstanding example to all who worked with him—and to the Canadian magazine industry—the NMAF in 2006 awarded Neville the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.

“Neville ached to see Atlantic Canada prosper and believed an entrepreneurial revolution was required to make it happen.”
Greg Keilty, publisher of Sky News

Neville spent more than 40 years in magazine publishing. He was been behind the launch of several magazines, including Atlantic Insight (50,000 paid subscriptions within eight months), Eastern Woods and Waters, and Atlantic Progress (later Progress; he also created a French-language counterpart, Progrès), and successfully built one of the most capable, committed and determined publishing teams in Canada.

He served as a CPPA/CMPA board member from 1979 to 1987, as president of the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce, and as chair of the board of the Greater Halifax Partnership. For 15 years he taught at the Banff Publishing Workshop. He presented at hundreds of seminars and conferences, from CMPA and Magazines University to economic development groups and high-school classes. In 1999 he launched Face to Face, one of the most remarkable entrepreneurial conferences produced by any magazine in North America. In 2006 he was appointed honorary consul of France in Nova Scotia.

At the core of Gilfoy’s success was his talent and determination for making those around him share his “uncommon delight” for the magazine industry. “He eats, sleeps and dreams the business of magazine publishing,” Dirk van Loon, editor and publisher of DvL Publishing Inc., told the NMAF in 2006 when nominating Neville for the Outstanding Achievement Award. “He gladly shares what he knows with anyone else crazy enough to get into the racket.”

“Publishing a magazine that has had such a positive impact on the Atlantic region is an accomplishment that I am very proud of. Progress has a purpose and a mission and its audience is impacted by that. The company wouldn’t enjoy the level of success it does without the team of professionals with whom I work. The people who produce our magazines, our events and our online product are the absolute best and are wonderfully committed to the success of our company and the region. It’s an amazing thing to be part of.”
–Neville Gilfoy 

He will be missed. The NMAF staff and board of directors offer our condolences to Neville’s family and friends and all those who will remember him well.

More on Neville from D.B. Scott at the Canadian Magazines blog.

Thank You! From the 39th annual National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards Foundation wishes to thank Gilbert Li, Vicki Lam and their team at The Office of Gilbert Li for creating and executing the look and feel of this year’s National Magazine Awards–including the gala program (right), tickets, stage design, and our social media design.

Thank you to our presenting sponsor, CDS Global, for their support of the National Magazine Awards gala. CDS Global has been a proud sponsor of the National Magazine Awards since 1989.

Thank you to our special guests at the 39th National Magazine Awards gala and those who sent special video messages to our nominees and winners:

  • Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage
  • Hon. Adam Vaughan, MP, Spadina-Fort York
  • Hon. Elizabeth May, MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands
  • Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary
  • Carolyn Vesely, Director of Granting, Ontario Arts Council
  • Matt Hilliard-Forde, Program Consultant, Ontario Media Development Corporation
  • Gillian Deacon, CBC Radio
  • Natalie Turvey, Executive Director, Canadian Journalism Foundation
  • Karen Luttrell, President, Professional Writers Association of Canada (Toronto)
  • Derek Finkle, Founder, Canadian Writers Group


Thank you to all our sponsors and partners for their enthusiastic support of the NMAs and Canadian magazine creators.

Thank you to the team at Very Good Studios for their production of the gala including the multimedia show and the popular Smash Reel of nominated Canadian magazines, which you can view on our YouTube channel.


Thank you to the National Magazine Awards judges, our peers in Canadian magazines and media, more than 230 who volunteered their time and expertise to evaluate the submissions this year.


Thank you to our incredible Master of Ceremonies–Chris Turner–for an entertaining evening and a masterful performance on stage.


Thank you to our wonderful staff and our Board of Directors for their hard work and guidance.

Thank you to Steven Goetz, our event photographer for this year’s National Magazine Awards. Check out the 2016 NMA photo gallery on our Facebook Page.

Thank you to all who supported the 39th National Magazine Awards:

Program Editor: Richard A. Johnson
Campaign Art Direction & Design: The Office of Gilbert Li
Campaign Photography & Styling: Vicki Lam
Printing: Transcontinental Printing
Paper: Rolland Enterprises
Translation: Émilie Pontbriand
Copy Editing: Leah Edwards, Kira Wronska Dorward, Éloïse Pontbriand
Multimedia Production: YellowHouse Events
Volunteer Coordination: Leah Jensen
Audiovisual Production: CCR Solutions
Smash Reel Montage: Very Good Studios
Multimedia Assistants: Eny Kuen, Olesya Zimina
Outstanding Achievement Award Photography: Aaron McKenzie Fraser
President Photography: Jared Sych
Master of Ceremonies Photography: Ashley Bristowe
Event Photography: Steven Goetz
News Release Distribution: CNW Group
Chartered Accountants: Beckett Lowden Read, LLP
Caterer: Oliver & Bonacini
Venue: The Arcadian Court, Toronto

Special thanks to our hardworking event volunteers.

Congratulations to the participants, nominees and winners of the 39th National Magazine Awards. We look forward to seeing you next year.  

Check out the 2016 NMA photo gallery