|Editor-in-Chief & Brand Manager||Patrick Walsh|
|Fishing Editor||Gord Pyzer|
|Hunting Editor||Ken Bailey|
|Categories||Fishing, hunting and conservation|
|Frequency||Six issues a year|
|Circulation||1.548 million (PMB 2010)|
|Paid circulation||90,000 (ABC)|
|Company||Cottage Life Media, a division of Blue Ant Media Partnership (publisher)|
As Canada’s only national fishing and hunting magazine, Outdoor Canada has been entertaining and informing readers since 1972 with a lively mix of how-to articles, buyer's guides, profiles, travelogues, in-depth reportage and expert analysis. In 2015, Outdoor Canada West was launched.
Along with promoting conservation and celebrating Canada’s heritage sports, Outdoor Canada and Outdoor Canada West encourage anglers and hunters to improve their skills and broaden their knowledge of the outdoors. Included are fishing and hunting hot spots and roundups of the best new gear.
Published six times a year, Outdoor Canada has received numerous awards for its top-notch writing, photography and design. In 2005, 2011 and 2012, it was named Magazine of the Year (50,000 to 149,999 circulation category) by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors, while editor-in-chief Patrick Walsh was named Editor of the Year.
It was an ambitious idea: a homegrown national magazine covering absolutely everything about the Canadian outdoors. And this at a time when U.S. magazines dominated the newsstands even more so than today. So debuted Outdoor Canada in 1972, promising readers a Canadian take on fishing, hunting, conservation, hiking, camping, boating, skiing, photography, parks, wildlife and more. That first issue, for example, carried a piece on Ontario steelheading by veteran outdoors scribe John Power, a look at the Yukon’s new Kluane National Park and a tale about Sir Edmund Hillary canoeing through the wilds of Quebec. Also featured were moose recipes and book reviews alongside articles on cross-country skiing, winter survival, snowmobiling, motor homes and boating. While Outdoor Canada has since refined its focus to concentrate on fishing, hunting and conservation, the magazine’s original commitment to a uniquely Canadian perspective lives on.
The magazine was founded by the husband-and-wife team of Ron and Sheila Kaighin; the couple sold their home in North Vancouver and camped their way across Canada before setting up shop in Toronto. Sheila served as editor, taking over in 1973 from earlier recruits Mike Irving and Graeme Matheson, while Ron maintained the role of publisher.
Here is a brief timeline of the magazine’s major milestones:
- In 1972, the 64-page first issue arrived in November with a print run of 15,000 copies. The cover price was 50 cents.
- In 1974, when venerable Rod & Gun magazine folded, Outdoor Canada honoured its 19,000 subscriptions. The magazine also debuted the first of seven logo changes, which continued to evolve in 1975, 1976, 1981, 1987 and 1994. The last logo change is the one currently in use today, minus the goose.
- The first Fishing annual is published in 1981, along with the alarming article by David Dehaas, “The death that rains from the sky.” The news was apocalyptic. “Experts in both Canada and the U.S. agree that acid rain will continue to increase for at least the next 20 years,” wrote Dehaas. While his sources may have been overly pessimistic, the problems of acid rain are still very much with us.
- In 1982, Bryan Berriault and Teddi Brown, who in 1986 became the new editor of the magazine, wrote Outdoor Canada’s first story on the then emerging concept of catch-and-release fishing. Though it has yet to become law in the way the authors predicted, the practice has been embraced by anglers across the country. Not only are half the fish caught now let go, but numerous far-flung lodges have voluntarily adopted the policy in an effort to preserve trophy fishing in their respective areas.
- The first Hunting annual is published in 1987. That same year a sweeping exposé is printed on the growing problem of the illegal trade in animal parts. Writer Don Cowan found that many wildlife officials turned a blind eye to the nefarious practice. Some even advocated legalization of the trade, Cowan wrote. Five years later, Canada passed the Wild Animal and Plant Protection Act, and the black market for bear organs, as well as for deer and elk antler velvet, waned considerably.
- In 1993, Teddi Brown brought attention to the fact that Canada didn’t have a national fishing week, even though fishing is part of Canada’s national heritage and it generates billions of dollars for the economy. Seven years of planning later and the Canadian National Sportfishing Foundation and its partners created National Fishing Week. The event boasts hundreds of fishing-related events coast to coast to coast.
- In 1995, Editor Teddi Brown died of cancer at the age of 62. “Teddi’s passion was one of the best things that ever happened to this magazine,” her successor in the editor’s chair, James Little, wrote at the time. “She used these pages to heartily champion all kinds of causes, from fighting poaching to ending game ranching to encouraging kids to fish. But perhaps even more importantly, her passion for journalism brought a whole new level of professionalism to the publication.”
Outdoor Canada today
Soon after buying Outdoor Canada from the Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows in 1998, publisher Avid Media made a strategic decision: no longer would the magazine strive to cover the ever-expanding gamut of outdoor pursuits. Instead, it would focus solely on angling, hunting and related conservation issues. As far as then editor James Little was concerned, there was only one thing to do—make the best fishing and hunting magazine in Canada.
Today, the magazine is presided over by Patrick Walsh, who became editor in 2000 (James Little went on to edit Explore magazine until late 2012). Tailored to males between the ages of 18 to 49, and with a paid circulation of approximately 90,000, the magazine continues to offer exceptional content (see “Awards” below). In 2004, Outdoor Canada was purchased, along with the other three magazines belonging to Avid Media, by Transcontinental Media G.P. Transcontinental subsequently sold the magazine in September 2009 (along with sister title Canadian Home Workshop magazine) to Quarto Communications Inc., later to become Cottage Life Media, a division of Blue Ant Media Partnership.
National Magazine Awards
As of 2011, Outdoor Canada has won a total of 12 gold NMAs, nine silver NMAs and 58 honourable mentions since its debut.
Canadian Society of Magazine Editors Awards
The magazine has won the following awards from the CSME: Best Front-of-the-Book; The Jim Cormier Award for Display Writing; Magazine of the Year in the 50,000 to 149,000 medium circulation category; and Editor of the Year: Patrick Walsh.
Outdoor Writers of Canada Awards
Outdoor Writers Association of America Awards
- CSME: http://www.canadianeditors.com/
- CNSS: http://www.sportshows.ca/
- Dehaas, D: "The death that rains from the sky", Outdoor Canada, Fishing, 1981.
- Cowan, D: "Deadly Medicine", Outdoor Canada, August/September, 1987.
- NFW: http://www.catchfishing.com/home_en/aboutNFW/about_nfw.htm
- CNSF: http://www.catchfishing.com/home_en/aboutNFW/about_nfw.htm
- Little, J: "The Teddi Brown era", Outdoor Canada, Summer 2002.
- NMA: http://www.magazine-awards.com/
- OWC: http://www.outdoorwritersofcanada.com/
- OWAA: http://www.owaa.org/index.php.