For the third consecutive year, The Walrus magazine dominated Canada's National Magazine Awards, winning six gold and four silver medals at the 31st annual prize ceremony last evening in Toronto.
That total topped the field of 76 magazines that had scored more than 300 nominations in 39 categories for material published in 2007. An estimated 600 people showed up at a downtown Toronto ballroom to hear the good (and bad) news.
The Walrus's nearest rival was Toronto Life. Besides being named magazine of the year - a career-capping achievement for John Macfarlane who retired as editor last year after a 15-year stint - it earned four gold and two silver awards. The Globe and Mail's Report on Business Magazine, edited by Gary Salewicz, finished third in terms of gold medals, taking three - a record for the magazine - plus one silver. Its performance was matched by L'actualité, the French-language weekly. The outdoors magazine Explore earned the most silver medals - five. Combined with its two gold wins last night, Explore ranked second overall in medal count.
Other multiple winners were Maclean's (two gold, three silver), the Montreal cultural magazine Maisonneuve (two gold, two silver), More (two gold, one silver), Vancouver Magazine (two gold) and Québec Science (one gold, one silver).
The Walrus, published 10 times a year out of Toronto, has been in existence only since the fall of 2002 (Toronto Life, by contrast, is more than 40 years old), but in that time it's become the magazine that regularly scores the most NMA nominations and wins the most awards. At the same time, its 10 medals last night represented something of a drop relative to the past two years: in 2006 it won 13 gold and three silver medals; and the next year the tally was seven gold and 10 silver, plus magazine of the year honours.
Report on Business Magazine went into last night's competition with 16 nominations in 10 categories.
Published 11 times a year, it won gold in the editorial package category (for The Future of Food, featuring the work of more than 15 staff and freelance contributors, Nov. 2007) as well as in personal finance and business (for its Corporate Survival Guide, Oct. 2007); and the words and pictures category (for War Gains, Dec. 2007). Its sole silver, for To Russia with Parts, published last October, was awarded to writer Paul Webster.
Other prominent winning individuals were Globe and Mail editor Ellen Vanstone whose Toronto Life article, Home Sweet Hell-Hole, took both a gold (in personal journalism) and a silver (humour), and Tadzio Richards whose article Burning Water for Maisonneuve earned a gold (investigative reporting) and silver (science, technology and the environment).
Globe and Mail editor Cecily Ross got gold in the how-to category for What the Woods Taught Me, published in On Nature, while Globe current-affairs columnist Rick Salutin earned silver in personal journalism for The Autobiography of an Idea (The Walrus). Toronto freelancer Don Gillmor, part of The Globe and Mail's gold-winning effort on The Future of Food, also won an individual gold, in politics and public interest articles, for Once Upon a Country in The Walrus.
Two new categories were added to this year's awards: the gold for the editorial packaging for a single service article category was given to Outdoor Canada magazine, while veteran Toronto freelancer Gerald Hannon was the inaugural recipient of the first best short feature gold medal for The Alchemy of Pork Fat, published by Toronto Life.
Magazines short-listed for NMAs in April but that failed to win either a gold or silver in a particular category last night were accorded honourable mentions. The Walrus received 27 of them - the most of any magazine - followed by Toronto Life with 23, Maclean's (13), Report on Business Magazine (12) and L' actualité (11). The Globe and Mail' s Report on Small Business received two honourable mentions, in spot illustration and portrait photography.