In the 1960s and '70s, magazines such as Maclean's, Chatelaine, Flare, L'actualité and Canadian Art helped forge a national identity at a pivotal time in this country's history. Behind the scenes, with an instinctive understanding of magazines and a refusal to accept the status quo, publisher Lloyd Hodgkinson had a hand in each of these publications – either founding or revitalizing them.
In the 1970s, he took a struggling Maclean's magazine and transformed it, with the help of editor Peter Newman. Mr. Hodgkinson moved it to a biweekly, then a weekly publication and opened up reporting bureaus across the country.
"He was an original thinker," says David Hamilton, who was Flare's publisher starting in 1993 and worked with Mr. Hodgkinson at the end of his career. Though he wore a suit to work and even dressed somewhat formally on weekends with his family, Mr. Hodgkinson did not believe in following all the rules. He once told Mr. Hamilton: "If you let those accountants and HR people get their claws into you, you're finished. You do what you want to do."
Mr. Hodgkinson was pivotal in relaunching L'actualité in 1976, founding Flare in 1979 and saving the struggling Canadian Art, which he did in co-operation with a competitor, Key Publishing, in 1983.
"He was confident, direct, and unequivocal in his judgments, which was a bit scary at first, but you soon learned he also had a welcoming and helpful disposition," Key Publishing's Michael de Pencier says of his industry colleague.
A passionate nationalist who believed magazines were central to Canada's identity, Mr. Hodgkinson worked to protect the industry from U.S. infiltration. He served on the Audit Bureau of Circulation's board of directors for more than 25 years. He also played key roles in Canadian industry associations such as the Magazine Publishers' Association of Canada and the Periodical Press Association.
Mr. Hodgkinson came from an impoverished family and overcame many hardships. He had only one eye, but didn't let that hold him back, even finding a way to use the disability to his advantage. He had a stutter, but went to Toastmasters to overcome it. He managed to build a successful career, despite lacking a higher education, through tenacity, a quality he displayed throughout his long life. "He thought that if it was possible, let's just get it done," his son Charles Hodgkinson says.
The elder Mr. Hodgkinson died in his sleep on April 8 at the age of 96.
Lloyd Morley Hodgkinson was born on Dec. 1, 1920, in Toronto, the youngest of four, to Allen and Violet Hodgkinson. His father worked for a piano company but headed north to a logging camp in Algonquin Park during the Depression.
As a boy, Lloyd was playing with a knife when it bounced off a wall and got stuck in his eye. He lived the rest of his life with a glass eye.
Lloyd and his brothers got jobs as caddies at Lambton Golf and Country Club, which was near the family home. Lloyd became a skilled golfer in those years – having just one eye actually improved his aim in this sport. Allen was outdoorsy, often taking the kids trout fishing at the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park.
By high school, Mr. Hodgkinson had found his career path. He launched the publication Canadian High News, and approached a senior adviser to brewing entrepreneur E.P. Taylor to get advertising dollars. He later sold the paper to media entrepreneur Jack Kent Cooke.
Mr. Hodgkinson won a university scholarship, but since the funds wouldn't cover all his expenses he began working in publishing instead. By 1944, he was employed by Maclean-Hunter's business division in Montreal.
It was on a golf course there that he met Lucie Rita Pratt – known by everyone as Mimy – whom he soon married. They arrived in Toronto in 1951 with their son Robert and the following year settled in Mississauga with the birth of their second child, Charles. Mr. Hodgkinson took a job with Mr. Cooke at Saturday Night Press, which published Saturday Night magazine and Canadian Home Journal.
When Mr. Cooke sold his titles to Maclean-Hunter in 1958, part of the deal was that Mr. Hodgkinson would go with them. A year later, he became publisher of Chatelaine. Doris Anderson was editor at the time and Mr. Hodgkinson built up subscriptions and newsstand sales. In 1960, he launched a French-language version, Châtelaine, and in 1964 started Miss Chatelaine. "He decided the daughters of the mothers reading the magazine needed something," Mr. Hamilton says.
With the women's titles flourishing, in 1971 he moved over to publish Maclean's, which was then a struggling monthly. He hired Mr. Newman, launched a strategy to boost the magazine's profile and eventually transformed it into a weekly.
In 1979, he spoke to The Ottawa Journal of Maclean's financial losses during this phase: "But we're making it, baby. You can count on that. When Peter Newman [the editor] and I came here … the magazine had lost its sense of direction. We determined to make it more Canadian-oriented, to give it a more defined role and function."
Mr. Hodgkinson also served as publisher of L'actualité, which Maclean-Hunter took over in the early 1970s, and merged with Le Magazine Maclean (the French-language edition of Maclean's) in 1976. He worked closely with editor Jean Paré and they created a publication that covered politics, culture and social issues and became a must-read across Quebec.
In 1979, Mr. Hodgkinson was behind the hiring of Donna Scott, who had previously worked in human resources, as publisher of newly launched Flare (something of a rebranding of Miss Chatelaine), and the hiring of editor Keitha Maclean. "[Mr. Hodgkinson] was very supportive and helpful and wonderful to me," Ms. Scott recalls.
In 1983, Artmagazine folded and Canadian Art magazine was in trouble. Mr. Hodgkinson and Mr. de Pencier got together to save Canadian Art, with Key Publishing running the magazine and Mr. Hodgkinson offering up Maclean-Hunter subscription lists to help build it up. Mr. Hodgkinson told Mr. de Pencier, "This is not going to be a charity, it's just going to cost us some money in the early years." By 1991, however, they worked together to create a charitable foundation to keep the magazine funded into the future.
By this time, Mr. Hodgkinson was group vice-president of Maclean-Hunter, a job he held until his retirement in 1985. "He famously said, 'I spent the last 50 years of my life working, now I'm going to spend the next 50 years with my wife,'" his son Charles says. (He kept consulting for the company, however, for another five years.)
For his years of service to the magazine industry, Mr. Hodgkinson received a myriad of awards, including the Centennial Medal for Meritorious Service in 1967, the first Award of Merit from Magazines Canada in 1981, the National Magazine Awards Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1992 and the Association of Canadian Advertisers Gold Medal in 1993.
Because he had only one eye, Mr. Hodgkinson never drove – his wife did all the driving for errands and family holidays. To get to work, he would take public transit from the family home in the Lorne Park neighbourhood of Mississauga to his office downtown, a commute that involved a fair amount of walking.
"He loved walking and would use it in a productive fashion," says his son, Charles. While he would sometimes do business lunches with colleagues, usually he went out for lunch alone at places such as Three Small Rooms at the Windsor Arms Hotel. "That was his breathing time," Charles says. He'd return to work, all this thinking done, and accomplish a great deal.
Family weekends were all about golfing. Mr. Hodgkinson got three holes in one in the course of his golfing career. As a retiree, he continued to golf regularly until a broken hip in his late 80s put an end to it. He and his wife often played bridge and socialized with golf club friends. Until his death, he'd go to the Mississauga Golf and Country Club for lunch once a week.
Mr. Hodgkinson was quietly generous, donating often to charity. When he first moved to Mississauga with his young family, his boss, Mr. Cooke, co-signed a mortgage so he could buy his first home. He did the same for one of his editors at Maclean-Hunter, years later.
As a highly ethical, hard-working person, Mr. Hodgkinson had little tolerance for underhanded ways, shortcuts or people he thought were hiding something. He had a quirky distrust of men with beards – he thought they were hiding – and wasn't afraid to say something about it. Mr. Hamilton recalls him, in the elevators at Maclean-Hunter, saying to bearded men, "Boy, you'd better be good."
Mr. Hodgkinson leaves his wife, Mimy; sons Robert and Charles; and their families.
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