Early-Bird Ticket Prices End May 15!

Don’t wait to purchase your tickets for the 42nd annual National Magazine Awards Gala on May 31, 2019 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto!

Early-bird tickets are available until May 15! Get yours here.

Show-only tickets include the reception, awards ceremony and after party. Dinner and show tickets offer the added option of dinner during the awards ceremony.

Join your colleagues and gala host Omar Mouallem for a night celebrating the best in Canadian magazine publishing!

Omar Mouallem to host this year’s National Magazine Awards gala

The National Media Awards Foundation is excited to announce that this year’s Master of Ceremonies for the NMA Gala will be award-winning writer and journalist Omar Mouallem.

“I’m so excited to emcee this tribute to so many publishers and artists I admire. For as long as I’ve been in the business, the National Magazine Awards have been important to me. Not long after my landing my first internship, in 2008, I learned about it as an institution setting a standard of excellence in our field by honouring its best creators. Every year, I waited for the nominations list, not just to understand what truly great editorial looked like but to use as a barometer for my own work. As any creator will tell you, to win an NMA is truly special, but to one day emcee the gala is an honour I never imagined.”

An eight-time National Magazine Award nominee, Omar Mouallem‘s narrative journalism and personal essays have have appeared in dozens of magazines published across Canada and the United States. He is a best-selling author, documentary filmmaker, the founding editor of two magazines, and a guest host of the media criticism podcast Canadaland. His forthcoming book, Praying to the West, is a travel memoir about Muslims in the Americas published by Simon & Schuster Canada. He lives in Edmonton and tweets at @omar_aok.

This year’s National Magazine Awards gala will be held on May 31 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. Tickets go on sale on May 1, when the nominations are announced.

#NMA19 Sneak Peek

2019 NMA Gala Program Cover. Art direction by Marcey Andrews; Illustration by Wenting Li.

The 42nd annual National Magazine Awards gala will take place May 31st at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. This year, we are honoured that Marcey Andrews and Wenting Li partnered to create the visuals that will help define our celebration of Canadian magazines.

We recently spoke with Marcey and Wenting about the stunning cover they created for the gala program, and how this year’s art direction compares to that of previous years.

NMAF: As the winner of several National Magazine Awards, including more recently for Cover Grand Prix, and a member of the 2018 Jury, how does it feel to be taking over art direction for this year’s NMAs?

Marcey Andrews: Intimidating, to say the least! But also a great honour. Between my experience with the 2018 Jury and the art direction of this year’s NMAs, I’ve really come to appreciate the enormity of this event and just how much dedication it takes to make it happen. Émilie, Barbara and all the volunteers and sponsors that make this possible, they are all a source of inspiration.

NMAF: Could you tell us about the direction you’re taking? How does it stand apart from—or perhaps complement—that of other years?

Marcey Andrews: When Wenting and I partnered up, our goal was simply to carry the torch high and create a look that honoured the significance of these achievements! Stories, and those in magazines in particular, have always been a source of cinematic wonder for me — a byproduct of my active imagination — and so we wanted to give the artwork that same larger-than-life feeling. We know how much effort and passion goes into every piece and so we wanted the nominees to be able to take a moment and appreciate the grandeur of their accomplishments.

Marcey Andrews is the art director of New Trail, the University of Alberta’s alumni magazine. She is also the Senior Graphic Designer in Marketing and Communications in University Relations. She has won five National Magazine Awards.

NMAF: Your illustration for this year’s NMA program is beautiful. Does it have a title?

Wenting Li: Thanks so much! It’s called Awards Night.

NMAF: What was your inspiration for creating this piece?

Wenting Li: I was hoping to show the glitter and solemnity of a celebration, but also make it a bit unusual. So, boats taking creators toward a party inside a giant magazine!

NMAF: Your work has appeared in such Canadian publications as The Walrus, Canadian Living, Quill & Quire, Reader’s Digest Canada and The Globe and Mail. What do you enjoy about creating illustrations for stories and magazines?

Wenting Li: Whenever I’m paging through a publication I can’t help but look first at all the images. Getting to think of drawings that might make others flipping through stop on a particular page is kind of thrilling. I also love being transported by a story, and then getting to share this feeling visually.

Photo by Andrew Moreno

Wenting Li is a Toronto-based illustrator. Her work is preoccupied with colour and shape, and the subtleties of complementing story with picture. Learn more about Wenting and her work by visiting her website.

Tickets to the 42nd Annual NMA Gala will go on sale on May 1, 2019, when the nominations are announced. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter & Facebook!

Thank You! From the 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards

The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala, 26 May 2017, Arcadian Court, Toronto (Photo by Steven Goetz for the NMAF)

The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards are in the books, and the NMAF would like to thank all of the amazing contributors, sponsors, partners, and everyone else who helped make this year’s awards program a successful and poignant celebration of Canadian magazine creators.
Thank you to Vanessa Wyse, Nicola Hamilton, and their team at Studio Wyse 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. We loved working with you!
Thank you to our three wonderful co-hosts–Kim Pittaway, Michael de Pencier, and D.B. Scott–for leading the show and delighting the audience with their wit and honouring the nominees and winners with such grace.
Thank you to Alicia Elliott for delivering a bold and timely keynote address on the issue of cultural appropriation and the role of magazines in educating Canadians.
Thank you to our Special Guests at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala and those who sent special video messages to our nominees and winners:

  • Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada;
  • His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto;
  • Sally Armstrong, UNICEF Special Representative to Afghanistan, Amnesty International-recognized human rights journalist, and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • James Ireland, legend of Canadian magazine design and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • Ken Rodmell, legend of Canadian magazine design and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • Lynn Cunningham, Ryerson University Journalism School instructor and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • Stephen Trumper, Ryerson University Journalism School instructor and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner (and his daughter Hannah);
  • Al Zikovitz, CEO of Cottage Life Media and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • Paul Jones, long-time Maclean-Hunter and Rogers publisher, and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • Desmond Cole, 3-time National Magazine Award winner and Newstalk 1010 host;
  • Jennifer Varkonyi, publisher of Maisonneuve;
  • Peter McNeill, national director of KPMG Enterprise;
  • Hon Lu, National Magazine Award-winning writer;
  • Min Gyo Chung, National Magazine Award-winning illustrator;
  • Gilbert Li, award-winning art director and NMA judge;
  • Arjun Basu, senior vice president of Bookmark Content, NMA judge, and former NMAF president;
  • Marcel Courville, senior vice president of marketing at TC Transcontinental Printing;
  • Anna Principe, business development manager at Rolland Enterprises;
  • Jack Illingworth, literature officer at the Ontario Arts Council;
  • Laurie Smith, customer marketing manager at CNW, a Cision Company.

Thank you to our Judges–the 112 individuals who volunteered their time as peer experts in Canadian magazines, serving on our juries for the 40th anniversary awards.
Thank you to the 40 National Magazine Award winners who participated in our #40at40 anniversary story, where we asked 40 people to tell us about a magazine, a creator, or a magazine story that has had a big impact on their careers. [ See Twitter version | Download PDF version ]
Thank you to our Table Patrons who generously provided discounted tickets for nominated freelance creators:

Thank you to all our Sponsors and Partners for their enthusiastic support of the National Magazine Awards and Canadian magazine creators.
Thank you to the team at CCR Solutions for their production of the gala multimedia show.
Thank you to the team at Very Good Studios for their production of the nominees video.
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 2017 NMA photo gallery on our Facebook Page.



Check out all the photos here


Thank you to all our contributors to the 40th anniversary gala:
Program Editor: Richard A. Johnson
Program & Gala Art Direction & Design: Studio Wyse
Printing: Transcontinental Printing
Paper: Rolland Enterprises
Translation: Sophie Lecomte, Émilie Pontbriand
Copy Editing: Leah Edwards, Krista Robinson
Volunteer Coordination: Leah Jensen
Audiovisual Production: CCR Solutions
Nominees Montage: Very Good Studios
Production Interns: Eny Kuen, Leah Edwards
Outstanding Achievement Award Photography: Daniel Ehrenworth
Event Photography: Steven Goetz
News Release Distribution: CNW, a Cision Company
Chartered Accountants: Beckett Lowden Read, LLP
Caterer: Oliver & Bonacini
Venue: The Arcadian Court, Toronto
Special Thanks:

  • To our 40th anniversary Program Advisory Committee: Curtis Gillespie, Danielle Groen, and Kim Pittaway
  • To the Town of Huntsville, where Roy MacGregor’s original 1978 NMAF President’s Medal is now on display at the Canada Summit Centre Sports Memorabilia Collection.
  • To our hardworking event volunteers.

Congratulations to the participants, nominees and winners of the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Penny Caldwell's speech at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards

Penny Caldwell, publisher of Cottage Life, accepts the 2017 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala in Toronto, 26 May 2017 (Photo by Steven Goetz / NMAF)

At last Friday’s 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala, the NMAF presented Penny Caldwell, publisher and vice-president of Cottage Life Media, with the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, the highest individual honour presented in Canadian magazines.
We asked Penny to compose a message to the industry, which was presented in the 40th anniversary NMA gala program and comprised the basis of her acceptance speech at the gala. Here are Penny Caldwell’s complete remarks.


The Space Between

Our urgent need for innovative ideas and talented creators
by Penny Caldwell
I am honoured to receive this award and extend my sincere thanks to the National Magazine Awards Foundation, to my colleagues who nominated me, and to the many people who have contacted me since the news was announced.
Recently, a student at Cottage Life asked me what I have learned over the nearly forty years that I have worked in publishing. The best advice, I told her, was to manage your expectations but keep dreaming, work hard, be patient, and be adaptable.
That advice came to me from Doug Creighton, the founding publisher of the Toronto Sun when, fresh out of university, I was looking for a job. A family friend had arranged the interview, and Doug said he could probably get me a job on the copy desk working the night shift. What a thrill to imagine being part of a big daily newspaper, even as a proofreader on the night shift. Then he advised me not to take the job. Go out, he said, and find a place at a small newspaper where you will learn to do everything. So I went home and applied to every community newspaper across Canada, and I got a job as a sports reporter and columnist at the Whitby News Advertiser in Ajax.
The newspaper’s editor and senior reporters taught me a lot about crafting compelling stories. When one of the girls on the basketball team was fatally attacked by another student, I even covered a murder. But I recall the day I heard some surprising news: that the purpose of the stories we poured our hearts into was to fill the space between the ads.
If only it were that simple.
Fast forward. Most of us here tonight are still inescapably seduced by the power of storytelling. And while we can’t lose sight of the reality that, yes, in our legacy business the stories have traditionally been what fill up the spaces between the ads, we comfort ourselves that good content comes out on top. Content is king. Our readers pay for the content. Our advertisers pay to be close to the content. How close? Well, that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?
Ads are no longer simply adjacent to content,. Now they pop up in the middle of the stories—online and on our TV screens. Not that this is new. Who here remembers the issue of Saturday Night magazine in the late ‘90s, in which an excerpt of Mordecai’s Richler’s “Barney’s Version” was typeset to wrap around a vodka bottle? “Absolut Mordecai.”
While the business model for paid advertising evolves, so does our distribution method. Our world now includes an audience that doesn’t expect to have to shell out for content. And so, in an effort to attract the big numbers—not to mention big data—we give away our valuable content for free on our websites, on other digital channels, and in e-newsletters. Our advertising partners, who in the past clamoured to be close to the content, now want to be the content. Our industry has survived the inventions of radio and television, but I don’t know of a time in which magazines have been under more pressure to reinvent themselves—because with new technology we can, and because with new technology we have to. We now compete in more places and in more ways than ever for our customers’ time and money.
My twenty-year-old, idealistic, sports-reporter self says, what has the world come to? My present, practical business self says disruption happens, get on with it. The magazine industry must adapt—all of us here—in order to keep growing. We are going to have to find new sources of revenue, new innovative ways to engage our audiences that they will pay for. And that means learning everything possible about our customers. We’re going to have to find out what’s important to them, and tap into that passion.
My optimistic self says, we can do this. Yes, because we don’t have a choice if we want to survive. But also because as magazine creators we are very, very good at captivating audiences with compelling stories. Magazines are still a highly authentic, trusted platform whose halo has already enabled our industry to expand far beyond print into mega media brands comprising digital, social, video, audio, events, stores, merchandise, and even restaurants. If we continue to tell compelling, relevant stories, in whatever form, the audience will be there and they will pay. We still need good, high-quality content and the talented creators behind it. We still need to recognize its value in our business.
Tonight, we celebrate excellence. Tonight, we celebrate the creators. And tonight, I offer congratulations to those of you—editors, art directors, writers, photographers, illustrators, and publishers—who know how to tell the powerful Canadian stories that have such a profound influence on our society.
Finally, I would like to end with a thank you to Cottage Life, and particularly to Al Zikovitz, my mentor, friend, and long-time boss, who every day teaches me something new about hard work, being adaptable, and chasing your dreams.
Thank you.


Penny Caldwell (@PennyCaldwell) is the publisher and vice-president of Cottage Life Media. At this year’s 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards she was presented with the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. Read her complete National Magazine Awards bio here
ABOUT THE OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The NMAF’s most prestigious individual prize  is the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, an award that recognizes an individual’s innovation and creativity through contributions to the magazine industry.
The award is open to circulation experts, editors, marketing, sales and promotion professionals, publishers, creators, designers, production managers – in short, to everyone in the industry. It cannot be given posthumously. The annual deadline for nominations is March 1.
For more information and previous winners, visit magazine-awards.com/oa.