Our Back Pages: 1961-1979

From Legionary
to Legion Magazine

Fourth in a six-part series looking back at 90 years of The Legionary and Legion Magazine

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Name: The title The Legionary is retired in favour of Legion Magazine. Smaller size: In 1969, the magazine is published in a smaller format.

The Legionary carried on in its large format throughout the 1960s. Articles typically addressed the issues of resettling veterans from the Second World War and the Korean War and improving disability pensions.

The magazine was going through its own struggles. First came the name change. In January 1969, the editorial invited readers to ring in the new year with a new look and title which it hoped would attract more advertisers. “We think our new name, Legion, has a crisp, modern sound, in keeping with today’s brand symbols and publishing trends,” the editorial said.

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Advertisers: The Legionary looked for more members while family finances and domestic beer dominated ad sales.

The new look proved popular, but a bigger storm was brewing as the federal government tightened its regulations regarding second-class mailing rates. The March 1969 issue carried an editorial by Dominion President Robert Kohaly announcing that the magazine had lost its status for lower mailing rates. “The Legion had prepared for the increase in second-class rates, from roughly half-a-cent a copy to two cents a copy.” However, the new rates in the new category would mean the cost would go to seven cents, roughly a 1,400-per-cent increase. Kohaly went on to say the magazine would drop from 12 issues a year to 10 and the size would shrink to be about the same size as Maclean’s.

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The change in size came with the May 1969 issue, but more changes were occurring. By August 1972, The Royal Canadian Legion was no longer publishing the magazine. A new, independent company, Canvet Publications Ltd., had been formed for the sole purpose of publishing Legion Magazine. While the board of directors was made up of senior elected officers of the Legion, the slogan on the cover, “The national voice of The Royal Canadian Legion” disappeared and was replaced with a simple sentence inside the magazine, saying, “Recommended by The Royal Canadian Legion.”

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Royal approval: The Royal Canadian Legion name is officially proclaimed after representatives met with Senators in 1961.

The creation of the new company allowed Canvet to qualify for lower mailing rates and continue to keep Legion members informed and entertained.


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