Every three years, Legion Magazine asks its readers for feedback. This year’s response was overwhelming. We received almost twice as many responses as the 2012 survey and more than 35 per cent took the time to write comments. Many of you were inspired by the grand prize trip to the Netherlands, while others simply wished to pass on their encouragement and advice. Some readers wrote about their father’s or grandfather’s service overseas, while others told us their relatives are interred on Dutch soil. We even heard from the children of Dutch immigrants.
The grand prize is a 10-day pilgrimage to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, courtesy of Verstraete Travel & Cruises.
This year’s winner, Martin Riordan, is a veteran from Meaford, Ont. He and a friend will head to the Netherlands in May to join in the liberation ceremonies.
“I did the Nijmegen march twice— in 1987 and ’88—and the people were unreal,” said Riordan. “That was the last time I was in Holland. It is going to be a hoot. Surprised would be the first word that comes up! If you had just left a message, I would have thought, ‘Yeah right,’ so I am glad I actually answered the phone.”
We are too.
There are nine other winners: three $150 prizes, three $100 prizes and three $50 prizes. The $150 winners are Tom Breman of Winnipeg; David Olund of Nanaimo, B.C.; and Dr. George Takashima of Lethbridge, Alta. The $100 winners are Patrick Hébert of Quebec City; Dianne Jorgenson of Qualicum Beach, B.C.; and Peter Wojciechowski of Thunder Bay, Ont. The $50 winners are John Coburn of Penticton, B.C.; Craig Brown of Lakefield, Ont.; and R. Demeules of Chestermere, Alta.
The survey is a valuable tool for us to gauge reader satisfaction and help us shape the magazine. We will put some of your suggestions to work in our pages as early as the January/February 2016 issue. Overall, you gave Legion Magazine an 88 per cent approval rating, and 43 per cent of you told us that you spend more than three hours with every issue.
We asked you to rate subjects, features, columns and departments. Remembrance again topped the list with a 97 per cent approval rating, and coverage of the Second World War ranked second at 96 per cent. Canadian military history tops the list in content at 95 per cent. We already knew the news section was popular, but the surprise was that it climbed eight per cent from our last survey in 2012, coming in with a 90 per cent approval rating. Health File ranked near the bottom at 76 per cent, although it did increase six per cent from the last survey. Among the lowest rated were the War Art and Travelling About sections, declining by 10 per cent and four per cent respectively. The chart (opposite) lists more ratings.
We also learned that we have 2.6 readers per copy, which translates to a print readership of 570,872. Half of our readers live in communities with a population of less than 50,000. Ninety per cent plan to travel in the next two years, and one third of those plan on taking a cruise. Bon voyage. This information helps us improve the magazine’s content, but also helps us characterize our average reader, which is essential in encouraging advertising and generating revenue. That, in turn, keeps the subscription price down.
We also asked for your opinions and we heard from every province in Canada. Following is a small sample of what you had to say.
Legion Magazine is excellent! It is very professional in appearance and quality of writing, and well balanced in content between history and current affairs. Authors are generally very good. Artwork and layout is especially good. Your front covers are also very enticing and attractive, readily catching one’s eye. Robert Near, Kanata, Ont.
Your magazine is like an old friend—I’m always glad to see you in my mailbox. From an old sailor. Terry Moldowin, Sebringville, Ont.
Legion Magazine is one of the most literate of magazines and the only one whose opinions on military matters I trust implicitly. The coverage on health and other topics is excellent also. A great magazine. Roderick J. Milroy, Ladysmith, B.C.
Legion Magazine’s Veterans Benefits Guide is the most comprehensive info I have ever been aware of in any publication. Excellent research and presentation. Overall, the bimonthly issues are top-notch. Edward Mullen, Lower Sackville, N.S.
We look forward to the next issues, then pass them on to friends who read them, then leave the magazines in our RV park clubhouse for everyone else to enjoy. Thank you. Lorne Rourke, Ashcroft, B.C.
Congratulations on your growing list of awards! Very well deserved! Keep up the good work. I always look forward to receiving each new issue of my Legion Magazine. Lee MacNeil, Toronto
War articles are a good reminder of the horrendous nature of war; history has been silent too much. Not to revel in it, but to be reminded, so we won’t be ignorant enough to go to war ever again. Donald K. Morrison, Frankville, Ont.
I have subscribed for past five years and am prepaid to 2017. One of the best reads when the issue arrives. I drop off all my old copies at medical waiting rooms, where I know an interest lies. Arthur Proulx, Winnipeg
Good content! Keep up with the bilingual content. Please keep publishing summaries of the national convention. François Vary, Brossard, Que.
I am a high school history teacher and I love to bring the articles into my classroom. Marlo Wales, Prince George, B.C.
I love the posters, as I hang them on the hallway where I work. Wish the magazine wasn’t made from shiny paper. I find it harder to read from the glare. Kathy Ferris, Aylmer, Ont.
I would like to see some coverage on surviving spouses of military men, women who travelled with their men and set up housekeeping. Usually this was under trying conditions—especially in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, when we didn’t have the perks available today. Frances Brown, New Germany, N.S.
I always think of my dad (due to the Second World War) when I read your magazine and a comfortable, warm feeling comes over me. Jennifer Moon Labelle, North Bay, Ont.
Some readers shared family stories and why military history matters to them.
It would be a pleasure going to Holland; my father’s Lancaster bomber was shot on a mission over Germany and crash-landed in Holland during the Second World War. He was the only survivor and was safely hidden by the Dutch underground for the duration of the war. Dr. Jim Christie, Okotoks, Alta.
I was born and raised in Holland and came to Canada in 1950. I never joined the army, but my father used me as a courier during the Second World War because I was underage and could enter restricted areas. Martin Van Bostelen, Strathmore, Alta.
As the son of a war veteran who fought through Italy and finished in Holland in 1945, I enjoy Legion Magazine for the many facts, stories and information on Canada’s history and veterans. Keep up the good work. Bernie Brecknell, Bagot, Man.
My father was an airplane mechanic stationed in England during the war. I also have an uncle who lost his life in April 1945. He is buried at Holten in the Netherlands. I have found the articles on the Second World War very interesting and informative. Charlotte Juliusson, Hafford, Sask.
I enjoy your magazine very much. My grandfather survived Vimy Ridge; my father watched Germany recovering during his tour with NATO in 1952-53. I’ve heard stories that fascinate and sadden, all different, most having been difficult. Lynette Wilson, Hamtown Corner, N.B.
I look forward to the arrival of Legion Magazine and often save sections on items of interest to me. It is very beneficial to our branch—there’s always a copy at the office. Margaret Rossé, Port de Grave, Nfld.
We lived in Holland during the Second World War, in German occupied territory. We were lucky we lived on a farm and always had enough food. My father was a prisoner for six weeks and he lost a lot of weight, but lived through it. He then immigrated to Canada in 1951 with his family (11 kids). I was the second oldest. John Brenders, Port Stanley, Ont.
Having been liberated by Canadian Forces in Friesland, Netherlands, when I was four years old, the Canadian military has always interested me. Serving almost 30 years with the RCAF, it has never stopped. The Second World War history perspective in this magazine is the best. Francis Boekema, Summerside P.E.I.
I love the posters. I hang them in the hall where I work. I wish the magazine wasn’t made from such shiny paper. I find it harder to read from the glare. More posters, please. Kathy Ferris, Aylmer, Ont.
Put French text below English text and cancel the black-and-white pictures in the French section. Pierre Samson, Trois-Rivières, Que.
Could be more interactive by combining the website with the magazine. Andrew Boyle, Avonmore, Ont.
More consideration and coverage of the modern veteran from 1948 to 2014 is required. David Batcock, Kanata, Ont.
After I am done with my Legion Magazine, I donate it to our local school library. This makes it available to students who may be interested in the articles and issues raised by the magazine. Dennis Hoffman, Viking, Alta.
Legion Magazine is an important element in keeping the memories of our military efforts alive for future generations. It provides important historical information as well as perspectives that are new. It is an integral part of the Legion’s mission of remembrance. Barbara Warnock, Aylmer, Ont.
I enjoy the magazine and recently bought my daughter-in-law a subscription for Christmas. She has a history degree and loves it too! Sue Piche, North York, Ont.
I use material from the magazine as I prepare presentations for schools and other groups, including seniors’ residences. I also use the information in preparing various ceremonies of remembrance, such as Vimy Day, D-Day, Dieppe, etc. Malcolm Hughes, Black Diamond, Alta.
My all-time favourite magazine. Would love to see a re-ocurring column that connects non-military readers to services that assist veterans. The public cares about their veterans, but they need to know every way they can help. A special feature outlining all major veteran groups and organizations in Canada; how to help, how to donate, how to learn more. This would be a start in educating non-military readers, who read Adam Day’s great articles and are driven to help the veterans and families, but don’t know how. Thanks for reading. Love the mag. John Borbely, Quispamsis, N.B.
I bought a subscription for my brother-in-law. He said it is one of the best presents ever. Jan Briggs-McGowan, Norland, Ont.
I just started getting Legion Magazine in 2014 when I retired from the military. I am enjoying it immensely, and although at this time I have a low interest in some of the topics, I believe that in the coming years these topics may become more important to me. Thanks for a great magazine! Marg Duteau, Stratford, Ont.
One suggestion for a serial-type feature would be a two-page spread of equipment, gear or a piece of mobile equipment. A lot of people like myself like the technical side of things. Seeing a notated photo of the equipment a WW I or WW II person in each service used would be very interesting. You could do the same thing with a piece of mobile equipment, such as an artillery piece, tank, Bren carrier or aircraft. It could be by a series of authors, drawing from private or museum collections. Gordon Pink, Red Deer, Alta.
I am a huge fan of your magazine, particularly articles dealing with WW I and WWII, Korea, the Cold War, etc. The writing is excellent and the features dealing with the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI have been particularly outstanding. I look forward to my copy of Legion Magazine and usually read it in its entirety before the end of the week. Keep up the good work. Paul Svoboda, Belleville, Ont.
Need to use paper with matte finish. The paper now has a glare and is hard to read. Henry A. Hibberts, Springhill, N.S.
I have laughed and cried reading the magazine and many of the stories I’ve read have stayed with me. Keep up the excellent work. Mary Loveless, Nepean, Ont.
I would like to see a larger emphasis placed on the accomplishments and current activities of the Canadian military/navy/air force. In other words, humanitarian efforts fighting Ebola and mission against ISIS. Verika Burt-Bentley, Kingston, Ont.
Legion Magazine is one of my favourite reads. I read it cover to cover. I was a history major at Acadia University but I still find events in your magazine that are totally new to me. Keep up the great work. Arnie MacAskill, Lacombe, Alta.
The magazine should be bilingual and available online to reduce costs. The paper version should be offered to those who do not have Internet access. The current situation is not fair to francophones. Your poll is not even available in French. Jean-Louis Dionne, Rimouski, Que.
I enjoy the format and the magazine the way it is. Maybe there could be a food section with recipes from early years (1920-60s) once in a while. Otherwise, keep the magazine the way it is. Glenn Brydon, Sooke, B.C.
Great magazine. I love the poster insert. I used them when I was teaching. Joe Tersigni, Guelph, Ont.
Legion Magazine is the finest ‘house organ’ I know. The history is sound and readable, and the current events and other material is all presented in a lively and interesting manner. And the editors seem to pay attention to the results of these surveys. Brian E. Woodrow, Kindersley, Sask.
The layout and visual appeal of the magazine are excellent; however, a larger font overall would improve readability. Jeff Shyluk, Coquitlam, B.C.
I enjoy Legion Magazine very much. Too bad it couldn’t be introduced into schools to learn more on Canada’s military history. Keep up the good work! M.V. Bladon, Guelph, Ont.
The layout and production has vastly improved and become more beneficial and informative over the past 35 years! Congrats. Kenneth T. Gaughan, Toronto, Ont.
My grandfather served in the First World War in England. My father served in the Second World War. I was born to a war bride and I am CANADIAN. Paul W. Drewniak, Winnipeg, Man.
Your magazine’s arrival is eagerly anticipated. My father was a WW II vet and at age 91 still attends Remembrance Day services—last year with my grandchildren. The articles you print improve every year. Keep up the good work. Brian Petrar, Saskatoon, Sask.
I have found Legion Magazine very informative. It has helped me better understand what my father went through in WWII, a war he never talked about except with fellow veterans and even that was rare. I really enjoy Humour Hunt and Letters to the Editor. Bernadette Peebles, Burns Lake, B.C.
Legion Magazine is an excellent publication. From the outset, I found the articles both concise and informative. Now, in addition to the excellent Canadian Military History in Perspective series, we have the Home Front, Battle Honours and the often provocative Face to Face debates to enjoy as well. The comments from readers are testimony to the quality of the information presented. Our magazine honours the service and memory of all members of our armed Forces—past and present. L. Eckardt, Ashcroft, B.C.
I visit veterans in long-term care for VAC and the Legion and I take Legion Magazine with me. The vets love looking at all the articles. We appreciate a magazine that contains so much of interest for us. Eleanor Barnes, High Prairie, Alta.
The magazine should devote more time to veterans’ info by province and territory—where vets can get help and how they should go about receiving this help. David Lewis, St. Peters Bay, P.E.I.
My father (Lloyd G. Brush) was captured at Dieppe, spent time in two prisoner-of-war camps and survived the death march before returning to Canada. I spent almost 12 years in the RCAF. I look forward to stories particularly about Dieppe and the struggle for survival following the raid. David Brush, Ottawa
As a retired teacher, I would like to see a “youth beat” section, perhaps detailing what high schools are doing about remembrance or a current response to Canada’s military ventures. It could involve youth reporters. Peter J. Dandeneau, Toronto, Ont.
I always enjoy the article “On This Date.” They should make a book with these dates and information. I enjoyed the articles on the War of 1812 and have increased interest in the First World War. Gary M. Piett, Beamsville, Ont.
Legion Magazine has allowed me some insight into my father’s war experiences, which he refused to share with us due to the pain that reliving these times would cause him. Raymond B. Dion, Penetanguishene, Ont.
In 2012, I saw a picture of a guy I served with from 1943 to 1946 getting a Life Membership. I wrote to his branch and they got me in touch with him and we have been phoning once a week ever since. Thanks for printing the picture. Frank Young, Aurora, Ont.
Excellent history magazine. I read it cover to cover, then share it with others! Such an eye-opener; always two sides to every story. You let the reader make his own decision. Keep up the good work. I think it should be a lesson book in our high schools! It is much more appealing than when I went to history class. Dianne Pinkerton, Chatham, Ont.
I do not like the glossy pages throughout the magazine. Not very green! A crossword would be a good addition. A youth page—cadet news and opportunities! Coupon offers are good for seniors. Wayne Fullerton, Logan Lake, B.C.
I sometimes feel that the army is given more publicity than either the navy or the air force. This applies to most news media and may well be because soldiers’ activities are more accessible than the others. Dr. R.M. Strang, Surrey, B.C.
There is, in my opinion, no other magazine on the market that bridges the gap concerning veterans as stand-alone people and today’s mode of life! It is one of a kind, keeping veterans young and old in touch. Jack Rossiter, Qualicum Beach, B.C.