The Beaver gets a new name

An iconic Canadian history magazine is changing its name to avoid a variety of misunderstandings.
The April-May 2008 issue of The Beaver shows the current logo. ((Canada's National Historical Society))

An iconic Canadian history magazine is changing its name to avoid a variety of misunderstandings.

The current issue of the 90-year-old Winnipeg-based bi-monthly, The Beaver: Canada's History Magazine, is the final one to have that name on the cover.

Effective with the April issue, the magazine will be known as Canada's History.

"Use of the word 'beaver' on the internet has taken on an identity that nobody could have perceived in 1920," said Deborah Morrison, president of Canada's National Historical Society. "And increasingly, if we put 'The Beaver' in a heading, we would be spam-filtered out."

The society also conducted market research last year with readers, and the conclusion was that the current name was just not working as an appropriate title, she said.

"Canadians were twice as likely not to subscribe because of the title of the magazine, even if they showed an interest in Canadian history," Morrison said, adding there were also a lot of people who thought the magazine was a nature publication.

A mockup of the April-May 2010 issue shows the newly renamed Canada's History magazine. ((Canada's National Historical Society))

"I can't tell you how many people, especially kids, called us for information about the rodent for their science project."

The Beaver began as a company newsletter put out by the Hudson's Bay Company. The first issue appeared in October 1920 under the banner, The Beaver, A Journal of Progress.

Beginning with the December 1923 issue, the magazine began to be offered to non-Hudson's Bay employees at an annual rate of $1.

The magazine was acquired in 1994 by Canada's National History Society, a Winnipeg-based charitable organization devoted to popularizing Canadian history.

The magazine currently has a paid circulation of 49,000 and is published six times per year.