Five years of the Advocate magazine

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By Roderick Benns

Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Advocate. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, he has written several books including Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World.

I still remember telling my Grade 4 teacher, Nancy Graham, that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. The Queen Victoria teacher was nothing but encouraging and always gave me positive feedback on my short stories. In Grade 5 I informed my teacher Paul Steffler that I was, specifically, going to be a poet. He gently suggested a more employable form of writing to make a living, such as journalism. Notwithstanding a few poems that found their way into Poetry Canada Magazine, I took his advice. (Turns out the $30 I made from those free verses just wasn’t enough to fund my original dream, as he wisely counselled.)

Aside from my mother, who was always a rock for my younger brother and I growing up, those elementary teachers (and many educators after them) are as responsible for this magazine as I am. At our five year mark this month I acknowledge and pay tribute to them. For as Joseph Campbell once said, “The job of an educator is to teach students to see vitality in themselves.”

Graham and Steffler helped me locate the spark within myself that would one day ignite my career. To see vitality in oneself can lead to creating something that hopefully others find vital, too.

Almost every day I get a call or a note from a reader telling me how much the Advocate means to them. We seem to be making something that is more than a magazine or a media outlet; we are making meaning in people’s lives. I can’t express how good that feels, to be doing something others find so worthwhile. A huge thank you to our writers, editors, photographers, and designers for being such a big part of our success.

Five years ago, several small businesses took the plunge with us in our first issue. Some, like Thairapy, Mackey’s Funeral Home, the Pie Eyed Monk, Community Care, and the City of Kawartha Lakes, still regularly or occasionally work with us to this day. Since then, we have grown a great deal and both small and large businesses across the city work with us regularly, trusting us to get their message out. We couldn’t do what we do without them.

Regular readers will notice we consistently tie in our March magazine to International Women’s Day, which also falls in March. We do this because we still have a long way to go as a society when it comes to gender equality, a fact that continues to astonish me. Our articles in this month’s edition cover this topic, including the inimitable Trevor Hutchinson in his Trevor’s Take column.

If you have a moment, wish us a Happy 5th Birthday by letting us know, specifically, what you love about the magazine, or even what we could do better. I can be reached at

Thank you for being a part of the Advocate’s journey.


  1. Brad Campkin says:

    Print is not dead! Even though big newspapers and magazines have fallen prey to internet surfing, the local content and advertisers is a streaky draw to your “small town/big city” publication. Congrats!

  2. Brad Campkin says:

    Steady! Lol

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