Canada’s longest surviving feminist magazine, Herizons, grew out of The Manitoba Women’s Newspaper. The first issue of Herizons magazine was published in February 1983, after funds from the federal department of Employment and Immigration were secured to operate Herizons as a community economic development enterprise. Six staff managed the monthly non-profit newsmagazine along the lines of a staff-run cooperative. A small board oversaw finances.
Herizons quickly grew into Canada’s largest national feminist magazine with Debbie Holmberg-Schwartz as its managing editor. Other volunteers from The Manitoba Women’s Newspaper were hired: Patricia Rawson, Brigitte Sutherland, Marnie Pastuck, Gerri Thorsteinson and later, Penni Mitchell.
Herizons published monthly for two years, then bi-monthly for two more. By 1986, Herizons had a paid readership of 7,000. Topics covered included sexual harassment, smoking cessation, body image, women’s history, parenting, abortion, child support, divorce, aging, feminist artists, women with disabilities, mental health and women, lesbian feminists, the feminist anti-nuclear movement, pornography, law reform, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, race discrimination, and immigrant women. Cover interviews included author Margaret Atwood, anti-nuclear scientist Rosalie Bertell, and birthing expert Sheila Kitzinger. Noted Canadian author Carol Shields was fiction editor at Herizons from 1984 to 1985, a position later occupied by poet Di Brant. Regular contributors and regional editors included Betsy Warland, Mary Louise Adams, and satirist Lyn Cockburn. In March 1987, Herizons closed after its federal grant was not renewed.
Herizons carried advertisements for women’s studies programs, Heather Bishop’s children’s albums, women’s carpentry services, women’s law offices, Manitoba tourism, children’s toys, and locally made cloth baby carriers.
In 1992, Herizons was re-started by two of its former staff members, finance manager Patricia Rawson and managing editor Penni Mitchell, who worked closely with a handful of Winnipeg volunteers. Herizons has published quarterly since 1992 and remains Canada’s largest feminist magazine. www.herizons.ca
Penni Mitchell, volunteer, The Manitoba Women’s Newspaper, 1981-82
Managing Editor, Herizons magazine, 1992 to the present