Canada history magazine drops double-entendre name

WINNIPEG, Manitoba Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:07pm EST

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canada's second-oldest magazine, The Beaver, is changing its name because its unintended sexual connotation has caused the history journal to become snagged in Internet filters and has turned off potential readers.

The Beaver was founded in 1920 as a publication of the Hudson's Bay Company, then a fur trader and now a department store chain. It has long since become a broader magazine about Canadian history and will change its name to Canada's History with its April issue, editor-in-chief Mark Reid said on Tuesday.

When The Beaver started publication, the name evoked only Canada's thriving fur industry. Ninety years later, the fur trade has diminished and the magazine's name has become slang for female genitals.

Readers complained that Internet filters were blocking emails and newsletters from The Beaver, Reid said. The society also had concerns about attracting readers.

"Market research showed us that younger Canadians and women were very very unlikely to ever buy a magazine called The Beaver no matter what it's about," said Reid, adding he has mixed feelings about the name change. "For whatever reasons, they are turned off by the name."

Print subscriptions to the Winnipeg-based magazine, which publishes six issues a year, range between 45,000 and 50,000. It is published by Canada's National History Society.

Changing the name also makes sense because the fur trade, while an important part of early Canadian history, isn't meaningful to all Canadians today, especially as the population's makeup has changed through immigration, Reid said.

Readers have been generally understanding about the need for the change, he said.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel; editing by Rob Wilson)