Bruce MacKinnon (born
1961) is a Canadian editorial cartoonist for the Halifax Chronicle
Herald. He is the recipient of several awards of excellence for his
He was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he attended high school
and later studied arts at St. Francis Xavier University. As a youth he
also lived with his family in Kingston, Ontario, and Truro and Halifax,
Nova Scotia. He studied Fine Arts at Mount Allison University and
graphic design at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
His first paid work as a cartoonist came at the age of 14, when he began
drawing a weekly cartoon for The Casket in Antigonish. In high school
and university in Antigonish, he drew cartoons for the Antigonish
Spectator and the Xaverian Weekly, respectively.
In 1985, MacKinnon began drawing weekly cartoons for the Halifax
Chronicle Herald, and was hired full-time in 1986, filling a gap on the
paper's editorial page that had been present ever since the retirement
of its long-time cartoonist Bob Chambers in 1976. With the redesign of
the Herald's weekend edition in April 2013, his hand-drawn font was used
for all the headlines in the "Opinion" section.
Since becoming the paper's regular cartoonist, MacKinnon has achieved
status as one of Canada's finest editorial cartoonists, called by the
Canadian Encyclopedia, "among the new breed of distinguished artists" in
Canadian editorial cartooning. To date he has won 17 Atlantic Journalism
Awards for editorial cartooning, three National Newspaper Awards (1992,
1993 and 2013), and came in second in the World Press Cartoon
competition in 2004. In 2014 he won the World Press Freedom Award and
second prize in the 2014 Niels Bugge Cartoon Award. Both a popular and
at times controversial cartoonist, he was named Best Political
Cartoonist in Halifax for several years running by The Coast newspaper
before it elevated him to their Hall of Fame, thus retiring him from
Much of Bruce's work forms part of the permanent collections of StFX
University, the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Nova
Scotia. In 1996 he was granted an honorary doctorate by St. Mary's
University for his work and in 2011 he was made a member of the Order of
Nova Scotia. In 2013 he received both an honorary doctorate of fine arts
from NSCAD university and the Friend of StFX Award from St. Francis
Xavier University. He had not graduated from NSCAD before he began
He is married and has two children.
More information can be
found about him on
Canadian War Memorial Cartoon Touches
Published on Oct 24, 2014
After his powerful artistic response to
tragic events in Ottawa, it seemed everyone wanted a piece of Herald
cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon on Thursday. His cartoon was not only
trending on Twitter but requests for use of the cartoon came in from
CNN, Fox News and The Independent, the UK publication which ran an
online editorial below the cartoon.
Even the Canadian War Museum came calling.
Watercooler conversations throughout Nova Scotia seemed to be all about
the cartoon and the feelings it evoked about the cold-blooded murder of
a 24-year-old reservist in front of Canada's National War Memorial.
Simply stated, for the few who may not have seen it, the cartoon
suggests the coming to life of the bronzed First World War soldiers that
sit atop the memorial.
One soldier is bent over, supporting Cpl. Nathan Cirilloís body. Others
are reaching down as if to help, while still others stare stoically
His feet, complete with Argyll and Sutherland Highland socks and white
spats, are the only part of the young soldier showing.
"Thatís the part that touched me - the feet," said Ian Thompson,
associate publisher of The Chronicle Herald. "(And) I guess itís the
notion of those folks in the statue coming to the aid of that young
Thompson was not surprised by the sheer volume of requests from news
agencies around the world for MacKinnon's piece.
"Those of us who work here know Bruce is a world-class cartoonist,"
Thompson said. "Some of the worldís largest news outlets - they want his
The cartoon made it to the top of Reddit.com <http://reddit.com/> and
the image-sharing site imgur.com <http://imgur.com/> .
Perhaps most impressive of all was a telephone call from an elderly man
in Saskatoon who saw MacKinnonís work online.
"Quite frankly, what he did brought tears to my eyes," George Whitter
said. "It was absolutely magnificent and I donít use that word very
often," he added.
Whitter even went so far as to say the cartoon should be made into a
bronze plaque and placed on the War Memorial.
"It is a powerful depiction of how these are not just soldiers from the
past but they are of present and, sadly, the future," he said.
And what of the man who has an uncanny knack for hitting nerves and
opening tear ducts? Of drawing thought-provoking cartoons that jam up
news servers and cause readers to drip tears onto newsprint?
By noontime, MacKinnon had done a number of interviews with local news
outlets and with CNN.
"It's the symbolism that is so important in cartooning... this one was a
particularly emotional and disturbing one," said the legendarily humble
"I'm glad it came through clearly."
One woman emailed MacKinnon to say she was comforted by the thought that
what he depicted is maybe what happened - the old soldiers really did
help the young man as he lay dying.
"I canít really take credit for what the cartoon has evoked in people
because I think itís the emotion attached to the story that triggers the
response," MacKinnon said.
This from the man who, after 28 years with the Herald, still canít
believe he gets paid for drawing.