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Peter Gzowski

Writer and broadcaster Peter Gzowski, with his daily broadcast of personal essays, interviews, debate, music and drama, was the contemporary embodiment of what Canada's pioneer radio-makers dreamed of when they launched national broadcasting.


So engaging were some of Peter’s Gzowski’s radio interviews that many people who were listening to them on their car radios would drive to the shoulder of the highway or park by the curb on a leafy street so they could better pay attention to what was being said.

Peter Gzowski
Peter Gzowski
He was a giant of radio in this country, "Mr. Canada" to many, "Mr. Broadcasting" to many others. He was a writer, a columnist, a magazine editor, the author of at least 10 books, depending on which ones you count – the marvelous collections of letters sent to This Country in the Morning and Morningside, his personal writings such as The Private Voice, or his elegant true stories of teams and athletes and adventures.

He was also a reluctant and uncomfortable television performer on programs such as 90 Minutes Live and Gzowski & Company. He was a champion of literacy, raising millions for the cause through his annual golf tournaments called the "Peter Gzowski Invitationals" held across the country, even on the ice and the snow of the Arctic (using orange balls).

He loved journalism, though he liked the word "reporter" better than "journalist." He loved hockey, baseball, golf, contract bridge, cryptic crosswords, the North and the sweep and content of the country. He nearly lost count of the honorary degrees he collected over the years. In 1999, he was appointed Chancellor of Trent University in Ontario, fittingly on July 1 – Canada Day. He held the position until he died.

First with the 1970s' free-wheeling This Country in the Morning, and then with CBC Radio's Morningside, he attracted over a million listeners to his three-hour programme. He was their linchpin and connection to all aspects of Canadian life. His deft and incisive interviewing, masked by an intimate and relaxed style, "showed Canadians to themselves," revealing not only the great issues of the day but the small pockets and corners of Canadiana which make up the fabric of the country. His assumption of the intelligence of his listeners is echoed in the hundreds of individual responses he received. His talent could never be bottled and sold, but his example has been the inspiration for a whole generation of broadcasters. He also worked tirelessly for literacy in Canada, and has raised millions of dollars for the cause through his ongoing series of golf tournaments.

Peter Gzowski has received wide recognition: seven ACTRA awards, the 1989 John Drainie Award for significant contribution to broadcasting, and seven honorary degrees. He was an Officer of the Order of Canada.

SOURCES: Governor General's Peforming Arts Awards
and CBC News.

See also
Canadian Personalities

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt