Some Canadian newsmakers who died in 2016


A list of some Canadian newsmakers who died in 2016:


2 – Painter and sculptor Marcel Barbeau, 90, signatory of the manifesto Refus global.

2 – Leonard Evans, 86, an NDP member of the Manitoba legislature from 1969-99 and Cabinet minister for premiers Edward Schreyer and Howard Pawley.

3 – Visionary Canadian-born pianist Paul Bley, 83, a pivotal figure in the avant-garde jazz movement known for his innovative trio and solo recordings.

4 – Quebec producer and filmmaker Matthiew Klinck, 37, stabbed to death in an apparent burglary at his home in Selena Village in Belize.

5 – Jean-Paul L’ Allier, 77, Quebec MNA (1970 to 1976) and former mayor of Quebec City (1989 to 2005).

9 – John Harvard, 77, former Lt.-Gov. of Manitoba (2004 to 2009).

10 – T. Alex Hickman, 90, former judge who led the royal commissions that investigated the wrongful conviction of Donald Marshall and the Ocean Ranger disaster off Newfoundland and Labrador.

15 – Rene Angelil, 73, the Quebec impresario who guided Celine Dion to superstardom and then married her, died of throat cancer.

15 – Daniel Bohan, 74, Catholic archbishop of Regina since 2005.

17 – Former pro wrestler “Iron” Mike Sharpe, 64.

18 – Quebecois writer Pierre Des Ruisseaux, 70, winner of a Governor General’s award and former official poet of Parliament.

19 – Claude Ulysse Lefebvre, 86, former mayor of Laval, Que. (1981 to 1989).

21 – World championship curler Sam (Garnet) Richardson, 82, inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1968.

22 – Former Toronto Star journalist Val Sears, 88.



3 – Andy Thompson, 91, Ontario Liberal Party Leader from 1964 to 1966. He was appointed to the Senate in 1967 and resigned in 1998 amid a chronic absenteeism scandal.

9 – Elizabeth Joan Smith, 88, MPP for Ontario riding London South (1985 to 1990) and the province’s first female Solicitor-General.

15 – Canadian-born Denise Matthews, 57, of kidney disease. She renounced her sexy stage persona known as Vanity to become a Christian minister. She rocketed to stardom through her association with Prince and fronting the ’80s girl group Vanity 6.

15 – Constance Glube, 84, who spent 21 years as a lawyer before being appointed to the bench as the first woman on the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

15 – Victor Goldbloom, 92, Quebec cabinet minister (1966 to 1979) who went on to become Canada’s official languages commissioner between 1991 and 1999.

24 – Director and producer Colin Low, 89, who worked on more than 200 titles over six decades with the National Film Board of Canada, earning two Oscar nominations. He was a Member of the Order of Canada and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

26 – Don Getty, 82, who in the 1950s quarterbacked the Edmonton Eskimos to a Grey Cup championship and served as Alberta’s 11th premier from 1985 to 1992.

26 – Andy Bathgate, 83, a Hockey Hall of Famer who starred for the New York Rangers but won his only Stanley Cup with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1964.

28 – Renowned Canadian political scientist Stephen Clarkson, 78, a leading historian and academic authority on North American relations, died in hospital in Freiburg, Germany, after he contracted an influenza virus in Portugal that developed into pneumonia and then an incurable sepsis.



6 – Governor General’s Award-winning poet/translator, D. G. Jones, 87.

9 – Canadian Country Music Association Hall-of-Famer Ray Griff, 75.

10 – Hockey Hall of Famer Bill Gadsby, 88. He played 1,248 NHL games. He played for the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings.

16 – George McLean, 92, a longtime CBC News journalist and host of The National.

22 – Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, 46, whose scandal-plagued time in office propelled him to international infamy. He succumbed to cancer 18 months after doctors discovered a malignant tumour in his abdomen.

23 – Conservative MP Jim Hillyer, 41. He died in his office on Parliament Hill of a heart attack.

24 – Marie-Claire Kirkland, 91, the first woman elected to the Quebec National Assembly and a pioneer in the women’s movement. She held several cabinet posts while a Liberal MNA from 1961 to 1973. After that, she spent 18 years as a judge, and became a member of the Order of Canada in 1992.

27 – Veteran curler Vic Peters, 60, who won the 1992 Brier for Manitoba, following a five-year battle with cancer.

28 – Wally Crouter, 92, known as Canada’s longest-serving morning man. He joined Toronto’s CFRB in 1946 where he became a top-rated morning host. He retired in 1996 and was inducted as a pioneer into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

29 – Former federal Liberal cabinet minister Jean Lapierre, 59, in a plane crash in a field near the airport in Havre-aux-Maisons in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine.

29 – Bernard Lamarre, 84, a pioneer in Quebec’s engineering industry and a former head of Lavalin.

30 – Prolific composer, arranger and conductor, Howard Cable, 95, who in his seven-decade career produced music for concert band, military band and big band; music for radio, television and film



1 – Former NHL referee Ron Wicks, 76, of complications from liver cancer.

3 – Actor, singer, and jazz musician Don Francks, 84, of lung cancer.

7 – Quebec playwright Marcel Dube, 86, after lengthy illness.

8 – Figure skating pioneer David Dore, 75. He was the youngest president of the Canadian Figure Skating Association, now known as Skate Canada. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Skate Canada Hall of Fame.

18 – Former Peterborough MP Hugh Faulkner, 83, who served as a cabinet minister in the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau, in Switzerland from complications stemming from bladder surgery.

23 – Stage, film and television actress Madeleine Sherwood, 93, best known for her role as Reverend Mother Superior Placido in the 1960s TV series The Flying Nun starring Sally Field.

30 – Longtime Quebec MNA Rejean Lafreniere, 80. He was also mayor of Lac-Sainte-Marie from 1967 to 1989.



3 – Former NDP politician Ian Deans, 78, who represented Hamilton ridings at both provincial (1967-’79) and federal (1980-’86) levels. He had been battling Parkinson’s disease for several years.

10 – Pro downhill mountain biker Steve Smith, 26, as a result of a massive brain injury suffered from a motorcycle crash near his home in Nanaimo, B.C., days earlier.

14 – Award-winning comic book artist/cartoonist/writer Darwyn Cooke, 53, of lung cancer. He worked for Warner Brothers and contributed to shows including ”Batman: The Animated Series,” ”Superman: The Animated Series” and ”Men in Black: The Series.”

17 – Roy Atkinson, 92, started out as president of the Saskatchewan Farmers Union in 1962 and was instrumental in creating the National Farmers Union seven years later.

19 – Toronto-born Morley Safer, 84, the veteran “60 Minutes” correspondent who was on for all but two of its 48 years. He bid farewell to the CBS newsmagazine only four days earlier.

19 – Swimmer Cindy Nicolas, 58, of liver failure. She became the first woman to complete a non-stop, two-way crossing of the English Channel in 1977. She later became a lawyer and served as a Liberal member of the Ontario legislature from 1987 to 1990.

21 – Lorne Clarke, 87, former Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

21 – Nisga’a First Nation artist Norman Tait, 75, of cancer. He was once commissioned to carve a totem for the Royal Family.

23 – Former ECHL and NHL head coach John Brophy, 83, after a lengthy illness.

25 – Curler Lloyd Campbell, 102, lead of the brothers-team that won the 1955 Brier championship.

26 – Award-winning pianist Joel Hastings, 46, from a heart attack.

26 – Contemporary artist Noel Harding, 70.

28 – Stanley Burke, 93, who anchored CBC’s The National News from 1966 to 1969, before the show was re-branded as The National.

30 – Former NHL All-Star centre Tom Lysiak, 63, of leukemia. He played 13 seasons with Atlanta Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks, putting up 292 goals and 551 assists in 919 career games.

30 – Former NHL All-Star centre Rick MacLeish, 66, of meningitis, as well as kidney and liver failure. He was the Philadelphia Flyers leading scorer in the playoffs when they won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975. He had 349 goals and 410 assists for 759 points in 846 NHL games over 14 seasons for the Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Hartford Whalers and Detroit Red Wings.



3 – Three-time Olympic cyclist Jocelyn Lovell, 65, who became a member of the inaugural induction to the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame in 2015. His career was cut short in 1983 when he was hit by a dump truck while training near his Milton, Ont., home resulting in spinal cord injuries and leaving him a quadriplegic.

3 – Len Marchand, 82, Canada’s first Aboriginal federal cabinet minister. (Small Business Minister 1976, Environment Minister 1977-79).

4 – Former Canadian teen idol and singer Bobby Curtola, 73, who also made his mark internationally in 1962 with the singles “Fortune Teller” and “Aladdin.”

7 – Former Manitoba Senator Rod Zimmer, 73, appointed in 2005 and resigned in 2013 due to health troubles. He married 22-year-old actress Maygan Sensenberger in 2011. He was named by the auditor general as one of the members of the upper chamber who improperly claimed tens of thousands of dollars in expenses.

10 – Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe, 88. “Mr. Hockey” played 32 pro hockey seasons and won four Stanley Cups, the NHL scoring title and MVP award six times each. He was an All-Star 23 times and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972.

14 – Politician Gilles Lamontagne, 97, former Quebec City mayor (1965 to 1977) and federal Liberal cabinet minister. He resigned from federal politics in March 1984 and served as Quebec’s lieutenant-governor until 1990.

19 – Norbert Theriault, 95, former New Brunswick MLA (1960-1979) and appointed to the Senate in 1979 and served until 1996.

26 – Toronto-based writer Austin Clarke, 81, who won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for his 2002 novel “The Polished Hoe.”

26 – Former UFC fighter Ryan Jimmo, 34, fatally injured in a hit-and-run after an altercation in an Edmonton parking lot.

26 – Hazel Newhook, 101, former Gander (Nfld.) mayor (1973 to 1977) and Gander MHA (1979 to 1985).



4 – Ottawa poet William Hawkins, 76, who developed a dedicated following for his expressive poems and songs in the 1960s and 1970s.

13 – Jack Riley, 97, the first general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

16 – Artist Robert-Ralph Carmichael, 78, creator of Loonie coin design, in a hospice in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

29 – Quebec singer and entertainer Lucille Dumont, 97, nicknamed the “Grande Dame de la chanson.” She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999 and an Officer of the National Order of Quebec in 2001 and was inducted into Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.

30 – Acclaimed novelist William Edwin Bell, 70, diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in September, 2015.

30 – Derek Hatfield, 63, a Nova Scotia sailor who gained international recognition for competing alone in around-the-world sailing events.

31 – Penny Lang, 74, an influential figure in Montreal’s folk music scene.

31 – Quebec politician Sylvie Roy, 51, member of the National Assembly since 2003, from acute viral hepatitis.



3 – Ardent nationalist, author and publisher Mel Hurtig, 84, of pneumonia in a Vancouver hospital. He was perhaps best known as publisher of “The Canadian Encyclopedia” and co-founder of the Council of Canadians, a group dedicated to preserving the country’s sovereignty.

10 – Versatile sportscaster John Suanders, 61, the original voice of the Toronto Raptors and a fixture for nearly 30 years on ESPN in the U.S.

15 – Dick Assman, 82, a Saskatchewan gas jockey who got quite a bit more than 15 minutes of fame after appearing on David Letterman’s “The Late Show” because of his last name.

16 – Mauril Belanger, 61, a Liberal MP for more than two decades and a lifelong advocate for francophone rights in English Canada. He died after a very public battle with the neurodegenerative disease ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

17 – Edmonton-born film director Arthur Hiller, 92, who received an Oscar nomination for directing the hugely popularly romantic tragedy “Love Story” during a career that spanned dozens of popular movies and TV shows.

22 – Elsie Wayne, 84, the former Saint John mayor and MP. She was first elected to Saint John common council in 1977 and became the city’s first female mayor in 1983. In 1993, she was one of two Progressive Conservatives to win their seats in the House of Commons. Wayne retired from politics in 2004 without ever having lost an election.

24 – Hungarian-born film director George Kaczender, 83, of cancer.


3 – Norman Kwong, 86, a former CFL pioneer who later served as Alberta’s lieutenant governor (2005 to 2010). When Kwong retired from playing football in 1960, he held 30 CFL records and two Schenley Awards as the league’s outstanding Canadian.

7 – Former NHL defenseman Bob Dailey, 63, after a battle with cancer. The two-time All-Star had 94 goals and 231 assists in 561 NHL games with Vancouver and Philadelphia.

16 – W.P. Kinsella, 81, the B.C.-based author of “Shoeless Joe,” the award-winning novel that became the film “Field of Dreams,” in a doctor-assisted death.

19 – Award-winning Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook, 47. Her body was discovered in the Rideau River near a park about two kilometres away from Parliament Hill.

23 – Pairs figure skater Frances Dafoe, 86, who teamed with Norris Bowden to win an Olympic silver (1956) and two world championships (1954, 1955).

30 – Winnipeg-born American folk singer-songwriter Oscar Brand, 96, of pneumonia. His weekly “Folksong Festival” (1945 to 2016) on WNYC was the longest-running radio show in history with a single host.



1 – Aboriginal artist Daphne Odjig, 97, whose work blended the influences of Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh with the shapes of Ojibwa pictographs, played a prominent role in leading First Nations painters into the mainstream of Canadian art.

3 – Former Liberal Senator Isobel Finnerty, 87, who served from 1999 to 2005.

9 – Actress/voice actress and businesswoman Susan Aceron, 44, of nasopharyngeal cancer.

13 – Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice, 60, among the four people killed in a plane crash shortly after taking off from the Kelowna airport. Prentice, a former federal cabinet minister, quit politics in May 2015 after the Alberta NDP swept the Progressive Conservatives from power.

21 – Pro wrestler and manager Frenchy Martin, 69, of bladder cancer.

23 – Boxer Harold Mann, 78, 1962 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, after battling Alzheimer’s disease.

29 – Franco-Ontarian singer-songwriter Paul Demers, 60. of lung cancer. He wrote “Notre place,” which came to be known as the unoffcial anthem for the Franco-Ontarian community.



1 – Canadian comedy pioneer Dave Broadfoot, 90, who was considered a national treasure for his political satire on the CBC’s “Royal Canadian Air Farce.” He won numerous honours, including a Juno for comedy, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and was named an officer of the Order of Canada.

4 – Toronto-born keyboardist Eddie Harsch, 59, with The Black Crowes from 1991-2002 and their reunion tour 2005-2006.

7 – Iconic writer, poet, composer Leonard Cohen, 82, the baritone-voiced singer-songwriter who seamlessly blended spirituality and sexuality in hits like “Hallelujah,” ”Suzanne” and “Bird on the Wire.”

11 – Guitarist Doug Edwards, 70, after a battle with cancer. The former Skylark band member crafted the sound of 1973 hit “Wildflower.” The lyrics were written by Dave Richardson, a longtime friend of bandmate David Foster.

12 – Dawn Coe-Jones, 56, a member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame (2003) who helped blaze a trail for Canadian women on the pro tour, of cancer. She played on the LPGA Tour from 1984 to 2008 and won more than US$3.3 million on the circuit with three victories and 44 career top-10 finishes.

14 – Genie award-winning stage and screen actress Janet Wright, 71, the frank-talking and resilient comedy star best known for her portrayal of long-suffering matriarch Emma Leroy on “Corner Gas.”



1 – Stand-up comedian Jo-Anna Downey, 49, of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In 2012, she won the Canadian Comedy Awards’ Phil Hartman Award for outstanding lifetime contribution to the Canadian comedy community.

1 – Audrey Tobias, 92, acquitted of violating the Statistics Act when she refused to fill out the 2011 census over its link to American aerospace and weapons giant Lockheed Martin.

7 – Liberal MP Warren Allmand, 84, diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in March. He represented the Montreal riding of Notre Dame De Grace from 1965 to 1997, held several portfolios in the Pierre Trudeau cabinet, including solicitor general when he tabled a bill in 1976 to abolish Canada’s death penalty.

13 – Actor Alan Thicke, 69, a versatile performer who gained his greatest renown as the beloved dad on the sitcom “Growing Pains.” He had a heart attack. Thicke, father of “Blurred Lines” singer Robin Thicke, was also a composer, writer and once a popular talk show host on Canadian television before making his name in the U.S.

13 – David Strangway, 82, a geophysicist who served as president of the University of British Columbia from 1985 to 1997 and worked for NASA during the Apollo space missions.

14 – Shirley Dysart, 88, New Brunwick’s first female leader of the Official Opposition, serving as interim Liberal leader in 1985, became the province’s first female education minister in 1987 and was also the first woman to become Speaker of the legislature in 1991.

17 – Walter Hachborn, 95, co-founder of Home Hardware Stores and member of the Order of Canada.

18 – Entertainer Gordie Tapp, 94, from complications of pneumonia. The member of the Order of Canada and Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee kicked off his career in radio before moving into TV. During the 1950s, he was a founding member of “Main Street Jamboree,” a radio and TV show out of Hamilton, and hosted the CBC music-variety program “Country Hoedown” from 1956 to 1965. He eventually took his act south of the border to the popular American variety series “Hee Haw.”

21 – Acclaimed Quebec painter Corno (born Joanne Corneau), 64, in Mexico where she was receiving treatment for throat cancer.

23 – Acclaimed Inuk contemporary artist Tim Pitsiulak died at the age of 49. Pitsiulak was born in Kimmirut, Nunavut, in 1967 and had lived in Cape Dorset. In 2013, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled Pitsiulak’s design on a 25-cent commemorative circulation coin celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Arctic Expedition and life in the North.