One week after the presentation of the Michener-Baxter Special Award, Bryan Cantley died in Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May. He was 67.
Mr. Cantley was honoured during the Michener Award ceremony at Rideau Hall for his commitment and outstanding service to Canadian journalism and the newspaper industry. The Award was presented by Governor General David Johnston.
A former reporter and editor, Mr. Cantley oversaw the National Newspaper Awards for many years. The NNA praised Cantley’s devotion to his craft, saying he had “an enormous impact on Canadian journalism” through the training sessions he organized as well as his role in the awards.
“Bryan had a complete and total dedication to Canadian newspapers,” said Scott White, chair of the National Newspaper Awards board of governors and editor-in-chief of The Canadian Press.
“He believed in news and the value it brought to a stronger democratic society. He saw tremendous changes in the newspaper industry during his career, but never lost sight of the need to strive for excellence in daily journalism.”
A statement from the National Newspaper Awards said when Cantley retired in 2007, newspaper industry executives paid tribute to him at a gathering during the annual Newspapers Canada conference. Clark Davey, a former managing editor of the Globe and Mail, calling him “a great and giving repository of institutional memory about the black art we call journalism.”
A native of Montreal, Mr. Cantley spent his formative years in Red Rock, Ont. He worked in Toronto-area newspapers for 10 years, primarily as a Managing Editor before joining the Canadian Daily Newspaper Association (now Newspapers Canada) in 1981 as Director of Editorial Services.
He went on to launch in 1999 the Canadian Association of Newspaper Editors, which replaced the Canadian Managing Editors Conference and broadened its scope to include editors of all levels.
After retirement, Cantley remained at the helm of the National Newspaper Awards to help ensure the ceremony continued to highlight the best of Canadian journalism.
A 1969 graduate of Ryerson University, Bryan was a founding member and treasurer of the Ryerson Journalism Alumni Association. He also was the organizer and primary impetus behind Wordstock, a popular journalism training workshop. He received a Ryerson Alumni Achievement Award in 2007.
He organized the journalism training workshop Wordstock, which was hosted by his alma mater, Toronto’s Ryerson University. Cantley was a founding member of the Ryerson Journalism Alumni Association.
He also helped promote journalism training abroad as executive director of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, a position he held until last year.
Bryan Cantley is survived by his wife, Eleanor, his parents, three siblings and their spouses, and five nieces and nephews.