Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Brian's crowd

Updated 8/31/11 re Ron Base blog comments
Brian Vallee made his Toronto media debut in the Eclipse White Wear Building on the northeast corner of King and John, the first home of the Toronto Sun.

About 300 family members, friends and former colleagues bid Brian a fond farewell last night in the CBC building on the northeast corner of Front and John.

Two short blocks, but what a career and what a life in that span, as replayed in a fitting George Hutchison video tribute and often hilarious stories at the podium.

It was standing room only for Brian's celebration of life in the Glenn Gould lounge, where a piano stood silent despite the crowd visualizing Brian at the keyboards.

They came from England, the United States and across Ontario to say goodbye to Brian, who died from cancer on July 22. 

Former Toronto Sun colleagues, including Les Pyette, Mark Bonokoski, Andy Donato, Dianne Jackson, Ron Base, Sam Ion, Bob Burt, Kevin Scanlon, Lynda Ruddy, Hartley Steward, Tom MacMillan, David Kendall and Lou Clancy, were there to say goodbye.

Pyette, Bonokoski, Burt and Base are surviving members of the Windsor Mafia, a talented gathering of Windsor Star newsroom staffers lost to the Toronto Sun in the 1970s.

Brian worked at the Sun for 14 months before moving on to the Toronto Star, the CBC and the book publishing business, but the best-selling author remained a TSF member at heart to the end.

His was, as evident last night, a life lived. 

And if the measure of a man is in the number of family members and friends, Brian was a very wealthy man. 

(Ron Base, a former colleague of Brian's and a friend for 42 years, comments on Brian's final days and the farewell gathering on his blog. You can read it here.)

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