THE GALLEY             
Newsletter of
the Media Club of Ottawa


Members' News and Meeting Reports
December 2016
Events Books About Awards Profiles Contactt
Next meeting: Click here

           N E W S......

from and about Members, Former Members and Friends

Send submissions by email  to
Members News Submissions

They will be published here
(If your name is not on the list, please send an email)

Henry Heald: We are sad to announce that Henry Heald, long time journalist and freelance writer, passed away during the month of November. We will miss him. A service was held on December 4th.  Several Media Club members attended. 

A book  was published just weeks after his death on November 17. Before I Die: Not a Bucket List is a collection of Henry's "musings, poetry and prose, opinion, enlightenment, experience and passionate conviction of the right and wrong way of thinking and acting to produce a better world at home and abroad ..... A damn good reporter caring more for people than things." The book was printed by the University of Toronto Bookstore - Ten percent of sales go to Henry's favourite charity. .

Henry was a former member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, honorary member of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists, life member of  the Canadian Farm Writers and a faithful member of the Media Club of Ottawa. 

Jean Portugal

Long time Media Club of Canada member, Jean Portugal has died at at home in Scarborough at age 95. As her half page obituary in The Globe and Mail on January 2 says, Jean "spent years chronicling the accounts of Canadian Veterans of the Second World War, and published their stories as We Were There, in seven volumes."

Her books, published in 1998 by the Royal Canadian Military Institute, contain 350  illustrations, 1.2 million words and 3,500 pages. She interviewed 750 Canadian war veterans for the series.

Jean worked six decades as a journalist and government communicator. She worked for the Peterborough Examiner, and The Globe and Mail and was copy desk editor-in-chief for the the division of Maclean Hunter that published business magazines. She was also a freelance correspondent in Mexico, and covered foreign-reporting assignments for The Globe and Mail in Asia, reporting from Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia.

She was an honorary member of two Canadian regiments, was named to the Order of Canada and received other commendations for her work.
June Coxon: June's article under the headline  'Pink Teas' was published in the April-June 2016 issue of Taste and Travel

Jayne Simms-Dalmotas:
Jayne has been writing the meeting reports for The Galley.

Janet Webb:

Iris ten Holder:
 Iris has been battling shingles since August 2016.and hopes to save  eyesight in her left eye with the help of surgeon Peter Agapitos.

Iris continues exhibiting her work in fibre arts and photography at her studio in Britannia and restore photogaphs to origial brightness and colour.

Shirley Van Dusen:

David French*:

Joe Banks;

Helen Bednarek VanEyk:

Margaret  Virany wrote in her July 15 blog, (, that notes she took while attending Northrop Frye's lectures at university have become part of a 700-page book. Northrop Frye's Lectures, edited and transcribed by Robert D. Denham, contains notes from Courses Frye gave from 1947-1955. The book includes eight sets of Marg's notes which she says she took in shorthand because she didn't want to miss one word. "My favorite  course was Greek and Latin (called Literary Criticism as a chapter title.)," Marg writes, "which Fye sneaked in as an extra for our fourth-year class." She added that "Frye never wrote down any of his lectures - not even a plan for them. Student notes are the main source of what he said except for one video and recordings of public speeches he gave." She also noted that the book is sold at Cambridge Scholar Publishing in the UK and on Amazon, for a price most couldn't afford

Jim Watson:

Rosaleen Dickson**:
Rosaleen Dickson has moved to a residence in West Ottawa

Dawn Monroe:
Dawn has survived two heart attacks and is now convalescing.  We wish her a speedy recovery.

** honorary member

Former Membe

Susan Korah, a former long time club member who's still actively interested in the Media Club but spends most of her time working out of the country has had a travel article published in Ottawa Life magazine about Istanbul. To find the piece she wrote: Click here

Taste and  Travel International

The latest issue of Taste and  Travel International (issue 25, October-December 2016) features articles by two former Media Club members. On page 76 you'll find Susan Korah's story 'Istanbul's Imperial Cuisine' along with three tempting recipes. A few pages over, on page 86, is an article by Susan Hallett entitled 'Lavender's Blue Dilly Dilly'. She too includes a few recipes - one for lavender shortbread and another for lavender cheesecake. The other connection this magazine has with our club is its publisher. You may recall that in the early days of the magazine Janet Boileau spoke at one of our meetings, discussing the joys and trials of launching a publication in today's world. Her Taste magazine was launched in 2011.

Olive Dickason

The biography of former club member Olive Dickason is being written by Darren Prefontaine, professor at the Gabriel Dumont Institute, in Saskatchewan. He expects to have the book published by next Spring. At that time, when he is in Ottawa, we will hold a book launch for him. Watch the website for further news about this.

Thomas Virany Tells Tales of His Journalism Career

by Iris ten Holder and June Coxon

While the Federation of University Women held their registration night on the main floor of Ottawa City Hall the Media Club of Ottawa met upstairs in the Billings Room, kicking off the Fall season with the club's traditional Meet and Greet evening. Nearly 20 people, including several non-members, were on hand for the September 19 meeting to hear guest speaker Thomas Virany, husband of club member Margaret Virany, discuss his varied work history including a journalism career.

Tom's visual presentation included stories of his family's early days in his home country, Hungary, his interesting careers and how while earning his B.A.Sc. at the University of Toronto he volunteered to work for the daily university newspaper, The Varsity, to perfect his English.

After two years he not only became editor of The Varsity, following in the footsteps of the likes of Canada's 10th prime minister William Lyon MacKenzie King and the CBC radio's long time host of Morningside, Peter Gzowski, but that was where he and Margaret met.

Tom told tales of his early days working with the mainstream press when he interviewed everyone from movie star Za Za Gabor, to members of a biker gang called Black Riders and people belonging to a nudist camp on Lake Simcoe.

He talked about how he met Margaret, their marriage in 1955 and how, decades later they co-edited and published the Aylmer Bulletin from 1981-1990.

Some of Tom's stories made national news and while editing the Bulletin his article about Jean Claude Duvalier, aka Baby Doc, Haiti's brutal president who ruled from 1971-1986, was picked up by news media across North America.

Tom's journalism career also includes working for Canadian Press, MacLean Hunter and CBC t.v. As a freelancer he worked on such programs as The Nature of Things and xxxx. Before his journalism career he also worked as a patent officer in Toronto and an engineer in Montreal.

In addition to Tom's talk he and Marg arranged an abundant display of documents, newspaper clippings and books written by Tom during his varied career from his proud beginnings in Hungary through his youth and many undertakings as a journalist to his emigration to Canada and further career path in this country.

In a spirit of camaraderie Helen Bednarek Van Eyk took on hosting duties for the evening, ensuring tasty food arrived from Cafe 111 Lisgar. Jayne Simms Dalmotas also pitched in to help, handling membership renewal and guest registration for Iris ten Holder who was present but still recovering after suffering a severe virus attack in late August.

Tom was introduced and thanked by club president, June Coxon.

Inside The Olympic Bubble

by Jayne Simms-Dalmotas

Media Club of Ottawa members who attended the meeting of October 24, 2016 were treated to a fascinating double-bill presentation.  Sisters Lorraine and Aline Lafrenière, both of whom have worked behind the scenes at numerous Olympic Games, Paralympics and Pan American Games, described what it’s like be in the surreal Olympic bubble.

Lorraine Lafrenière is the Chief Executive Officer of the Coaching Association of Canada. She said that the most important lesson she has learned from the Games is “resiliency – how to balance the planned and unplanned incidents that occur”. You need to expect the unexpected.

Aline Lafrenière was a Press Attaché for CBC and Radio Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympics. She recalled many magical moments, meeting and working with broadcasters whom, until that point, she had seen only on television.  She is particularly proud of the role she and her team played in facilitating the production of profiles of Canadian athletes at the Games.

Both women spoke of how the host country has a profound impact on the culture of the Games and the Olympic Village, imbuing them with a distinct personality.  They felt it was an amazing gift to see the way in which these various cultures colour the nature of the Games, influencing everything from the security to the lay-out of the venue.

Aline and Lorraine said that their experiences have allowed them to meet many incredible people, including the “super volunteers, from doctors to seamstresses and greeters, who make the Games memorable”. They also spoke of being impressed by the athletes’ courage and their devotion to their sport – athletes like Sue Halloway, who competed in both Winter and Summer Olympics in the same year, and Silken Laumann, who won a bronze medal only 10 weeks after a disastrous rowing accident, and multiple surgeries.
 The women pointed out how the Olympic Games have changed since their initial involvement in the 1980’s. Security has become a major consideration. So, too, has the use of performance enhancing drugs. Another change they noted is how traditional journalistic coverage has been overtaken by social media. Since 2012 in particular, Lorraine said, “It has evolved from a tightly controlled situation to a free-for-all.” One very positive element is the growing media and spectator interest in the Paralympics Games.

With their first-hand observations, the women helped those present understand how this ancient sporting tradition has continued to thrive and evolve and why it is important not only for the athletic competitions, but as a means of building bridges among nations. 

Busting Myths About Indigenous Peoples

by Jayne Simms-Dalmotas

Canadians have grown up with stories that perpetuate myths and stereotypes about Indigenous peoples.  Author and journalist Waubgeshig Rice works hard to change such misconceptions and to raise greater awareness of Aboriginal issues through stories and humour. 
As a young boy, he understood the importance of stories to pass on knowledge and culture, and he had a passion for literature. But he didn’t see the connection to journalism until, in high school, he spent a school year in Germany. On his first day at school, he learned that his new school mates had an infatuation with an image of the North American Indian, fostered by books and movies, and that they had been expecting someone in full head dress. He wrote home about his amusing experiences, and soon was asked to write a monthly article for the “Anishinabek News”, a publication of the Union of Ontario Indians. 

He began to truly appreciate the power of stories to bust myths and to raise awareness. It sparked his interest in journalism and he went on to graduate from Ryerson’s journalism program. His first foray into journalism was with the Weather Network where he had the opportunity to develop stories connected to the weather, with an Aboriginal angle. This led to general assignment reporting with CBC. He is proud of his work on ReVision Quest with CBC Radio One, a program where the point was to bust myths about Aboriginal people, through the use of satire and humour. He currently enjoys working on CBC Indigenous, which presents an aggregate of Indigenous news stories in various formats, including print, broadcast and on-line. He has high praise for the CBC because they have encouraged the development of this Indigenous unit, but, at the same time, acknowledges that it is an ongoing challenge to reflect diversity in Aboriginal voices.

In response to a question about mistakes in reporting about Aboriginal people and issues, he said that the biggest factor is a lack of accuracy – presenting them as a single entity rather than many diverse First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples with different languages, backgrounds and cultures. He also pointed out that terms used to describe Indigenous peoples are often incorrect (such as confusing Innu with Inuit), and he recommended that reporters consult authoritative sources for guidance, such as Duncan Mccue’s web site on “Reporting in Indigenous Communities”.

On a positive note, he said that he sees a greater appetite today for information about Indigenous peoples, in large part because of the revelations about the Residential Schools experience through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.