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Old 03-26-2014, 01:54 PM   #1
charlene
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Default Pete McGarvey-Orillia broadcaster in Orillia

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James A. “Pete” McGarvey was 20 years old when he first arrived in Orillia in 1947 as a newly minted CFOR radio broadcaster. Almost immediately, he led a charge to save Stephen Leacock’s summer home from demolition. He sparked a royal visit to Orillia July 5, 1959, and co-founded the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1961.

And during the same time, he married Eileen Giles of Sebright and fathered three sons.

To Will McGarvey, he’s Dad.

“I don’t think he ever said no to anybody when they asked him if he’d help,” Will said Tuesday. “Sometimes that means you shared a lot of his time with the public. He still had lots of love and care for his family …”

McGarvey was an inspiration, he said.

“I got a lot of messages from people and so many people have said, ‘Your dad inspired me to go into journalism.’ ‘Your dad was my mentor.’ ‘I met your dad when I was seven years old and I made a decision on my career,’” Will said.

The family has been overwhelmed with words of praise for the radio broadcaster, community leader and town alderman since his death Monday at the age of 86.

“I’ve had messages from great journalists like Hap Parnaby, who attributes a lot of his good fortune and style of journalism (to) Dad,” Will said.

McGarvey’s career in Ontario radio spanned more than 50 years. From 1965 to 1973, he was news director of CFCO Chatham. He switched to CKEY Toronto in August 1973 as a featured newscaster and commentator.

As a radio journalist, McGarvey reported from Moscow, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Washington, Jerusalem and Beirut in the 1970s and ’80s. He was at Pearl Harbour when the astronauts returned from the first mission to the moon. He was in Hong Kong the night of the Tiananmen Square massacre and he stood in front of the White House the night former U.S. president Richard Nixon resigned.

In the basement of his Orillia home are autographed photos of Bob Hope, Ella Fitzgerald, Margaret Atwood, Johnny Cash and numerous others.

Growing up, Will recalled, his father never spoke ill of anyone.

“People were all to be treated the same. His friends came from every walk of life,” Will said. “He was just kind and supportive and always got involved with his family and his community.”

As a travelling journalist, McGarvey sparked nightly dinner discussions about world events.

“In our house, we were fortunate,” Will said. “The acceptance or the biases you hear about other families across the world, it was never part of our life, our vocabulary … Everybody was the same.”

Will said he is proud of the lives his dad touched, noting no one has had a negative word to say.

“That’s pretty special,” Will said.

When McGarvey first arrived in Orillia, he was shocked to find Orillians did not pay much attention to Leacock’s legacy.

After Leacock’s death in 1944, the home at Old Brewery Bay on the shores of Lake Couchiching began to fall into disrepair.

“He already knew a lot about Leacock and he certainly had this great care for Orillia,” Will said of his dad. “… He thought this was such a great asset for a community to have such a prestigious figure that chose Orillia as their hometown and yet the people here really didn’t pay much attention to him.”

McGarvey decided to take action.

“I don’t think we can possibly underestimate Pete’s role in putting together the plan that saw (the) Leacock (home) become a museum in 1958,” Museum curator Fred Addis said.

Without McGarvey’s intervention, there is every possibility the museum on Leacock’s property would not have been established, Addis said.

McGarvey pressed council to buy the property, where Leacock penned Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, when Leacock’s son, Stevie Jr., offered it for $50,000. Many councillors balked at the idea. Stevie Jr. withdrew his offer, swearing he would never sell the property to the city.

The 29-acre property was listed publicly and was purchased by property developer Lou Ruby in 1956. Ruby planned to demolish the home and build a subdivision on the property.

“It would have been a terrible thing if he did destroy the home. It’s the most important literary landmark in the country,” McGarvey told The Packet & Times in 2008.

McGarvey met with Ruby several times in Toronto and persuaded the developer to spare the home. Ruby agreed to separate the home and a little more than an acre of land from the rest of the estate and make it available for $25,000.

In a move McGarvey called extortion, he got council candidates to support purchasing the home.

He planned to quit local politics, but agreed to stay if council candidates would support his resolution to purchase the Leacock Home. If McGarvey hadn’t run for council, all those seeking six seats would have been acclaimed, including a “longtime ne’er-do-well” the other candidates did not want aboard, McGarvey told The Packet & Times in 2008.

The candidate came in last and council agreed to buy the property for $25,000.

“It was the best investment this city and community ever made,” McGarvey said in 2008.

The home contained 30,000 items including Leacock’s handwritten manuscripts, journals and diaries, along with photographs and hundreds of books, which were later estimated to be worth $7 million or more.

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Old 03-26-2014, 01:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pete McGarvey-Orillia broadcaster in Orillia

McGarvey authored The Old Brewery Bay: A Leacockian Tale, which details the process of opening the site to the public in July 1958.

In 2011, he told The Packet & Times: “Besides journalism, the theme of my life has definitely been heritage. I wanted to honour the past and leave something for future generations.”

McGarvey had an incredible capacity to build bridges across politics and issues, Addis said.

Taking people who were diverse in opinion and connecting them over a common cause is one of McGarvey’s legacies in Orillia, Addis said.

“Fundamentally, he was a good listener. I think this speaks to some of his broadcasting experiences where he let people tell their own story,” he said. “In the course of listening to their stories, he was always able to find a way through (or find) some kind of common ground for people.”

McGarvey was the first to welcome Addis to the museum when he arrived in 2001 to take on the role of museum program co-ordinator.

“He’s always been extremely helpful and generous with his time in support of my work here at the Leacock Museum. In that sense, he’ll be greatly missed,” Addis said.

Through McGarvey, the museum staff have formed a connection with the entire McGarvey family, Addis said.

Along with Will, McGarvey fathered sons Peter and Doug. He also has eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

“Certainly, our heart goes out to the entire family,” Addis said. “I like to think the museum has friends in the McGarvey family and that is a legacy of Pete’s work as well.”

The museum’s Mariposa Butterfly Garden was dedicated to McGarvey by the Orillia Canada Day Committee in July 2008.

That was “to honour Pete’s commitment, not just to the Leacock Museum, but to the community,” Addis said. “That stands as a lasting reminder here at the museum.”

In 1957, McGarvey was named Orillia’s Citizen of the Year for his efforts to save Leacock’s summer home and, in 1999, Orillia city council named him director emeritus of the Stephen Leacock Museum.

As a radio journalist, McGarvey attended the first Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour awards dinner in 1947.

“He was a big supporter of that,” said Mike Hill, president of the Stephen Leacock Associates. “He was such a booster through the years. It was really close to his heart, I believe.”

Although he was more of a jazz music guy, McGarvey helped establish the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1961.

“He … saw the benefit to Orillia,” Hill said. “He was really such a good citizen at heart. He helped bring that festival about even though it wasn’t his type of music.”

McGarvey was inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame in 2005.

“That was our way of thanking him for getting this festival up and running,” said Hill, the festival’s artistic director.

While co-founder Ruth Jones-McVeigh was the brains behind the plan, McGarvey became the festival’s voice, Hill said.

“Ruth had the ideas and her husband had the money — he backed it financially — and Pete was basically the spokesperson,” Hill said.

McGarvey was one of the first people Jones-McVeigh contacted when she started planning Mariposa, she said.

“… Because we knew him from the radio station,” she said. “He was very enthusiastic from the get go. Not everybody was. We gathered a number of enthusiastic people and he was certainly a mover and shaker.”

As the “voice in Orillia” at the time, McGarvey “helped to turn people on to the whole idea,” Jones-McVeigh said.

McGarvey, on Orillia council at the time, was also instrumental in kicking the festival out of the town, Hill said.

“I don’t know if many people know that,” he said.

In the festival’s third year, 25,000 people showed up to take part. It was more people than the population of Orillia at the time.

Riots broke out.

“Pete, as one of the aldermen at the time, he said we can’t have Mariposa any longer,” Hill said. “All was forgiven when we came back to Orillia.”

A few years ago, Hill visited McGarvey at his Orillia home.

“He is a very organized man. He had all his files, all his interviews through the years and he actually had some of he original minutes from the Mariposa Folk Festival meeting, the original meetings,” Hill said.

On June 4, 2011, McGarvey was presented by Lakehead University with an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Mayor Angelo Orsi also declared the day Pete McGarvey Day in Orillia.

“In 1945, I didn’t have the means to go to university,” McGarvey said at the time. “It is a great honour. I’m floored by it, really, because I haven’t got a college or university degree of any kind.”

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

— With files from QMI Agency

sara.ross@sunmedia.ca
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Pete McGarvey-Orillia broadcaster in Orillia

Radio mainstay McGarvey wanted to honour the past
RON CSILLAG
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...ticle17764514/

As an essentially private person – an odd trait for someone whose voice reached millions – James (Pete) McGarvey practised the first rule of radio: speak as though to a single friend, not multitudes of anonymous listeners.

“He was really a shy man,” said his son, Peter. “To him, a microphone was a person.”

Mr. McGarvey, who died of natural causes in Orillia at the age of 86, was a beloved figure in that community, where he led the effort to preserve both the memory and the home of Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock. He also had a radio career that spanned more than four decades, spiced with plenty of civic involvement.

It was Mr. Leacock’s legacy that drew Mr. McGarvey to Orillia in 1947. He had devoured Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town while still in school, and his father had known the author personally. Mr. McGarvey was surprised to discover that locals hadn’t paid much attention to the writer or his work.

While still in his 20s, he headed a four-year campaign to save and restore the author’s dilapidated house, called Old Brewery Bay, where he lived and worked for some 30 summers.

Mr. McGarvey wanted the city to buy the 30-acre estate. But the municipal council balked at the $50,000 price asked by the author’s son, Stephen Jr., and it was sold instead to developer Lou Ruby (father of Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby), who planned to demolish the house and subdivide the property.

Over time and several meetings, Mr. McGarvey convinced Mr. Ruby to spare the house and a little more than an acre of land, and hand it over for $25,000. That was still considered steep, but the city bought it in 1957.

“It would have been a terrible thing if he did destroy the home,” Mr. McGarvey told The Orillia Packet and Times in 2008. “It’s the most important literary landmark in the country. It was the best investment this city and community ever made.”

Indeed, the home held 30,000 pieces of Leacock memorabilia, including handwritten manuscripts, journals and diaries, along with photographs and hundreds of books. The collection was later estimated to be worth at least $7-million.

For his efforts, Mr. McGarvey was named Orillia’s Citizen of the Year in 1957, and the Leacock Museum opened in 1958. His book, The Old Brewery Bay: A Leacockian Tale, was published in 1994. City council later named him director emeritus of the museum.

“Fundamentally, he was a good listener,” said Fred Addis, curator of the Leacock Museum National Historic Site. “I think this speaks to some of his broadcasting experiences, where he let people tell their own story. In the course of listening to their stories, he was always able to find some kind of common ground.”

Mr. McGarvey also got his hands dirty, serving for 11 years on Orillia’s municipal council, as councillor, deputy reeve and reeve. Though more of a jazz fan, he helped establish the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1961, suggesting the name Mariposa in honour of Mr. Leacock’s fictional name for a thinly disguised Orillia in Sunshine Sketches. (While on council, Mr. McGarvey himself voted to kick the festival out of town in 1963, however, following a near riot by 25,000 unruly attendees. It would not return to Orillia for decades).

But radio was his first great love, and Mr. McGarvey became a mainstay of the medium in three Ontario cities: Orillia, Chatham and Toronto, with a smooth, distinctive baritone audiences came to know.

James Albert McGarvey was born in Toronto in 1927, one of four sons of a father who found himself out of work in the wake of the Depression and ended up as a night watchman. An uncle pronounced that the lad looked nothing like a “James,” and more like a “Pete.” The moniker stuck.

During the Second World War, he was transfixed by broadcasts from the front lines by the likes of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. While a student, Mr. McGarvey wrote scripts for a local CBC radio show, which reported news from area high schools. He was still in basic training in Toronto when the war ended but his enthusiasm for radio was sharpened further during a stint he spent in the Army’s communications unit.

Not yet 20, he moved to Orillia to work for radio station CFOR. He stayed for 18 years, advancing from copywriter to assistant general manager, and was a booster of a local kid named Gordon Lightfoot, who sang and played guitar. The two remained friends. Mr. McGarvey “did everything” at the station, his son said. “On-air work, administration. He probably mopped floors too.”

Tayler (Hap) Parnaby, now a 50-year news-radio veteran, was all of 14 when Mr. McGarvey hired him in Orillia as an operator and producer. One day, the awed teen carried his boss’s tape recorder to a big fire downtown. “Pete and I were standing behind a burning building when an oil tank exploded,” recalled Mr. Parnaby, with great pleasure. “[It] knocked a fireman down and I swore. He had captured it on the microphone! And he kept a disc of that, of me swearing on the air.”

Ultimately, “the radio and the trains that went through Orillia were our intellectual connections to the outside world,” Mr. Parnaby said, echoing a Gordon Lightfoot sentiment. Later, in Toronto, Mr. Parnaby would become Mr. McGarvey’s boss, “but it was never that kind of relationship. I was always ‘Hap’ and he was always ‘Pete.’”

Seeking a bigger market, Mr. McGarvey eventually moved to CFCO in Chatham, Ont., as news director. He covered the 1967 Detroit riots that left 43 dead in a smouldering city, and in 1969, was in Honolulu for the return of the Apollo 11 astronauts. He was so close to their isolation trailer that he could describe their facial expressions. He won back-to-back Dan McArthur Awards for documentaries in 1971 and 1972.

His awards opened doors, and he returned to Toronto in 1973 as a featured newscaster and commentator for CKEY, where he built a large and loyal audience over the next 14 years. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Mr. McGarvey broadcast from a number of global hot spots: Moscow, Jerusalem, Beirut and Tokyo.

But it was his non-confrontational interviewing style that won him admiration. As CKEY’s arts editor, he queried – never grilled – hundreds of actors, writers, musicians and comics. Margaret Atwood was a favourite. He caught crooner Tony Bennett off guard when asked about the singer’s love of painting. British comedians Dudley Moore and Peter Cook performed an impromptu bit in the back seat of Mr. McGarvey’s car as he drove the duo to a restaurant.

If there were any interviews that didn’t work, Mr. McGarvey didn’t dwell on them, his son said. “He wasn’t the type.”

Beginning in 1986, Mr. McGarvey wrote and narrated 1,200 historical vignettes for Heritage Ontario. Each lasting 10 minutes, they were heard on 40 radio stations across the province over a five-year period.

Mr. McGarvey then returned to his idyll in Orillia, where he wrote weekly columns for the local daily, and where 200 friends and colleagues gathered in 2000 for a tribute to him that raised $7,000 for the Leacock Museum and the Stephen Leacock Association.

In 1995, he was inducted into the Orillia Hall of Fame. Mayor Angelo Orsi, declared June 4, 2011, as Pete McGarvey Day in Orillia.

He leaves his wife of 64 years, Eileen (née Giles); sons Peter, Will and Doug; eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held at Leacock House on June 8.

Mr. McGarvey served on the board of the Ontario Heritage Foundation, and besides journalism, the theme of his life was heritage. “I wanted to honour the past,” he said in 2011, “and leave something for future generations.”
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:25 AM   #4
jj
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Default Re: Pete McGarvey-Orillia broadcaster in Orillia

great contributor to the town went to the museum just before winter and it was all fenced off as they tore up the foundation and perhaps will be ready for tourist season

i don't know how one gets to the historic cottage/boathouse…awkward

would have been nice if he got into doing something with Gord's homestead …preferably move it down to the Tudhope area, cos nobody is gonna stroll from Mariposa/Brewery Bay strip over to Harvey St …too late now anyhow

CKEY, wow…flashback

RIP
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:02 PM   #5
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http://www.orilliapacket.com/2014/06...loved-son-says

Family, friends, radio broadcasters and a Canadian icon packed the Leacock Museum Sunday afternoon to say farewell to James A. “Pete” McGarvey.

“It’s sometimes hard to talk about these things, but I guess if one has to celebrate a life, it was as good a send-off as one can imagine for a parent,” Will McGarvey said Monday. “It makes you feel good. In amongst the sorrow, it’s good to feel the joy that somebody’s touched that many people.”

About 200 people celebrated the life of McGarvey, who died March 10 at the age of 86. The crowd included Orillia-born folk musician Gordon Lightfoot along with radio and television journalists Tayler “Hap” Parnaby, Ken “Jiggs” McDonald, Dick Smyth, Bud Riley and Randy Richmond.

“There were a lot of colleagues of Dad’s from over the years,” Will said.

McGarvey’s career in Ontario radio spanned more than 50 years beginning in Orillia as a CFOR radio broadcaster in 1947.

From 1965 to 1973, he was news director of CFCO Chatham. He switched to CKEY Toronto in August 1973 as a featured newscaster and commentator.

While in Orillia, McGarvey led the charge to save Stephen Leacock’s summer home from demolition and he co-founded the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1961.

Personal tales related to these accomplishments and other moments in McGarvey’s life were shared during the celebration of life.

Speakers talked about him “giving selflessly of time and all those things that people really appreciated,” Will said. “Everybody really enjoyed, I think, hearing the different elements of Dad’s life.”

The celebration of life was attended by McGarvey’s oldest childhood friend and by people who knew of him, but never met him, Will said.

“Everybody thoroughly loved him,” he said.

Parnaby told the story of how McGarvey helped start his career.

Parnaby attended Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute and started going across the street to visit the folks at CFOR.

“He started going over there and hanging out and then eventually got up and said, ‘Well, I’d like to do this. Will you hire me?’” Will said, recalling Parnaby’s stories.

McGarvey hired Parnaby when he was 13 years old.

“He told some of those stories,” Will said. “It was just great nostalgia.”
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