150+ Canadians Day 40: Peter Gzowski

Peter Gzowski contributed to peace as a journalist, connecting Canadians to each other with his characteristic curiosity and warmth in his interviews.#Canada150

Peter John Gzowski (d. January 24, 2002) was a Canadian broadcaster, writer and reporter, most famous for his work on the CBC radio shows This Country in the Morning and then Morningside. His first regular radio show was Radio Free Friday, 1969–1970. Known to some as “Canada’s best listener”, his contributions to Canadian media were considered by many to deeply understand and express Canada’s cultural identity.  Gzowski wrote books, hosted television shows, and worked at a number of newspapers and at Maclean’s magazine. He was known for a friendly and warm interviewing style.

In 1971 he became host of radio the CBC’s This Country in the Morning and from 1976 to 1978 host of television show 90 Minutes Live . In 1982 he returned to his former morning radio program, which had by now been renamed Morningside, where he remained until 1997. In 1986, Gzowski held the first fundraising golf tournament for literacy, a cause that was very important to him. That tournament has evolved and is now held in every province and territory of Canada and has raised more than $13-million for volunteer-based literacy programs.

His contributions to peace, in way, may best be expressed by the many CBC listeners who shared their feelings about his work after his passing:

“It has been said that there is no one in this world who is irreplaceable. Perhaps. But, I know the genuineness, warmth, and empathy of Peter Gzowski as a broadcaster and interviewer, will not come our way again.” – Lorraine Cantile, Ottawa

“He allowed people to bring the heart and soul of their community to other Canadians. He made me doubt the apathy of Canadians.He cajoled us into learning and caring about each other. He is the thread that bound the pieces of this crazy quilt we call Canada together.His curiosity about us was infectious. A true example of how all of us could be better Canadians. It starts with just listening..warm-hearted honest listening. Thanks Peter …for making me a better Canadian.” – Heather Morrison, Halifax

“It takes a special, incredible man to teach his listeners so much, to unite his listeners, and to inspire his listeners. I always thought that he had the best job in the country, to have the opportunity to meet and get to know some many people, so many Canadians. He was clearly a very intelligent individual, able to converse with a wide variety of people and on a wide variety of topics, and yet make every topic accessible to the listener. He was so gentle and comforting. I will never forget his voice.” – Catherine Nicol

Bonus content: Listen to this archived CBC interview with Vicki Gaboreau in which Peter recollects what he calls his “most uncomfortable interviews”.

Got a name in mind? Contribute to the list! Send us your suggested names on the Contact Us page.

Want to get 150+ Canadians straight to your inbox? Subscribe here.