Remembering Greg McIntyre, 1943–2018

Posted by on Aug 4, 2021 in Brian's Blog, Newspapers and Magazines | Comments Off on Remembering Greg McIntyre, 1943–2018

We met in 1970 when both of us were covering city hall in Prince George, BC. Greg was writing for the daily Prince George Citizen. I was reporting for CJCI Radio. We became fast friends. When I told him I’d been a reporter at the weekly Interior News in Smithers, BC, Greg urged me to return to newspapering. He said I’d be able to add context and depth to stories I needed to shorten for radio. But I was enjoying broadcasting and not ready yet for a move back to print.

I changed my mind two years later. By that time Greg had moved to Lethbridge, AB, and the Citizen’s city hall job had opened up. When the Citizen’s editor offered me that job, I gladly accepted. I consequently began a career in daily newspapers that kept me stimulated and engaged for the next twenty-seven years.

Greg McIntyre in 2012

I owe Greg a huge debt of gratitude for bringing me back to newspapers when I saw my future in radio. He recommended me in 1972 as his replacement at the Citizen when he became the Edmonton legislative correspondent for the Lethbridge Herald. He recommended me again in 1974 when he was at the Calgary Herald and the paper needed senior reporters to replace the four who had moved to Vancouver and Toronto.

Calgary wouldn’t have been my first choice after Prince George. If I had my druthers, I would have picked Vancouver or Toronto because they were larger. But the papers in those cities were no longer hiring and Calgary had vacancies. Greg convinced me to give it a try.

I’m glad I did. The Herald then had a newsroom budget that was the envy of reporters at papers across the country. They were amazed when I told them we had nine full-time writers in our arts and entertainment department, and that my travel itinerary as theatre critic took me annually to  the Stratford and Shaw festivals, and regularly to New York and London.

Greg worked at the Herald until 1979, when he landed a copy editing job at the Province in Vancouver. I might have followed him but that would have meant going on the copy desk as well, and I wanted to remain a reporter. More specifically, I wanted to remain an arts and entertainment reporter. No chance.

Greg knew he could be on the desk for a long time before a reporting opportunity at the Province came along. But he had the patience, and the talent. Within a few years he was back on the street and eventually he was specializing in covering the environment, a subject close to his nature-loving heart. His superb coverage of the Clayoquot Sound anti-logging protests of 1993 included an exclusive jailhouse interview with protester Sheila Simpson, who received an unprecedented six-month sentence for criminal contempt after being arrested on a blockade for the third time.

Greg worked at the Province for twenty-eight years. When he retired in 2007, he had plenty of family gatherings, friendships, interests and activities to keep him busy. Tennis, basketball, reading, music, politics, sociology, human rights and, above all, photography. He had received his first camera, a Kodak Hawkeye, while in elementary school and for the rest of his life he shot pictures of family, friends and the human situations that interested him. He also had a thing about shooting signs: bumper stickers, road signs, campaign signs, you name them. You can see some of those photos by clicking HERE. These are the pictures his film-maker daughter Sara chose for a one-day exhibition Greg put on at the downtown branch of the Vancouver Public Library in August 2013, two months after his seventieth birthday.

Greg had eventually embraced digital photography – reluctantly – but for the longest time his camera of choice was a twin-lens Rollei that he liked to load with 400 ASA black-and-white film. He made the B/W prints in his home darkroom and, whenever he shot colour, he took his negatives to a camera store for printing.

The one-day library exhibition was a kind of visual autobiography for Greg. He once told me he didn’t think he had a book in him but his photos would tell that story.

He died on July 28, six weeks after his seventy-fifth birthday. I will always remember him fondly.

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Copyright 2018 Brian Brennan - Author