After 30 years at the CBC, Bill Richardson is stocking shelves at Whole Foods – and loving it


by Marsha Lederman

The Globe and Mail

April 16. 2022

Bill Richardson is happy – really. He doesn’t miss being on radio. He has just published a children’s book. He has started a Substack specifically about Mavis Gallant. And he finds the job he does now extremely satisfying in ways he says he could not have predicted.

“I don’t know what anybody else who’s publishing a book this spring is doing at five in the morning, but what I’m often doing is emptying a 50-pound bag of buckwheat groats into a gravity bin,” he says. “I’m 66. And I can do that. It never occurred to me that I could or would or should.

“I suppose there are times when I miss the life of the mind or whatever it was that I had before, but not that much, not that much,” he adds.

“The career stuff – had it. Had a good life, it ended, and then there was space to fill.”

We were sitting at the Sylvia Hotel in Vancouver’s West End on a rainy day turned sunny. This is Richardson’s neighbourhood. All afternoon, locals came up to say hello; he seemed to know half the people in the place. He was comfortable in his bunny t-shirt under a blazer, his wild socks and shoes, all a perfect complement to his eclectic, dry wit. We had met to talk about his new book, Last Week: a slim, illustrated volume about Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) – inspired by a personal experience.

“Thoughtfully, Richardson sipped his glass of water and looked at the choppy waters of English Bay,” he joked. He knows how this all works. He had years to figure it out.

Born in Winnipeg, Richardson fell into broadcasting at CBC Radio in Vancouver beginning in December, 1984. He was working at the library and was invited by a producer to record a family-friendly story for a holiday broadcast. “I felt at home in the studio, which was airless and quiet,” he recalls. He contrived ways to return, and started writing commentary pieces. Meanwhile, Richardson was also writing books. His first, Canada Customs: Droll Recollections, Musings and Quibbles, came out in 1988.

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