A Tribute to George Garrett by John L Daly, Plus the service for George is now posted

John L Daly
Submitted to PSR, by John L Daly
March 20th, 2024

Just got word from Joseph Planta with regards to the Memorial Service for George Garrett, it will take place on Wednesday, April 3 at 10am at Valley View Funeral Home,14660 72nd Avenue, Surrey BC. That’s where Joan is buried and where their son Ken is too.


A Tribute to George Garrett by John L Daly

GG was a great reporter because he was a great human being.

Today I reflect on not on his loss, but on his example.

He was kind, soft-spoken, open minded, fair, curious, with a mischievous quizzical smile.

But at his core, the North Battleford native brought prairie practicality and equanimity to the news business. He was trustworthy, a good listener, and saw news not as a series of important events, but folks, often friends, who were knowledgeable about, often at the center, of important things. His sources – politicians, police, physicians, cabbies, clerks – knew he would protect them. Often he didn’t have to call them . . . they called him. He could double-check and confirm a tip in minutes – sometimes seconds.

GG (all the copy at NW was signed with initials – George’s became his nickname) was breaking big stories when I started as a junior desker (network operator) in the ‘70’s at the Top Dog. He was pleasant and understanding as I dropped carts, scrambled, and tried to get the Revox reel-to-reel spinning to record his reports.

The deskers wanted to know immediately when George was filing, so they could listen on the Nemo monitoring and routing system as his story came in.

Often they’d fire their own carts so they wouldn’t have to wait for me to check levels and label the cart.

Garrett might be reporting a cabinet minister resigning in a scandal, or revealing there had been a kidnapping. Whatever it was, it was probably going to require a break into programming, or lead the next newscast.

Unlike some other reporters, he was calm, confident, and kind to a junior newsie. I can’t remember him ever having to do a retake.

I would transcribe his reports, and was supposed to do the re-writes.

Senior deskers (McKitrick, Rutherford, etc.) would invariably do their own.

GG’s prose was clear, concise, compassionate.

Reporters would phone in before their shift and get a list of assignments from ‘the hook’ – a combination of the day file and suggested insights for checks from News Director Warren Barker.

But by then Garrett was well-established as ‘scoop Garrett’ and WB had decided GG would be ‘self assigning’ – so he didn’t have to call in. Still, if he wasn’t tied up on something, George would call in, get a summary of the hook, maybe what was scheduled for the next day, and often scoop the big announcements and news conferences by hours, sometimes by a day.

When I got out on the beat reporting, occasionally GG would show up at a crime scene or news conference. You knew then it was important, or there was a story ‘behind’ the official story.

We reporters all listened (in the car, on transistor radios) to ‘the majors’ – the longer NW news reports at the top of the hour – particularly listening to see if GG had filed. We might have to chase reaction.

When I went to BCTV, George broke a story about Vancouver Police Chief Bruce Chambers getting stopped at an RCMP counter-attack road block for allegedly drinking and driving. I and every other news outfit rushed to VPD headquarters to see if Chambers would resign or fight it. GG had done a number of reports on morale problems at the VPD, and there was suspicion about how he got the story. But it was rock-solid. Chambers resigned.

Before I went to BCTV (now Global), GG came to my aid – possibly at the initiation of Warren Barker. I had embroiled CKNW in a controversy. I was pulling a weekend shift and was sitting in the cop shop press room, which then was across the street from police HQ – on the second floor of the Provincial Courthouse at 222 Main Street in Vancouver.

There was a screaming match at the Justice of the Peace public counter in the courthouse directly across from the press room.

A number of women strikers from the Muck-a-Muck (the only First Nations restaurant at the time in Vancouver) had been released from jail and were demanding to lay assault charges against owner Doug Christmas following a fracas on the picket line. The JP was refusing. It was an unusual loud confrontation that could be heard outside at the Cordova entrance. I recorded some of the shouting and did a news report.

Monday, Garrett showed up at the press room and told me I was in trouble. We had to go see the chief administrator of the courthouse, Fred Messenger. Messenger wanted me barred from the courthouse for allegedly recording a private, privileged conversation between a JP and members of the public. I was stunned – the ‘conversation’ was anything but private. And it was newsworthy. The women had injuries, were prepared to swear an information.

GG was calm as we marched to Messenger’s office. He said ‘let me do the talking’. Messenger was furious. Garrett let him talk. Then he asked me why I thought it was OK to record. I said it was news, anyone passing by could hear the shouting, it was a public space, taxpayer funded, I stood at the door of the press room, there were no prohibitions on recording, and I would fight it. George told me to wait outside.

After a while, GG came outside and told me if I apologized I would not be barred from the courthouse; and perhaps more importantly other NW reporters wouldn’t. It galled me, but Garrett had negotiated a compromise. I crafted a carefully worded apology. The next week – signs started going up on the doors of 222 and then every BC courthouse – Provincial, Supreme, and Appeal: ‘No Cameras or Tape Recorders’.
Eventually that became ‘No Recording Devices’ . . . signs I believe are there to this day.

GG would sometimes say ‘you get more flies with honey than vinegar’.
It sure worked for him.

He had decades of massive scoops to prove it.

GG tried doing some reporting for BCTV. Cameraman Gary Hanney helped. I tried a bit. But George worked best alone, and he let it go.

After he retired we would talk from time to time. Peter Montague (retired RCMP Staff Sgt.) invited George and me to see his new boat. It was a giant yacht moored at a marina in South Surrey. We talked about how he would go visit his wife Joan. She had Alzheimer’s and was in a home. Now, she didn’t recognize him. I could see how it hurt George. But he kept going a couple of times a week, holding her hand, talking to her.

After I retired from Global, I had a weekend talk show on CKNW. GG called up one day, said he might want to come on the show. I said anytime, let me know how much air time you want. He said don’t you want to know what it’s about? I said if you’re asking, it’s worth it. Turned out to be about funding for the Volunteer Cancer Drivers and the need for more drivers. Garrett was a co-founder of the group which drove patients to chemotherapy and waited to drive them home. For free.

I would see GG occasionally at the great events for retired police members organized by VPD Ret. Sgt. Brian Honeybourn. Brian was fiercely fighting to get George the Order of BC.

Then Brian called me a few weeks ago to say George was in Peace Arch hospital after a fall at home. I’m in Maui, so I called George. He was recovering, but had lost so much weight that the anesthesiologist wouldn’t assist the surgery for his skin cancer that had spread to his chest.

George was scheduled for a program to increase his weight so he could have the life extending surgery, but now that had to wait. He said he wanted to live long enough to see his next grandchild be born. GG was blunt about his terminal prognosis. I spoke with him again when he said he was moving out of Peace Arch to a hospice. He had a feeding tube down his nose and it made his voice a bit fuzzy. When I spoke with him last, he said it was good – he was comfortable. His friend, chopper pilot Jim Fillipone called to say he spoke with George and the doctors told him he had a week to ten days.

I called again leaving a message and his daughter Linda wrote back, saying probably best not to try to call . . . write an email which they could read to George. I did.

This morning I woke to a call before 7am from producer Ben Dooley at CKNW, saying George had passed and would I come on the Jill Bennett show to talk about him. Certainly.

It was an honour to pay tribute to a wonderful man, good friend, and an icon of news reporting.


John L Daly bio,

courtesy of Vancouver Broadcasters.com by Gord Lansdell

John Daly – Physics/ journalism/ broadcast journalism CUNY, Humber College, BCIT; news CKNW New Westminster 1970s; news reporter BCTV/ Global Vancouver 1980-2016; retired from Global 2016; appointed to Real Estate Council of B.C. 2016; weekends CKNW 2017-current; Jack Webster Foundation Best Reporting of the Year Award 1987; RTNDA Canada Lifetime Achievement Award 2017; Jack Webster  Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award 2020.  LinkedIn profile 


Just got word from Joseph Planta with regards the Memorial Service for George Garrett

Wednesday, April 3 at 10am at Valley View Funeral Home,14660 72nd Avenue, Surrey BC.

That’s where Joan is buried and where their son Ken is too.




  1. Today’s NW a shadow of itself. Reporters aplenty who pronounce and emphasize words incorrectly all the time.
    Garrett was an institution 📻

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more, Cephas. I grew up listening to CKNW and George Garrett’s reports from the “NW news cruiser.” I had to stop listening to the station because commercials started to extend into the hourly news and the presenters mispronounced and over emphasized certain words.

    CityNews 1130 is no better. It is just a headline service.

  3. An excellent tribute, John. I had the pleasure of meeting George Garrett at a book-signing session, and he was a true gentleman.

  4. Thanks for your tribute John.
    GG was a great newsman, when news was news.
    That was before propaganda was legalized by Trudeau.
    RIP GG

  5. George was one of a few last great ones of the profession. I would only relate him to the real stuff that CKNW once was long ago. Not the dumbed down MSM fluffballs of Global NW today


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