Last month we lost one of our Leaside Life family, writer Ken Mallett. Calling Ken Mallett a “writer,” though, is like saying Taylor Swift is a country singer. Ken was a wordsmith in the purest sense of that word – someone who could craft language to tell stories that lifted off the page.
Like this, from Ken’s feature on Kreitmaker, a brick, block, stone and concrete supplier on Industrial St.: “Consider the humble brick. You can make a fair case that the history of human civilization, from the Pharaohs to the present, has been built with bricks.” Ken then transformed his profile of Kreitmaker into a celebration of bricks and the restoration of Massey Hall, using the company’s product.
Or consider this intro to a story on the relocation of Remenyi to Leaside: “A family musical tradition that traces its history to a teenaged Johannes Brahms playing the piano in a raucous dockside saloon during the 1850s is coming to Leaside. In fact, it’s here now.”
Ken’s often wry take on newsworthy Leaside stories came from years of world-beating experience. He spent his entire working career of 30+ years as a newspaper reporter and television news writer/producer.
His last column for us appears in this issue: a profile of the Canadian Contemporary School of Art. As ever, his opening is a real catcher: “For many of us, awareness of contemporary Canadian art starts and ends with the Group of Seven – and even then, our knowledge is shaky.”
Even as his health was failing, Ken was working on a new story for Leaside Life. A newsman to the end.