Jim Taylor – Sports reporter Daily Colonist Victoria 1954-64; sports writer Vancouver Times 1964-65; Daily Colonist 1965-66; sports reporter/columnist Vancouver Sun 1966-79; sports columnist Vancouver Province 1979-96; syndicated radio commentator; author of nine books including two on the CFL Dirty 30 with Jim Young 1974 and The Edmonton Eskimos: Inside the Dynasty with Dan Kepley 1983; member of media section Canadian Football Hall of Fame; lifetime achievement award from Sports Media Canada 2000; contributor Frosty Forst morning show CKNW Vancouver early 2000s
Can there be any Canadian sporting event that has not been documented, dissected, decried or described via the witty and precise words of writer, columnist and broadcaster Jim Taylor?
He began his sports writing career at age 17 with a part-time writing job at a Victoria newspaper and went on to become a popular and, at times, controversial sports columnist for newspapers in Vancouver and, later, as a nationally syndicated columnist with the Calgary Sun. He has written nine books, including works about hockey great Wayne Gretzky, football player Jim Young and Man in Motion, Rick Hansen. He also serves up daily sports commentary on a major Vancouver-based radio station and remains a prolific and high-profile figure in Canadian sports writing.
Jim Taylor began his newspaper career in 1954 as a part-time sports reporter at The Daily Colonist in Victoria. Later working for the Vancouver Sun, the Vancouver Province and the Calgary Sun, Taylor became a nationally syndicated sports columnist, author, and broadcaster. His work earned him membership in both the CFL and BC Sports Halls of Fame and a lifetime achievement award from Sports Media Canada. He has written nine books, including Man in Motion with Rick Hansen and Gretzky: The Authorized Pictorial Biography with Wayne Gretzky. He lives in West Vancouver, BC.
“Man in Motion” was co-written with sportswriter Jim Taylor whose own daughter Teresa had become a quadriplegic in 1976 at age 14, as the result of a skiing accident. Hansen and Taylor verbally agreed to do the book together on the night before Hansen’s world tour began.
Jim Taylor, Sports Writer and Author/Columnist
Widening the spectrum Jim tells us of his wide-experience gathering years as first a copy boy, then general reporter and shortly thereafter a sports writer, then columnist. For 30 years Jim Taylor continuously entered the Colliseum of Sport almost daily and absorbed and wrote countless stories about the rise and fall of sporting greats in all fields. and, not only the individuals but the growth, sales and reconstruction of the sports teams that in themselves provided, over time, many other stories.
Jim Taylor is a true professional, humourous, yet extremely knowledgeable and definitely on the list of Canada’s most prominent sports journalists. The following is mostly in his own words.
He began his newspaper career in Victoria, B.C., in 1954 at the Daily Colonist, as a part-time sport reporter. He was 17, in Grade 11, and so nervous that he didn’t give up his paper route because he figured the reporting job would never last.
“I wrote for the Colonist at night for a year and then delivered it in the morning,” he recalled. “Then, heading into Grade 12 and suspecting there might be homework, I wrestled with my first major decision: write or deliver? Writing was fun, but subscribers didn’t give tips at Christmas. Delivering was easy, but paper boys didn’t get into games for free.
“So, I ditched the paper route, a decision I never regretted because, really, how many 63-year-old paper boys are out there?”
Two days after graduation, Jim moved into the sports department full time and stayed — 10 years. After a year with the new Vancouver Times (“It folded, but there were a few people who said it wasn’t entirely my fault.”) Jim went back to the Colonist for a year — then returned to Vancouver for 13 years with the Vancouver Sun — 17 with the Vancouver Province — writing a daily sports column from 1971 to 1995.
Over the years, he has been a traveling companion of various Canadian national teams and has written eight well-read sports books including: “Dirty 30” with Jim Young of the B.C. Lions; “Inside the Dynasty” with football star Dan Kepley; “From Backyard Rink to the Stanley Cup” with Walter Gretzky; “Man in Motion” with Rick Hansen; “Larianov” with the former Soviet star Igor Larianov and “Gretzky” an authorized pictorial biography of the Great One. He also published a pair of collections of his columns: “Forgive My Press Passes” and “You mean I get paid to do this?”
Jim also has a syndicated radio commentary show and was part of a one year venture with the now-defunct weekly Sport Only, published in Vancouver. He’s now back in the column game, syndicated nationally by the Calgary Sun.
Even though he refers to his age as advancing years, Jim still likes to laugh and lampoon. But, going back to when he was 19, in his weekend Colonist Record column, he reviewed Heartbreak Hotel and wrote that this Elvis Presley kid wouldn’t last six months. He remains unrepentant. “So, it took a little longer than I thought,” he says, “But is the guy dead, or isn’t he!”
“I never wanted to be a sportswriter,” he laughs today. “I’ve never played on an organized team of anything. My heroes were humour columnists, people like Eric Nicol and Art Buchwald. I was going to write stuff just like them. But the job came open and my high school journalism teacher accepted it for me and told me he’d kid my ass down to the newspaper if I didn’t take it.”
“My teacher said: ‘You can write. This will get you in the door.’
BC Radio History (originated by Jack Bennest)
Vancouver Sun and Province
Jim and I worked at CBC in the heyday of radio – a great voice for the newspapers
A great writer