Lister Sinclair



I didn't grow up in India. I was born in India in 1921 and rapidly exported by my parents at the age of 18 months. Then I served a long sentence at an English boarding school and then I came to Vancouver and, this is literally true, that my first sight, it was a rainy morning in September, I knew for sure, absolutely for sure, that I had at last come home. I was 18.


One of the most prolific Canadian broadcasters, Lister Sinclair was born in Bombay, India to Scottish parents. His education there with attendance at St. Paul's School in London, England, was completed with a B.A. from the University of British Columbia, in Math and Physics. He wrote plays at UBC and his troupe of actors were broadcast on local radio including CJOR, CKNW and CBC.


In 1944, he moved to Toronto to get a MA at the U of T and join the CBC in 1944.

He's been one of the most versatile radio and television personalities: writer, actor, panelist, producer, commentator and lecturer, his principal contributions include Man At the Center, The Nature of Things and Ideas; programs full of curiosity on a wide range of subjects: much like the man himself.


In 1972, he was appointed Executive Vice-President of the CBC.


In 1983, he was appointed as the host of IDEAS, the premier radio program examining everything from Science and the Arts to Culture, Politics and History. The show had debuted in 1964. Sinclair left the show in 1999, but continued to make regular contributions. During the 2002 season, IDEAS featured a 3 part conversation with him that revealed the major influences - ideas, people, nature and music - that have shaped his life.


In October of 2001, a special tribute at the Glenn Gould studio in Toronto marked Lister Sinclair's 80th birthday. Equally at home in both the arts and the sciences, he will be remembered for his dazzling ability to recognize patterns and make connections. Lister has shown how the stuff of the universe - ideas, thoughts and feelings - actually hang together and why that really matters.


Lister Sinclair died in hospital on October 16th 2006, at the age of 85.


BC Radio History