CBC Still Photo Collection/Robert Ragsdale
The Glenn Gould Foundation sadly notes the passing on May 6th, evening, Vincent Massey Tovell, O.C., in his 92nd year. Vincent was a loyal and steadfast director of The Glenn Gould Foundation from 1985 until 2004, years that were pivotal in the early development of this organization.
Vincent was a long-time friend and collaborator with Glenn Gould. Many of Gould’s admirers will have heard the famous hour-long Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio interview, “At Home with Glenn Gould,” from 1959 in which Gould spoke freely, unscripted, about his musical and personal passions, his recent tour of the Soviet Union and a host of other subjects. As Vincent wrote, “We became friends that afternoon.” The Glenn Gould Foundation, in cooperation with CBC, released an extended version of As Home with Glenn Gould in 1996 on compact disc.
Their collaboration extended into the realm of television, including the memorable program An Anthology of Variation, which Vincent directed for CBC in 1964. With Eric Till, Vincent co-produced the CBC’s posthumous documentary tribute to his friend, Glenn Gould: A Portrait in 1985.
Vincent graduated from the University of Toronto in 1946 and continued his studies at Columbia University. While at the University of Toronto Vincent began working with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, starting in 1942 on radio. His CBC career continued right until he retired in 1987 as head of science and arts programming on television. He earned accolades as a journalist, director and producer. Named after his uncle, the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, Governor General of Canada, Vincent played a pivotal role in the establishment of some of Canada’s most important cultural institutions such as the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Theatre School. He was actively involved with the National Ballet School, the Canadian Conference of the Arts and the National Gallery, as well as The Glenn Gould Foundation. Vincent was particularly noted for his vital contributions and commitment to Toronto’s Massey College, where for many years he served as a Senior Fellow, a generous benefactor and a mentor.
Those of us who had the great pleasure and privilege of knowing Vincent remember him for his warmth, generosity of spirit, wry sense of humour and compassion. A quick wit, eloquent speaker and elegant raconteur, Vincent always projected a great sense of humanity and concern for others. His generosity to The Glenn Gould Foundation is acknowledged with deepest gratitude, but more, he is recalled as a great Canadian who played a vital role in the cultural development of Canada in the latter half of the 20th century, and who leaves behind a magnificent legacy along with countless friends and admirers.