It’s not often that deferring a trip ends up taking you on an even bigger journey than you had expected.
After graduating university, Wayne Moriarty started planning a year-long bike adventure that would take him down the West Coast, through the southern U.S. to Florida, back up to the Maritimes, and home to Vancouver. But while working at the YMCA on Burrard as a hotel clerk, he came across an ad in The Province for a junior reporter at the Medicine Hat News: no experience necessary. Wayne didn’t get the job, but within a month, the managing editor was back with a new offer: sports reporter.
Wayne arrived in Medicine Hat on January 2, 1981, and fell profoundly in love with the business immediately. “I loved the idea that anything I would write would be read by other people. But I also loved finding news, I loved meeting people,” he says. Wayne never went on his bike trip. Over the next 35 years, he followed opportunities and promotions, relocating several times – Regina, Victoria, Edmonton, Windsor, Winnipeg, and back to Windsor – before finally re-settling in Vancouver.
When he stepped away from his post, Wayne was the longest serving editor-in-chief in the country, clocking 16 years. About three months ago, he embarked on a new journey as a columnist for The Province. “It fed right into my desire, my need, my want to create, to be interesting, to take charge of something that I think is a fascinating idea, and develop it on my own,” Wayne explains. His columns are snack-sized musings delivered with a healthy side of wit and candor. “I wanted it to be material that I considered slightly unusual. Typical newspaper fare is quite marvellous, but I didn’t see my role as delivering an opinion on the state of City Hall. Among the many gifts my mother and father gave me, was a deep curiosity of things. So I’m able to use that and have some fun with it.” Sundry subjects have included Vancouver Art Gallery’s Picasso exhibition, a “classic” beach book recommendation for summer, and Wayne’s recent experience being on the wrong end of a hit-and-run in rush hour traffic.
Wayne took the transition from editor-in-chief to columnist all in stride. “U.S. general Colin Powell once said, ‘Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.’ I really believe that, and I’ve worked hard to live it,” says Wayne. “So as my life changed and I found the order of people to whom I’ve to report and my responsibilities changing, it was okay. There were other issues, like I was scared to death that I was going to fail, but there were no ego issues. I had a wonderful run as an editor. Time had come for change.”
Now full speed ahead into the digital age, there are people much younger than Wayne who are already expressing a deep nostalgia for print – and print isn’t even dead yet. But Wayne remains optimistic, even excited, for what’s to come. “Print isn’t going to be around forever, why would it?” he says. “Print is essentially paper. Any place we can eliminate paper, we’re doing it. It’s only a matter of time. The tactile experience is great, but as an information source, I’d much rather be scrolling through to see what The Guardian has posted, what the BBC has posted, The New York Times, the Arizona Republic, the Toronto Star, the Montreal Gazette – you just have so much more.”
Wayne has been a member of Terminal City Club for 11 years. “It is a big city business person’s club that offers so much more than it offered a decade ago,” he says. “At every turn, something new is happening and I’m always pleasantly surprised. So when, for example, it became apparent that the patio was going to get a new life, I didn’t envision that it would be as spectacular as it is. It really is one of the great spots in the city, that patio. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to say, even if it’s only to yourself, that, ‘I’m a member of a club that maintains one of the great spots in the city.’ And this is a pretty remarkable city.”
TCC members may recognize Wayne from his dedicated visits to our fitness centre. Afflicted by the Freshman 15 during his first year of university, he started exercising. “I fell deeply in love with running to the extent that I became this insane runner who would run 100 miles a week,” he says. “It had an interesting and ironic result. I started to get into fitness because I wanted to make sure I had a robust relationship life. I got so into fitness I had no relationship life!”
Wayne has now been a faithful runner for 42 years. During a run these days, he thinks about what he wants to say in a story. And you can tell. A column by Wayne is very much like a runner: lean – but all muscle – nimble, and deliberate. The pace is brisk but steady.
With a supple mind, robust body, and tenacious spirit, Wayne’s bike trip is definitely not out of the question. “I could still do it!” he says, and we believe him. “I’m in good enough health now, knock on wood. Now it would be so much easier – bikes are better, I can listen to music or podcasts, the camping equipment is lighter. From a timing perspective, my body may not be as amenable to the journey, but everything else attached to it will make it easier. So I often think, yeah, maybe someday, I will. It might not be as extensive, but I absolutely see myself cycling off into the wilderness.” And we certainly hope to read about it when he does.
Amanda Jun, Club Relationship Manager