Patrick Watson (1929-2022)
With a heavy heart, we report that Magicana’s Chairman Emeritus, Patrick Watson, passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 4, 2022, during his stay at his country home in Ontario.
Patrick had a lifelong love for magic, having become smitten with the craft as a child after seeing Johnny Giordmaine demonstrate his wares behind the counter at Eaton’s department store. Patrick’s influence in the magic community extended to co-writing and directing several productions with David Ben, including The Conjuror; to commissioning and narrating documentaries about legendary Canadian magicians Dai Vernon and Stewart James; and to interviewing Johnny Thompson and Charles Reynolds about their lives and work in magic at Magicana’s 31 Faces North conferences.
Patrick Watson was born in Toronto on December 23, 1929, and became a successful Canadian broadcaster and journalist. He built an extensive career as a television and radio interviewer and host, author, commentator, writer, producer and director. He was also one of the three founding members of Magicana in 2000, and its chairman until 2005.
Patrick was also the chairman of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1989 until 1994; and has received an honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Mount Allison University in 2002 and the University of Toronto in 2004. He was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981, then promoted to Companion in 2002.
Patrick was a generous, loving person and he will be so deeply missed. While we mourn the loss of a great friend and a great man, we also reflect, with warmth and joy, upon the indelible impact he has left behind.
Patrick is survived by his wife, Caroline Bamford, his sister Mary Green; children Chris Watson and Boo Watson; grandchildren Sarah, Paul, Ruby and Sam; and great-grandchildren Sadie and Nico.
Image of Patrick Watson in 1967 by Reg Innell, via Toronto Star Digital Archives