Bill Westwick

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bill Westwick
Black and white photo of a middle-aged man, balding with grey hair; wearing dark-rimmed eyeglasses, a checkered suitjacket, a white dress shirt and a dark-coloured neck tie.
Born(1908-08-02)August 2, 1908
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
DiedJune 19, 1990(1990-06-19) (aged 81)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Known forOttawa Journal sports editor

William George Westwick (August 2, 1908 – June 19, 1990) was a Canadian sports journalist. He wrote for the Ottawa Journal from 1926 to 1973, was mentored by Basil O'Meara, then served as the paper's sports editor from 1942 until retirement. Westwick regularly covered ice hockey, Canadian football, and boxing; and had a reputation for not hurting anyone, being accurate, and unquestioned veracity.[1][2] As the sports editor, he sought for his staff to report the facts first, then develop a personal writing style with time, and mentored his successor Eddie MacCabe. Westwick was the son of Harry "Rat" Westwick, and was inducted into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Early life and family[edit]

William George Westwick was born on August 2, 1908, in Ottawa, Ontario, to parents Harry "Rat" Westwick and Rubina Duval.[3] Westwick had two brothers and two sisters. His father won the Stanley Cup playing for the Ottawa Silver Seven, and won national championships as a lacrosse player.[4] Thomas Westwick was an uncle to Westwick as his father's brother. Tommy Gorman was also an uncle to Westwick, having married Harry Westwick's sister Mary in 1910.[4][5] Westwick attended Lisgar Collegiate Institute, where he was an amateur boxer and a collegiate champion. He also played football, hockey and lacrosse.[6]

Journalism career[edit]

Westwick began writing for the Ottawa Journal in 1926, mentored by its sports editor Basil O'Meara, who convinced Westwick to write about sports instead of pursuing a professional hockey playing career.[6][7] Westwick served a brief time as city editor of the Ottawa Journal, then succeeded O'Meara as the sports editor from 1942 to 1973.[2][6] As the sports editor, Westwick sought for his staff to report the facts first, then develop a personal writing style with time.[7]

Columns by Westwick regularly covered ice hockey, Canadian football, and boxing.[8][9] He frequently wrote about heavyweight boxing championships,[7][10] and also reported on the World Series, the Stanley Cup, the Olympic Games, and the British Empire Games.[7] Notable sports events covered were the heavyweight championship won by Cassius Clay, the Richard Riot, the 1960 World Series, and the perfect game pitched by Don Larsen.[6]

During the mid-1950s when the Ottawa Rough Riders were struggling, Westwick poked fun at the team rather than criticize. When coach Chan Caldwell suggested that the team could practice on a train ride to an away game by attaching a railway flatcar filled with dirt, Westwick played along with the joke although the plan never happened.[2] Fellow journalist Eddie MacCabe recalled that Westwick reported on the idea with "brilliant clarity and memorable hilarity".[2]

Following a 1959 National Hockey League playoffs game, Westwick quoted league president Clarence Campbell as accusing the referee Red Storey of "freezing" in the final minutes of a near-riotous game.[11] Storey subsequently resigned as a referee. Campbell stated that Westwick took the words out of context, accused him of "breaking confidence" in the article.[7][11] Westwick's fellow newsmen defended his article and did not question its veracity.[2]

External view of the museum clad in steel and glass with a statue depicting as in-game football catch and tackle
The Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum, c. 2007

In addition to writing, Westwick served as a horse racing official,[8] and was on the selection committee for the Canadian Football Hall of Fame from 1964 to 1982.[9][12] He retired from the Ottawa Journal on August 29, 1973, and was succeeded by Eddie MacCabe as the sports editor, who had been his assistant since 1952.[13]


The Canadian Press journalist Stuart Lake described Westwick as an "old school journalist", a two-fingered typist who signed off with -30- to end his copy, that he "could belt back beers with the best of them" until he quit drinking, and that he "had a deep sense of responsibility for what he wrote and went out of his way not to hurt people with the millions of words that flowed from his typewriter".[7] Eddie MacCabe described Westwick as "always the gentleman", had gained the confidence of athletes and colleagues, and that "he was at pains not to hurt anyone, but never so much that he would take a back step from a testy situation".[14] MacCabe also recalled that Westwick may have appeared disorganized, but never missed a deadline.[14]

"Perhaps [Westwick] never took himself seriously — which is the kind of guy Bill is — but a lot of people did. When Bill said something, he was above all, fair, painstakingly accurate, and although he will disclaim that he was never an expert on anything, spoke from the authority of many years of experience. He always regarded himself primarily as a reporter, and because of his innate and deep-rooted sense of fairness, only took a solid stand after he'd become firmly convinced it was necessary. When he did, it was so thoroughly thought out that you were hard pressed to find a hole in his logic."

— Bob Mellor, Ottawa Citizen[1]

Personal life[edit]

Westwick was married to Rita, and had two sons and three daughters.[2][6][15] He resided in the Sandy Hill neighbourhood of Ottawa,[16] and had a family cottage on Long Lake near Buckingham, Quebec.[17] He died on June 19, 1990, in Ottawa, and was cremated.[10][15]

Honours and awards[edit]

In 1948, Westwick received the National Press Club of Canada Sports Award for his coverage of the 36th Grey Cup, when the Ottawa Rough Riders lost to Calgary Stampeders. In 1961, he received a Canadian Sports Advisory Council award for encouragement of amateur sport.[9] His career in journalism was also recognized with a Governor General's Award.[6] After his retirement from the Ottawa Journal, he was the guest of honour at a testimonial dinner held at the Château Laurier on October 24, 1973.[8][16] The dinner was attended by more than 500 people including prominent sports persons. He received lifetime passes to games for the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Ottawa 67's, and a key to the city of Ottawa.[16]

Westwick was inducted into the builder category of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame on May 24, 1983,[18] and was inducted into the Football Reporters of Canada section of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1984.[9][12]


  1. ^ a b Mellor, Bob (August 31, 1973). "A privilege – and a challenge". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 15.icon of an open green padlock
  2. ^ a b c d e f MacCabe, Eddie (June 21, 1990). "Bill Westwick: Good reporter, good man, good friend". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 31.icon of an open green padlock
  3. ^ Hutchinson, James (September 1, 1908), Schedule B: Births, County of Carleton, Division of Ottawa, Toronto, Ontario: Archives of Ontario
  4. ^ a b "Harry Westwick Noted Athlete Dies In Ottawa". Ottawa Journal. Ottawa, Ontario. April 4, 1957. p. 1.icon of an open green padlock; "Harry Westwick (Continued From Page One)". Ottawa Journal. Ottawa, Ontario. April 4, 1957. p. 2.icon of an open green padlock
  5. ^ "Tommy Gorman Dies At 74". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. May 15, 1961. p. 15.icon of an open green padlock
  6. ^ a b c d e f Campbell, Don (June 20, 1990). "Former Journal sports editor dead at 82". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 19.icon of an open green padlock
  7. ^ a b c d e f Lake, Stuart (August 30, 1973). "After 47 years, Bill Westwick writes his final 30". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 27.icon of an open green padlock
  8. ^ a b c "Dinner to honour Bill Westwick". Ottawa Journal. Ottawa, Ontario. October 9, 1973. p. 33.icon of an open green padlock
  9. ^ a b c d "Journal editor honoured". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. November 20, 1984. p. 35.icon of an open green padlock
  10. ^ a b "W. G. 'Bill' Westwick". Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. 1983. Retrieved February 6, 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Campbell Says". Ottawa Journal. Ottawa, Ontario. United Press International. April 7, 1959. p. 5.icon of an open green padlock
  12. ^ a b "Bill Westwick". Canadian Football Hall of Fame. 1984. Retrieved February 6, 2022.
  13. ^ "MacCabe sports editor: Bill Westwick, dean of sports writers, retires". Ottawa Journal. Ottawa, Ontario. August 29, 1973. p. 1.icon of an open green padlock
  14. ^ a b MacCabe, Eddie (August 30, 1973). "Looking at some years with a memorable man". Ottawa Journal. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 27.icon of an open green padlock
  15. ^ a b "Westwick, William". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. June 22, 1990. p. 67.icon of an open green padlock
  16. ^ a b c Redmond, Gerry (October 25, 1973). "City Westwick loved returns that love". Ottawa Journal. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 21.icon of an open green padlock
  17. ^ MacCabe, Eddie (August 31, 1973). "Not much else to say but thanks ... for every day". Ottawa Journal. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 14.icon of an open green padlock
  18. ^ "Reid to chair Hall of Fame". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. May 7, 1983. p. 67.icon of an open green padlock