Obituary for Carl Mollins

Carl Mollins at Westminster Press in London.

MOLLINS, Carl Wellington. B.A.; journalist

Passed away May 28, 2016 age 84 at St Michael’s Hospital due to injuries sustained in a fall on his daily walk along Toronto’s lakeshore.

During his career, after a year spent working as a porter for the Canadian Pacific Railway, he served as an editor and correspondent throughout Europe, in Africa, the Middle East, China, Latin America as well as all regions of the United States, Canada and the Arctic.

Carl Mollins served as an editor on the Reuters NorDesk on Fleet Street in London in the 1950s. Editors working on the “North American Desk” translated British copy into English suitable for North American readers.

After travelling to England he worked at Whiteleys Department Store and the Hudson Bay Company in 1955, starting his professional career in journalism as Assistant to Editor, Westminster Press, also in London, UK, 1955-56; he subsequently served as Sub-Editor, Reuters, London, UK, 1956-61; Canadian Press correspondent, Toronto 1962-1965, London, UK, 1965-68; Canadian Press Reporter, Parliamentary Editor, News Editor, Ottawa 1968-73; Ottawa Bureau Chief, Toronto Star 1973-74; Assistant Ottawa Bureau Chief, The Canadian Press 1974-80; Canadian Press Chief Correspondent, Washington, D.C., 1980-84; Assistant Managing Editor, Executive Editor, Washington Editor, General Editor, Maclean’s 1984-2000; Contributing Editor, MoneySense and Canadian Business Magazines 1996-2001.

Sessional Lecturer, Carleton University School of Journalism 1974-80.

Author/editor: “Maclean’s Canada’s Century” (1999), “Harry Whitfield Mollins: World War One Diaries” (2015).

Born in Windsor, N.S., June 25, 1931 to the late Vera Grace (nee Nickerson) and Rev. Harry Whitfield Mollins, he attended First Avenue Public School in Ottawa, Brantford Collegiate Institute in Brantford, Ontario, graduating from Bloor Collegiate Institute in Toronto in 1950; He earned a B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto in 1954.

Loved and remembered in Canada by wife Joan (nee Levett), daughters Tracey and Julie; sister Sybil Ahearne, sister-in-law Bettie Mollins; nieces Kathleen, Kellie, Lyndsay, Suzanne, Amanda; nephews Christian, Dylan, Job, Liam, Paul, Yusif and in the UK by nieces April, Ariana, Cathy, Charlotte, Daisy, Eleanor, Jill, Lizzie, Sara; nephews Darryl, Geoffrey, Ian, Sam, Stephen, Toby. Predeceased by sister Beulah and brother Walter.

The family are grateful to staff and volunteers at the Trauma & Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital for their kind care during his stay.

Friends and family are welcome to attend a memorial garden party at the Mollins residence on Sunday, June 12.

One of Carl’s favourite places to give money was The Stop Community Food Center – a charity in Toronto where he and Joan have made donations for more than 30 years.

If you would like to contribute in his memory, donations can be made through The Stop website at You can indicate in the tribute Information section at the bottom of the page that your donation is in memory of Carl.

More obituaries:

The Globe and Mail: Carl Mollins, 84, was a journalist’s journalist

The Stop Community Food Centre: Remembering Carl Mollins

Paul Chisholm: Carl Mollins & me

Cy Fox – Carl Mollins: Some notes

Maclean’s magazine:  Carl Mollins 1931 – 2016

Canadian Press: Journalist Carl Mollins of the Canadian Press, Maclean’s dead at 84

The Baron: Obituary – Carl Mollins

Rose’s Cantina: Carl Mollins – Renaissance Man 

Toronto Star: Death Notice

Globe and Mail: Death Notice

19 thoughts on “Obituary for Carl Mollins

  1. Pingback: Carl Mollins & me by Paul Chisholm | Julie Mollins

  2. Sharon Doyle Driedger

    So sorry to hear the sad news about “Mollins” as everyone at Maclean’s called your father. I remember him as one of the kindest of editors.

  3. Paul Simao

    Ms. Mollins,

    I am sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I interviewed him in Washington in 1994 as part of my graduate thesis. He was incredibly insightful about journalism and so generous with his time. It was people like your father that inspired me to become a journalist as well.

    Paul Simao
    Desk Editor

    1. Julie Mollins Post author

      Dear Mr Simao,

      Thank you for your message. It is so kind of you to write and share your thoughts and memories. My father also inspired me to become a journalist and so I know what you mean.

      Best, Julie

  4. colin mackenzie

    Julie: I and my family are so sorry for your loss.

    It’s Colin MacKenzie here, son of Arch.

    Carl and Arch shared the best moments of my dad’s career. Impassioned (your dad’s major contribution) and world-beating journalism that made the CP bureau the envy of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
    And, not to minimize my dad’s role, Carl was the fighting face for truth and beauty.
    It was a grand era and he was at the centre of it all.
    Separately, I recall you riding, totally illegally even then, on the basic bike rack behind your mom.
    Give her our love.

    1. Julie Mollins Post author

      Hi Colin, Thank you so much for your message. Those were indeed incredible times in the history of Canadian journalism. My sister and I loved Arch and we loved going to the bureau to visit Dad. He and Arch made a great team. It was so exciting at the bureau because of the clickety clack of the ticker tape machines, typewriters and the buzz of activity. Such good old days and such a sad time now. The last time I saw Arch and the last time he and my father were together was at the big surprise party in Ottawa a few years ago organized by former faithful CP staffers. (I definitely used to ride on the cross bar of my Dad’s bike but maybe I was on my mother’s bike rack. I do not remember.) Thank you again.

  5. Joe Power

    Julie: very sad to hear of Carl’s tragic and untimely death. He was well-loved, and always very kind and generous, as are all you Mollinses. Deepest sympathy to you, Tracey and your mother Joan.

    1. Julie Mollins Post author

      Hi Joe, Our entire family love and respect you, especially Dad. He always appreciated your tech savvy and your calm, cool and collected demeanor. Thanks so much.

  6. Vic Parsons

    My condolences to Joan, Julie and Tracey. I was so fortunate to have worked with Carl. He made a huge difference in all of our journalistic careers.

    1. Julie Mollins Post author

      Thank you Vic. We well remember you as a “household name” and great friend (along with your family) from those fabulous old days in Ottawa.

  7. Laura C

    Julie to you and Joan, Tracy, my heart goes out to you at this time and for your loss of such a beloved father and husband and a unique and exceptional man. All my very best, Laura xo

    1. Julie Mollins Post author

      Hi Laura, Thanks so much. As you know, he loved and cared about you all. I remember how he’d always get a bottle of Irish whiskey and drop it off at your house for Ena on St Patrick’s Day.

  8. Phill Snel

    Wow. That’s sad and eerie. While at Peeter Kopvillem’s funeral last week, I was thinking of Carl Mollins and how much respect he could command at a morning Maclean’s meeting. As a younger /newbie employee I had to speak quickly and briefly, lest I be cut off. But Carl could clear his throat and immediately garner everyone’s attention….then speak as longly and slowly as he needed to get his idea/point across. Respect.

    1. Julie Mollins Post author

      Hi Phil, Great to hear from you. He always admired your photography. He was known for slow and drawn out speech, but it was often worth the wait 🙂 We miss him so much. Best, Julie


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