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June Rose Callwood, CC OOnt (June 2, 1924 – April 14, 2007) was a Canadian journalist, author and social activist. She was born in Chatham, Ontario and grew up in nearby Belle River.[2][3]

June Callwood
June Callwood.jpg
June Rose Callwood

June 2, 1924
DiedApril 14, 2007(2007-04-14) (aged 82)[1]
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Notable credit(s)
Order of Canada
Order of Ontario
Toronto Arts Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award
Canadian News Hall of Fame inductee
Spouse(s)Trent Frayne
ChildrenJill Frayne
Brant Frayne
Jesse Frayne
Casey Frayne


Life and careerEdit

Callwood grew up in Belle River with her younger sister Jane Callwood.

Callwood began her journalism career at her high school, Brantford Collegiate Institute, where she was editor of the school paper.[4] She later worked for the Brantford Expositor.[4] In 1942, she was offered a job with The Globe and Mail and moved to Toronto. She married journalist Trent Frayne two years later, but continued to use her own surname because The Globe and Mail at that time did not employ married women.[5]

She left The Globe and Mail to raise a family but later resumed her career by becoming a freelance journalist, writing books and magazine pieces, many for Maclean's. In the spring of 1957, she interviewed Elvis Presley in Toronto, during the singer's 1st tour of Canada. Soon after, Callwood ghost-wrote close to ten autobiographies for such prominent Americans as broadcaster Barbara Walters, film director Otto Preminger and Dr. Charles William Mayo.[6] Frayne and Callwood also hosted the CBC Television talk show The Fraynes in the 1954-55 television season.

Callwood later entered television journalism, hosting the series In Touch on CBC Television from 1975 to 1978.[4] She also hosted two series, National Treasure and Caregiving with June Callwood, for Vision TV.[4]

Callwood's career was marked by a strong concern for social justice, especially on issues affecting children and women. She became one of Canada's most famous social justice activists, founding or co-founding over 50 Canadian social action organizations including youth and women's hostels. She founded Casey House (a Toronto hospice for people with AIDS), Jessie's (now called Jessie's: The June Callwood Centre for Young Women[7]), PEN Canada, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Feminists Against Censorship.[4]

In 2004, Callwood went public about her battle with cancer. She refused treatment and continued to be active until she succumbed to the disease in the morning of April 14, 2007. Callwood was last seen on TV on April 2, 2007 in the CBC show The Hour, interviewed by George Stroumboulopoulos.[5]

A biography, written by Anne Dublin and entitled June Callwood: A Life of Action, was published in March 2007.[8]


In 1978, she was made a member of the Order of Canada. She was promoted to Officer in 1985, and promoted again to Companion in 2000.[9] In 1988, she was awarded the Order of Ontario. She was inducted into the Etobicoke Hall of Fame in 1992. In 2004, the City of Toronto noted its intention to name a street in Callwood's honour. Callwood requested that an existing street not be renamed for her, and specified that it be a new or currently unnamed street near a school or a playground. The street is June Callwood Way and is in the neighbourhood of Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue. June Callwood was named Toronto Humanist of the Year 2004 by The Humanist Association of Toronto.[10] This yearly honour is presented by H.A.T. to men and women who, in their actions, and creative endeavours, exemplify the principles of Humanism: a commitment to reason, compassion, ethics and human dignity.

In July 2005, a Toronto park [11] was named after Callwood. A professorship in social justice was also established at Victoria College, University of Toronto in her honour.[12] In 2008, Premier Dalton McGuinty declared June 2 of every year to be June Callwood Day.

In 2011, June Rose Callwood Public School, located at 84 Edward Street in St. Thomas, Ontario, was named in her honour.

Personal lifeEdit

Callwood and Frayne had four children together: two daughters and two sons. The daughters are noted authors Jesse and Jill Frayne, and the elder son is Brant Frayne.[4] The second son and youngest child, Casey Frayne, was killed on April 19, 1982, when he was 20 years old, by a drunk driver [13] on Highway 401 as he returned home from Queen's University. Callwood's death came only days before the 25th anniversary of her son's death.

Callwood obtained her pilot's licence in the late 1940s[4] and maintained the licence throughout her life.[5]

Selected worksEdit

  • Love, Hate, Fear and Anger — 1964
  • Canadian Women and the Law — 1974
  • The Law Is Not for Women — 1976
  • Emma — 1984
  • Emotions — 1986
  • Twelve Weeks in Spring — 1986
  • Jim: A Life With AIDS — 1988
  • The Sleepwalker — 1990
  • Portrait of Canada — 1991
  • Trial Without End — 1994
  • June Callwood's National Treasures — 1994
  • The Man Who Lost Himself: The Terry Evanshen Story — 2000 (about CFL player Terry Evanshen)

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Werner Bergen. "June Callwood, festival friend". Peterborough Examiner, April 16, 2007.
  2. ^ Martin, Sandra (April 14, 2007). "Journalist, activist June Callwood dies at 82". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-02-13.
  3. ^ CBC Arts (April 14, 2007). "June Callwood, Canada's social conscience, dies at 82". CBC. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Dunphy, Catherine; Black, Debra (2007-04-14). "Activist Callwood dies at 82". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  5. ^ a b c "June Callwood on The Hour". CBC. 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  6. ^ "Callwood as ghostwriter". CBC. 1979-09-21. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  7. ^ "Jessie's, web site".
  8. ^ Dublin, A. (2007). June Callwood: A Life of Action. Second Story Press. ISBN 9781897187142.
  9. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. Order of Canada citation. Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 26 May 2010
  10. ^ "The HAT Newsletter" (PDF). 64 (May/June 2004). The Humanist Association of Toronto. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04.
  11. ^ Toronto names park after June Callwood
  12. ^ Callwood honoured with professorship
  13. ^ CBC Arts (April 19, 1987). "Struck By Tragedy". CBC. Retrieved 2007-04-19.