Ernie Calcutt

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Ernie Calcutt
Ernest George Calcutt photo.png
Born(1932-11-01)November 1, 1932
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
DiedJanuary 10, 1984(1984-01-10) (aged 51)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Resting place Notre-Dame Cemetery, Ottawa
OccupationSports commentator and radio news director
Known for Ottawa Rough Riders and CFRA
Awards Canadian Football Hall of Fame
Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame

Ernest George Calcutt (November 1, 1932 January 10, 1984) was a Canadian sports commentator and radio news director. He worked for CFRA 580-AM in Ottawa, and was the voice for the Ottawa Rough Riders radio broadcasts from 1964 to 1983. He served as a president of the Canadian Football Reporters, and was inducted into both the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame.


Early life and education

Ernest George Calcutt was born on November 1, 1932, in Ottawa, Ontario, [1] [2] [3] the son of Allan and Doris Calcutt. [4] He grew up in the Centretown neighbourhood of Ottawa, was an altar boy at St Patrick's Basilica and frequented the Ottawa Auditorium as a youth. [5] [6] He played Canadian football and ice hockey as a student at St. Patrick's High School. [3] He was later married to Pauline LeBlanc and fathered five children. [3]

Radio career and community work

Calcutt began working for CFRA 580-AM radio part-time in 1961. He also worked with Metropolitan Life Insurance for 12 years, until he joined CRFA full-time in 1964. [3] [5] [7] He became the station's sports director in 1965, and then its news director in 1968. [8] He broadcast sports news reports every 30 minutes, gave a daily morning commentary and hosted a public affairs talk show. [3]

Calcutt was the English language radio sports commentator for the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1964 to 1983. [9] [10] The Ottawa Citizen described Calcutt as having an encyclopedic knowledge of Canadian football, [5] [7] and that he was candid about the Ottawa Rough Riders and not intimidated to give criticism despite that the team and radio station had common ownership. [3] During his broadcast tenure, the team competed in six Grey Cup games and won four Canadian Football League championships. He was credited for having a sense of on-air humour, and for coining the phrases "pulling an el foldo" and "being as wide open as a church door on a Sunday morning". [11] He also served as president of the Canadian Football Reporters, [3] [8] and was a recurring host of the Schenley Award for the league's most valuable player. [11]

Calcutt served as a director with the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club, and was a founding member of both the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame in 1968, and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in 1974. [11] He was a frequent master of ceremonies for the Ottawa Sports Awards annual dinner, [12] and made contributions to the Easter Seals telethon hosted in Ottawa. [3] He helped establish Operation Go Home, to return runaway children to their families. The Ottawa Police Service credited his efforts for taking 15,000 children off the streets in 11 years. [6]

Calcutt died on January 10, 1984, in Ottawa, Ontario, [2] due to a stroke. [8] [10] His funeral at St Patrick's Basilica was reported to have been attended by at least one thousand people. [6] His remains were cremated and a memorial was erected at Notre-Dame Cemetery in Ottawa. [2] He was succeeded by John Badham as the radio announcer for the Ottawa Rough Riders and the sports director of CFRA. [8] [13]

Posthumous honours

South stand at TD Place Stadium including the press box named for Calcutt TD Place South Stand, Ottawa.JPG
South stand at TD Place Stadium including the press box named for Calcutt

The City of Ottawa made him the namesake of Ernie Calcutt Park in 1984. [11] [14] The new artificial turf field at Lansdowne Park Stadium was also named for Calcutt in 1984. [11] He was inducted into the builder category of the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in 1988. [1] [11] He was named to the honour roll of Sports Media Canada, and is a partial namesake of the Ernie Calcutt, Eddie McCabe, Brian Smith Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports Media in Ottawa. [11]

On October 29, 2014, the press box and media centre at the renovated TD Place Stadium were named for Calcutt. [9] He was inducted into the football reporters section of Canadian Football Hall of Fame on November 26, 2017, in a ceremony at the 105th Grey Cup game played in Ottawa. [15] [16]

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  1. 1 2 "Ernie Calcutt". Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. 1988. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  2. 1 2 3 Interment Directory, Ottawa, Ontario: Notre-Dame Cemetery, 2020
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Hill, Bert; Deveney, Abby (January 11, 1984). "Voice of Riders dies at 51". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 1. Lock-green.svg ; Hill, Bert; Deveney, Abby (January 11, 1984). "Voice of Riders dies at 51 (Continued from page 1)". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 10. Lock-green.svg
  4. "Calcutt, Ernie". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. January 11, 1984. p. 28. Lock-green.svg
  5. 1 2 3 MacCabe, Eddie (January 9, 1984). "Sports fans pulling for Ernie Calcutt". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 27. Lock-green.svg
  6. 1 2 3 "1,000 mourners honor broadcaster". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. January 14, 1984. p. 9. Lock-green.svg
  7. 1 2 Brown, Dave (January 6, 1984). "Calcutt suffers stroke". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario. p. 19. Lock-green.svg
  8. 1 2 3 4 "CFRA-AM". History of Canadian Broadcasting. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  9. 1 2 Holder, Gord (October 30, 2014). "Ex-Riders broadcaster Ernie Calcutt honoured at rebuilt stadium". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario.
  10. 1 2 "Le Rouge et Noir rend hommage à Ernie Calcutt". Le Droit (in French). Ottawa, Ontario. October 30, 2014.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Ernie Calcutt". Canadian Football Hall of Fame. 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  12. "1995 Award Winners". Ottawa Sports Awards. 1995. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  13. "Sports Roundup". Winnipeg Free Press . Winnipeg, Manitoba. March 16, 1984. p. 54. Lock-green.svg
  14. "Our Parks". Riverside Park Community Association. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  15. Brennan, Don (November 26, 2017). "Ottawa broadcasters Ernie Calcutt and Jeff Avery inducted into FRC Hall of Fame". Ottawa Sun. Ottawa, Ontario.
  16. "Avery, Calcutt to be inducted into Canadian Football Hall of Fame". Ottawa Redblacks. November 15, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2020.