Gord Martineau, Kicking up Good Will
Gord Martineau doesn’t just sit back delivering the news – he’s making it. Back to work from a relaxing getaway in the sun, Martineau sits across from me in Citytv’s CityNews boardroom, perfectly calm and coiffed and clad in a black blazer and crisp dress shirt. Although he’s just a few short hours away from delivering the 6 o’clock news to his faithful viewers, Martineau retains his composure, thanks to his early-morning regime of cycling, weights and martial arts. The 60-year-old also reveals that he has a fourth-degree black belt.
The lively pulse of CityNews trickles through the boardroom’s thick double-doors, yet his energy is much more palpable. And this isn’t just because of his recent jaunt to sun-drenched Sarasota, Fla., but of the genuine passion he bleeds towards his position as senior co-anchor. “There are people who get up every day dreading the fact that they’re going to their jobs,” explains Martineau. “Yet I enjoy what I do and I work with such great people and there is such a great atmosphere here. I am extremely lucky.” In 2007, Martineau’s talent was applauded with a lifetime achievement award for his 40 years in broadcasting. So it’s hard to believe that the born-and-raised-Montrealer once doubted his abilities. “There was a time in radio when seriously considered getting out of the business because I didn’t like the performance I was putting on the air everyday,” he says.
Apart from the impressive number of accolades he has received while working in such a demanding industry, the husband and proud father of two says that his greatest feat involves giving others another shot at obtaining happiness in life. “I gave myself a second chance … and this is where I am today,” says Martineau of his evolution. “I want to be remembered for having concerns about other people and how they live, and seeing the less fortunate people. I mean, we have it all, and we have to share – why wouldn’t we want to?”
Renowned for his dedicated charity work, Martineau is closely associated with The Kids Breakfast Club, Breast Cancer Foundation, Kids Help Phone, The Second Chance Scholarship Foundation (which offers financial support to at-risk students), and more.
His active participation in the Herbie Fund is the most noted of his endeavours, since he has travelled to impoverished countries such as the Philipines, Kosovo and Botswana, to help bring children in need of surgical treatment to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
“Humanitarian crises really disturb me,” starts the philanthropist. “Somalia, Darfur, Gaza … there are so many of them throughout Africa and I find it disturbing because those are really the result of people who have their own agenda in terms of power and running a country.”
This year will bring Martineau to Cambodia, where the Herbie Fund aims to add to the 600 children it has saved since its founding in 1979. “Many people give money to charity and have no idea where that money is going specifically,” says Martineau. “With the Herbie Fund, 100 per cent of what everyone gives goes directly to helping kids.
And with countless organizations struggling to receive funds because of the downturn in the financial market, volunteerism not only stimulates community building, but the economy as well. “Canadians are among some of the most charitable and community-conscious people in the world,” says Martineau. “But I think we still have a long way to go. And if you have a desire to live in a better community, neighbourhood, city, then you have to take the initiative … it all starts with you. If you don’t do it, it isn’t going to get done.” www.citynews.ca, www.operationherbie.com
Watch Gord Martineau on CityNews at Six and CityNews International at 11:35 p.m.