Kenneth Gordon Mackay

22-Dec-1936 - 12-Apr-2020

Obituary Overview

Kenneth Gordon Mackay

Beloved Father of Kevin (Kristin) & Roger (Jennifer) MacKay. Loving “Graw” of Grandchildren Spencer, Eleri & Delani MacKay (all residing in the USA). Predeceased by the mother of his children Margaret (Maggie) MacKay (2020) and former wife Penny MacKay (2016). 

Ken was a true Scotsman, Producer, Sailor, Friend, Mentor, Gardener & Chip Man.

His education began in the early 40’s at Humbercrest Public school in West Toronto. Ken’s participation as a young ‘star’ on stage and in the Tympany band at Humbercrest may have sparked his interest in the television industry. Accordingly, after graduating from Runnymede Collegiate, he enrolled in the Radio and Television Arts Program at Ryerson Institute of Technology (now Ryerson University).

In 1960, after graduating with Honours in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson, Ken’s career and adventures were launched. Two years after graduating from Ryerson, he joined the Canadian Forces Network in Metz,
France as an announcer and producer. Metz was the network’s headquarters. CFN was a rebroadcaster of CBC radio programs but also produced news, weather, and sports of interest to Canadian forces stationed in Europe.  During his time at CFN, Ken travelled extensively through France, Germany and Italy.

 After returning from Europe, Ken was one of the founding members of the Metropolitan Educational Television Association of Toronto (M.E.T.A.), the regional educational broadcasting forerunner of TVOntario (mid 1960’s-1971). In 1971, META was disbanded and many of the staff members were welcomed into the Ontario Educational Communications Association (OECA) which was the fledgling provincial educational television branch of the Department of Education.  OECA became independent of the Department of Education in the mid-1970’s and acquired the now-familiar name, TVOntario. Ken was a Producer and later, Executive Producer of programming for TVO. He completed 28 years in commercial and educational television. The last 8 years were exclusively devoted in his profession to creating, producing, directing and executive producing for the hour-long science and technology series “Vista” for TVOntario. 

Ken also taught Journalism, Radio & TV at various community colleges throughout Ontario, instructing students in writing & directing for television. Ken gave many colleagues their first break into the business and he made many great friends who will miss his toughness and great sense of humor. 

Ken sailed both racing and cruising boats from 1965-1992 all over Canada and the USA. He was a certified Instructor for Canadian Power Squadron Yachtsman, Basic boating, Seamanship Sail, Advanced Piloting & Celestial Navigation (1978-1983) and Certified “NAUI” Scuba Diver. As Captain, Cook and Charter Service on the sloop “Take Two”, Ken offered day sails and weekend charters on Lake Ontario (1986-1990). Then, Ken spent over a decade sailing in the Caribbean aboard “Take Two". For several years before returning to Canada, Ken chartered the boat out of Isla Margarita in the British Virgin Islands with Penny.

 Upon his return from the Caribbean, Ken was well known as “The Chip Man” of Sydenham, where his customers loved his hand-made “Fries” and where he volunteered at Southern Frontenac Community Services as a driver. Ken’s move to Kingston brought great pleasure as he was able to enjoy his much-loved Kingston waterways from his ninth-floor sunroom.

For many years Ken relied upon the support, friendship and assistance of his good friends, Linda and Don Bates and Tina Benson. Ken’s family are greatly appreciative of all their time, commitment, and love they devoted to him. The Bates and Benson family efforts truly prolonged and enriched the last years of Ken’s life. Over the past few years COPD has taken its toll on Ken. He passed away peacefully listening to “The Eagles’ Greatest Hits” at Providence Care Hospital, Lakeview 1, on April 12, 2020, with caring staff by his side. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the family were unable to travel from the US to Canada. Ken's family are truly thankful for the loving and compassionate care he received from all staff on Lakeview 1.

Ken lived a very active life and for the most part, he did it “Ken’s Way.” There will be no service at Ken’s request. His only wishes are “please raise a glass, cherish the good times in life, stay safe and remember the last time we were together”. Ken’s final words, “I Love You All, Be Safe”.  

For those wishing to make donations:

Southern Frontenac Community ServicesPO Box 43, Sydenham, Ontario, K0H 2T0  or online
Providence Care Hospital, Lakeview 1, 752 Kings St. West, Kingston, Ontario K7L4X3 Cheque
Made payable to UHKF, Memo-line Lakeview 1 Equipment. 
Cremation entrusted to Gordon F. Tompkins Funeral Home Central Chapel, 49 Colborne St., Kingston 
Online condolences at

Condolences from family and friends

Posted by Risa Shuman | 05-May-2020

I send deepest sympathy on behalf of the TVO PrimeTimers, a social club of retirees of which Ken was a member. We always enjoyed seeing him at the annual Christmas luncheons that he attended. On a personal note, no one could crack gum as Ken did...I was always envious! As is our custom, a donation to the Providence Care Hospital has been made in his memory. Ken will be missed by all whose lives he touched.

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Posted by John Day | 22-Apr-2020

I was fortunate enough to speak with Ken by phone days before his passing. Ken was a force in my career at TVO from 1973 to 1989. The many many projects we worked on gave us a ticket to escape the physical plant and get out and experience life, travel, meet so many interesting people, companionship...and have fun. The days on the road with Mike Ellis and his assistant Paul and Ken were a blast...I have never laughed so hard in my life. Ken gave me the opportunity to go further with my career asking me to produce and direct several of the VISTA documentaries. I am proud that the last documentary "The Greenhouse Effect" with Mike as DOP brought international awards to TVO with Ken as VISTA's longtime Executive Producer. Outside of work we shared a love for sailing...great memories sailing Take Two with Ken, Penny and my wife Sandy to the Bay of Quinte and over to the USA. I am thankful to have had a last word.

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