Born in Edmonton, Rita and the family of nine moved to Toronto by train in 1969 when her father was transferred. Thinking back on the journey, Rita recalls she had a big 15-year-old teenage crush on the porter, Doug Borden!
After completing a history degree at the University of Waterloo, Rita discovered she had a love for writing. She got a job at the Cobourg Daily Star (now, Northumberland Today) as a writer and photographer. After a bit of traveling, Rita moved closer to Toronto and worked at the Scarborough Mirror before landing her final job at the Toronto Star in 1981.
Looking back over her career at the Star, she is most proud of an 8-month, in-depth series on spousal abuse for which she and her other team members won the Governor General's Award for Public Service. The series also went on to win a National Newspaper Award for a special project.
Beyond Rita's talents as a journalist, she enjoys tennis and now golf. She is also a painter. Recently she had a show in Toronto where one of her pieces sold before the show was even hung. She comes by this honestly, as her mother was an artist and always encouraged Rita to draw and paint.
RITA FUN FACT: Humming and hawing, Rita sifts through many stories which could be her "fun fact" before settling on one which drew the attention of the police! When she was putting herself through university, she had a summer job as a bank teller in Banff, Alberta. In those days, the summer students had lodging in the back of the bank. One late night, after Rita and her friends were robustly sampling beverages at a party, they discovered they had forgotten their key. The key to the bank! Determined to have a good night's sleep, there was really only one thing to do... The bank's alarms rang out the police came, but the girls were forgiven for throwing the rock through the bank's front window to get inside!
|PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN|