Otto Lowy



June 4, 2002


The Late Otto Lowy


Tribute in the Senate Parliament Ottawa


Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, last week Canada lost one of its greatest storytellers. Otto Lowy, host of CBC radio's musical series "The Transcontinental," passed away at the age of 81. For 22 years he took us on a weekly journey through Europe, on one of the CBC's most popular shows.


Mr. Lowy was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, came to Canada in the early 1950s, and settled in Vancouver where he dedicated himself to the arts community. He was one of the first members of ACTRA and, at one time, served as national director.


This most remarkable individual received many awards throughout his lifetime. In 1994, he was awarded the Austrian Gold Cross of Merit for Science and the Arts and also received a Great Honour Medal for Services to the State of Lower Austria. He was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1998, in recognition of his work in broadcasting over the last 50 years.


In 1999, the Czechoslovakian Association of Canada awarded him the Masaryk Award for his contributions in creating awareness, in Canada, of Czech music and history. He also received the Czech Republic's President's Award, personally brought to Canada by Czech President Vaclav Havel. A great Canadian broadcaster, actor, writer and director, Mr. Lowy will be fondly remembered by all his loyal listeners.


Last Sunday, my wife and I enjoyed the last program of "The Transcontinental." They played Bob Hope's theme song, "Thanks for the Memory," which was sung by Vera Lynn. I hope, honourable senators, you will join with me in extending our deepest condolences to Mr. Lowy's family.




Otto Lowy, the host of CBC Radio's long-running musical series The Transcontinental , died Tuesday following a short illness. He was 81.


Born in Czechoslovakia, Otto came to Canada in 1948 when he was 27, and immediately immersed himself in Vancouver's arts community. Shortly after, he began his career with CBC Radio as a foreign-accented bit player in a 10-week series titled Adventures in Europe .



Over the next five decades, Lowy wore many hats at CBC, writing radio plays and television scripts, producing documentaries, and playing a wide range of dramatic and comedic roles. He is probably best known for his 22 years as host of CBC Radio's The Transcontinental , a blend of European music and personal recollection.


In 1994, Lowy was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour First Class for Science and the Arts. He also received the Great Honour Medal for Services to the State of Lower Austria. In 1998, he was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame in recognition of his work in broadcasting and the theatre in B.C. over the last half-century. The tribute included a star at the Orpheum's Theatre Walk of Fame. He was also awarded the Maxaryk Award, given by the Czechoslovak Association of Canada and the Czech Republic's President's Award.





The Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver, opened in February 1964 with a production called Light Up the Sky. The theatre was established by Otto Lowy, Yvonne Firkin and others on the second floor of a gospel hall at 1181 Seymour Street in Vancouver. It featured a flexible seating space accommodating 125-200 persons.


BC Radio History