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Judith Robinson was born in Toronto, Ont. on Victoria Street on April 6, 1899. She was the daughter of Jessie and John Robinson Robinson (nicknamed “Black Jack Robinson”), who was the editor of the Toronto Telegram until his death in 1929. She attended Toronto Model School until age 12, when she contracted a childhood illness which stopped her schooling. Self-taught in journalism and literature, she also developed an interest in architecture.
Known as ‘Brad’ to her friends, Robinson became a reporter at the Toronto Globe in 1929. Under Globe President George McCullagh, she wrote a Page One feature column daily beginning in 1936. She resigned in 1940 over a political disagreement with the Globe’s coverage of World War II. With her brother John and Oakley Dalgleish, she clandestinely printed advertisements under the name “Canada Calling,” criticizing Mackenzie King government’s slow response to the war effort. In May 1941, she and Dalgleish founded NEWS, a national weekly newspaper whose editorial office was her home at 63 Wellesley St. NEWS closed in 1946. During the war she was also was active in the Women’s Emergency Committee which petitioned the Canadian government to close the Christie Street Veteran’s Hospital in Toronto. Those efforts helped result in the opening of Sunnybrook Military Hospital in 1946. Beginning in 1953, she wrote a daily column for the Toronto Telegram until her death on December 17, 1961.
Robinson authored three non-fiction books: Tom Cullen of Baltimore (1949), As We Came By (1951), and This Is On the House (1957). She edited John Farthing’s political treatise, Freedom Wears a Crown, and helped publish the medical memoir Days of Living: The Journal of Martin Roher, for which she wrote the introduction.
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C. Long, 2020