About the Author
“Man must not use his own imagination as the measure of all possibility” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
Mike Winlaw was born Myron Ransom Winlaw in Melita, Manitoba. Now most people might think he changed it for professional reasons, but in fact, that’s not the case. His sister Ramona started calling him “Mike” when he was a toddler, and as with so many childhood nicknames, it stuck.
Growing up on the prairies, Mike played hockey and baseball, and like every other redblooded prairie boy, dreamed of hockey stardom. The broadcasts of Hockey night in Canada found Mike glued to the radio. Winter nights on the prairies can be very long indeed, and when the hockey broadcast was over, Mike frequently remained glued to the radio for another favourite show, “Hawaii Calls”, hosted by Webley Edwards . It was to be the catalyst that propelled Mike into a career in broadcasting.
Young people who go into broadcasting usually bounce around from one station to another, always hoping to move up into one of the major markets in Canada. And that’s exactly what Mike did: beginning in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, he hopscotched across the country from station to station until he finally arrived at CBC in Vancouver.
As a staff announcer he worked in both radio and television and his easy charm and good looks soon caught the eye of the CBC brass. They moved him into the co-host chair of the top rated news program of the day: Hourglass. Mike remained the host of Hourglass for the next six years, building an enviable following and the all-important ratings in his time slot. This ultimately led to a job offer from the president of a start-up television station in Vancouver; CKVU. Mike went on to host a two hour live nightly broadcast called “The Vancouver Show”. Think about it – two hours of live television 5 nights a week. That’s more than Johnny Carson or Jay Leno or David Letterman ever had to do. Most people would crumble. Instead, Mike seemed to thrive. In between, Mike found time for cameo roles in various national and international TV series and films that called Vancouver home: 21 Jump Street, Wiseguy, The Accused, Fly II, Cold Front, Jennifer Eight and the TV series MacGyver.
Mike valued learning above all else, and his insatiable curiosity led him to into many new adventures. He loved hockey and skiing and tried his hand at scuba diving and parachuting, flying lessons (where he earned his pilot’s license), music and professional level photography. An interview with Mike, together with some of his photos, was published in Vancouver Magazine in 1980 in an article titled “Called to the Barre”.
Music also played a very important part in his life. His enthusiasm when he discovered an artist he enjoyed could be very infectious. Mike was a man with a great sense of humour, a love of animals, a strong sense of right and wrong and though in the public eye, he enjoyed nothing more than sitting quietly and reading a good book.
This novel was originally an idea he had back in the mid 80’s when he was reading an article about white tigers. The idea for writing a book about the Last Tiger kicked around in his head for a lot of years with many starts and stops before he completed the final edit in the summer of 2014.
Mike passed away of cancer on September 29, 2014. Of all his accomplishments, this book was his proudest achievement.