Dr. Jim Cannon
Department of Geography and Planning
Remembering Jim Cannon - A Man of the University and the Community
Born in Toronto 1941 and died on August 20, 2014 in Amherstburg, Ontario
Jim was an outstanding colleague and friend to many within the University and the local community. He was also a great athlete, who, as an outstanding goalie, led the McMaster Marlins hockey team to their first and only CIS University Cup in 1962-3. He had the opportunity to continue towards the NHL or to enroll for a PhD at the University of Washington in Economic Geography. His choice of Washington was made easier, perhaps, because he played before the NHL expansion and that was a time when goalies were long standing fixtures in the league. He graduated from Washington in 1969, a top prospect in a growing field. Queen’s Geography immediately recruited him where he remained, aside from one year visiting positions with McGill and Dalhousie, until his retirement in 1997.
Tenured in 1971, Jim became an established expert in Canadian Economic Geography. He was “Mr. Canada” to his students and colleagues and was known for his careful, detailed research and information packed lectures. He brought those strengths to administration serving as a long standing member and Chair of the Department’s undergraduate committee. He was the major resource for students and colleagues in all matters dealing with curriculum and degree programs. He firmly believed that rules, while useful, were only guidelines that should not stand in the way of good education. His graduate students certainly appreciated the patient, conscientious mentor that would accept long distance phone calls late at night and who gently and steadily set so many of them on their career paths. His formula, “…. read, read and read some more…. develop and defend your own perspectives” served his students very well and defined how he approached his own career and his life.
While the university was very important to Jim it was not his whole life. First and foremost he was a family man dedicated to his wife and to the ongoing education of their two children. He became a coach and manager in the Church Athletic League and Kingston Minor Hockey Association. The great success of the Kingston Old Timers’ Hockey Team over many years owed a lot to the former Marlins’ goalie upon whom few could score. It was only at the memorial service for Jim that one of his former Old Timers’ teammates revealed the secret of scoring on Jim. Few knew that Jim’s eyesight was deteriorating (a reason for his early retirement) and that the only way to score was to shoot from a distance. Jim was a long standing member of the Kingston Yacht Club and the owner of his own 30 foot sailboat. He was also an active member of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. When he moved a few years ago to Amherstburg he sold his boat and he and his wife became active kayakers. Jim was also the go-to research person for the Portsmouth Villagers Association and his careful work became the backstop for many of their concerns and projects and the basis of many conversations with those interested in making Kingston a better place to live. Jim’s involvement with the community, coupled with his caring and kindness, made him friends throughout Kingston in many walks of life.
Jim is survived by his wife Linda and his two children, Todd and Tanya, who all live in Amherstburg.
- Rowland (Roly) Tinline (Professor Emeritus, Geography Department)