The late Vince Leah is the Citizens Hall of Fame’s 15th inductee. Uncle Vince, as he was affectionately called, spent 63 years as a journalist at the Tribune (50 years) and the Winnipeg Free Press (13 years). Aside from his first few years in journalism, beginning at the age of 16 at the Winnipeg Tribune, Vince Leah covered sports and specialized in areas such as British soccer and children’s sports. In fact, Vince Leah was an innovator and promoter of kid’s sports. He is known for bringing Little League Baseball to Canada in 1950. He organized leagues in hockey, football and basketball and was considered a saviour of youth soccer at a time when it was waning.
One of Vince Leah’s greatest loves and interests was coaching. He has a very distinguished coaching career which helped athletes to reach their full potential. Many professional hockey players pay tribute to Vince Leah in helping them launch their professional careers and hundreds of other kids learned about the virtues of sport from this caring sportsman. Vince Leah is known for naming the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. For all his contributions to kid’s sports – through his writing, coaching and organizing – Vince Leah received the Order of Canada in 1980; the Canadian Amateur Sports Federation Award for service to amateur sports; the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association Award of Merit; induction into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame; as well as many other local awards.
Aside from his love of sports, Vince Leah had a great love for Winnipeg, in particular, the North End. He has three Winnipeg streets named after him and the Vince Leah Recreation Centre honours his name. He authored eight books on Winnipeg and Manitoba history, he was a noted artist in water colours and pastel, and he as also a talented organist. Vince Leah’s later years with the Winnipeg Free Press showcased his in-depth knowledge of this community through his stories in the Neighbourhood Section, and his numerous editorials.