Alumni Profile: Todd van der Heyden '90
News Anchor and Radio Host
The discipline and dedication required for a job as demanding as Todd van der Heyden’s were not always ingrained in him. He admits to not being the best student when he first arrived at LCC in grade 6, and was constantly being admonished for talking too much in class. One teacher prophesized that Mr. van der Heyden would eventually get a job where he could talk for a living, but until that time he had to learn to be quiet.
“Grade 10 was the turning point for me,” Mr. van der Heyden says. “It was then that I discovered my passion for history and I was determined to win the history prize.” Not only did Mr. van der Heyden win that prize, his first academic award, he also graduated the following year with honours. “My teachers recognized the potential in me and invested in me,” he says, specifically naming Richard Barrett, Doug Maclean and Ron Patterson, who taught history, geography and English respectively.
Today, Mr. van der Heyden is a leading figure in broadcasting, bringing Canadians breaking news on a daily basis. A long-standing member of the CTV team, he is currently the national afternoon anchor on CTV News Channel, having been promoted in January 2012 after a 12-year stint as a reporter and then 6 o’clock anchor with CTV Montreal. Over the years, Mr. van der Heyden has been recognized for his excellence in journalism, winning three awards from the Radio-Television News Directors Association and one from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.
Mr. van der Heyden’s illustrious journalism career has taken him around the world, including Sochi, Russia, where he covered the 2014 Winter Olympics, and Rome, Italy, for the election of Pope Francis in 2013.
As he describes it, covering the aftermath of the attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001, was a pivotal moment in his young career. “The day of the attacks, we jumped into the news van and got to New York before the borders had closed,” Mr. van der Heyden says. “As an eyewitness to the destruction, the smoke and rubble, the burning buildings, I knew that the world was going to be a very different place from that point forward. And as a journalist, I realized just how important news coverage is, and the responsibility that we have as journalists to do the best we can when we’re covering stories.”
This burgeoning interest in global affairs had been nurtured at LCC. “The school had a huge impact on my world view,” Mr. van der Heyden says. “I went to Europe for the first time on a school trip, and it was there that my passion for international news developed and then guided my career choice.”
He can also be heard weekly on Viewpoints with Todd van der Heyden, a national news and current affairs talk show that airs weekends in syndication on several Bell Media radio stations. With talents extending beyond the anchor chair and mic, he is also an actor and has appeared in both television and movies.
Always striving to take on new projects, Mr. van der Heyden teaches broadcasting and journalism when his schedule permits. “LCC changed me,” he says. “It made me more ambitious, always wanting to do more. It was truly a world-class education.”