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Ted Rogers and his late father among six to be inducted into Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame

Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame unveiled today the names of six telecom pioneers and industry leaders who ...

September 13, 2006  

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Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame unveiled today the names of six telecom pioneers and industry leaders who will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2006.

They are Edward S. “Ted” Rogers (CEO, Rogers Communications Inc.), Edward S. Rogers, Sr. (Communications Inventor), Donald Hings (Inventor of the Walkie Talkie), Leila Wightman (Rural Telephone Pioneer), Francis Dagger (Public Ownership Advocate for the Prairies), and Ernest Saunders (Dean of Canadian Telecom Law and Regulation with Bell Canada).

The 2006 Hall of Fame Special Recognition Award will go to Digital World, the digital switching initiative of Bell-Northern Research (BNR) and Northern Telecom (now Nortel) that revolutionized global telecommunications in the mid-1970s.

Chosen from numerous public nominations, the six Laureates will be inducted into Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame and the Special Recognition Award will be conferred at the 2006 Telecom Laureate Awards gala dinner and induction ceremony, Oct. 16 at The Carlu in Toronto.

“Ted Rogers is being inducted this year as an icon of business for his tenacious pursuit of excellence and his entrepreneurial leadership in the Canadian telecom industry,” said Lorne Abugov, founder of the Hall of Fame which launched in May 2005.

“Building on his extensive career in the cable TV business, Ted Rogers jumped into the telecom industry with Cantel Cellular (now Rogers Wireless) in 1985 – Canada’s first national cellular service to compete with the established telcos.

His father, Edward Rogers Sr. conceived of, and commercialized the world’s first battery-less radio — a major invention that forever simplified radio communications.

Other members of the Class of 2006 Laureates and our 2006 Special Recognition Award Winner are:

* Donald Hings, whose modifications of the two-way radio, a device of his own creation which he evolved into the world’s first functional and operational walkie-talkie, saved the lives of thousands of British, Canadian and American troops during the Second World War and helped to usher modern telecommunications technologies into the military.

* Leila Wightman, whose 50-year career at Wightman Telephones in rural Ontario, some 27 of those heading up the company following the sudden death of her husband in 1948, is as inspirational a story as any in Canadian telecom.

* Ernie Saunders, who the Hall of Fame selection committee calls “one of Canada’s greatest administrative law litigators over his distinguished career in private practice and at Bell Canada’s Legal Department.”

* Francis Dagger, who was the driving force behind the establishment of public ownership in the Canadian telecom industry. A champion of the public interest in telephony throughout his career, his work as a telephone expert for the federal and provincial governments between 1903 and 1907 was instrumental to the creation of government-owned telephone companies in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan.