Joan Donaldson, the first head of CBC Newsworld, died Thursday night in Victoria at the age of 60.
Donaldson had been ailing since being severely injured when she was struck by a bicycle in 1990 in Montreal, an accident that ended her journalism career.
Janice Ward, a director at Newsworld, helped Donaldson launch the all-news channel in 1989.
"At a time when no one believed in starting a news network in Canada, Joan believed that Canadians could connect to each other," said Ward.
"That was her passion, that regions of Canada can be connected and they hear about stories, and that its not boring, and that it's important."
Donaldson, born in Toronto, joined the CBC in 1967 as an editor with "National Radio News."
During her time with CBC Radio, she served as senior editor of "The World at Six" and "Sunday Morning Magazine." She later went to CBC Winnipeg in 1971 to produce the evening news show "24 Hours." Two years later, she returned Toronto as a producer on "Newsmagazine."
After a five-year stint as a field producer on CTV's "W5," Donaldson joined Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in 1975 as an instructor in broadcast journalism, and also taught journalism at the University of Western Ontario.
It was her role as a teacher and mentor that left a lasting impression on those who knew her.
Rae Hull, regional director for CBC-TV in British Columbia, knew Donaldson as a teacher, mentor and even boss. She said that Donaldson's selflessness had a profound impact on her.
"Joan Donaldson was a woman with an incredible brain, but she never ever forgot to use her heart as well," said Hull.
"She had an enormous generosity of spirit that it didn't matter how big her position was, or how busy she was, she always seemed to have time for journalism students, for friends who needed advice."
As a tribute to Donaldson's contribution to CBC and her dedication to mentoring young students, Ward established the CBC Newsworld Joan Donaldson Scholarship for aspiring journalists which gives eight journalism students a chance to work at CBC.
"Joan believed in developing young people, and giving them a chance, and that's what this scholarship is - her legacy," said Ward.