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Gary Hynes: Publisher. Foodie. Musician. Father. Born April 24, 1950, in Montreal; died July 4, 2018, in Victoria, of heart failure caused by a rare form of cancer; aged 68.

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Gary Hynes.The Globe and Mail

In you had rhymed off his own accomplishments to Gary Hynes, he would have responded with a smile that was at once shy and wry, and worldly wise (he knew the indifference of the world). Gary was a self-proclaimed “introvert in an extrovert profession,” and wouldn’t have told a soul.

A Montrealer by birth, his early direction was music and he played jazz and rock on rhythm guitar with a few Toronto bands. To support his musical habit, he started working in restaurants, including chef Jamie Kennedy’s Palmerston Restaurant in Toronto. Gary discovered his passion among the pots and pans and aromas and flavours. The spell was cast.

In 1986, he married his Haligonian soulmate Cynthia Annett (they’d met as waiters), and off they went to purchase a home built in 1789 in Shelburne, N.S. They transformed it into the award-winning Cooper’s Inn and Restaurant. Cynthia worked the front of the house and Gary honed his culinary panache.

“Gary didn’t study cooking,” Cynthia remembered. "He just knew.” The couple impressed guests such as culinary author Anita Stewart, Margaret Atwood and Donald Sutherland, who once ordered Gary’s scallops sauced in pink peppercorns for both main course and dessert.

In 1994, with their son, Colin, the Hynes’s sold their inn and moved to the kinder climate of Victoria. Gary was taken with the surprisingly adventurous food culture in the city and launched EAT magazine. It was his baby. The magazine he would run for 19 years brought into play his writing and editing skills (he’d also written an award-winning book on Vancouver Island wineries).

He took a lot of satisfaction in nurturing the careers of up and coming writers and, with them, cobbled together a magazine with sleek graphics, sharp photography and compelling food writing.

Gary became a titan of Vancouver Island food and drink, but he eschewed the limelight. “He wasn’t so much shy as cautious and contemplative,” Cynthia said. “He never blew his own horn.”

Colin and his father shared a love of music, and while Colin wouldn’t follow in his father’s foodsteps, Gary “was my 24-hour cooking hotline when I was burning things in the kitchen!”

One of Gary’s other great loves was Paris. He was fond of sitting at an outdoor café with a glass of Champagne to watch the world go by – and he would fastidiously check out the city’s new and innovative restaurants. Gary planned to return to music in retirement, but never had the chance. Later, his former bandmates would cross the country to attend his memorial.

Not long before his death, I turned to him and said: “You’ve worked so hard to explain and promote Victoria’s food culture. But you are the Victoria food culture.”

Gary looked at me and offered that smile, shy and wry, and worldly wise.

Jeremy Ferguson is Gary’s friend.

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Lives Lived celebrates the everyday, extraordinary, unheralded lives of Canadians who have recently passed. To learn how to share the story of a family member or friend, go to tgam.ca/livesguide.

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