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Jim Wilkes -30-

After more than 36 years at The Star as a reporter/photographer, Jim Wilkes is taking early retirement at age 60. He leaves today.

In that time, he's won more than 75 awards for writing and photography and has helped mentor many of the profession's young stars.

He has covered stories around the world and around the corner, bringing a personal perspective to events of the day.

The following is a selection of some of his photos from over the years.

1975 – Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau at a campaign stop in Port Hope.

1975 – Pop singer Elton John – before hair transplants – peers over his trademark glasses before speaking to students at the University of Guelph. 

1976 – A Toronto firefighter battles a stubborn downtown blaze that heavily damaged the old Trinity Church and surrounding area.

1979 – Actor Ed Asner hams it up at the bar of the Toronto Press Club during a visit to the city in his "Lou Grant" TV persona.

1980 – Metro police mounted officer Doug Millar uses a well-placed boot to hold a handcuffed suspect while waiting for uniformed officers to arrive at Nathan Phillips Square.


1981 – Quebec Premier Rene Levesque – and his trademark cigarette – on a visit to Toronto. 

1982 – A sad-eyed gorilla stares out from a behind his steel cage at the Metro Toronto Zoo. 

1982 – Wing walker Carol Lynne performs atop her husband Wayne Pierce's 1937 Stearman bi-plane over Toronto harbour before the Toronto International Air Show. 

1984 – On opening day of the Blue Jays 1984 season, New York Yankees Willie Randolph, Jerry Mumphrey and Steve Kemp combine to botch a pop fly at Exhibition Stadium. 

1985 – Dave Stieb chases son Andrew on the field before a game at Exhibition Stadium.

1988 – A worker celebrates after installing the first seat at SkyDome, which opened the following year.

1988 – In 1988, Wilkes flew to Boston to cover the recovery of Orillia-area burn victim Joey Philion at the Shriners Burns Center. The 14-year-old had suffered  burns to 90 per cent of his body in a fire at the family home in Cumberland Beach and wasn't expected to survive. Wilkes followed the story over the years and in 2009 traveled to Vancouver Island where Philion, then 36, was living in a nursing home as his body continued to decline after more than two decades of trying to heal.

1990 – A woman leans out the second-floor window of an Adelaide St. mannequin shop, creating an interesting illusion.

1991 – Police arrested a stolen car suspect who stripped off most of his clothes and fled. They took him to hospital for a check-up before going to the police station, but as they pulled him out of back seat of cruiser, his bright red underwear caught on nib of the door frame. 

1993 – Schoolgirl killer Paul Bernardo is hauled into a Metro police station in Scarborough the night of his arrest.

1997 – Peel police Constable Wayne Vanderlaan leads a gaggle of Canada geese on a 4-kilometre trek from Highway 403 to the Credit River on Fathers Day to protect them from cars and trucks in Mississauga. 

1998 – Teena Sarpong sobs outside the Milton courthouse after a man was sentenced to 18 months in jail for his role in an accident that left her teenaged son paralyzed from the chest down. She said the sentence was "totally unstaisfactory." 

2003 - Woman weeps as children and neighbours from Cecilia Zhang's North York community gather on a grassy knoll in Seneca Hills Park for a candlelight vigil for the kidnapped 9-year-old. 

2004 – Vaughan firefighter Rene Magotiaux carefully maneuvers a sea of water, trash and burned lumber while battling a huge fire at a Vaughan waste site. 

2004 – Fifteen-month-old Aiden Baker gnaws on a pumpkin more his size as he wanders a sea of giant jack-o-lanterns at Downey's Farm Market in Inglewood, just north of Brampton.

2005 – Christine Walker, mother of slain Brampton teen Dwayne Lloyd, wiped away tears as she talked about her son and the violence that has taken so many young lives.

2005 – Maverick MP Carolyn Parrish shows off an embroidered pillow given to her by a loyal Mississauga-Erindale supporter. Her mouth often got her into trouble.

2005 - A bullet hole in a church window still remains as people gather to hear words of comfort and rage from spiritual leaders, politicians and police outside Toronto West Seventh Day Adventist Church on Albion Rd. where an 18-year-old man was shot dead at the funeral of a friend who was slain by gunfire earlier this month.

 2005 - Blake Sheppard, 4, finds a unique way to cool off at a splash pad in Mississauga's Lake Aquitaine Park. He was among dozens of people who sought shelter from the heat in the tree-shrouded fun zone.

2006 – Humber College student John Innes fly-fishes for Steelhead on the Credit River in Mississauga's Erindale Park.

2006 – Seven-year-old Alex Lavery waits patiently as a drop of maple sap drips from an old-fashioned wooden tree spiggot tapped into a tree at Mississauga's Bradley House Museum.

2006 – Young girls race along the edges of rare land formations called the Cheltenham Badlands in the Caledon Hills on Thanksgiving weekend.

2006 –  Amanda Pruss, 5, of Aurora excitedly snatches an Easter egg from a secret cache hidden at Puck's Farm, near Schomberg.

2008 – York University biology professor Laurence Packer examines a carpenter bee from Kenya. It's among more than 100,000 bee specimens in the university's collection. 

2008 – Joe Bianchi takes a break from the sun for a cool drink while laying concrete sewer pipe along Derry Rd. near Milton.

2009 – Marshall Cleve of Etobicoke makes a minor adjustment to an N-scale steam locomotive at a model train show in Brampton. 

2009 – Janice Walker, a kindergarten teaching assistant at Brampton's Mount Royal Public School, gets a close-up look at a Queen butterfly during a field trip to Humber Nurseries Butterfly Conservatory in Brampton. 

2009 – Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion uses a grabber tool to snatch up waste paper along Burnhamthorpe Rd. E. She was out collecting roadside waste to call attention to the city's LitterNot campaign.

2010 – A pipe band leads the funeral procession of Const. James Ochakovsky through a sea of thousands of police officers from across North America from Mississauga's Hershey Centre. 

2011 – Firefighters in an honour guard salute as the bodies of two dead volunteer firefighters are brought out from fire scene in Listowel.

 2011 – Robert Gerlai, a professor at the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus, peers through an aquarium of zebra fish. He studying the effects of alcohol on the fish to learn how to treat alcohol problems in humans. 

2011 – Alexander Palubjak, 5, gets relief from 30C+ temperatures at a splash pad at Mississauga's Lake Aquitaine Park.

Jim Wilkes in the 1990's after suffering a scratched cornea.

Jim Wilkes signs off on his last day at the Toronto Star by accepting his front page in Toronto. Follow Jim on the twitter at @newsboy




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Fabulous photos Jimmy from a fabulous career that earned you true respect from a wide variety of newsmakers and news gatherers. Congratulations.
Pat Brennan.

Happy Retirement Jim!!

Congrats, Wilksie!!

Have a wonderful retirement -- you've earned it, my friend!

Loved the follow-up on Joey Philion.
Great pictures, but what happened between 1998 & 2003?!

what a body of work!
thank you for your vision -- happy retirement!

Congratulations, Newsboy! Exceptional career that has touched the lives of millions.

A man of incredible insight... you will be missed. Thanks Jim, for a powerful life.

You can't retire fully with that talent!

60? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was at your 40th birthday party? Congratulations Jim on a fabulous career. You were one of the few good two-ways out there. I'll always be thankful for the help and advice you gave me when I was a cub photog at the Star. Next time you're out here on the left coast, give us a call.

Congratulations on your well deserved retirement Jim. Hope you have many years of "self directed" enjoyment.

Thank you for writing the story about the Holland Marsh drainage canals which ended up on the front page of the Toronto Star. It was because of that story that the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing got involved and made sure that small farmers didn't get stuck with massive bills for the work of cleaning the canals. The work is now well under way and hopefully the town will be diligent in spending the additional grants on their intended purpose.

thanks for the years of inspiration!!!!!
have a great adventure that is the future!

wilksy, It's been a great pleasure to work with one of the finest jounalist that I got to know well being an Office Messenger over my career at the Star, all the best to you in the new life your about to explore.

Craig Tahir

Jim, it has always been a pleasure reading your stories and seeing your photographs, often before they hit the paper as you were always willing to share your news/photo world with your next door neighbour. As an amateur photographer I have always admired your work and have learned a lot by exploring the mindset behind the pictures you took and I look forward to continuing that learning experience! Glenn

Jimmy, you were always first class, from the time we were young until, well, now -- lots yet to do -- hoping our paths will cross, here and there in the great metropolis. Alf

Hi Jim! I'm sorry I missed this news. I found it just now, January 29th, when I came across your photo-spread. I retired from Toronto Police ten years ago and miss it every day. The best days of my career were with the Public Affairs unit and I had a lot of fun, yes, really, with you and our friends at the Toronto Star.
You were always professional and you served your newspaper and community well. I don't know if you can remember how many times you helped me with a story so that Torontonians could benefit from the good work of our police officers and the excellent coverage of the Toronto Star.
Best wishes for a long, happy retirement. I hope our paths cross again soon.

Mike Sale, Toronto Police (Retired)

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