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Remembering Marty Bergmann

"This has been a tough few days -- lost a good friend in Marty Bergmann in that Resolute air crash. A great guy and a great Canadian".  That's how Peter Mansbridge broke the sad news today, when he let his followers on twitter know that both he, and The National, had a strong personal connection to one of the twelve passengers killed in Saturday's plane crash in Nunavut.

Peter and Marty.JPGViewers of The National may remember seeing Marty, who was the director of Natural Resources Canada's Polar Continental Shelf Program, in one of our Road Stories programs from the Arctic.  In fact, it wouldn't have happened without him.

Peter first crossed paths with Marty five years ago at an airport in Frankfurt.  "I was between flights and within 10 minutes he had talked me into doing this series off an icebreaker going through the Northwest Passage," Peter told CBC News.

Bottle boys.jpgTrue to his word, and not long after that conversation, Marty arranged for Peter and a National crew to accompany him and a team of researchers on the icebreaker Louis S. St. Laurent.  This extraordinary journey through the Northwest Passage culminated in a ground-breaking feature report that examined how climate change was affecting the North, and consequently Canada's ability to assert its claim of sovereignty over it.

martybergmann2.jpgAfter that story aired, Marty continued to pitch ideas to us about the North, and when we found opportunities to cover the Arctic, Marty was always there to help with background information, as well as the myriad logistics of producing television in a challenging environment.  Among many other stories, Marty's contribution was crucial to our special programs Arctic Nights in December 2007, and The Big Melt, which aired in September 2007, both of which are available for viewing online.

Marty was an inspiration, and a key resource with a vast knowledge of northern Canada, to Peter, to The National, and ultimately, to all of our viewers.  We have much to thank Marty for, and we are much poorer to have lost him.  Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, colleagues, and all who knew and cared about him.

Two trusts have been established in memory of Marty Bergmann.  One is to support research in the North, and one is for his family. People wishing to donate to the Marty Bergmann Family Trust can do so by referencing it by name at any Royal Bank branch.  Those wishing to donate to the Martin Bergmann Fund for Arctic Research can contact the Winnipeg Foundation at 1-877-974-3631.

A webcast of the memorial service for Marty Bergmann in Winnipeg on Tuesday, August 30 is available to view at this link.  Among others, Peter Mansbridge gave a eulogy for his friend, Marty, at the service.  It begins at approximately 17:40 on the webcast video.  The full transcript of the eulogy is also available to read online in "Peter Mansbridge celebrates the life of Arctic expert Martin Bergmann", on the website

You can read the story about Marty Bergmann, "Manitoban killed in Resolute Bay air crash", August 21, 2011 on, and watch The National's news story from August 21, 2011 about several of the crash victims, including Marty Bergmann, at

Read the Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada paying tribute to Marty Bergmann from August 22, 2011.