Pioneering televangelist David Mainse, 81, dies

Televangelist David Mainse, founder of Burlington-based Crossroads Christian Communications, died Monday at the age of 81.
100 Huntley Street founder and longtime host David Mainse, seen here interviewing Stockwell Day in 2000, died Monday. (Kevin Frayer/Canadian Press)

Pioneering televangelist David Mainse, founder of Burlington-based Crossroads Christian Communications, died Monday at the age of 81.

Mainse, who hosted 100 Huntley Street, had MDS leukemia for five years before he died. 

Mainse pioneered Christian television programming in Canada, growing a weekly, 15-minute broadcast on a single Ontario TV station into an international operation. When he launched 100 Huntley Street in 1977, the show included a Jesuit priest and clergy from many Protestant denominations. 

"David used the platform of daily television to model open, respectful conversation on faith among citizens from coast-to-coast," said Lorna Dueck, Crossroads CEO, in an announcement of his death.

David Mainse in the early 1960s at CKSO in Sudbury. (Crossroads Christian Communication)

His efforts led to changes in Canadian broadcasting laws to allow religious groups to own and operate broadcast stations. He stepped down as host of 100 Huntley Street in 2003.

The Crossroads network grew to encompass an international relief and development fund, a family of children's camps and other spinoffs.

Mainse split his childhood between the Ottawa area and Sudbury.

He later returned to Sudbury to be the minister of Glad Tidings Tabernacle between 1964 and 1968.

David Mainse, seen here in 2005, founded Crossroads Christian Communications, Inc., and pioneered Christian television programming in Canada. ((Canadian Press))

During that time Mainse did regular broadcasts on CKSO television and while he had his start on TV in Pembroke in 1962, his program in Sudbury was picked up by CBC, which helped him first reach a national audience.

Mainse is survived by his wife, Norma-Jean, with whom he celebrated his 59th anniversary last week, and four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

100 Huntley Street will air special programming all week in honour of Mainse's life.