Sitting in the Lady Eaton College dining hall, time stood still for Trent alumnus Jonathan Pinto ’06.
Back on campus for the first time in over a decade, the CBC Radio Up North host (and renowned foodie) was taking part in a panel discussion on Decolonizing Curry when his surroundings harkened him back to his younger days.
“Sitting in that dining hall, with its very strange sightlines, having a discussion about the food that we were eating brought me back to the many discussions I had in that dining hall as a student,” he notes. “It was good to see that discourse and discussion – and food – was alive and well at Trent.”
Visiting the University for a few appearances, including the curry panel discussion sponsored by Lady Eaton College and a Catharine Parr Traill College/Trent Radio presentation and interview, the past remained present for much of Jonathan’s stay.
“Walking across the bridge, going into buildings, things are different obviously, but also the same. There's still the same feeling that was there when we graduated, which is now 13 years ago. Which is kind of wild!”
A glimpse into the past
Jonathan offered current students a glimpse into this time at Trent, and how it has helped inform and influence both his life and career, particularly during his evening interview session at Traill.
Held in Bagnani Hall and live broadcasted by Trent Radio, the event “From Canadian Studies to Canadian Stories” saw Jonathan being interviewed by Traill College principal Dr. Michael Eamon before an appreciative audience.
The live broadcast was particularly suiting for Jonathan, whose radio career started at the University and who has fond memories of being a Canadian Studies student. The event was co-sponsored by Traill College, The School for the Study of Canada and Careerspace that runs the annual CBC/Gzowski Internship competition at Trent.
“After I graduated from Trent, I was the recipient of the CBC Radio Peter Gzowski Internship, which is available to Trent graduates,” he recalls. “I spent the summer at CBC in Toronto and loved it.”
Believing that his career future held different plans, however, Jonathan followed up the internship by attending University of Waterloo for a master’s degree in urban planning, after which he hoped to become an urban planner focussing on transit.
But while at Waterloo, CBC kept calling and he took on roles filling in for sick leaves and vacations, usually for Metro Morning and Ontario Morning. Recognizing how much he enjoyed the work; Jonathan saw a job opening for CBC’s Windsor Morning and was hired as an associate producer and studio technician/director.
In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, he moved to Sudbury to become the host of Up North, CBC's regional afternoon show for northern Ontario.
“It was a career path that was not planned at all,” he recalls. “If asked 13 years ago, I would not have seen this coming.”
Foundational: Jonathan’s views on Trent’s unique approach to education
“It’s the interdisciplinarity of the University,” he explains. “Whether you're in sciences or in the arts, it really creates this ability to adapt to changing career dynamics, and where you want to go. It enables you to explore new paths that you might not have considered. Not every university is like that.”
This education also helped fuel the curiosity that is integral to his current role.
“That curiosity, that interdisciplinarity is huge. Just that ability to ask questions. For me, it's literally what I do every day for a living… I learned to see things from so many different angles while at Trent, which is what I continue to do today.”
And during his Trent visit, glancing around at the unique angles of the Ron Thom-designed Lady Eaton dining hall, he realized that he wouldn’t have his Trent past or CBC present in any other way, with the past and present pointing to a very exciting future.
Learn more about the CBC Peter Gzowski Internship that launched Jonathan’s career in radio.