Veteran Sri Lankan journalist, Srimal Abeyewardene, passed away at the age of 79 on Aug. 3rd in Toronto, Canada after a battle with cancer.
He leaves behind a legacy that spans five decades in the media industry and has significantly impacted the Sri Lankan community in Canada and beyond.
Over the course of his long career, Abeyewardene’s main achievement was the founding of The Sri Lanka Reporter, an award-winning English newspaper that catered to the Sri Lankan community in Canada.
Tried to bridge ethnic divides with ethnic newspaper
In Canada, Abeyewardene bridged ethnic divides as he expanded the publication that fostered community unity.
Abeyewardene embarked on his journalism journey in 1963 as a freelance sports reporter for the Ceylon Daily News. A year later, in 1964, he served as a clerk in the circulation department of the Independent Newspapers Sun-Davasa Group, while simultaneously fulfilling his duties as a correspondent for Moratuwa.
As his career progressed, Abeyewardene covered the tenure of President J.R. Jayawardene for the Times of Ceylon. His final journalistic endeavour in Sri Lanka saw him covering crime and defence for the Daily News throughout the tumultuous 1980s.
After he migrated to Canada in 1988, Abeyewardene founded The Sri Lanka Reporter in 1994. It swiftly grew to become the largest English Sri Lankan newspaper in North America. Additionally, he held the prestigious position of director at The National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, contributing his expertise and insight to a broader media landscape.
As a proud alumnus of St. Peter’s College Colombo, Abeyewardene’s commitment to his alma mater was evident. In 2013, he took a pioneering step by helping establish the first dedicated association for alumni in Ontario, Canada.