Passings: Lino Magagna served as a member of York University’s Board of Governors

Honorary Board of Governor member and York University advocate Lino Magagna died on Dec. 7 following a short battle with cancer.
Lino Magagna
Lino Magagna displays his Order of Canada medal

Born Jan. 23, 1933 in Revò, Trentino, Italy, Mr. Magagna arrived in Canada in 1952. When he was 19 years old, he left Italy and travelled to Halifax, N.S., arriving on his own with just one small suitcase and not knowing a word of English.

After arriving in Canada, Mr. Magagna boarded a train and travelled to Vancouver, B.C., where he completed his high school diploma at night and worked during the day as a labourer. He then completed training as a diesel mechanic at the British Columbia Institute of Technology graduating at the top of his class.
He spent his summers working on the Trans-Canada Highway and then travelled up and down the B.C. coast working as a heavy equipment mechanic. He always took a big box of books with him to read while up north. Four years after arriving in Canada, he pursued bachelor and then graduate degrees, first at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and then at the University of Toronto. It was at UBC where he met his lifelong friend and English Professor Gordon R. Elliott.

In addition to a successful career at Ontario Hydro supervising the design of computer controls for Ontario’s Nuclear Power Stations before moving to the finance department at Ontario Hydro before retirement, he also devoted his time and energy to various volunteer agencies and community groups because of his firm belief in social justice and his wish to help others.In the late 1960s, he became friends and worked closely with Charles Caccia, MP for Davenport. Mr. Magagna then became the president of COSTI-IIAS Immigrant Services for 10 years, the founder and first vice-president of the National Congress of Italian-Canadians, and former vice-chairman of the Canadian Consultative Council on Multiculturalism.

After 20 years on the Senate and the Board of Governors of York University, Mr. Magagna remained an honorary member of the University’s board. He was a member of the Board of the United Way GTA, Ontario March of Dimes and a member of the Ontario Council of University Affairs. In 1988, he was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada. He also received the Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals.

Donations in his memory would be appreciated to Music Toronto and Anishnawbe Health. To honour Mr. Magagna’s request, there will be no service but his family would appreciate any memories of their father, which can be shared at

Mr. Magagna leaves his son Mark, and daughter Marina, his grand-daughter Sophie, and dear partner, Robbie Shaw.