Todd van der Heyden has left the building
MONTREAL - After 12 years at CTV Montreal, anchor Todd van der Heyden is heading west for Toronto.
Todd will be joining CTV News Channel on Jan. 16 as co-anchor of Express with Amanda Blitz.
The Montreal native began his journalism career in 1997 at Montreal community access channel Videotron's Cable 9 and was soon spotted by CFCF 12, where he was hired as a daily news reporter. Within two years, he became a back-up news anchor.
In October 2003, Todd was promoted to covering On Your Side, an investigative news and consumer affairs segment.
"When we did On Your Side, we knew that we were doing some really cutting edge things and Todd deserves a lot of credit for that," said CTV executive producer Barry Wilson.
Two years later, Todd joined Tarah Schwartz at the weekend anchor desk.
In January 2007, Todd moved from weekends to weekdays at noon, sharing the desk with veteran newscaster Mutsumi Takahashi. When Brian Britt retired in 2008, Todd also took over the evening anchor chair, again co-anchoring with Mutsumi.
Always sharp on and off camera, colleagues said he'll be missed.
"This is a very witty man. He's got a great sense of humour. He's smart, he's quick," said reporter Stephane Giroux.
"I'm going to miss (him) around the newsroom," said reporter Tania Krywiak, currently on maternity leave. "I'll miss our discussions, and bounding things off of (him)."
Todd's charm and wit made him fans and friends in and outside the newsroom.
"Everywhere I go on a story, I'd start getting these questions… ‘Is Todd coming?' And mostly they were from 17-year-old girls, so Todd (is) leaving a lot of broken hearts in Montreal," said Caroline van Vlaardingen, who now reports for On Your Side.
His fashion sense will certainly be remembered by Stephane.
"Todd has to be the snappiest dresser we've ever had in the newsroom. The ties, the shirts -- he knew how to pick them faster and better than any fashion consultant we could have hired," he said.
Paul Karwatsky takes over co-anchoring with Mutsumi on an interim basis in January and said Todd has long been influential.
"He reached out and guided me, so that's how I'll remember Todd - a generous guy on and off the screen. (He has) some pretty big shoes to fill," said Paul. "And he also taught me how to put on makeup."
Beyond his professional relationship with the CTV staff, Todd has built friendships.
"We've been friends for a long time. We were roommates, in fact, and my favourite story was walking in on him singing his heart out to Elvis in front of the mirror," said Tania of the die-hard Presley fan. "I'll never forget that."
In the immortal words of The King, the staff at CTV Montreal wishes him well and says, "Thank you, thank you very much."
Todd van der Heyden and Amanda Blitz will host Express on CTV News Channel weekdays from 1-4 p.m. Todd's first day is Jan. 16.