Warren E. Kalbach, Ph.D. F.R.S.C. 1922-2005

Wayne McVey has written a very touching Ode to Warren. Since it is not possible to preserve the layout of the ode within this web page, I have converted it to a PDF document. Please read Wayne's tribute here.

Suzanne Shiel
CPS Web Maintainer


It is with much sadness that I am communicating to you the news that Dr. Warren Kalbach, our colleague, scholar, friend and one of the "founding fathers" of Canadian Demography, passed away on Saturday, April 2, around midnight. Warren was a past president of Canadian Population Society (1982-84) and served the Society in many capacities, including editorship of the CPS Newsletter until four or five years ago. He was also a long-time member of the Society for Edmonton Demographers. 

Our hearts and thoughts are with Dr. Madeline Kalbach. On behalf of the Society, let me express our heartfelt condolences to her. 

Fernando Rajulton, President, CPS


Warren was born in 1922 in Seattle, Washington. He grew up there and attended the University of Washington for his undergraduate and graduate degrees. Warren has been a professor of Sociology since 1961. He held the title of Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto and was the Associate Chairman for Sociology at UTM from 1969-1988. He was Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary from 1995-2005. 

Warren was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada in 1989 and was awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award by the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association in 1997. He also received the Life Achievement Award from the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association in 2003. In 2004, The University of Calgary honoured him for his scholarly achievements in the areas of Human Behaviour, Institutions and Cultures. 

Warren is a demographer and sociologist. He is extremely well known in Canada and internationally for his work on Canada¹s population and immigration. He has written several books and monographs on these topics. He loved his research and worked full-time until May 2004. 

In lieu of flowers a donation to The Chair of Ethnic Studies in memory of Warren E. Kalbach, C/O Dean S. Randall, Social Sciences, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive, Calgary, AB., T2N 1N4 , The Gimbel Eye Centre, 450, 4935-40th 
Ave. N.W., T3A 2N1, or a charity of your choice would be appreciated. 

Dr. Madeline A. Kalbach 
Chair in Canadian Ethnic Studies 
University of Calgary


I had the pleasure of working closely with Warren Kalbach in the 1970's when we collaborated in researching and writing the 1971 census report on "Factors in the Adjustment of Immigrants and their Descendants" (Ottawa: Cat. 99-761E). His demographic knowledge and experience were invaluable and his friendship much appreciated. His death is a great loss to our profession.

Anthony H. Richmond 
Emeritus Professor of Sociology
York University , Toronto


Like many of us, I got to know of Warren Kalbach before I had the occasion of meeting him in person. As an undergraduate student in the early 1970s I had the good fortune of learning from his well-known book, The Demographic Bases of Canadian Society (with Wayne McVey Jr.). Warren has had an enduring positive influence on me, and I am sure also on all the individuals that have had the pleasure of knowing him as a colleague and a friend.

Frank Trovato 
Department of Sociology 
The University of Alberta


In Warren Kalbach person, our professional community lost a great colleague and friend. His contribution to demography, particularly ethnic studies, is well recognized and will withstand the challenges of time. What I most admired in Warren is his intellectual and personal integrity, unassuming and always friendly as he was. My thoughts these moments are with Madeline, his long time companion in life and in work.

Anatole Romaniuc


Warren Kalbach was a friend and a great intellectual, who has done fantastic service to Canada, the academic world and sociology/demography.

Warren saw my career at the beginning and for most of it and he was always interested in what I am doing. Our dinners at the meetings or in Ottawa were always so enjoyable and intellectual exciting. Warren career was very rightly rewarded by all that academia could offer. We will miss Warren. We are all much worse for his passing. May his soul rest in peace. We love you Warren.

Dr.G.Edward Ebanks, 
Professor Emeritus,Post Retirement Professor, 
Department of Sociology, 
Population Studies Centre (PSC),
University of Western Ontario


I acquired my first Canadian professional experience working with Professor Warren Kalbach, as a post-doctoral research associate at York University on  the 1971 Census monograph  "Factors in the Adjustment of Immigrants and their Descendants". Over the three years, 1975-1978 I used to commute often to Erindale Campus to report the progress to Warren . Also, we used to have coffee together. On several occasions during the CPS meetings we enjoyed  beer too. He was a great scholar, teacher and friend. His death is a great loss to our profession.

Madeline; Manju (my wife) and I will always remember Warren who provided us with  initial support and cooperation in our adjustment as  new immigrants to  Canada. May he rest in peace.

Ravi  B. P.Verma 
Senior Population Analyst 
Demography Division 
Statistics Canada


We are both so very sorry to hear about Warren. He was a wonderful colleague to both Ted Harvey and me at UofT for many years and we remain admirers of his scholarly work - I used his book in my classes for a long time because it was clear and readable and students (and colleagues) learned a great deal from it. He really did make great contributions to the understanding of Canadian society and a lot of us drew strength from his work.

When I was Chair of Sociology at UofT in the 1970's Warren was a most supportive and understanding colleague and I will always be grateful to him.

We send Madeline other deepest sympathy and best wishes.

Lorna Marsden


There is only one word that I can think of to describe Warren. He was a "mensch" - the yiddish expression for a wonderful and caring human being. I saw first hand the devotion and interest that he showed in the development and careers of young demographers in Canada. I also benefited personally from his seminal works on ethnicity. His numerous published works were fundamental references in my research and they will stand the test of time. While we may grieve his passing, we were blessed to have him among us.

Gustave Goldmann


My heart dropped when I learned that Warren had died.  He had a very important influence on me when I was just at the very start of my professional training. After finishing my BA at UBC I had the marvelous good fortune to get a internship at Statistics Canada in the Summer of 1964 and to be assigned to work with Warren on the project that led to his first census monograph, The Impact of Immigration on Canada's Population (based on the 1961 census).  Warren 's great generosity, warmth, sincerity and deeply reflected curiosity about the causes, nature and implications of ethnic change had a profound influence on me, and led me to shift the direction of my study plans.  Jean and I came to know Warren well that summer. He was a leading figure in Canadian population studies. I have always admired his scholarly work and enjoyed talking to him about his research.  He was for me a great mentor and friend. We will miss him deeply.  

Our most sincere and deeply felt sympathies to Madeline.                                                         
Alan Simmons


I was saddened to hear of the death of our friend and colleague Warren Kalbach. My very first introduction to demography came from Warren when I was an undergraduate at the University of Toronto in 1972. Those were highly politicized times and Warren 's course was an island of calm in a turbulent sea. The idea of patiently gathering empirical data and using it to assess the validity of an argument was a new approach for many of us. I loved the course and it was my first step on the path to becoming a demographer. I have always felt a debt to Warren for pointing me in the right direction! Warren had a real love for our field. Although I remember him being angry about being forced to retire from the U of T, it did not slow him down. He continued to be an involved and productive scholar for many more years. I join with the many others who have written fondly about Warren in sending my deepest sympathies to Madeline.

Kevin McQuillan 
Department of Sociology 
University of Western Ontario


With Warren 's departure, we not only lost a great scholar but also a wonderful colleague. Madeline and Warren had already joined the University of Calgary when I applied for a position in 1998. When I flew there for the interview, they picked me up at the airport, had dinner with me, and gave me a very wise advice: "Don't say that you are a demographer!" (Apparently some faculty members held a prejudice against demographers). I got the job and soon started to appreciate Madeline and Warren's colleagueship. I would often come across Warren in the department's lounge. We would talk about work, but also about Alberta 's infamous weather, local politics, etc. And Warren would always make me laugh by telling me the latest bear or cougar stories in the national park (knowing that I was a keen hiker). We will miss him dearly. I join others in sending my deepest sympathies to Madeline.

Anne H. Gauthier, D.Phil. 
Canada Research Chair in Comparative Public Policy 
Department of sociology, University of Calgary


Because of his research, his texts, and his administrative contributions, Warren Kalbach will be remembered and respected by students of population as one of the founders of demography in Canada. However, as a sociologist, and at best only a soft-core demographer, I am even more appreciative of the impact he had on the scientific side of sociology, and for the warmth of his friendship.

At different points in time, Warren established population research labs at both the Universities of Alberta and Toronto. Since I received my Ph.D. from the former, and am employed by the latter, this was particularly important for me, as well as many others. These population research labs had an enormous impact on the production of population research and population researchers, which affected the sociology departments in which they were housed. At the U of A, even long after Warren had moved on, the Lab became the demographic base of sociology in Edmonton, and a physical manifestation of the Department's staunchly empirical soul during its golden age. (In that period, the University of Alberta produced more Ph.D.'s in sociology than did any other university in the country, including the University of Toronto.)

When Warren arrived at U of T, he started another population research unit at Erindale College. Warren also administered the Sociology Department at Erindale, and managed to develop and maintain an empirical orientation in spite of a relentless and occasionally successful effort by the downtown campus to place sympatico faculty at the College (staffing at Erindale was done through Downtown committees). By the time I arrived in 1979, Warren had Professors Simpson, Kervin, and Hagan supporting his view of sociology as a fundamentally empirical undertaking, countering the fact-free social thought then in style on the downtown campus, and Erindale became the centre of mainstream professional sociology at the University of Toronto.

Warren was the glue that held things together at Erindale, injecting good nature, common sense, and professionalism into an organization which suffered from a shortage of all of three. This was painfully evident after he retired and left for Calgary, and Erindale began to lose the empirical thread that Warren had established and so energetically protected. The most productive of us left Mississauga for the downtown campus or for the U.S. Erindale (now called the University of Toronto in Mississauga) has only recently begun to recover from the intellectual, professional, and emotional reversals created by Warren's departure.

Warren Kalbach's influence on the University of Toronto is still evident. Research on ethnicity and immigration and population is a departmental strength, in the capable hands of his friends, Monica Boyd, Jeff Reitz, Ann Sorenson, and especially Eric Fong. (I say especially Eric, because he was attracted to sociology when he was an undergraduate at Western, in a class taught by Kevin McQuillan. For his part, Kevin had been attracted to the field while taking an undergraduate course at the University of Toronto, years earlier. The instructor was Warren Kalbach.)

Warren's legacy at the University of Alberta, embodied in the population lab and the annual Kalbach lecture series continues, just as it does here in Toronto. However, he looms largest in the memory of his friends. The best tribute came from John Hagan, who on hearing of Warren's passing, phoned to commiserate and concluded by saying Seeing him just made you feel better. That's for sure. Thanks for everything, Warren.

Ron Gillis
representing Sociology at the University of Toronto