Finlay, who worked with the CBC for thirty-one years, has been described by former colleagues and listeners alike as an "exceptional storyteller, documentary maker, and editor."
According to the Toronto Police Service, Finlay was walking down Danforth Avenue near Jones Avenue on the afternoon of January 24 when he was randomly assaulted. During the altercation, Finlay "fell to the ground and sustained serious injuries," while the suspect fled the scene.
He was taken to hospital with broken ribs and discharged shortly after, but returned after his condition worsened.
Finlay's attacker is still at large. Police have described him as a male in his 20s, around 6 feet tall, with a slim build. He was last seen wearing all black, along with a red paper mask with flames on it.
Anyone with information has been asked to call the TPS at 416-808-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS.
In a Facebook post, former CBC foreign correspondent Frank Koller paid tribute to his friend and former colleague, and lamented the fact that Toronto's streets were becoming "increasingly violent."
"Michael had traveled the world, making wonderful radio programs about ... everything under the sun ... revolutions, politics, horse racing, disasters, Kim Dae Jung, boxing, Ireland," Koller wrote.
"He understood better than most what 'good radio' required, he knew what good journalism was - and he was a stickler for good grammar and pronunciation and the music and cadence of well-spoken English."
Koller went on to illustrate Finlay's "laser-like sense of what might be important news anywhere in the world," explaining that when he and a colleague were about to embark on a trip to Beijing to cover the Chinese economy, Finlay told him to ditch the story and go instead to the city's main square because "some old Chinese politician died today and there are hundreds of students heading downtown to commemorate him." They followed his advice, and ended up witnessing first-hand the events at Tiananmen Square.
During his storied career at the CBC, Finlay worked on programs such as Sunday Morning, Dispatches, and World At Six, and left a lasting impact wherever he went.
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