RIP Michael Burns Sr.

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Word broke today that Michael Burns Sr., an award-winning sport photographer and the dean of all curling photographers worldwide, passed away on Monday at the age of 84.

Burns Sr

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, "Senior" started working at racetracks as an apprentice at Old Woodbine in Toronto in 1943. While working for Turofsky Photos in the 1940s and 1950s, Burns covered the National Hockey League at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.

As official photographer of the Ontario Jockey Club (Woodbine Entertainment Group) since 1956, his images promoted horse racing for more than 50 years.

Overall, Burns was part of the sports scene around the world for the past seven decades. He was the official photographer for the Canadian government at five Olympics... but curling fans also came to know his images very, very well.

Senior has been the official photographer of the Canadian Curling Association for decades, beginning in 1958, and his son, Michael Burns Jr., has taken over most of the curling shooting for decades, too. Back in April 2009, during the Ford Worlds, TCN blogger Katja Kiiskinen paid tribute to "Burnsie", junior version, who celebrated a milestone of his own at that historic championship.

The Curling News has been privileged to work with both Sr. and Jr. for decades, too, and we mourn the passing of Michael Burns today. Be sure to check out our next issue, the March 2010 "Brier" issue, for a spread of classic Michael Burns curling images.

For now, you can see one such image, taken at the 1976 Silver Broom (men's worlds) in Duluth on our Twitter feed, via Twitpic.

You can also read more praise for the Burns legend in this story from the Toronto Sun.

A funeral service will be held at 10 am on Friday, February 12 at St. Clement Catholic Church in Toronto, with a reception at St. George's Golf & Country Club. Visitation is from 2 pm to 4 pm on Thursday February 11at the Turner & Porter Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor St. West in Toronto.

Donations can be made c/o Dr. A. Simone, Canadian Food for Children Organization, 40 King George Rd., Toronto, Ont., M8X 1L3.