Nick Vandergragt: A voice silenced (too soon) but forever remembered | Unpublished

Warning message

  • Last import of users from Drupal Production environment ran more than 7 days ago. Import users by accessing /admin/config/live-importer/drupal-run
  • Last import of nodes from Drupal Production environment ran more than 7 days ago. Import nodes by accessing /admin/config/live-importer/drupal-run

Unpublished Opinions

RobDekker's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

Rob currently works on Parliament Hill and is on the Daybreak Non-Profit Housing Board of Directors.  He writes regularly on his blog #RedHeartBlueSign at on lifestyle, political and personal topics.

Like it

Nick Vandergragt: A voice silenced (too soon) but forever remembered

February 24, 2024
Nick on air with CFRA.  Photo courtesy of Danno Saunt.

Nick Vandergragt was a local voice for Ottawans, he was on air on CFRA and online.  Nick passed away January 25, 2024 following a tragic accident while preparing for a sea adventure.

In the 4th week of January, Nick Vandergrat, surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren took his last breath in Victoria BC.  It was a long journey to get here and there was so much optimism that his death would not be the outcome.  Nick’s death was the result of a freak fall while working on his boat, Summersong, the boat that was to take him and Alison on their next worldly adventures.  Oh the stories that we wold have read if Nick and Alison had been away at sea. 

Like many in Ottawa, we knew Nick as Nick at Night, talking politics and current affairs on CFRA.  I met Nick on a couple of occasions, both were while I was running for provincial office.  Unlike now, CFRA once had local hosts that talked to local people who wanted to discuss local issues.  During campaigns he welcomed all candidates to sit with him and have their 15 minutes on-air.  I had my on airtime with Nick during the 2011 Ontario General Election.  Over his time on CFRA he must have interviewed hundreds of municipal, provincial, and federal candidates.

CFRA at the time Nick and other locals were on air was a meeting place to talk local news, politics and share opinions.  He was famously known as the host of Nick at Night and Sunnyside Nick. As CFRA became more of a Bell Media station, evenings became more of a satellite station for radio shows and sports and the local voices were silenced.  After CFRA, Nick went online and continued his on-air presence with the Nick and Joe Show, Joseph Ben-Ami co-hosted with Nick.  The loss of local voices on-air has a direct link to the slow decline of radio across the country.  I am sure if he were here today he would have a lot to say about the recent losses of great radio personalities in Ottawa and across the nations.

I only knew Nick from the edge of his life, so my remembrances are few.  I reached out to a few people I know knew Nick much better than I and asked for their stories and remembrances of Nick. 

Beth Trudeau

I first talked to Nick on CFRA when he was Nick at Night on Friday nights on CFRA radio.  His Conservative values and respect of veterans was a major attraction.  He always had a historical story or a joke to tell.  He continued this when he became Sunday morning Sunnyside Nick.  

I think I first met him in person at a Free-Thinking event that was regularly held at the National Archives.  It was thanks to Nick that many groups fighting for Canadian rights and freedoms, were given a voice.  In return, Nick was asked to speak at events such as Ontario Landowner meetings and even Emceed the Canadians for Language Fairness annual St. Patrick’s Day brunch, several times.  He was very much a friend of mine and a champion of those fighting for our God-given rights and freedoms.  

He will be sorely missed.  May he rest in peace.  

Debbie Jodoin

When meeting Nick you were immediately met with man of understanding, curiosity, warmth, and compassion. 

He had wonderful voice and mind for Talk radio. There was not a subject he didn’t take on and those who listened to his show felt they were listened to and their issues addressed . Even if you disagreed, he was still open to hear your side.

I was fortunate to get to know Nick, his beautiful wife Alison, and children. Exploring their farm and life meant much to me and others that were fortunate to be welcomed to their home . Nick has gone on his journey alone but will always be remembered 

Ron Barr

I got to know Nick through my association with the Greater Ottawa Truckers Association and my political advocacy that aligned with this true patriot. Recently, I was able to help Nick and Alison wrap up matters in Eastern Ontario so they could set sail into retirement, but unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned. God bless this unique soul; he gave so much and expected so little!


Over the Family Day weekend the Funeral Mass for Nick was held in Killaloe Ontario, about 2 hours west of Ottawa,  The church in Killaloe was filled with friends from across Canada, his radio days, his navy days as they shared their sadness with Nick’s family.  He touched so many people and they all came out for one final goodbye.  

He will be missed.

“A fair wind, and a following sea"


February 24, 2024