Kim Bolan

Kim Rosemary Bolan - Renowned Journalist

Inducted May 17, 2024

Kim Rosemary Bolan embodies the very essence of the Walk of Achievement mission.  Through her unwavering dedication and exemplary leadership, she ignites inspiration in those around her every single day. Her extraordinary body of work stands as a testament to her enduring influence and the positive ripple effect it has on our community. 

For over 40 years, Kim Bolan has been an investigative reporter at The Vancouver Sun, focusing on terrorism and organized crime. Her first big story was the unprecedented Air India terrorist attack on June 23, 1985. Over two decades, Kim investigated the case and broke many stories about the perpetrators. 

Although Kim has lived in Vancouver during her professional life, she calls “the Valley” home.  Her career has taken her to many parts of the globe, but she fondly recalls that it was when she was living in Courtenay that she was introduced to what would become her life long career. 

At Lake Trail middle School her teacher, Pat Lewis, encouraged her to begin writing in their student paper, the Lion Tracks. At G.P. Vanier High School, she credits Brent Reid with his lessons on the importance of community news when she wrote for the Stokum Pipeline. She broadened her scope with articles about the school, published in the “Green Sheet”, then the local community newspaper, and also for the Victoria Times Colonist who paid her a lofty 25 cents a column. 

After earning a degree at the University of Victoria, she knew exactly what she wanted for her career path, so she enrolled in the Masters of Journalism program at Western University in London, Ontario. 

In 1985, she earned her first professional accolade, the Jack Wasserman, ‘Young Journalist’s Award’ for a series of stories on the impact on families and residents when the Kamloops Tranquille Institution was closed. 

Kim continued to investigate the Air India bombing for 25 years, culminating in the publication (in 2005) of her book, “Loss of Faith”. This full record of the devastation caused by the acts of terrorism earned her the ‘Dafoe Book Prize’. More importantly it led to the Government of Canada calling for a full public inquiry into the RCMP and CSIS failure to discover issues both before and after the twin bombings. Her work led to death threats, the murder of a colleague and a shooting outside of her home. All of this did not stop her from working towards getting justice for the 331 victims of what has been called Canada’s deadliest mass murders. 

Kim has also spent the last 20 years digging into gang violence and organized crime, revealing the major problems that cross British Columbia. Kim’s cutting-edge reporting has brought more death threats which required her to take extra security measures.  In 2017, when she was covering a United Nations gang murder trial, a witness testified about a plot to kill her.  

Once while cycling in Stanley Park, Kim received a call from a blocked number. After listening for some time, she replied: “If you want to threaten me, then tell me your name, otherwise stop with the anonymous threatening calls”. As one journalist friend commented: “No one gets a pass when they have done wrong, but they are always treated fairly and with respect”. 

She has sent reports from war zones in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Afghanistan. She also travelled to India, Pakistan and the U.K. over the years to research those behind the Air India bombing. 

In 2024, with the funding from the Lieutenant Governor’s Journalism Fellowship, she produced an in-depth series on Canada’s role in transnational organized crime which allowed her to investigate in Oceania, Fiji and Southeast Asia.

Kim has won or been a finalist for 47 journalism prizes over her 40-year career, gaining recognition at the provincial, national and international level. 

Some of her awards include:
• 2021 - The Canadian Journalism Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award 
• 2020 - Canadian Journalism Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award 
• 2018 - Canadian Journalists for Free Expression’s Tara Hayer Memorial Award 
• 2018 - An Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from University of the Fraser Valley 
• 2017 - Jack Webster Foundations’ Bruce Hutchinson Lifetime Achievement Award

Kim maintains a steadfast bond with Courtenay and its surroundings, despite residing in Vancouver where she has raised her sons.  Her profound connection to her hometown, affectionately known as “the Valley” reflects the enduring influence of her upbringing.  Kim attributes her confidence and her ability to effect change to the invaluable support she received from exceptional educators, mentors, neighbours and lifelong friends. 

The Comox Valley Walk of Achievement honours remarkable individuals from the Comox Valley whose profound impact transcends their professional and personal sphere. These exceptional individuals inspire our youth to embrace their potential, encouraging them to dream big and explore the endless opportunities awaiting them. Their contribution instills a sense of pride in our community, affirming that we are a place that values nurtures achievement. 

Kim Rosemary Bolan embodies the very essence of the Walk of Achievement mission.  Through her unwavering dedication and exemplary leadership, she ignites inspiration in those around her every single day. Her extraordinary body of work stands as a testament to her enduring influence and the positive ripple effect it has on our community. 

Speaking at the Comox Valley Walk of Achievement Induction ceremony for journalist Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun Editor-In-Chief Harold Munro congratulates Kim on her investigative professionalism working the Vancouver Sun for 40 years.

Letter of support from British Columbia Lieutenant Governor, Janet Austin

“Focused, formidable and fearless in equal measure, Kim Bolan is surely among the most courageous people I have known. A 40-year veteran with the Vancouver Sun, she has valiantly reported on criminal gangs in British Columbia – often in the face of ongoing threats and at considerable risk to her personal safety.  In 2023, Kim was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Journalism Fellowship, enabling her to investigate the international tentacles of BC-based organized crime. This work highlighted the challenges of policing in the Vancouver Fraser Port, causing policing and government authorities to respond with renewed urgency. Kim is an icon in the BC media scene and an inspiration to her peers and colleagues.  Her work is proof of the powerful role that a principled and persistent journalist can play in exposing criminal activity, keeping the public informed, and holding power to account. Kim exemplifies the very best in the practice of journalism and I am proud to know her.”

Pattern Energy Canada
Pattern Energy Canada

We'd like to acknowledge the Comox Valley Echo (Judy Hagen, Hunt For History) and the Comox Valley Record for their research and articles about these Comox Valley Walk of Achievement Honourees.

Pattern Canada is pleased to support the Comox Valley Walk of Achievement with financial assistance in developing this website.

Special thanks to Bruce McPhee whose support enabled us to create this website and the Honouree signage along Fifth Street in Courtenay, BC.