The new Ontario bureau for The Narwhal: Emma McIntosh, Denise Balkissoon and Fatima Syed. Photo: Christopher Katsarov Luna
The Narwhal Launches in Ontario With All-Star Bureau of Journalists

At a time when questions persist about the future and health of journalism, The Narwhal has emerged as one of Canada’s most trusted and respected outlets for environmental news. Starting out in British Columbia in 2018, The Narwhal has steadily increased the geographic scope of its coverage, racking up readers, recognition, and awards along the way.

The Narwhal’s reporting has been regularly cited in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and CBC. This year alone, they won 10 national journalism awards and co-founders Emma Gilchrist and Carol Linnitt were named to the 2022 Clean 50.

In September, The Narwhal officially launched its Ontario bureau with tremendous support from Ontarians — including 10,000 people who signed up to support its expansion into the province — and funding from the Metcalf Foundation, McConnell Foundation, and Echo Foundation.

The new bureau of award-winning journalists includes:

  • Denise Balkissoon, Ontario Bureau Chief
    Denise brings over 20 years of experience to lead The Narwhal Ontario bureau. She was most recently the executive editor of Chatelaine and previously worked a columnist and editor at The Globe and Mail.
  • Emma McIntosh, Ontario Reporter
    Emma has worked as an investigative reporter at the Toronto Star and was most recently the Queen’s Park reporter at the National Observer. In 2019, she won a Canadian Association of Journalists’ award for human rights reporting.
  • Fatima Syed, Ontario Reporter
    Fatima has worked for The Walrus, the Toronto Star, The Logic, and National Observer, and is host of Canadaland’s podcast about politics, The Backbench. During the pandemic, she provided in-depth coverage on its impact in Peel Region for The Local.

The Metcalf Foundation first supported The Narwhal in 2020 when we funded the award-winning Carbon Cache series — which examines the role of Canada’s natural landscapes in the fight against climate change — and eagerly committed additional funding for the Ontario expansion.


We’ve watched The Narwhal pioneer a thriving new model for public-interest journalism in western Canada and are excited to help bring their thoughtful investigative reporting on environmental issues to Ontario. The Narwhal has done a tremendous job of attracting a loyal audience that’s keen to support its journalism and we’re thrilled to help catalyze the creation of a robust bureau in Ontario.

Sandy Houston

President and CEO, Metcalf Foundation

The Foundation is proud to be an early and ongoing supporter of The Narwhal’s work. We are excited for this new chapter of investigative environmental journalism in Ontario and look forward to reading the coverage to come.