Berton and Ruby in their later years at Kleinburg, Ontario
|Born||Pierre Francis de Marigny Berton|
July 12, 1920
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
|Died||November 30, 2004 84) (aged|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Resting place||Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada|
|Alma mater||University of British Columbia|
Pierre Francis de Marigny Berton(July 12, 1920 – November 30, 2004) was a noted Canadian author of non-fiction, especially Canadiana and Canadian history, and was a television personality and journalist. He won many honours and awards for his books.
An accomplished storyteller, Berton was one of Canada's most prolific and popular authors. He wrote on popular culture, Canadian history, critiques of mainstream religion, anthologies, children's books and historical works for youth. He was also a founder of the Writers' Trust of Canada, a non-profit literary organization that seeks to encourage Canada's writing community. Berton's 50 books became popular in part due to his light and fast-paced writing style.
He was born on July 12, 1920, in Whitehorse, Yukon, where his father had moved for the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush.His family moved to Dawson City, Yukon in 1921. His mother, Laura Beatrice Berton (née Thompson) was a school teacher in Toronto until she was offered a job as a teacher in Dawson City at the age of 29 in 1907. She met Frank Berton in the nearby mining town of Granville shortly after settling in Dawson and teaching kindergarten. Laura Beatrice Berton's autobiography of life in the Yukon entitled I Married the Klondike was published in her later years and gave her, what her son Pierre describes as 'a modicum of fame, which she thoroughly enjoyed.'
Berton's family moved to Victoria, British Columbia, in 1932. At age 12 he joined the Scout Movement and later wrote that "The Scout Movement was the making of me". He credited Scouting with keeping him from becoming a juvenile delinquent. He started his journalism career in scouting and later wrote that "the first newspaper I was ever associated with was a weekly typewritten publication issued by the Seagull Patrol of St. Mary’s Troop." He remained in scouting for seven years and wrote about his experiences in an article titled "My Love Affair with the Scout Movement".
Like his father, Pierre Berton worked in Klondike mining camps during his years as a history major at the University of British Columbia,where he also worked on the student paper The Ubyssey . He spent his early newspaper career in Vancouver, where at 21 he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily, replacing editorial staff that had been called up during the Second World War.
Berton himself was conscripted into the Canadian Army under the National Resources Mobilization Act in 1942 and attended basic training in British Columbia, nominally as a reinforcement soldier intended for The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada.He elected to "go Active" (the euphemism for volunteering for overseas service) and his aptitude was such that he was appointed Lance Corporal and attended NCO school, and became a basic training instructor in the rank of corporal. Due to a background in university Canadian Officers' Training Corps (COTC) and inspired by other citizen-soldiers who had been commissioned, he sought training as an officer.
Berton spent the next several years attending a variety of military courses, becoming, in his words, the most highly trained officer in the military. He was warned for overseas duty many times, and was granted embarkation leave many times, each time finding his overseas draft being cancelled.A coveted trainee slot with the Canadian Intelligence Corps saw Berton, now a Captain, trained to act as an Intelligence Officer (IO), and after a stint as an instructor at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, he finally went overseas in March 1945. In the UK, he was told that he would have to requalify as an IO because the syllabus in the UK was different from that in the intelligence school in Canada. By the time Berton had requalified, the war in Europe had ended. He volunteered for the Canadian Army Pacific Force (CAPF), granted a final "embarkation leave", and found himself no closer to combat employment by the time the Japanese surrendered in September 1945.
In 1947 he went on an expedition to the Nahanni River with pilot Russ Baker. Berton's account for the Vancouver Sun was picked up by International News Service, making him a noted adventure-travel writer.
Berton moved to Toronto in 1947. At the age of 31 he was named managing editor of Maclean's .In 1957, he became a key member of the CBC's public affairs flagship program, Close-Up, and a permanent panelist on the popular television show Front Page Challenge . That same year, he also narrated the Academy Award-nominated National Film Board of Canada documentary City of Gold , exploring life in his hometown of Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush. He then released an album in conjunction with Folkways Records, entitled The Story of the Klondike: Stampede for Gold – The Golden Trail.
Berton joined the Toronto Star as associate editor of the Star Weekly and columnist for the daily paper in 1958, leaving in 1962 to commence The Pierre Berton Show , which ran until 1973. [ citation needed ]On this show in 1971 Berton interviewed Bruce Lee in what was to be the famous martial artist's only surviving television interview. Berton's television career included spots as host and writer on My Country , The Great Debate , Heritage Theatre , The Secret of My Success and The National Dream . From 1966 to 1984, Berton and long-time collaborator Charles Templeton made the daily syndicated radio debate show Dialogue, based first at CFRB and later at CKEY.
Berton served as the chancellor of Yukon College and, along with numerous honorary degrees, received over 30 literary awards such as the Governor General's Award for Creative Non-Fiction (three times), the Stephen Leacock Medal of Humour, and the Gabrielle Léger Award for Lifetime Achievement in Heritage Conservation.[ citation needed ] He is a member of Canada's Walk of Fame, having been inducted in 1998. In The Greatest Canadian project, he was voted No. 31 in the list of great Canadians. Berton was named Toronto Humanist of the Year 2003 by the Humanist Association of Toronto. The honour is presented by H.A.T. to men and women who, in their actions and creative endeavours, exemplify the principles of Humanism: a commitment to reason, compassion, ethics and human dignity. He was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest decoration, and was also a member of the Order of Ontario.[ citation needed ]
In 2004, Berton published his 50th book, Prisoners of the North, after which he announced in an interview with CanWest News Service that he was retiring from writing. On October 17, 2004, the $12.6 million CAD Pierre Berton Resource Library, named in his honour, was opened in Vaughan, Ontario.
He had lived in nearby Kleinburg, Ontario, for about 50 years.
Berton attracted attention in October 2004 by discussing his 40 years of recreational use of marijuana on two CBC Television programs, Play and Rick Mercer Report . On the latter show he gave a "celebrity tip" on how to roll a joint.
Berton was an atheist.
Berton died at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, reportedly of heart failure, at the age of 84 on November 30, 2004.His cremated remains were scattered at his home in Kleinburg. He was survived by his wife and their eight children, along with 14 grandchildren.
Established in 1994, the Pierre Berton Award is presented annually by Canada's National History Society for distinguished achievement in presenting Canadian history in an informative and engaging manner. Berton was the first recipient and agreed to lend his name to future awards.
His childhood home in Dawson City, Yukon, now called Berton House, is currently used as a retreat for professional Canadian writers. Established authors apply for a three-month-long subsidized residency, adding to the area's literary community with events such as local public readings. Previously, the Berton House Writers' Retreat was administered by the Berton House Writers' Retreat Society and Elsa Franklin, Pierre Berton's long-time editor and agent. In October 2007, the deed to Berton House was passed to the Writers' Trust of Canada; the literary organization now oversees the program as part of its roster of literary support.
A school in Vaughan, Ontario, was named for Pierre Berton in the York Region District School Board in September 2011. The Berton family visited and had an official opening of the school in front of the students.
Pierre Berton received many honorary degrees in recognition of his work as a writer and historian. These include:
|1973||University of Prince Edward Island||Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)|
|Spring 1974||York University||Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.)|
|1978||Dalhousie University||Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)|
|June 5, 1981||Brock University||Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)|
|June 6, 1981||University of Windsor||Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.)|
|1982||Athabasca University||Doctor of Athabasca University (D.AU)|
|May 1983||University of Victoria||Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)|
|November 1983||McMaster University||Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.)|
|May 18, 1984||Royal Military College of Canada||Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)|
|1984||University of Alaska Fairbanks||Doctor of Fine Arts (DFA)|
|May 30, 1985||University of British Columbia||Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.)|
|1988||University of Waterloo||Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)|
|June 7, 2002||University of Western Ontario||Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)|
The Battles of the War of 1812
Exploring the Frozen North
Canada Moves West
The Great Klondike Gold Rush
There is also Berton's abridged version of “The National Dream” and “The Last Spike” that was published in 1974 and a compendium of the two books “The Invasion of Canada” and Flames Across the Border” entitled the “War of 1812” published in 1980,
A comprehensive biography of Pierre Berton was written by A. B. McKillop. It was published in 2008, four years after Berton's death at age of 84.
All of Pierre Berton's writings, including finished books and articles as well as manuscripts, drafts, and research material are now held in the Pierre Berton fonds at the McMaster University Archives here.
Yukon is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 35,874 people as of the 2016 Census. Whitehorse, the territorial capital and Yukon's only city, is the largest settlement in any of the three territories.
The Klondike Gold Rush was a migration by an estimated 100,000 prospectors to the Klondike region of the Yukon, in north-western Canada, between 1896 and 1899. Gold was discovered there by local miners on August 16, 1896, and, when news reached Seattle and San Francisco the following year, it triggered a stampede of prospectors. Some became wealthy, but the majority went in vain. It has been immortalized in artifacts, films, games, literature, and photographs.
George Elliott Clarke, is a Canadian poet, playwright and literary critic who served as the Poet Laureate of Toronto from 2012 to 2015 and as the 2016–2017 Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate. His work is known largely for its use of a vast range of literary and artistic traditions, its lush physicality and its bold political substance. One of Canada's most illustrious poets, Clarke is also known for chronicling the experience and history of the Black Canadian communities of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, creating a cultural geography that he has coined "Africadia".
Gregory "Greg" Hollingshead, CM is a Canadian novelist. He was formerly a professor of English at the University of Alberta, and he lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Major General Sir Samuel Benfield Steele was a distinguished Canadian soldier and police official. He was an officer of the North-West Mounted Police, most famously as head of the Yukon detachment during the Klondike Gold Rush, and commanding officer of Strathcona's Horse during the Boer War.
Dawson City, officially the Town of the City of Dawson, is a town in the Canadian territory of Yukon. It is inseparably linked to the Klondike Gold Rush (1896–99). Its population was 1,375 as of the 2016 census, making it the second largest town of Yukon.
The Writers' Trust of Canada is a charitable organization which provides financial support to Canadian writers.
Charlotte Gray, CM is a British born Canadian historian and author. The Winnipeg Free Press has called her "one of Canada's best-loved writers of popular history and literary biography."
Ken McGoogan is the Canadian author of fifteen books, including Flight of the Highlanders, Dead Reckoning, 50 Canadians Who Changed the World, How the Scots Invented Canada, and four biographical narratives focusing on northern exploration and published internationally: Fatal Passage, Ancient Mariner, Lady Franklin's Revenge, and Race to the Polar Sea.
The Northern or Northwestern is a genre in various arts that tell stories set primarily in the later half of the 19th century in the north of North America, primarily in Canada but also in Alaska. It is similar to the Western genre, but many elements are different, as appropriate to its setting. It is common for the central character to be a Mountie instead of a cowboy or sheriff. Other common characters include fur trappers and traders, lumberjacks, prospectors, First Nations people, settlers, and townsfolk.
City of Gold is a 1957 Canadian documentary film by Colin Low and Wolf Koenig, chronicling Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush. The film is narrated by Pierre Berton and produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
The Yukon Field Force, later termed the Yukon Garrison, was a unit of 203 officers and men from the Permanent Force of the Canadian Militia that served in the Yukon between 1898 and 1900. The force was created in the wake of the Klondike Gold Rush in response to fears that the United States might attempt to seize the region. It left Ottawa on May 6 1898, travelling by rail and sea to the port of Glenora in British Columbia. From there, the unit made an arduous journey of 890 kilometres (550 mi) on foot and using makeshift boats to Fort Selkirk, where they established their headquarters. A detachment of 72 men was sent to the boom town of Dawson City to support the North West Mounted Police, with duties that included guarding the gold deposits of the local banks. As the fears of an annexation reduced, pressures grew for the recall of the force. The force was halved in size in July 1898 and the remainder were finally withdrawn in June 1900.
Robert William Service was a British-Canadian poet and writer, often called "the Bard of the Yukon".
Alexander "Big Alex" McDonald (1859–1909) was a Canadian gold prospector who made a fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush, earning himself the title "King of the Klondike".
The Klondike Gold Rush is commemorated through film, literature, historical parks etc.
The Grand Forks Hotel was a prominent roadhouse during the Klondike Gold Rush, situated near Dawson City in the Yukon region of Canada.
The O'Brien Brewing and Malting Company, also known as the Klondike Brewery, was a brewery founded by Thomas O'Brien in Klondike City, an adjoining settlement to Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada from 1904 to 1919. It was established during a period in which Dawson City was expected to become an important regional city, and used modern techniques and equipment imported from California. It was initially successful, selling 68,748 gallons of beer in 1905, but Dawson's population declined and growing temperance attitudes threatened the business. O'Brien sold the company in 1915, and in 1919 prohibition forced its closure. The brewery was abandoned, and the remains of the site are now owned by the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation.
Michael "Black Mike" Winage was a Serbian Canadian miner, pioneer and adventurer who settled in the Yukon towards the end of the Klondike Gold Rush and who allegedly lived to be 107 years old.
Discovery Claim is a mining claim at Bonanza Creek, a watercourse in the Yukon, Canada. It is the site where, in the afternoon of August 16, 1896, the first piece of gold was found in the Yukon by prospectors. The site is considered to be the place where the Klondike gold rush started. It is located around 17 km south-southeast of Dawson City. The Discovery claim was designated a National Historic Site of Canada on July 13, 1998.
The history of the North-West Mounted Police in the Canadian north describes the activities of the North-West Mounted Police in the North-West Territories at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th. The mounted police had been established to control the prairies along the Canadian-United States border in 1873, but were then also deployed to control the Yukon region during the Klondike Gold Rush, and subsequently expanded their operations into the Hudson Bay area and the far north. The force was amalgamated in 1920 to form part of the new Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who continued their predecessors' work across the region.