Pierre Berton

From Academic Kids

For other people with the same name, see Pierre Berton (disambiguation).

Pierre Berton, CC, O.Ont., B.A., D.Litt. (July 12, 1920November 30, 2004) was a noted Canadian author of non-fiction, especially Canadiana and Canadian history, and was a well-known television personality and journalist.

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Pierre Berton

Berton was one of Canada's most prolific and popular authors and an accomplished storyteller. The author of 50 books, Berton's literary career has been diverse. He produced an array of different genres, including books on popular culture, Canadian history, critiques of mainstream religion, anthologies, childrens' books and readable historical works for youth. He was credited with popularizing Canadian history by showing Canadians that their own history is far more interesting and exciting than they might have thought.

Berton raised eyebrows in October 2004 by discussing his forty years of recreational use of marijuana on two CBC Television programs, >play and Rick Mercer's Monday Report where he gave tips on how to roll a joint [1] ( [2] ( [3] (



He was born in Whitehorse, Yukon, and raised in the Yukon, where his parents had moved for the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. He worked in Klondike mining camps during his university years. He spent four years in the army, rising from private to captain and instructor at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. He spent his early newspaper career in Vancouver, where at 21 he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily.

He moved to Toronto in 1947, and at the age of 31 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. He joined the Toronto Star as associate editor and columnist in 1958, leaving in 1962 to commence The Pierre Berton Show, which ran until 1973. Since then he has appeared as host and writer on My Country, The Great Debate, Heritage Theatre, The Secret of My Success and The National Dream.

He has served as the Chancellor of Yukon College and, along with numerous honorary degrees, has 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 Leger National Heritage Award.

He is a member of Canada's Walk of Fame, having been inducted in 1998. In The Greatest Canadian project, he was voted #31 in the list of great Canadians.

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 CAD $12.6 million Pierre Berton Resource Library, named in his honour, was opened in Vaughan, Ontario. He had lived in nearby Kleinburg, Ontario, for about fifty years.

Berton passed away at Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto, reportedly due to heart failure, at the age of 84 on November 30, 2004.

His childhood home, now called Berton House, is a writers' retreat where a writer is allowed to live. The only stipulation is that the writer give a public lecture. Many books have been created during the tenancy of writers in that house.


Selected Publications

External links


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