2004: Goodbye, Pierre Berton
More than any other writer, Pierre Berton brought Canadian history to life. Born in the Yukon in 1920, Berton was a journalist, broadcaster and panellist on the long-running CBC-TV program Front Page Challenge. His books on the remarkable people, places and events of the past helped create a national mythology and earned him a spot on the bookshelves and in the hearts of Canadians.
• Berton began wearing his signature bow ties in the early 1950s. In his 1995 book My Times, he recalled commenting on the bow tie of Hal Straight, his former editor. Straight dashed into a haberdashery, bought one for Berton, and showed him how to tie it. "From that moment I was hooked on bow ties," Berton wrote. "What was good enough for Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Harry Truman was good enough for me."
• Berton was an outspoken opponent of South Africa's policy of apartheid. In 1961, he compared apartheid South Africa with Nazi Germany and challenged Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to lead a Commonwealth revolt against apartheid.
• He also participated in anti-apartheid rallies, which prompted the RCMP to keep a file on him. They suspected him of communist sympathies.
• In 1984 Berton and fellow radio personality Charles Templeton developed a Canadian trivia game called Tour de Force. The game sold well and the pair made about $100,000.
• Canada's top history award is the Pierre Berton Award. It was established by the National History Society in 1994 and is awarded to people or organizations for "distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history."
Program: Canada Now
Broadcast Date: Nov. 30, 2004
Guest(s): Pierre Berton
Host: Diana Swain
Reporter: Dan Bjarnason
Rick Mercer's Monday Report produced by Island Edge Inc.
Last updated: April 29, 2013
Page consulted on March 5, 2014
All Clips from this Topic
In 1967, Pierre Berton rails against instant coffee and wife Janet exp...
Pierre Berton discusses his book Hollywood's Canada in 1975.
Berton produces his books of popular history at his peaceful rural ret...
Patsy Berton, Pierre's daughter and the illustrator of his beloved chi...
The journalist, broadcaster and historian passes away in 2004 at age 8...