|Pierre Berton (2002)
Pierre Berton is one of Canada’s most celebrated journalists, historians and media personalities. Born in 1920 at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Mr. Berton has become a familiar name in Canada as a popular historian and best-known living writer.
Mr. Berton entered the newspaper business in Vancouver in 1942. At 21 years of age, he became the youngest city editor of any Canadian daily newspaper. He went on to become editor of Maclean’s magazine and later joined the Toronto Star. Since the late 1950s, Mr. Berton has hosted his own television shows or appeared as a panellist on public affairs programs such as Front Page Challenge.
During his illustrious career, Mr. Berton has authored many publications that have documented interesting and romantic aspects of Canadian history. Books such as 1967: The Last Good Year, Farewell to the Twentieth Century, and Vimy have, among others, drawn exceptional reviews.
Two of Mr. Berton’s popular books The National Dream (1970) and The Last Spike (1972) told the story of the background and construction of Canada’s first transcontinental railway in a colourful and detailed manner. These two works were later adapted as a television series that provided Canadians with a fascinating insight into the early history of the Canadian Pacific Railway and its fundamental role in the development of our nation. Mr. Berton’s dramatic narrative of The Last Spike earned him a third Governor General’s Award in 1972.
In addition to serving as chancellor of Yukon College, receiving numerous honorary degrees and four major literary awards, Mr. Berton is a Companion of the Order of Canada.
The National Dream and The Last Spike chronicled the beginning of the Canadian railway industry unlike any other narratives. As a result of Mr. Berton’s writing, Canadians learned of the important historical role the CPR provided in early national unity and as a driver of economic growth. This significant contribution to documentation of Canada’s railway history has earned Mr. Berton the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame’s “Annual Award of Recognition” in 2002.