Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Pierre Berton, R.I.P.

CBC News: Author Pierre Berton dies

The first Pierre Berton book I ever read was The Secret World of Og, when I was eight years old or so. It turned out this was the only children's book he'd ever written.

When I was in elementary school and we were studying Canadian history, the teacher played videos of The National Dream, hosted by Berton and based on his two works on the Canadian Pacific Railway.

When I got into university, I read a lot more of his stuff in my spare time, including the volume that inspired my Urban Possum blog.

No matter how you look at it, Pierre Berton was a true Canadian icon, right up there with Peter Gzowski and Barbara Frum. Not as Toronto-centric as the other two (his roots were in B.C. and the Yukon) but a distinctive personality.

Even today, when my tastes in reading have changed, I've bought his work, the latest one being a book about writing. He was still going strong, still prolific even if a bit more curmudgeonly than before.

Canada could use more Pierre Bertons. He'll be sadly missed.