Yukon’s Own: Our Most Prolific Journalist-Author Ever


(Berton did a lot of media work; doing an LP for Arc was a natural since he grew up in Dawson and was well-aware of Service, later doing an interview with the author in France for CBC TV; cover by Windsor Art Studios)

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(Knopf, 1956 dj by Herbert Bayer, uncredited photo on blurb)


(McClelland & Stewart, 1970–signed from the 2 book, slipcased set, 1977; Berton also hosted The National Dream CBC tv series)

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(he took his family back to Dawson via boat; dj–signed, McClelland & Stewart, 1973)

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(rare 1958 signed letter from his days at Maclean’s magazine)

Whitehorse, YK-born Pierre (Francis de Marigny) Berton (1920-2004) was a popular best-selling journalist, historian, and media personality. Along with Farley Mowat, he was quite likely our country’s most popular and best-known writer in the ’50s through to the ’90s and a prolific non-fiction writer. In all, he wrote 50 books and was a great popularizer of Canadian history with tales of Arctic exploration, the building of the CPR, the Dionne quintuplets¬†sensation, and the Gold Rush.

Always ambitious,¬†Berton started his career in Vancouver as the youngest editor of any Canadian newspaper, edited MacLean’s¬† (from 1952- 1959), was a dogged panelist on CBC’s Front Page Challenge, and hosted the Pierre Berton Show from 1961-1973. He won the Governor General Award three times for The Mysterious North (1956), Klondike (1958), and The Last Spike (1972). Berton had a passion for quirky anecdotes and stories which were often featured in his work.

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