Pierre Berton was so many things to so many people, it is sometimes forgotten what a standard-bearer he was for the highest ethics in journalism. Coupled with his commitment to the underdogs and oppressed, this made him a genuine hero. Thanks to Pierre Berton, we know how to define the notion of the good journalist,' said John Fraser, Vice-Chair of CJF and Master, Massey College.
Pierre Berton was a star of television and radio, a famous storyteller and a household name across Canada. As a columnist at the Toronto Star, Berton wrote an outstanding 1,500 words, six days a week. He was named managing editor of Maclean's at the age of 31. As a broadcaster, Berton was a fixture on Front Page Challenge for 39 years, hosted The Pierre Berton Show, and was a host and writer on My Country, The Great Debate, Heritage Theatre, and The Secret of My Success.
A brilliant writer, Berton engaged Canadians of all ages with his more than 50 books. Including books about popular culture, anthologies, books for children, coffee table books, and of course many works covering Canada's history, his work appealed equally to historians and the general public. Berton's youth in the Yukon had a profound influence on his life and work, as shown in his body of workmore than 20 of his books take place in the North.
Berton received over 30 literary awards, a dozen honorary degrees and was appointed as a companion of the Order of Canada in 1986.
Aside from his prolific career, Pierre Berton was a gentle and compassionate father and grandfather who raised eight children with his wife Janet.
Pierre Berton made Canadian history charming and engrossing, said June Callwood, last year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. He did it with his enthusiasm which lit up everything he wrote.