Born in Hamilton, Ontario,
Canada, I received my education at the Loretto Academy, in Guelph,
Ontario, where my father moved when I was four years old. After
high school I attended the University of Toronto, continuing
as far as an M.A. degree in Canadian History and acquiring a
lasting interest in that subject. I have been a school teacher,
a publisher's assistant, and am now a librarian in the Toronto
After unsuccessful attempts
at short story writing, I turned to my first interest, history.
I chose as a subject Thomas D'Arcy McGee, a young Irish immigrant,
a poet and journalist, who rose to the rank of a minister of
the Crown in the Canadian government, but died in 1868 by an
assassin's bullet because of his opposition to the Fenians who
were raiding the Canadian borders.
This biography, The Ardent
Exile (Macmillan of Canada, 1951), won me several awards including
the Governor General's medal and the University of British Columbia
medal for biography. Looking for other historical themes in the
Canadian West, I found the material I was gathering for another
biography turning into a boy's story of the days of the fur traders
and the buffalo hunts. This story, The Boy Who Ran Away (Macmillan
of Canada, 1954), had among its characters a very attractive
historical personality, Father Albert Lacombe, the Oblate missionary.
He became the subject of my new biography, The Bold Heart (Macmillan
of Canada, 1956). I hope that this happy chain reaction will
produce more historical subjects to write about.
My interests are books, writing,
Canada, and many friends who with all their variety share one
or the other of these interests.
I have always lived in Canada,
except for a brief residence at the University of Wisconsin.
My travelling has been in Canada and the United States, with
the result that, to date, my books have travelled more widely
than their author; reviews have turned up from as far afield
as South Africa.