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Pierre Francis de Marigny Berton, author, broadcaster and journalist, was born on 12 July 1920 in the Yukon territory, Canada, and was educated at Victoria College and the University of British Columbia. In 1942 he began his career in journalism at the Vancouver News-Herald. After World War II, he briefly wrote features for the Vancouver Sun, as well as beginning a radio career, before joining Maclean's in 1947. He served as managing editor from 1952 to 1958. He left Maclean's to join the Toronto Star as a columnist and associate editor. In 1962 he left the Star briefly for Maclean's and to launch a long career in television with both his own show and as a panelist on "Front Page Challenge".
Berton's books helped to popularize Canadian history for mass audiences. His Klondike: the Life and Death of the Last Great Goldrush (1958) won the Governor General's Award for non-fiction. Two other books by Berton have also won the Governor General's Award. Perhaps his most well-known books, among the many he has written, are his two books about the Canadian Pacific Railways, The National Dream (1970) and The Last Spike (1971). Berton was awarded several honorary degrees, was an officer of the Order of Canada, and chaired the Heritage Canada Foundation. He has published two volumes of autobiography, Starting Out, 1920-1947 (1987) and My Times: Living with History, 1947-1995 (1995). His later publications included Marching As To War (2001), Cats I Have Loved (2002), and his last book, Prisoners of the North (2004). Pierre Berton died on 30 November 2004, survived by his wife Janet.