Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Berton Prize: Paul Gross

This is prime season for artists who go to those rich galas that Stephen Harper does not like except when he's attending them.

Last night in Toronto was the annual fundraiser for the Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon (link here, tho' it could use some updating!). The house recently welcomed its fiftieth writer-in-residence, and Pierre might be glad to know they have included a historian or two (Charlotte Gray, Ken McGoogan, Brian McKillop, Mark Zuelke). The Toronto fundraiser has always been a rowdy and rambunctious bunfight, taking its cue from Pierre himself, who used to get up and recite "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" from memory while people hollered and cheered. Now it's mellowing, and they get by with film of him.

In the last few years the National History Society has used the event to present its Berton Prize, an annual honour for those who make Canadian history better known. This year the honoree was Paul Gross, who put a lot of bums in seats for his First World War history movie Passchendaele.
Follow @CmedMoore