Saturday, June 25, 2022

Christopher Armstrong (1942 -2022) RIP And Ray Argyle (1930-2022) RIP

Christopher Armstrong, longtime history professor at York University, died recently in Toronto.

He was a prolific scholar, the author (or co-author, often with H. V. Nelles) of histories both heavyweight (The Politics of Federalism) and lighter (The Revenge of the Methodist Bicycle Company), or financial (Blue Skies and Boiler Rooms: Buying and Selling Securities in Canada), or urban (Making Toronto Modern), or environmental (The River Returns: An Environmental History of the Bow), or cultural (The Painted Valley: Artists Along Alberta's Bow River, 1845-2000).

Here is a clip of him from four year ago, remembering his late colleague and fellow YorkU historian Ramsay Cook.


On the obituary theme, I might also note my friend Ray Argyle, who after a long career in journalism and in his consulting firm Argyle Communications, engaged himself writing a remarkable diverse range of mostly historical books on whatever topic appealed to him, from Canadian political campaigns to ragtime music to the liberation of Paris to George Holyoake and the founding of Humanism. He died the other day at the age of 92, and I don't doubt he had at least four more books in mind.  

I particularly liked The Boy in the Picture, a little book about Edward Mallandaine, the little guy who squeezed himself into the great Canadian photo, the driving of the last spike, right behind some guy with a hammer. Ray as a kid in Creston, B.C. met Edward Mallandaine as an old man.  

Update, July 7: Might note a different historical point here. Both these deaths seem to have involved MAID, medical assistance in dying. I never much followed the debate over legalizing "assisted suicide" (as it was then called) and more or less assumed that if it came in, it would remain pretty rare. Missed that trend, for sure.  

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