Saturday, 18 of May of 2024

Wild Strawberries Along the Mackenzie

Bernard Blishen (1919-2017) had a distinguished academic career in the field of sociology, for which he was awarded the Order of Canada in 2011. He was founding chair of the sociology department at Trent University in Peterborough, ON., and later taught at York University in Toronto. He developed an important socio-economic index now widely applied as the “Blishen Scale” and was instrumental in developing Canada’s medicare program.

But his childhood and early life tell a much different story – a tale of hardship, hard work, pluck, and adventure. Born in England but inspired by his childhood reading of Canada’s early explorers, Bernard left home at age 15, drawn by the prairie farms and the B.C. mountains to seek a new life in the Canadian West. Farming in the Great Depression was a tough slog of back-breaking work for little money and scarce food. The summers were dry and the winters harsh. Hoping for more, Bernard even spent some time “riding the rails” with other tramps and hobos seeking jobs as he worked his way west.

In this memoir, Bernard tells some of what his children later came to call “Dad’s adventures,” from his early childhood through his years as a farm worker to his wartime naval service, his university graduation and marriage to his beloved wife, Ruth. This is truly the story of a life well lived.

Available now!