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Person/organization

Johnston, Harold H.

  • Person
  • 15 September 1930 - 15 January 1985

Harold Henry (Hal) Johnston was born in Ardreagh, Northern Ireland, apprenticed as plasterer, and emigrated to Canada in 1951. Settling in Edmonton in 1952, he married Frances Henriette Coulombe (29 July 1932-14 Mar 2018) in June 1955. He worked in Edmonton as a plasterer until late 1957, when they moved to Burnaby, British Columbia. They purchased, renovated and occupied 4447 Venables St.
Johnston continued to work as a plasterer, serving in 1969 as business agent for the Plasterers’ and Stonemasons’ Union, and then self-employed as A&H Plastering and Stucco from 1970 until his death from cancer.
Harold Johnston was a serious photographer and camera collector, recording some 600 rolls of black and white and slide film in 35mm and other formats on a variety of cameras from the early 1950s until 1984, mainly of locations in the Lower Mainland and Pacific Northwest.
From 1960 he processed and printed the negatives himself in a home darkroom. From 1970 Johnston recorded several artists, illustrators and sculptors working in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, notably Wil Hudson (fine printer and typographer), Keith Shields (sculptor), Frits Jacobsen (illustrator), Charles Butler (wood sculptor) and Bill Shoebotham (artist). He maintained contact with, and often photographed, them until his death. For Wil, he recorded the sequence of operations involved in book production; photographically reproduced line drawings for a book project for the Alcuin Society; recorded candid views of Wil’s shops, and social occasions; and, processed and printed Wil’s film exposed during his time working at Cape Dorset, Baffin Island.

Wachtel, Eleanor

  • Person
  • 1947-

Eleanor Wachtel, CM is a Canadian writer and broadcaster. For over thirty years she hosted the weekly literary show Writers and Company on CBC Radio One. She was born and raised in Montreal, where she took a B.A. in English literature at McGill University. Wachtel lived for a time in the United States and Kenya, and then in the mid-'70s worked as a freelance writer and broadcaster in Vancouver. She has co-edited two books: The Expo Story (1986), and Language in Her Eye (1990), and is the co-author of A Feminist Guide to the Canadian Constitution (1992). In 1993, Knopf Canada published a selection of interviews called Writers and Company; More Writers and Company was published in the fall of 1996. In spring 2003, HarperCollins brought out another selection, Original Minds. Wachtel is a contributor to the best-seller, Dropped Threads (2001), co-edited by Carol Shields, and Lost Classics (2000), co-edited by Michael Ondaatje et al. In 2007, she published Random Illuminations: Conversations With Carol Shields. For five years she was Adjunct Professor of Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University. In the fall of 1987, Wachtel moved to Toronto to work full-time as Literary Commentator on CBC Stereo's State of the Arts, and then as writer-broadcaster for The Arts Tonight, and Toronto reporter for The Arts Report. She was host of The Arts Tonight from 1996 to 2007, and has been host of CBC Radio's Writers & Company since its inception in 1990. In 1995 and again in 2003, Writers & Company won the CBC Award for Programming Excellence for the best weekly show broadcast nationally In 2002, Eleanor Wachtel was named winner of the Jack Award for the promotion of Canadian books. Wachtel has received six honorary degrees. In 2005, Wachtel was named a member of the Order of Canada.

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