Port Hope celebrates the late Farley Mowat’s 100th birthday May 10 to 16

Along with proclaiming Farley Mowat Week, municipality is also renaming local park as a tribute to the iconic Canadian author and environmentalist

Canadian author and outspoken environmentalist Farley Mowat, who died in 2014, would have turned 100 years old on May 12, 2021. (Photo: Mowat family)
Canadian author and outspoken environmentalist Farley Mowat, who died in 2014, would have turned 100 years old on May 12, 2021. (Photo: Mowat family)

The late iconic Canadian author and outspoken environmentalist Farley Mowat would have turned 100 years old next Wednesday (May 12) and Port Hope will be celebrating all of next week.

Municipal council has proclaimed the week of May 10th to 16th as Farley Mowat Week. As a tribute to Mowat, Port Hope is also renaming the east side of Rotary Park — where the Farley Mowat Boat Roofed House is located, across the Ganaraska River from the Port Hope Library — as Farley Mowat Park.

The park renaming will take place during Farley Mowat Week, and a special dedication ceremony will be scheduled at a future date when gathering restrictions are no longer in place.

Advertisement - content continues below



“We are proud to celebrate the great Farley Mowat and his incredible collection of work, as well as to recognize the diversity, culture, and heritage that is integral to our community,” says Port Hope mayor Bob Sanderson. “We are privileged to have many authors and artisans in our community, who work tirelessly in the pursuit of arts and cultural awareness in Port Hope.”

Although Mowat was born in Belleville in 1921 and lived in Richmond Hill, Saskatoon, Toronto, and Cape Breton Island throughout his life, he and his second wife Claire spent their later years together in Port Hope. Mowat died on May 6, 2014, less than one week before his 93rd birthday, and is buried at St. Mark’s Anglican Church cemetery in Port Hope.

During his career, he published more than 40 works of fiction and non-fiction for adults and children, many on the subject of Canada’s Far North. Some of his best-known books are People of the Deer (1952), Lost in the Barrens (1956), Owls in the Family (1962), Never Cry Wolf (1963), and Sea of Slaughter (1984). Two of his books and one of his short stories have been made into films.

Advertisement - content continues below



The Rotary Club of Port Hope has planned various commemorative activities to celebrate Farley Mowat Week, including:

  • “WiFi in the Wilderness’ podcast on Monday, May 10th. In 2014, Mowat participated in a debate on CBC Radio’s The Current about Parks Canada’s plan to bring WiFi to parks, a decision Mowat called “a disastrous, quite stupid, idiotic concept”. In this podcast, Port Hope Library staff Lisa O’Leary and Cherie Madill continue the debate.
  • Readings of Mowat’s works from St. Mark’s Anglican Church from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12th. Featuring five readers selected by St. Mark’s and Mowat’s widow Claire, the readings will take place via Zoom.
  • The announcement of the winners of the Farley Mowat Arctic-themed writing contest, which was open to children and adults in Port Hope and Arviat, Nunavut until May 1st. The awards ceremony will take place on Zoom at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 15th.
  • A themed window display of Mowat artifacts at the Mary J. Benson Branch of the Port Hope Library at 31 Queen Street, and a large display of Mowat’s books at Furby House Books at 65 Walton Street.
  • Downloadable themed activity sheets for families to celebrate Farley Mowat Week safely from home.

In addition, residents are encouraged to watch two free documentaries on the National Film Board website about Farley Mowat: Finding Farley and Ten Million Books.

For more information about Farley Mowat Week, visit www.porthope.ca.

VIDEO: Farley Mowat in 1969 on TVO’s The Education of Mike McManus