Journalist and author Walter Stewart (1931-2004) was the prolific author of non-fiction; his only two fiction works, Right Church, Wrong Pew and Hole in One are small town murder mysteries set in Kawartha Lakes, published by HarperCollins.
Born in Toronto, Stewart attended high school in London, graduating in 1949. Stewart once described his hobbies as “reading, writing, and arguing.” In high school, he wrote for the London Echo. An honours student in history, he quit university early and went to work for the Toronto Telegram.
Stewart did not enjoy his time at the Telegram. “What I learned about journalism there, was that it was a suspect craft, dominated by hypocrisy, exaggeration, and fakery. At the Tely, we toadied to advertisers, eschewed investigative reporting, slanted our stories gleefully to fit the party line (Conservative) and to appeal to the one man who counted – the publisher, John F. Bassett.”
Stewart went on to work for Star Weekly (the magazine published by the Toronto Star), McLean’s Magazine, where he eventually became managing editor, and among many other journalism jobs, including teaching for universities, while also penning his books.
His most famous book, The Life and Times of Tommy Douglas, resulted in Douglas being named The Greatest Canadian, while his most controversial book, The Charity Game: Greed, Waste and Fraud in Canada’s $86-Billion-a-Year Compassion Industry ended up pulled from shelves.
From his youth, his family vacationed in Sturgeon Point, where eventually Stewart settled and wrote freelance. He wrote “gently humourous portrayals of his neighbours whom he represented as mildly ironic, but sympathetic, characters” and created the fictitious Kawartha Lakes town, Bosky Dell.
Walter Stewart died of cancer at his home in Sturgeon Point on September 15, 2004. He never learned to drive.
Right Church, Wrong Pew (1990)
Hole in One (1992)
Shrug: Trudeau in Power (1971)
Divide and Con: Canadian Politics at Work (1973)
Hard to Swallow: Why Food Prices Keep Rising and What Can Be Done About It (1974)
But Not in Canada! Smug Canadian Myths Shattered by Harsh Reality (1976)
As They See Us (1977)
Paper Juggernaut: Big Government Gone Mad (1979)
Towers of Gold, Feet of Clay: the Canadian banks (1982)
True Blue: The Loyalist Legend (1985)
Uneasy Lies the Head: The Truth About Canada’s Crown Corporations (1987)
The Golden Fleece: Why the stock market costs you money (1992)
Too Big to Fail: Olympia & York: The story behind the headlines (1993)
Belly Up: The Spoils of Bankruptcy (1995)
The Charity Game: Greed, Waste and Fraud in Canada’s $86-Billion-a-Year Compassion Industry (1996)
Bank Heist: How our financial giants are costing you money (1997)
Dismantling the State: Downsizing to Disaster (1998)
M.J.: The Life and Times of M.J. Coldwell (2000)
My Cross-Country Checkup: Across Canada by Minivan, Through Space and Time (2000)