Harry J. Boyle Trivia

Harry J. Boyle was born in farm country around St. Augustine, a tiny village, little more than a cluster of homes at the intersection of two rural roads near Goderich in Southwestern, Ontario.
Like the boy at heart of Homebrew and Patches, he was educated at the continuation school in a slightly larger town near his home.   For the real life Boyle, it was the high school in Wingham.  Later he attended   St. Jerome's College in Kitchener.
But even before college, Boyle had started what would be his very long career in the media.   At sixteen, he was hired on the staff of Radio Station CKNX in Wingham and started freelancing as a writer.  While still in his teens, he published his own magazine and worked as a newspaper stringer for papers that included the London Free Press and the Toronto Globe and Mail.  Even after his radio career took off, he continued contributing to newspapers with personalized commentaries including those presented in a weekly column in the Toronto Telegram that ran for over ten years starting in 1957.
His media work did not pull him away from the farm entirely.  His first assignment with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, after joining it in 1942, was as farm commentator.   Later he was promoted to the CBC network’s post as Supervisor of Farm Broadcasts followed by positions of Programme Director of the Trans-Canada Network, Radio Network Supervisor of Features, Programme Director for Radio and Television for the Ontario Region, and Executive Producer for Television.
All this time, he kept writing.  He not only produced books of intertwined essays like Homebrew and Patches, but novels and scholarly articles.   He had about a dozen books under his belt when he won his first Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for Homebrew and Patches in 1963.  His second win came in 1975 for a novel, The Luck of the Irish.
In 1968, he moved into the federal public service with his appointment to the Canadian Radio Television Commission (CRTC).  He eventually became Vice-Chairman and then in 1976, the year after that second Leacock Medal win, he was appointed CRTC Chair.
Boyle also served as a faculty member at the Banff School of Fine Arts and as a member of the Ontario Arts Council, 1979-1982. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1978.
Harry Boyle, born in 1915, died in Toronto on 22 January 2005. He married Marion McCaffrey in 1937, with whom he had two children

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