Tom McGauley was born and raised in Castlegar, British Columbia. He is of Irish descent. In the 1970s, he attended the Selkirk College in the Kootenay region and later the Simon Fraser University’s graduate studies in English, but never finished. McGauley moved to Burnaby where he works as a custodian in the Burnaby School district. McGauley is a poet and historian, specializing in the Doukhobor history. He was also involved in political activism, public speaking, and served on various boards and commissions of the City of Burnaby. McGauley was honored by the City of Burnaby for organizing a conference to honor Canadian poet Robert Blaser.