Fonds F-295 - Rick McGrath fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Rick McGrath fonds

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  • Textual records
  • Graphic materials
  • Photographic materials
  • Artefacts

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Dates of creation area


  • 1965-2015 (Creation)
    McGrath, Rick

Physical description area

Physical description

12 cm of textual records
146 photographs: prints
ca. 224 photographs: negatives
6 contact sheets
48 pin buttons

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(4 July 1946 -)

Biographical history

Rick McGrath is a Canadian writer, editor, designer, and publisher. He was born in New Westminster, BC on July 4, 1946. McGrath was a charter student of Simon Fraser University, graduating with an Honours Bachelor of English, first class, in 1970. He stayed another two years at SFU working towards a Master's degree, which he ultimately did not complete. During his time at SFU, he was editor of The S.F. View in 1965, was the sports editor of The Peak from 1965-1966, and from 1968-1969 he edited Canadian University Press news releases, was an editorial page columnist, and music/book reviewer. He was elected both undergraduate (1969) and graduate (1970) student representative in the English Department. As an alumnus, he was the editor of Afterthoughts alumni magazine from 1975-1979.

McGrath's reporting career continued well past SFU. Concurrent to his academic career, McGrath was the entertainment editor and rock critic at The Georgia Straight from 1969-1972 and the Terminal City Express from 1972-1974. In September 1972, he became a reporter for the Richmond Review, then Canada’s largest twice weekly suburban newspaper, becoming assistant editor in 1974. From 1975-1977 he was the west coast correspondent for the Ottawa-based magazine, Science Forum. From 1977-1978 he wrote and hosted a bi-weekly satirical television show for Richmond community television (Cable 10). From 1975-1978 he contributed and performed short stories for DNA Magazine, an audio publication produced by Lawrence Russell of the University of Victoria.

In 1976 he met his life partner — and a fellow alumnus — Catherine Johnston, who was working as Assistant Curator of the SFU Art Gallery.

He left the Richmond Review in 1978 to begin his advertising career by co-founding McGrath Dunn Advertising, and over the next nine years became co-owner and/or partner in three Vancouver ad agencies, finally as the Creative Director for the western office of Grey Canada. In 1987 he left Grey and became the in-house creative resource for Pemberton Securities in Vancouver, which was purchased by RBC Dominion Securities in 1989. After the merger he moved to their head office in Toronto and was named VP, Creative Services. He retired on December 31, 1999.

McGrath continued his writing and publishing after his retirement, contributing to SFU's AQ Magazine as a columnist from 2000-2004. From 2000-2009 he contributed over 100 reviews to the Culture Court website, and from 2008-2012 he wrote 60 movie reviews for the subscription website Quiet Earth as their Toronto correspondent.

In 1976 he discovered the writings of the late British author, J.G. Ballard, and began acquiring his works, now generally regarded as the world’s largest private collection.

In 2013 he started his own publishing company, The Terminal Press, and has produced 17 books as of May 2024. Books McGrath authored include Straight Man: Rock Star Interviews, Reviews and Photos from Vancouver’s Underground Press, and The Disenchanted Forest. He has published 10 annual anthologies dedicated to the works of J.G. Ballard — the Deep Ends series — and one Ballard critical study — Grave New World. In 2023 he co-edited a collection of Ballardian stories for Titan Books of London called Reports From The Deep End, and in 2024 he published Unauthorised Departures, an anthology of short stories from writers around the world.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records created, collected, or received by Rick McGrath over the course of his work as an SFU student, writer, editor, and advertiser. Series 1 consists of SFU-related materials, including McGrath's own student records, ephemera, photographs, and publications.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English

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Restrictions on access

Some files may contain personal or confidential information. Files marked "pending review" must be reviewed by an archivist prior to release and, as a result of the review, access restrictions may apply. Please see the file lists and consult the reference archivist for more details.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright applies to the records in the fonds and copyright ownership is mixed. McGrath retains copyright in works he himself authored, and he agreed to make these available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial license (CC BY-NC). The fonds also includes copyright-protected works created by third parties, especially in the publications McGrath collected. For these materials, the Archives may make copies available for private study or research purposes under the fair dealing provisions of Canada's Copyright Act. Use for any other purpose may require the permission of the copyright owner. SFU Archives can assist researchers in attempting to identify copyright owners, but it is the user's responsibility to contact owners and secure any required permissions or assume all risks arising from not so doing.

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April 2024: Arrangement and description of Series 1 (analog SFU-related materials from the first two accruals) (Coco Chen).

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