Fonds MsC-198 - Laurier LaPierre fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Laurier LaPierre fonds

General material designation

  • Textual records
  • Photographic materials
  • Multi-media

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  • Source of title proper: Fonds name is taken from the creator of the fonds

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Dates of creation area


  • 1908 - 2018 (Creation)
    LaPierre, Laurier

Physical description area

Physical description

2.7 m of textual records
578 photographs : col. prints
381 photographs : b&w prints
2 photographs : b&w negatives
251 photographs : col. negatives
65 photographs : col. slides
2 optical disc : dvd
2 optical discs : CD
216 computer disks : 3.5" floppy
91 video cassettes : VHS
1 videocassette : betacam sp
6 audio cassettes : 1/4" tape
8 audio cassettes : microcassettes

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(21 Nov 1929 - 16 Dec 2012)

Biographical history

The Honourable Laurier Lucien LaPierre O.C., PhD was born on 21 November, 1929 and raised in Quebec, Canada. On graduating high school he spent 4 years as a novitiate with the Paulist Fathers in Baltimore, Maryland, before transferring to the University of Toronto. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1955, a Master of Arts in 1957 and a PhD in 1962. Over his lifetime he was also awarded several honorary degrees, including Doctorates from the University of Prince Edward Island and Brock University.
LaPierre began his career as a professor, teaching at several institutions across Canada. In 1962, while an instructor at McGill University, he was approached by Patrick Watson of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to write and co-host a public affairs television show that eventually became the often-controversial “This Hour Has Seven Days” (1964-1966). He quickly became known as a preeminent social commentator – eloquent, passionate, well-informed and an authority about Canadian history and identity. Despite its popularity, CBC cancelled “This Hour” in 1966. LaPierre toyed briefly with politics, making an unsuccessful bid as a federal NDP candidate for the La Chine riding in Quebec, but remained involved with television broadcasting and production for the rest of his life, making guest appearances on many shows and hosting others. In 1976 he relocated to the West Coast to host a nightly show on a new independent station in Vancouver – CKVU. In 1997 LaPierre was appointed to the Board of Telefilm Canada, becoming Chairman in 1998, where he remained until his appointment to the Senate in 2001.
Throughout his life Laurier LaPierre was actively involved in the study and promotion of Canadian federalism and culture such as the Historica Foundation and the Heritage Fairs program. As well as supporting gay rights he was also an outspoken supporter of the rights of First Nations, bilingualism and was heavily involved in the 1991 national debate on Canadian constitutional reform. He advocated numerous charities and organizations promoting Canadian heritage and authored or edited several books including “If You Love This Country” (1987), “1759: The Battle for Canada” (1990), “Canada My Canada” (1992), “Sir Wilfred Laurier and the Romance of Canada” (1996) and “Quebec: A Tale of Love” (2001).
Laurier LaPierre married Paula Armstrong in 1960. Together they had two sons Dominic and Thomas. Laurier and Paula separated in the late 1970’s before formally divorcing. Already actively involved in supporting causes and charities connected to gay and lesbian communities, LaPierre announced he was gay at a public event in 1988.
LaPierre was awarded the Order of Canada in 1994. In 2001 he was called to serve as a Liberal Senator by then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien. At the time, LaPierre was Canada’s first openly gay Senator. He served on Senate Standing Committees for Human Rights, Agriculture and Forestry, Transport and Communications, and Defence and Security and remained in office until required to retire due to his age in 2004.
Laurier LaPierre remained active in supporting charities serving on various literary juries, such as the Charles Taylor prize for non-fiction. He passed away on 16 December, 2012, survived by his ex-wife, children, grandchildren, and his partner of many years, Harvey Slack.

Custodial history

This collection of Laurier LaPierre’s personal and professional records was donated to SFU Special Collections and Rare Books in 2017 by Laurier’s partner of many years, Harvey Slack.

Scope and content

This fonds contains primarily correspondence, photographs, videotapes, and newspaper clippings as well as research and drafts from a multitude of writing projects LaPierre worked on throughout his life. There is material relevant to many of the key aspects of LaPierre's personal and professional life, including his career as a television broadcaster and producer, his academic and publishing accomplishments, his service in the Canadian Senate, his work with charities and his home life and hobbies.

The series contained in this fonds are as follows: Series 1: General correspondence and personal records (1957-2013); Series 2: Records related to television and producing career (1971-2013); Series 3: Records related to writing career (1908-2012); Series 4: Records related to term in Senate (1966-2013); Series 5: Records related to work with charities and organizations (1989-2012); Series 6: Records related to public speaking engagements (1992-2003); Series 7: Photographs (1948-2009) and; Series 8: Moving images and audiovisual material ([ca. 1985-2013]).

Portions of this fonds are relevant to other SFU collections – Daryl Duke (MsC 120), Alan Fotheringham (MsC 157), Norman Klenman (MsC 101), and possibly Edward McWhinney (MsC 191).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Files have been left as they were compiled by the creator. When the title of a file was not present or not informationally appropriate, one was assigned by the archivist. Any changes made are enclosed in square brackets. Files were then arranged by type, interpreted by the archivist. A file list is also available.

Language of material

  • English
  • French

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    Some information within files may contain sensitive or restricted information due to privacy concerns. Please consult staff if you wish to access.

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    A finding aid, as well as a file list, are available

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    Entry created by JMH, 10 October 2018

    Language of description

    • English

    Script of description

      Accession area