Bill Waiser

Recipient of the 2018 Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media: The Pierre Berton Award

November 8, 2018

Saskatoon (Saskatchewan)

Bill Waiser has devoted his career to building a better understanding and appreciation for our history. He has done that through the classroom, including more than three decades as a university professor, as well as in newspapers and magazines, in books, on radio and television, and in hundreds of public presentations.

The breadth and depth of his scholarship is remarkable. He has moved easily from scholarship to public history and always with tremendous empathy for his historical actors.

Dr. Waiser’s work is grounded in western and northern Canada and spans centuries. His seventeen books include some with a focus on Saskatchewan and others on such diverse topics as Tommy Douglas, the 1935 On-To-Ottawa trek, and aerial photography.

He has introduced us to a history that could have been ignored, such as the use of prisoners in shaping Canada’s national parks, and the roles played by Indigenous people in the North-West Resistance.

Dr. Waiser’s outstanding career includes a leading role in the fight for access to historic census records, revealing him to be a champion for all historically minded Canadians. His success in connecting historical research to popular debate is helped enormously by the high esteem with which he is held among scholars.

More from Bill Waiser

Why Local Stories Matter

In this presentation, Bill Waiser suggests that local history has broad implications for the country as a whole.

The Regina Riot

During the Great Depression, more than a thousand single unemployed men rode the rails in an organized protest that ended in a bloody clash.  

Park Prisoners

Few Canadians realize that much of our parks system was built with forced labour — prisoners of war, enemy aliens, conscientious objectors, and an army of jobless men.

A World We Have Lost

Book Review: The cycle of life on the Canadian prairies has always revolved around the land. From Aboriginal reliance on the bison, to potash in the modern economy, it always goes back to the land. In A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905, noted historian Bill Waiser reveals a sweeping panorama of the archaeology and Indigenous life of the region and the factors that played into its development.