Farley Mowat – a pioneering Green Hero
We lost a truly great Canadian and storyteller today. Sad is too small a word to sum up the loss I felt when hearing about Farley Mowat passing away. I met him on several occasions first as a proud Canadian nationalist defending our distinct Canadian culture during the 1988 Free Trade debate and later as a producer of three biography series Lucky Breaks (2000), Northern Lights (2005) and Green Heroes (2013) for my production company CineFocus Canada.
My visit to his summer home in Cape Breton to film this segment of Green Heroes captured a man, though in his 90s, in fine form. After our interview we went to his writing room to get shots of him at work (writing still on a manual Underwood typewriter.) As we set up I said, “I bet you’ve done this a thousand times.” “Oh no, he replied, you’re the first camera to come up here.” I’m not sure if he was teasing but it certainly added to the distinct honour of being inside Farley’s writing world.
Feisty and fun loving is his how I’ll remember him. As he walked with wife Claire and dog Chester, he stopped in his vegetable garden. He lifted the one remaining squash in the late summer light and recited this famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: …It was a happy scene that day and he was a gracious host.
Farley’s stories gave me a deep love for the North, for Nature and our Native land. His outspoken activism showed me how important it is to protect all that makes this country great. We’ll remember you and carry on your fight to protect Mother Earth and all her creations. Rest in Peace Farley Mowat.