Category Archives: Peter McArthur

Peter McArthur: History Under the Trees

Peter McArthur 1866 – 1924

History Under the Trees

Peter McArthur: The house, the life, the writings
July 5, 2014, 1:00pm
Doon Heritage Village / Waterloo Region Museum
10 Huron Road, Kitchener, Ontario

Waterloo Historical Society’s History Under the Trees will remember my great grandfather Peter McArthur. The once-famous author’s birth cabin (and also where he lived for the final two decades of his life) has been a prominent part of the village streetscape at Doon Heritage Village in Kitchener. WHS has invited Professor Adam Crerar of Wilfrid Laurier University to help us rediscover McArthur’s life and writings.

McArthurs gather for History Under the Trees

“From 1909 until his death in 1924, Peter McArthur became one of Canada’s most popular writers by describing life on his Middlesex County farm in articles for the Toronto Globe and the Farmer’s Advocate of London, Ontario. That he was able to appeal to both rural and urban readers is interesting in two respects: it suggests that the lines between the country and the city were considerably more amorophous than contemporary rhetoric has suggested, and it provides an example of anti-modernist writing that gave as much pleasure to the “folk” as it did to the urban middle-class.”
-“Writing Across the Rural-Urban Divide: The Case of Peter McArthur, 1909-24” by Adam Crerar, Journal of Canadian Studies, Spring 2007

Peter McArthur’s family home, constructed c. 1835 in Ekfrid Township and donated to Doon Heritage Crossroads in 1962.

My Great Grandfather Peter McArthur

My great grandfather was writer Peter McArthur. He was born in Ekfrid Township, near Glencoe, Ontario. After studying at The University of Toronto, he moved to New York in 1890 to work as a freelance writer. In 1902 he moved to London, England where he worked as an editor. Returning to his birthplace in 1908, he wrote a twice weekly column for the Toronto Globe from 1909-1924. He also contributed to the Farmer’s Advocate from 1910-1922. His first book, To Be Taken with Salt: Being an Essay on Teaching One’s Grandmother to Suck Eggs was published in 1903. He went on to publish several novels, short story collections, poetry, a study of Stephen Leacock, and a biography of Sir Wilfred Laurier.

“A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself and then says them about other people.” -Peter McArthur

The McArthur home (built 1835) where Peter was born in Ekfrid Township near Glencoe, Ontario in 1866. The house was donated in 1962 to Doon Heritage Crossroads in Waterloo County.