Victor Lauriston

Victor Lauriston, journalist, historian, author (born at Fletcher, Ont, 16 Oct 1881; died at Chatham, Ont, Oct 1973). Born William Edward Park in the small community of Fletcher, Ont, Victor Lauriston adopted his pen name when he began writing, as he considered his birth name too plain. He legally changed his name in 1918. Lauriston attended OSGOODE HALL, where he studied LAW. In 1904, however, he began to pursue his dream of writing for a living, and began work in JOURNALISM with the Chatham Planet. Within a year Lauriston moved to the Chatham News, and 3 years later became the editor. After serving for a number of years as editor, Lauriston left the Chatham News to become a freelance writer.

Later in life Lauriston became involved with EDUCATION. He sat as a SCHOOL TRUSTEE for the Chatham-Kent SCHOOL BOARD for more than 40 years. He championed the creation of a vocational school in Chatham, as he considered the traditional education system to be too focused on academia, and believed that students interested in vocations and agriculture should be given the same opportunities to pursue their interests. Lauriston continued writing throughout his life, and was one of Canada's oldest active newsmen when he retired in 1969 at the age of 87. Victor Lauriston died in October 1973.

It was after leaving the Chatham News that Victor Lauriston began to write and publish more frequently. The range of his work is vast. Lauriston wrote on subjects ranging from the Canadian ENERGY economy to the history of various Ontarian communities, as well as works of fiction. His work as a journalist often focused on the AGRICULTURAL and energy economies of Ontario. One of Lauriston's most well-known novels, The Twenty-First Burr (1922), shows his skill at combining various genres. Considered by contemporary critics to be a "first-class mystery story," The Twenty-First Burr veers from Lauriston's usual haunts, but the success and acclaim of the novel evidences his skill as a writer. His most successful book, Romantic Kent, chronicles more than 300 years of history in Kent County, Ontario. Lauriston explores the early settlements, the people and the politics that made up the county and its surrounding areas.

Victor Lauriston was awarded the J.V. McAree Award for the outstanding Canadian newspaper column of 1969. Victor Lauriston Public School in Chatham, Ont was named in his honour.