Hugh Garner

Section 18, Lot 1751
York Cemetery

Hugh Garner, born in England on February 22, 1913, came to Canada as a child. He and his family lived in Cabbagetown, about which he once said: “I don’t care how much they gentrify it, it’s still a dump.” Hugh worked briefly as a copy boy at The Toronto Star before hitting the rails and tramping across Canada and the United States. During the Spanish Civil War he fought with the International Brigades, and during World War II he served in corvettes with the Royal Canadian Navy. Following the War, married with two children, Garner took to writing for a living. He wrote detective novels and worked as a journalist. His first novel, published in 1950, was entitled Cabbagetown. Despite his patent dislike of the area, he used it as the setting for many of his novels and short stories. His acclaimed novel The Silence on the Shore was published in 1962. A collection of his short stories won the Governor-General’s Award in 1963. He once briefly worked as public relations director of Saturday Night. A heavy drinker, although not while he was writing, Hugh Garner’s last words to his wife, while on his deathbed, are purported to have been: “Alice, get me a drink – get me a big one.” Hugh Garner died on June 30, 1979 at the age of 66.

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