Memorable Manitobans: Bertram Brooker (1888-1955)
Writer, painter, musician.
Born at Croydon, England in March 1888, son of Richard Brooker (1858-1941) and Mary Ann Brooker (1857-1947), he and his family came to Portage la Prairie in 1905. After writing scripts for silent films, operating the Roxy Theatre at Neepawa with his brother (1912-1913), and editing the Neepawa Register, he moved to Winnipeg then to Regina (Saskatchewan) then back to Winnipeg where he worked at the Manitoba Free Press.
In 1921, he moved to Toronto, Ontario where he acquired a reputation as a writer, musician, and poet. From 1924 to 1926, he was editor and publisher of Marketing magazine then spent 25 years as an advertising executive with J. J. Gibbons, MacLaren Advertising Company, and H. J. Heinz Company of Canada. He became seriously engaged in art around 1927 and was a charter member of the Canadian Group of Painters, successors to the Group of Seven. He won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1936 for his book Think of the Earth and he wrote the widely acclaimed biblical novel The Robber in 1949.
He died at Toronto, Ontario on 21 March 1955. A collection of his papers are held by the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Mrs. R. Brooker ardent church worker dies,” Manitoba Leader, 20 February 1947, page 7.
“Bert Brooker, advertising executive, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 March 1955, page 30.
“Ex-Portager, author, Bertram Brooker dies,” Portage la Prairie Leader, 24 March 1955, page 7.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Michael Parke-Taylor for providing information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 7 October 2022