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Who Am I?

Dan Ferguson

I was born in Toronto in 1946.  I have 2 brothers and one sister.  My Dad was a teacher and my mother a dietitian.  When I was 5 Dad bought a hardware store in Fergus where I went to school.  In 1964 we moved to Scarborough where my Dad taught merchandising and then 2 years later he got back into the Hardware business when he bought a store in the Frederick Street Plaza.  Much of my time was spent working in the store and I learned a lot about public relations.  I went to WLU and then did postgraduate work in Journalism at UWO.  After I graduated, I worked for newspapers in Sturgeon Falls, ON; Grand Prairie, AB ; Huntingdon, QU and Stratford, ON.  


I went back to the hardware business in the early ‘70’s before getting a job as information officer with the Government of the Northwest Territories in Yellowknife.  I had many unique experiences during my time in the north – visiting a Dene village; seeing herds of reindeer on the Mackenzie delta; seeing Inuit drum dancing in Coppermine; and staying at the DEW line site in Cambridge Bay and visiting Frobisher Bay and Cape Dorset (famed for print making and soap stone carvings).  I had contact with many senior government and other dignitaries, including Prince Charles.  I even played Shinny hockey with Jean Chretian when he was Indian Affairs Minister.  I learned the meaning of white-knuckled flying after many flights in less than ideal conditions.

I found my way south in 1975, taking a job with the Saskatchewan Department of the Environment as Information Officer working on the Qu’Appelle Implementation Agreement, a federal/provincial program to improve the quality of the Qu’Appelle river system.  At the end of this 10 year project, I joined the federal department of Energy, Mines and Resources’ (EMR) office in Saskatoon to promote energy conservation.  In less than 2 years I was transferred back to Yellowknife!  I had a different perspective on the north as my work related to oil and gas exploration.  I was able to see drilling operations in very remote and cold locations.

During this time I had contact with Jean Chretian again when he was Energy Minister.  I was filling in at the Calgary Office for a couple of weeks.  A summer student and I were looking after him and we had a couple of hours to kill.  Chretian asked to see where the `rich oil guys live``.  Fortunately the summer student knew where they lived!

In 1984 I moved to Ottawa with EMR and then after 1 1/2 years I moved to the EMR office in St. John`s, NF as Public Relations Manager.  I continued with promoting energy conservation, media relations and reporting on mining and oil and gas developments in the province.  I was involved when the Hibernia negotiations were taking place.  When Prime Minister Brian Mulroney came to make the announcement,  I really got to see the intricate details of a Prime Ministerial visit.

I had one more trip to the north when Ottawa asked me to accompany Marcel Masse on a tour of the Beaufort Sea and the North Slope of Alaska.  We visited Tuktoyuktuk, Holman Island, Sachs Harbour, Cambridge Bay and Coppermine.  I recall seeing caribou migrating, pingoes (ice hills), herds of muskox, Masse fishing for Grayling and the Smoking Hills on the Arctic Coast near Paulkatuk - coal seams have been smoldering for hundreds of years.

I left the federal government in 1993 and moved back to Waterloo.  I’ve done some freelance writing for hardware magazines while settling into retirement.


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