“As Canadian as possible under the circumstances” is arguably one of the most famous Canadian aphorisms. But not many know its author, or how it came to be.

In 1972, Peter Gzowski, then summer host of This Country in the Morning, held a contest to complete (in the manner of “As American as apple pie”) the saying “As Canadian as …”. Heather Scott, a seventeen-year-old summer music school student at the time, heard of the contest, and immediately came up with the phrase that has since become so famous. The subsequent telephone call from Peter to Heather at her school began what was to become an on-and-off relationship with “Mr. Canada”.

Heather was a passionate Canadian, who cared deeply about her country and her fellow man. She bravely completed her University of Toronto Honours B.A. while recovering from Hodgkin’s Disease, and went on to a career as a production editor with Prentice Hall, married and miraculously (after all her radiation treatments) bore a daughter, Sarah. Her other popular claim to fame is as editor of Don Cherry’s autobiography, for which she earned a flowery dedication from Don.

Sadly, her cancer returned in 1990, and she died at home (in White Rock, B.C.) on 30 October 1994. Ironically, Peter Gzowski visited White Rock on a book tour just a few days later. They never met, until perhaps Peter’s own passing a scant eight years later.

close this windowR. W. Scott (Heather’s father)
Long Point, Ontario
18 May 2004