June 1952, 17-year old Joyce Hunter with her baby Bruce. (Image: A smiling young woman holding a very young baby swaddled in a white blanket).

June 1952, 17-year old Joyce Hunter with her baby Bruce. (Image: A smiling young woman holding a very young baby swaddled in a white blanket).

Bruce is one of eight children born to Joyce and Ralph Hunter.

1955 Bruce aged three on the back porch of the new house at 7403 - 21A St. S.E. in Ogden on the outskirts of Calgary. (Image: A young boy in a dark-coloured parka sitting somewhat precariously on a porch railing of a small house in the background with snow covering the foreground.)

1955 Bruce aged three on the back porch of the new house at 7403 - 21A St. S.E. in Ogden on the outskirts of Calgary. (Image: A young boy in a dark-coloured parka sitting somewhat precariously on a porch railing of a small house in the background with snow covering the foreground.)

1960 Bruce aged six in a bow tie and red sweater, sister Susan aged five in a red dress, brothers Michael aged four and Allan aged three. (Image; Four children, three boys and one girl all dressed in Christmas garb and the two youngest boys are wearing matching outfits of patterned shirts and shiny pants. The girl is smiling up at her older brother who is missing two front teeth.)

1960 Bruce aged six in a bow tie and red sweater, sister Susan aged five in a red dress, brothers Michael aged four and Allan aged three. (Image; Four children, three boys and one girl all dressed in Christmas garb and the two youngest boys are wearing matching outfits of patterned shirts and shiny pants. The girl is smiling up at her older brother who is missing two front teeth.)

1964 Bottom row: Shirley Ann, Bruce, Susan, Maureen. Back row: Terry, Michael, Allan. Missing is older brother David (Edgar) his parent's child before they married and who was given up for adoption. Bruce's poem "Benchmark" is about the search for David who reconnected with his birth mother shortly before she died.

(Family photo against a plain white background. From left to right on the bottom row is Shirley Ann, a young red-haired girl, Bruce aged 12 in glasses with binaural temple-mount hearing aids, Susan with long blond hair, Maureen with cat's eyes glasses and shorter hair. In the back row, a smiling Terry, serious Mike and grinning Allan.)

(Family photo against a plain white background. From left to right on the bottom row is Shirley Ann, a young red-haired girl, Bruce aged 12 in glasses with binaural temple-mount hearing aids, Susan with long blond hair, Maureen with cat's eyes glasses and shorter hair. In the back row, a smiling Terry, serious Mike and grinning Allan.)

About Bruce

Deafened as an infant and afflicted with low vision much of his adult life, Bruce worked as a gardener, labourer, equipment operator, and Zamboni driver before returning to school in his late twenties. While working those jobs, his poetry won him a scholarship to study creative writing at the Banff School of Fine Arts with W.O. Mitchell. Bruce went on to study film and literature at York University graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Honours.

1954 Bruce aged two. Around this time. he lost much of his hearing after a bout with pneumonia and the prescribing of streptomycin. (Image: A smiling young boy with wavy brown wearing coveralls with the cuffs turned up to reveal a plaid lining while sitting back on a padded chair)

1954 Bruce aged two. Around this time. he lost much of his hearing after a bout with pneumonia and the prescribing of streptomycin. (Image: A smiling young boy with wavy brown wearing coveralls with the cuffs turned up to reveal a plaid lining while sitting back on a padded chair)

1958 Bruce's younger sister, Susan aged 2 and a half, with Santa. Bruce's poem "Christmas, 1959" was inspired by this photograph.

(Image: A young girl in winter hat and coat with white leotards and white boots sitting on Santa's lap.)

(Image: A young girl in winter hat and coat with white leotards and white boots sitting on Santa's lap.)

New Year's Eve, 1958/59. Bruce's parents and friends often socialized at the Lido Cafe during the 50s. 

(Image: party-goers dancing, some wearing party hats. In the background is a juke box and in the foreground, a photographer horses around and aims his camera with a flash bulb at the photographer.)

(Image: party-goers dancing, some wearing party hats. In the background is a juke box and in the foreground, a photographer horses around and aims his camera with a flash bulb at the photographer.)


(Image: A colour photograph against a burgundy background of a young man, early twenties with shoulder-length wavy brown hair, thick beard and moustache, wearing tinted aviator lenses and a faded denim work shirt open at the neck.)

(Image: A colour photograph against a burgundy background of a young man, early twenties with shoulder-length wavy brown hair, thick beard and moustache, wearing tinted aviator lenses and a faded denim work shirt open at the neck.)

The Apprentice

In his teens and early twenties, Bruce worked as a casual labourer, equipment operator and Zamboni driver before taking an apprenticeship in horticulture and studying at Olds and Vermillion Colleges. 

He wrote poetry in his spare time, attending writing courses at Malaspina College and later Mount Royal College. In 1978, his poetry won him a scholarship to attend the Banff School of Fine Arts to study with W.O. Mitchell, Sylvia Fraser and Irving Layton among many others.

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In 2007, Bruce was Writer in Residence at the Richmond Hill Public Library; in 2002, he was Writer in Residence at the Banff Centre for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.

In the early 1980s, he served for four years as poetry and poetry reviews editor and columnist for Toronto-based Cross Canada Writers' Quarterly. He also taught creative writing at the Banff Centre and York University. Bruce has given readings and workshops in venues across Canada.


Bruce's keynote presentation: "Reading Minds, Not Lips" 2011, English and Liberal Studies Colloquium. Seneca College. (Image: A brown-haired man speaking into a headset mic from a podium against a white background that says Seneca.)

Bruce's keynote presentation: "Reading Minds, Not Lips" 2011, English and Liberal Studies Colloquium. Seneca College. (Image: A brown-haired man speaking into a headset mic from a podium against a white background that says Seneca.)

Community Work

Now retired from teaching, Bruce writes full-time in addition to hosting readings and workshops on creativity and disability.

His poems, short stories, essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared in over seventy publications.

His fiction and poetry have been broadcast regionally and nationally on radio and translated into Italian, Mandarin and Romanian.

 
CHHA York Region Board BBQ. 2014. Right to left: Patrizia Stulov, Dan McDonnell, Bruce Hunter, Toby Laws and Lauren. (Three men and two women in summer garb all smiling for a selfie.)

CHHA York Region Board BBQ. 2014. Right to left: Patrizia Stulov, Dan McDonnell, Bruce Hunter, Toby Laws and Lauren. (Three men and two women in summer garb all smiling for a selfie.)

Communities

Bruce is a long-time member of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the League of Canadian Poets, the Writers' Guild of Alberta, and the Writers' Union of Canada.

Teaching

After graduating from York University in 1983, Bruce returned to Banff to teach with W.O. Mitchel and taught creative writing at York University with Don Coles. 

From 1986 to 2012, Bruce taught a broad range of English and Liberal Studies courses at Seneca College. He also initiated and taught the poetry and spoken word workshops, both centred on a pan-cultural curriculum.

 
Bruce mcing a literary kitchen party at Shelf Life Books, 2014 with ASL-interpreter and a captioner (off camera). (Image: A dark-haired man in glasses wearing a dark sports jacket at a podium beside a young woman signing for the audience. In th background are books on display.)

Bruce mcing a literary kitchen party at Shelf Life Books, 2014 with ASL-interpreter and a captioner (off camera). (Image: A dark-haired man in glasses wearing a dark sports jacket at a podium beside a young woman signing for the audience. In th background are books on display.)


The Begg Family

Bruce's paternal great-grandfather Robert Anstruther Begg with his father Alexander Begg founded the historic Dunbow Ranche at the confluence of the Bow and Highwood Rivers in 1886.

Robert Begg and his wife Lavinia are shown here outside High River circa 1908 with their children Norah and and Alexander (Sandy). From the Glenbow Archives. (Image: Four people in a horse-drawn buggy: a man with a mustache wearing a bowler, holding the reins, a woman in a tall flowered hat wearing a spring coat with two children in frilly hats, their legs covered with a plaid blanket. A wooden-spoked buggy wheel dominates the foreground.)

From the Glenbow Archives (Image: A young woman holding a loop of halter rope while being nuzzled by her black horse which has a white blaze between its eyes. She is wearing a long black riding skirt, dark high-necked blouse and black gloves. In the background is a barn and corral.)

From the Glenbow Archives (Image: A young woman holding a loop of halter rope while being nuzzled by her black horse which has a white blaze between its eyes. She is wearing a long black riding skirt, dark high-necked blouse and black gloves. In the background is a barn and corral.)

Bruce's great grandmother, Lavinia (Golding) Begg, and her horse Copenhagen at Dunbow Ranche, circa 1908 at Davisburg (near present-day DeWinton, Alberta) off Macleod Trail on Dunbow Rd.

The skirt she is wearing is for riding side-saddle. She was the sister of Martha (Golding) Worden who with her husband Hiram G. Worden were the principals in Worden Bros. Bakery and Fruit Market. This picture inspired the character of Bean in In the Bear's House.


(Image: Bruce's great-grandmother in her buggy with her three children: Lavinia Jr., Norah and Sandy. This image is on the cover of Coming Hone From Home.)

(Image: Bruce's great-grandmother in her buggy with her three children: Lavinia Jr., Norah and Sandy. This image is on the cover of Coming Hone From Home.)


From the Glenbow Archives (Image: Lavinia Begg with her three children on the back porch of the ranch house at Dunbow, left to right, Lavinia Jr., Sandy and Norah. On Lavinia Sr.'s arm is Joe, her African grey parrot. She's wearing a high-necked blouse, the children all wear the same outfit: long sailor-type blouses with button-up boots. The children and the parrot seem fascinated by Mike a curly-haired dog with his hindquarters to the camera who seems to be eating,)

From the Glenbow Archives (Image: Lavinia Begg with her three children on the back porch of the ranch house at Dunbow, left to right, Lavinia Jr., Sandy and Norah. On Lavinia Sr.'s arm is Joe, her African grey parrot. She's wearing a high-necked blouse, the children all wear the same outfit: long sailor-type blouses with button-up boots. The children and the parrot seem fascinated by Mike a curly-haired dog with his hindquarters to the camera who seems to be eating,)


Family picture 1919 (Image: the funeral of Lavinia Begg as her casket is taken by pallbearers from the family home at 815 - 14th Ave. S.W. to a waiting hearse. Family members visible in the background include Robert Begg, Lavinia's Sr.'s sister Martha and her husband Hiram Worden. In the foreground, young Lavina Jr. in a long dark skirt standing in the rain-slicked street facing the hearse says goodbye to her mother. Printed on the back of the photograph is a single word, "Mother".)

Family picture 1919 (Image: the funeral of Lavinia Begg as her casket is taken by pallbearers from the family home at 815 - 14th Ave. S.W. to a waiting hearse. Family members visible in the background include Robert Begg, Lavinia's Sr.'s sister Martha and her husband Hiram Worden. In the foreground, young Lavina Jr. in a long dark skirt standing in the rain-slicked street facing the hearse says goodbye to her mother. Printed on the back of the photograph is a single word, "Mother".)


Bruce’s great-great grandfather Alexander Begg (born 1825 Watten, Caithness, Scotland – died 1905, NYC) was present at the Red River uprising in 1869 and is author of The History of British Columbia from its earliest discovery to the present time, first published in 1894.

Alexander Begg, his wife Emily and ten of their eleven children including Bruce's great grandfather Robert Anstruther Begg are buried in the Anglican cemetery in Oriilia, Ontario. A statue to the memory of Emily Begg erected on the waterfront in Orillia still stands as does their historic home at 67 Neywash Street.

Read Alexander Begg's biographical note on Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

 

From the Glenbow Archives (Image: A period photograph circa 1890 of a seated older man with white hair and full beard holding a pen in his right hand a sheaf of papers in his left. He wears a tweed jacket, vest and striped trousers.)

From the Glenbow Archives (Image: A period photograph circa 1890 of a seated older man with white hair and full beard holding a pen in his right hand a sheaf of papers in his left. He wears a tweed jacket, vest and striped trousers.)