Boy from Nowhere


As one of Canada’s pre-eminent newspaper and magazine journalists, Allan Fotheringham has met everybody from Bobby Kennedy and Pierre Trudeau to The Beatles and Nelson Mandela.

Born in Hearne, Saskatchewan, in 1932, Allan Fotheringham has had a distinguished career. Dubbed "Dr. Foth," Fotheringhamgraduated from the University of British Columbia andhas worked for numerous news organizations, including the Vancouver Sun, Southam News, The Financial Post, Sun Media, the Globe and Mail, and most notably as a long-time columnist for Maclean’s.

His career hastaken him to many places on almost every continent as a correspondent and allowed him to meet many renowned personalities, from Robert F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan,and Brian Mulroney toThe Beatles, Pierre Trudeau, and Nelson Mandela.Forten years he was apanellist on the popular CBC-TV show Front Page Challenge, and he’s won many awards, includingthe National Magazine Award for Humour, a National Newspaper Award for Column Writing, and the Bruce Hutchinson Life Achievement Award.

Time once described Allan Fotheringham as "Canada’s most consistently controversial newspaper columnist … a tangier critic of complacency has rarely appeared in a Canadian newspaper."


Fotheringham did not fall into the category of those who wrote history but some of his stuff certainly influenced history. An example that comes to mind was his wickedly cruel, colorful but accurate saga of Joe Clark's botched world tour shortly after he won the Conservative Party leadership in 1976. The Foth's description of lost underwear, walking into bayonets and inane conversation with peasants created a devastating first impression, picked up by the rest of the media that Clark never fully recovered from.

Literary Review of Canada (December, 2011)

Fotheringham is a storyteller, a dancer, a lover of women. He lunches well, dines better, and remembers every detail. You could toss 'Who's Who' off the CN Tower, and not drop as many names as he does in this book... An agreeable way to spend a few hours.

Maclean’s magazine (November, 2011)

There's a good deal about the fundamentals of the business: booze and sex.

The Globe and Mail (November, 2011)

During his quarter-century as Maclean's back-page columnist, Dr. Foth, now 79, was indisputably the country's most popular political columnist - a deft phrase-turner and pomposity-skewer...

Toronto Star (October, 2011)

About the Author

Allan Fotheringham

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Allan Fotheringham photo

Allan Fotheringham

Allan Fotheringham has been a journalist and columnist for nearly 50 years, first with the Vancouver Sun, for nearly three decades with Maclean's, and more recently with the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and Zoomer. He has published eight previous books, including Fotheringham's Fictionary of Facts & Follies and Malice in Blunderland. "Dr. Foth" lives in Toronto.