About Ray Argyle

A Vancouver book tour stop-over

RAY ARGYLE is an author of four biographies, a political history, and a novel of Victorian Canada. He is a contributor to such Canadian publications as Reader’s Digest, Canada’s History (formerly The Beaver) and The National Post. His new work, The Paris Game, on Charles de Gaulle and the Free French movement, will be published by Dundurn Press in August 2014.

Ray’s biography of Joey Smallwood: Schemer and Dreamer, was published in 2012. It chronicles the life of Canada’s “last Father of Confederation” and measures the current status of Newfoundland and Labrador against Smallwood’s aspirations for our newest province. Ray’s The Boy in the Picture, published by Dundurn in 2010, is the story of young Edward Mallandaine, the boy in the famous photo of the driving of the Last Spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885.

His earlier works are Turning Points: the Campaigns That Changed Canada, a history of pivotal Canadian elections, and Scott Joplin and the Age of Ragtime.

Ray also has written an e-book of “virtual history”: Kennedy After Dallas. It explores how the world would have been different if JFK had survived his assassination November 22, 1963.

Ray pursued a career as a journalist and communications executive before taking up writing full-time after merging his Toronto-based consulting business, Argyle Comunications Inc. with Environics Group. He’s Secretary-Treasurer of the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters (FACL). Ray is the only Canadian to have been elected a Fellow of the International Public Relations Association. He’s been a Trustee of the Scarborough Board of Education and of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. He’s based in Kingston, Ontario.He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contributions to Canadian life.

  1. Walter Fryers
    September 20, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Ray: Your up-coming book on the rag-time era sounds great. And I keep tab on your blog site. I’m sure you will be collecting material from these turbulent and epochal times because they will need a lot of write-ups sometime in the future. Walt.

  2. michael callaghan
    October 15, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I don’t see how this election can satisfy anyone except Duceppe. It cost $300 million, and attracted the lowest vote ever held. Each party was within two percentage points of what it attracted in the last election except in Ontario where Dion was judged unacceptable in exurbia. This leaves a sour after-taste, but there are bigger dangers. In Calgary, and in Newmarket, Ont, the folks think the Quebecois denied a majority to Harper that he deserved. They blame the French Canadians. Other tensions include a badly skewed representation which denies cities the voices they should have based on population – this injustice grates. The centres of population are represented by Liberals, the hinterland and small centres by Conservatives. I expect politics in this House to be much uglier than the last. Dion can’t pussyfoot now! The Liberal absence from the vote was partly out of disbust at Dion for going along with Harper. There is no doubt that Dion was a weak leader. His English was not good enough, and his instincts were slow. Many liberals believed the economy would be the ballot question from the beginning. The role the world-wide financial collapse played was that it made many feel insecure. To suggest a radical change in taxation (green shift) during a period of insecurity was too much for many exurbanite Liberals who quit on that note. But if Harper was unable to get a majority against Dion, who can he beat? Harper is not a world-beater by anyone’s measure.

    Finally, Dion was outraged by an incident at the last moment of the campaign with CTV in Halifax. He received an assurance that a question he bumbled at the start of an interview because the question was not understood would not be broadcast. But it was fed directly to Harper who leaped on air to claim that the bumbled response indicated Dion did not know what to do with the financial crisis. The snippet and Harper reaction were face-booked everywhere. However, the first thing Harper has done today is to announce a six-point programme that mirrors Dion’s five-point proposal which Harper had dissed as just a bunch of meeting. This Harper announcement today is the very same as the answer Dion was trying to get out on air during that Halifax CTV interview.

  3. January 11, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    I’ve been memed. Now you are memed. Six things about yourself?

  4. Ray Argyle
    January 12, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Thanks, Lilian, I’ve learned something new from you! Check out my latest blog entry.

  5. Al Albacete
    December 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I’m on the verge of buying your book on Scott Joplin, with the intention of writing a play/musical on the life of SJ. I think I’ve got a clever concept, and would like to know if your book is more adequately researched than the others on the market. Also, if you can offer any advice or your own personal “vision” as to how such a play should go? I plan to “interpret” some of his music with the addition of lyrics, tempo changes, etc., and also to use certain numbers just as he wrote them. What do you think?


    • Ray Argyle
      December 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm

      Dear Al: Of course I would love you to buy my book. It is carefully researched. But I should point out that I have focused on the cultural and social changes of the Ragtime era, as seen through the prism of Joplin’s life and music. Therefore, it is MORE than a biography of Joplin and contains much that would add life to a musical.

  6. March 14, 2010 at 5:53 am
  7. June 27, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Dear Ray,

    My grandfather was Major Walter Edward Maxfield (later Lt.-Col) D.S.O. (at Vimy) 1st C.M.R. He was originally in command of ‘A’ squadron until wounded by shrapnel at Hooge on March 31st 1916 – he returned to a very different battalion in November (after their losses at Sanctuary Wood and Courcelette). I’m working on a piece about his life and very long military career – starting as a Trooper with the 12th Manitoba Dragoons in 1897, Imperial Light Horse and Imperial Yeomanry in the Boer War, and service with the LDV/Home Guard back in England in WW2. He’d emigrated to join his brother farming at Souris at the age of 15. As part of that project I’m about to put a website online dedicated to the 1st CMR, and I’d love to include your father’s letter to you on the history of the unit page, having seen it on the Vimy Foundation site. (Though it looks as if someone slightly rewrote the last paragraph?).

    I’m also soon to publish my father’s RAF diaries, letters and photos from his time in Africa and the Middle East 1942-1947.

    Very best wishes to you from England,

    Peter Edward Maxfield.

  8. Ray Argyle
    June 27, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Dear Peter: Thank you for your note. By all means, feel free to use the letter.

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