Giving tips to Bryan Trottier while covering the 2006 National Pond Hockey Championships. Photo by Ashlea Wessel

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PHOTO: Giving tips to Hall-of-Famer Bryan Trottier while covering the 2006 National Pond Hockey Championships. Photo by Ashlea Wessel

Writer and journalist Craig MacBride has trekked into the mountains of Guatemala, jumped from an airborne plane, climbed through the snow banks of Halifax in January, and waded through the thigh-high bullshit of several election campaigns.

All for the sake of good stories.

He has also read all of William Shakespeare’s plays, and condensed them to one-line advice columns on how to deal with women.

He’s currently in the process of reading one biography of each of the 22 prime ministers of Canada. It seemed like a good idea, MacBride said, until he hit John Abbott, our third, and perhaps most boring, prime minister.

MacBride’s first break was in journalism school at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario.

Lynne Thomas, who was the academic advisor for several student-created projects, chose MacBride to be editor-in-chief of Planet Oz, the college’s environment magazine.

Thomas, after working closely for several months with MacBride, said, “he directed his writers, photographers and designers with encouragement and skill, while handling their sensibilities with patience and grace.”

To his writing, Thomas added, “Craig brings a surprisingly mature interpretation of current events, and to the newsroom he brings an uncommon knack for putting people at ease.”

After leaving college, MacBride tried his hand at freelancing.

His first paycheque came from Eye Weekly, for a 50-word play review.

His next job, and next large step, came when The Oakville Beaver, a newspaper MacBride delivered while growing up in Oakville, agreed to publish his piece on a series of talks on contemporary art, a topic on which he knew absolutely nothing.

Further freelance pieces for North America ‘s most awarded community newspaper eventually led to an internship, which then led to him being hired on as a full-time reporter at the ripe age of 23.

Rod Jerred, managing editor at The Oakville Beaver, remembers MacBride’s time in the office with fondness.

“One of my former editors once told me there were three kinds of reporters – those who can write, those who can dig, and a rare few who can do both. I believe Craig is on his way to becoming one of those rare few.”

After two years in Oakville, MacBride moved on to Mississauga, Ontario, the sixth largest and second ugliest city in Canada. As a reporter and blogger at The Mississauga News and Mississauga.com, he covered education and provincial and federal politics. He led the coverage of the 2006 federal election and the 2007 provincial election and referendum. It made him excited, tired and frustrated all at the same time. It also got him entered into the hallowed pages of Wikipedia.

MacBride’s 2008 New Year’s Resolution was to get the hell out of Mississauga. In late February, the easiest month in which to leave Ontario, he moved to British Columbia to take a job as a features writer at the Surrey Leader. While Craig did get some great stories out of his time at the Leader, he couldn’t stand Surrey, which is the ugliest city in Canada, so he picked up and headed for the ferry, and is now settled into a provincial government job and living in Victoria, B.C., where he continues to pound away at his computer, hoping a novel will come out.

He can be reached at cmacbride[at]gmail[dot]com.

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