The March of Days


Although Patricia M. Boyer won a scholarship to McMaster University with the highest mathematics marks in Ontario and graduated at age 19, literature and languages were her specialty. She first worked as a public librarian, next as a secondary school teacher, then as a newspaper editor. A community leader in arts and theatre, Patricia was devoted to human rights action in her local community and around the world, church work, drama, the education of children with disabilities, and music.

Each week she wrote a newspaper column inspired by episodes in the world around her, both local and global. She rewarded readers through articles infused with learning from literature, astute sensibility to human psychology, and balanced insights on the tragedies and comedies of life’s passing parade.

Patricia Boyer summed up her approach to life as "optimistic realism".

This collection of the best of her celebrated columns, organized through the twelve months of the year or "the march of days", includes reflections on seasonal celebrations, changing atmospheres of nature, and calendar milestones in the human cycle. A number of these concise yet poignant writings will move many readers with nostalgia as they evoke the happy events and tragic developments of the Sixties and Seventies. All of them, however, convey the wisdom of a woman whose message of optimistic realism endures like a timeless guide to living a satisfying life in the real world today.


"When Patricia wrote to mark the birthday of Charles Dickens, she reminded me of what writing and journalism is supposed to be about. Dickens once said that what is meant by knowledge of the world is simply an acquaintance with the infirmities of man. In other words, to be truly knowledgeable we must recognize human frailty. And that's how I always saw my work as a journalistthe art of collecting and telling stories of the human condition. And that was exactly what Patricia did in her writingwith clarity and joyas you can now discover for yourself."

Senator Pamela Wallin, author, journalist and broadcaster, Ottawa

"Patricia Boyer believed in strongly supporting the positive attitudes of community life and there is little, in these pieces, of impotent grumbling at those abuses in life around her which she viewed with concern. She was not one to grouch about anti-social behaviour: drugs, drink, vandalism or whatever, though she saw it all around her and was concerned about the damage it caused. Her response was rather to give positive encouragement to all efforts to better the life of the community: be it family life, volunteer work, education, gardening, tree-planting, or research into Muskoka's historic past."

Judith Brocklehurst, community activist and journalist, Bracebridge

"Freedom of the press means in fact the freedom to be morally responsible to the public. Patricia Boyer fulfilled this condition with the grace, concern, intelligence and wit of a dedicated and perceptive writer. Her thoughts are timely, local and yet universal, a dialectic between the real and the ideal with a commitment to a progress which entails a constructive understanding of the past and an appreciation of humanitarian values."

Sylvia DuVernet, literature professor and author, Toronto

About the Author

Patricia M. Boyer

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Patricia M. Boyer photo

Patricia M. Boyer

Patricia M. Boyer, who died in 1978 at age 66 while working on her novel, The Matriarch, was a public librarian, a secondary school teacher, newspaper writer, and editor. She became a community leader in arts and theatre, church work, and the education of children with disabilities. She authored the book Looking at Our Century.