Fonds MSS 26, PC 316 (A79-23, A92-16, A09-90, A12-137, A13-108) - Nick Ternette fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Nick Ternette fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

CA UMASC MSS 26, PC 316 (A79-23, A92-16, A09-90, A12-137, A13-108)

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 2012-2013 (Custody)
    Custodian
    Kowalchuk, Shirley
    Note
    Temporary custody of contents of A13-108.
  • 1952 - 2012 (Creation)
    Creator
    Ternette, Nick

Physical description area

Physical description

6.78 m of textual records
115 photographs

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

(1945-2013)

Biographical history

Born in Germany on January 23, 1945, Nick Ternette immigrated to Canada with his parents in 1955. He attended Daniel McIntyre Collegiate and received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from United College in 1967. Through the YMCA, Ternette was involved in Winnipeg community activities early in his life, working as a camp coordinator and youth football coach. While attending the University of Winnipeg, he was heavily involved in the student newspaper and students' union, as well as with the New Democratic Party and its youth wing, the New Democratic Youth (NDY). Prior to completing his university education, Ternette travelled back to Germany in 1968, where he stayed as a youth worker with the World Council of Churches. This visit to a Europe in transition played a seminal role in Ternette's politicization as he experienced the radical demonstrations of the spring of 1968 in West Berlin.

In October of 1969 Ternette organized his first rally against the war in Vietnam with the Winnipeg Committee for Peace in Vietnam. That same year he was a literacy instructor for the Department of Education, working on the improvement of programs for Indigenous peoples. In 1970, he was a volunteer for the Company of Young Canadians and, in 1972, a coordinator of the Community Affairs Centre in Winnipeg. Ternette's student activism transitioned into a political life centred on the NDY, which was in a radical phase of its organizational life. Ternette came into the public eye in 1970, when he organized a protest march for the NDY against the Festival Express—a train full of prominent rock acts such as Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and The Band, touring across Canada—due to the cost of tickets for the show. This demonstration led to a confrontation with the police, resulting in Ternette's heavily publicized arrest.

In 1974, Ternette ran the first of twenty unsuccessful campaigns for public offices such as mayor, school trustee and city councillor. In 1976, he was appointed Executive Director of the Winnipeg Council of Self Help Inc. He was active in several Indigenous peoples' associations and the New Democratic Party. Eventually Ternette grew disenchanted with the NDP and began several political campaigns with the Green Party, which he championed from the 1980s to the 2000s, relying heavily on German examples of successful green party politics. In the early 1980s, Ternette moved to Calgary and organized in the tenants' rights movement, operating mainly in the Hillhurst/Sunnyside community. Throughout the 1980s, Ternette led a widely publicized campaign to receive access to his personal RCMP file under the Freedom of Information Act. His success in 1987 made him the first Canadian to gain access to his or her file.

After his return to Winnipeg in 1986, Ternette worked for the Urban Resource Centre, helping to acquire funding for local projects like legal aid and income tax services for low-income recipients. Ternette was involved in organizing campaigns, groups, and events throughout the late 20th century, such as the May Day Festival (May Works Winnipeg), Peace Alliance Winnipeg, Justice For Winnipeggers, and The Cancer Brigade, among many others.

In his personal life, Ternette's primary avenue for political commentary was the newspaper. Writing on civic politics, transportation, urban development, environmental issues, left politics, the theatre, and freedom of information legislation, Ternette chimed in with letters to the editors of the Winnipeg Free Press and the Winnipeg Sun, was a guest columnist for The Metro, and ultimately appeared in his own column "Left Punch" for Uptown. Broadcasting was also an important medium for his contributions to the discourse; Ternette hosted The Ternette Report on local cable television Channel 13 and co-hosted both a political debate show on talk-radio station CJOB and a folk music program on university radio station CJUM.

In 1993, Ternette married Emily A. Smith, a poet and social advocate for disability rights. Ternette was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006 and eventually entered into remission. In 2009, however, Ternette contracted a muscle infection that led to the amputation of both his legs. That same year, Ternette announced his official retirement from public life.

Ternette’s preferred moniker of "professional radical" is used throughout the collection. Ternette died on March 3, 2013. Ternette's autobiography was published posthumously in the fall of 2013. Rebel Without A Pause is held in the Rare Book Room of the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.

Custodial history

The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by Nick Ternette in 1979, 1992, 2009, and 2012. A portion of the 2012 donation was under the custody of Shirley Kowalchuk during 2012-2013 and was accessioned in 2013.

Scope and content

The first two accessions (A79-23, A92-16) contain limited correspondence, political action papers, briefs, complaints, convention proceedings, promotional and conference literature, scrapbooks, news-clippings, and resource files concerning Winnipeg city core activities and radical, left-wing politics of the 1970s and 1980s.

Accessions A09-90 and A12-137 consist of 22 series. They include: biographical information and awards; education; Calgary Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board; employment; City Magazine; articles and letters to the editor; committees and organizations; CSIS; May Day; protests, marches and demonstrations; conferences; political campaigns; Manitoba Green Party; New Democratic Party; broadcasting; Winnipeg politics; social events; correspondence; research news-clippings; other research material; restricted material; and photographs.

A13-108 comprises the Shirley Kowalchuk sous-fonds and is made up of scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, two publications with features on Nick Ternette, an advocacy manual from Legal Aid Manitoba, and an essay by Shirley Kowalchuk regarding this group of records.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Arrangement

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

There are some restrictions on a limited number of files.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

A printed finding aid is available in the Archives reading room and online finding aids are available at the links below:
MSS 26 (A79-23, A92-16)
MSS 26 PC 316 (A09-90, A12-137, A13-108)

Associated materials

Related materials on the life of Nick Ternette can be found in the Glenn Morison fonds.

Related materials

Accruals

Further accruals are not expected.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions

Status

Final

Level of detail

Partial

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Written by Graham Stinnett in June 2012.
Revised by Elizabeth-Anne Johnson on 19 October 2012.
Updated by Tyyne Petrowski 24 September 2014.

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

Sources

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related places

Related genres