Allan Fotheringham

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Allan Fotheringham
Allan and Anne Fotheringham - 2012.jpg
Allan and Anne Fotheringham at the Canadian Film Centre BBQ (2012)
Born (1932-08-31) August 31, 1932 (age 85)
Hearne, Saskatchewan, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Other names "Dr. Foth"
Alma mater University of British Columbia
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Anne Libby

Allan Fotheringham (born August 31, 1932) is a Canadian newspaper and magazine journalist. He is widely known by the nickname Dr. Foth and styles himself as, "Always controversial... never at a loss for words" and also as "the Great Gatheringfroth".

Life and career[edit]

Fotheringham was born in Hearne, Saskatchewan. He attended Chilliwack Secondary School, where he was active in student leadership. Upon graduation he studied English and political science at the University of British Columbia and worked at a variety of media outlets during his career. He was best known as a columnist, originally at the Ubyssey, a student newspaper that still publishes and is noted for its "biting" reporters and editors. He was hired straight out of university by the Vancouver Sun during the heady times of the late 1960s, the final days of the old Bennett Socreds provincially and the advent of Pierre Trudeau federally. Fotheringham's columns and commentaries brought him national attention as well as wider syndication and a broader subject base. He was one of the leading specialists in explaining the world of British Columbia politics during his time at the Sun.[1]

He later wrote for Maclean's, where his column appeared on the back page of the magazine for 27 years. Fotheringham's column was so widely read and so influential that he is said to have made Maclean's "the magazine people read from back to front." Some of his more memorable political nicknames include "the brogue that walks and talks like a man" (for Jack Webster) and its offspring, "the jaw that walks and talks like a man" (for Brian Mulroney). He is credited with coining the terms Natural Governing Party for the federal Liberals, and the Holy Mother Corporation for the CBC in the course of writing his column. His columns occasionally opened with the exclamation "Zowie, Dr. Foth!"

Fotheringham also wrote columns for the Toronto Sun from 1986 to 2000.

In 2001, Maclean's underwent an editorial revamp, and Fotheringham's column was moved to an inside page to make room for a guest column. Soon afterward, Fotheringham left Maclean's, and became a columnist for The Globe and Mail. He had a national syndicated column that was in 20 newspapers, but he retired from regular contributions in 2007 due to illness. Fotheringham still writes for the Globe and also for the National Post and a Calgary magazine called The Roughneck. He has also written material for Fifty Plus magazine, Readers Digest and Nuvo magazines.

For 10 years, Fotheringham was a regular panelist in the latter years of the CBC Television program Front Page Challenge, replacing the deceased Gordon Sinclair.

Fotheringham has honorary degrees from the University of New Brunswick and the University of Saskatchewan.


Affectionately known as "Foth" as well as "Dr. Foth", he dubbed himself "the Great Gatheringfroth" and coined some well-known terms in BC political history:

  • Lotusland—British Columbia, particularly Victoria
  • the Granite Curtain—the Rocky Mountains
  • the Tweed Curtain—the Oak Bay, British Columbia-Victoria border, referring to the former's conservative British character
  • "the Brogue that walks and talks like a man"—journalist and broadcaster Jack Webster) (who had many nicknames, not all of them Foth's. Foth later adapted this phrase to "the Jaw that walks and talks like a man" for Brian Mulroney
  • the Natural Governing Party—the federal Liberals
  • the Holy Mother Corporation—the CBC
  • Jurassic Clark—former prime minister Joe Clark
  • Coma City—Ottawa
  • Web-footed Conservatives- the British Columbia Social Credit Party
  • Narcissus on the edge of the rainforest - Vancouver
  • Vancouver, the Narcissus of the West Coast[2]


Quotes by Allan Fotheringham[edit]

"In the Maritimes, politics is a disease, in Quebec a religion, in Ontario a business, on the Prairies a protest and in British Columbia - entertainment." — Malice in Blunderland (1982)

"The Tories are like cream: rich, thick and full of clots." — LOOK MA...NO HANDS (1983)


  • Southam Fellowship in Journalism, 1964
  • National Magazine Award for Humor, 1980
  • National Newspaper Award for Column-writing, 1980
  • Inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame, 1999
  • Bruce Hutchinson Lifetime Achievement Award, 2002

See also[edit]


External links[edit]