Born in Detroit and raised in Ontario, Denison was the son of Canadian author, dressmaker, theosophist, Whitmanite, and feminist Flora MacDonald (Merrill) Denison and American garment salesman Howard Denison.
In 1921, after pursuing studies in architecture, he became Art Director of Hart House Theatre, Toronto. In 1926 he married Jessie Muriel Goggin. Denison soon began to write comedies, some of which were conceived at his summer home in Bon Echo and performed in the Tweed Playhouse in Tweed, Ontario. As author of The Romance of Canada, a highly successful series of historical plays broadcast in 1931 and 1932, he received wide acclaim as a pioneer in radio drama. During the decades that followed he devoted his energies to this field, preparing numerous plays for broadcast in the United States.
Increasingly interested in business history, during the 1950s and 1960s Denison wrote several popular histories of Canadian corporations, including Harvest Triumphant: The Story of Massey-Harris.
- The Unheroic North: Four Canadian Plays (1923)
- Brothers in Arms, the Weather Breeder, From Their Own Place, and Marsh Hay.
- Henry Hudson and other plays: Six Plays for the Microphone (1931) from the 'Romance of Canada' series of radio broadcasts
- The Raid on Grand Pre (1931) from the 'Romance of Canada' series of radio broadcasts
- America in action: twelve one-act plays for young people, dealing with freedom and democracy. (1941)
- The U.S. vs. Susan B. Anthony, and Haven of the Spirit.
Books and papers
- The educational program (1935) - a discussion of facts and techniques in educational broadcasting
- An American father talks to his son (1939)
- Klondike Mike: An Alaskan Odyssey (1943)
- Prodigy at sixty (1943)
- Canada, our dominion neighbor (1944)
- Harvest Triumphant: the Story of Massey-Harris (1949)
- Bristles and brushes: A footnote to the story of American war production (1949)
- The Barley and the Stream: the Molson story (1955)
- The power to go: the Story of the Automotive Industry (1956)
- The People's Power: the History of Ontario Hydro (1960)
- Canada's first bank: A History of the Bank of Montreal (1966–67) (in two volumes)
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography: MERRILL, FLORA MacDonald (Denison)
- That Inferiority Complex: An Address by Merrill Denison, F.R.S.A.
- Denison's profile at Athabasca University's Canadian Theatre Encyclopaedia
- Merrill Denison entry in The Canadian Encyclopedia
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