Fonds MG 52 - Janet Berton fonds (MG 52)

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Janet Berton fonds (MG 52)

General material designation

  • Multiple media
  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Cartographic material
  • Sound recording
  • Moving images

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Reference code

CA ON00373 MG 52

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1837-2013, predominant 1950-2004 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

16.01 m of textual records
ca. 800 photographs : b&w and col. ; 20 x 25 cm or smaller
2 photograph albums
16 maps
5 posters
9 ledger books
4 cassette tapes
2 VHS tapes

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1920 - 2015)

Biographical history

Janet Berton was born Janet Walker in Fernie, British Columbia on 29 June 1920. Her parents moved to Haney in the Fraser Valley when she was 15.

In 1938 she enrolled at the University of British Columbia. Ms. Walker was very active in campus life, taking on a variety of roles that included being an executive member of more than a dozen organizations including Phrateres, The Letters Club, The Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, the Radio Society and the Student Christian Movement. However, her main interest was journalism, and she edited the student handbook, Tillicum, and served on the editorial board of the UBC yearbook, The Totem. Eventually she would become the senior editor of the Tuesday edition of the semi-weekly campus paper, the Ubyssey. The Friday editor was Pierre Berton, whom she would eventually marry several years later.

Her career in journalism continued after her graduation in 1941 when she went to work for the Vancouver Daily Province. In 1946 she had to give up her career at the Province after marrying Pierre Berton, as he was a reporter for the rival Sun newspaper. In the summer of 1947 Pierre became assistant editor at Maclean’s and the couple moved to Kleinburg, Ontario in 1959. The Bertons raised eight children, including one adopted daughter and one foster son.

Mrs. Berton is a community-minded individual who was active in a variety of different organizations. She served on the Heritage Vaughan Committee beginning in 1981, and was a member of the executive for both the Kleinburg and Area Ratepayers’ Association (KARA) and the Kleinburg Binder Twine Festival. She was also a past president of the University Women’s Club of North York, a vice-president of the University Women’s Club of the Town of Vaughan, and editor of the national Chronicle of the University Women’s Club of Canada. She co-edited the 60 year history and the 75 year history of the Canadian Federation of University Women.

Mrs. Berton was a founding organizer of HELP, a local information and referral service in Vaughan. She also volunteered her time to several organizations, including Dellcrest Children’s Home for Disturbed Children, The Kleinburg Home and School Association, the Kleinburg United Church (of which she sat on the Board of Stewards) which included running the Explorer’s Group for Girls between the ages of 8 and 11 for over twenty years. She also served on the Humber Heritage Committee and Community Heritage Ontario. In 1992 she received a Volunteer Service Award for her outstanding contributions.

Custodial history

The Janet Berton fonds grew out of the creator's fascination with the history and development of Kleinburg and Vaughan, as well as her work with numerous charities and local organizations. The material constituting this body of records was thus used by Janet throughout the latter half of her life (approximately 60 years). Upon her move to a retirement home in 2004, Janet’s daughters, Penny and Pamela, attempted to organize the records. The fonds was arranged and described between October 2012 and April 2014.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records that reflect the different roles that Janet played throughout her life as well as the various activities and functions she performed throughout the community. The fonds is arranged into five series and then various subseries, all of which reflect Janet’s diverse activities.

The majority of the records are textual (i.e. minutes, reports, correspondence, published material, newspapers, etc.) although there is also a sizable photograph collection as well as some maps and plans and even artwork. Fonds consists of: Binder Twine Festival programs, posters, artwork, committee minutes, advertising, press releases, copies of by-laws, books, correspondence, account ledgers, newsletters, speeches, research notes, newspaper clippings, cassette tapes, Kleinburg/community history notes (eg. United Church, historical buildings and homes, families and individuals), walking tour booklets, notes on Kleinburg and Vaughan development, Humber Heritage committee notes, agendas, newspaper clippings, reports, LACAC/Heritage Vaughan books, notes on heritage homes and architecture, minutes and agendas, manuals, newspaper clippings, reports, CFUW books, newsletters, pamphlets, journal articles, minutes, conference notes, newspaper clippings, Kleinburg Home & School Association notes, newspaper clippings, HELP newspaper clippings, minutes, newsletters, Operation Catch-Up files, CACY pollution and development notes, Dellcrest notes, reports, minutes, KARA agendas and minutes, notes, correspondence, address books, calendars, agendas, travel notes and booklets, guidebooks and maps for locations around the world, other Ontario and Canadian heritage books, reports, magazines (York, food, National Geographic, Beaver, cat), fiction books, journals, programs, pamphlets, maps, Kleinburg Shaw store account ledgers from late 1800s to ca. 1930.

Notes area

Physical condition

Parts of the fonds were in poor physical condition upon arrival at the City Archives as they had been sitting in the Berton family’s cellar, garage, and basement. It is surmised that at some point a fire broke out (some records were burned) and that the boxes were subsequently dowsed with water. Mold thus formed and was found in great amounts especially on the Shaw ledgers which were thus segregated from the rest of the fonds. Some files and records had to be thrown out as mold was too widespread and rodents had eaten the files to point of illegibility. To that point, rodent droppings and seeds were found within the boxes and files. Thankfully, rehousing the records took care of most of the odour.

Immediate source of acquisition


Very little original order remained upon arrival of the fonds at the City of Vaughan Archives. For the most part, files, books, and individual papers were piled in boxes in a very haphazard way. Thus, an order had to be imposed upon the fonds. However, every effort was made to respect provenance and to duplicate the creator’s original organization and thought patterns. In some cases, however, such as in the travel and magazine and daily planner subseries, only samples of material were selected and kept in order to conserve space.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

    Location of originals

    City of Vaughan Archives

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    Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

    Finding aids

    Finding Aid is available on City of Vaughan Archives website:

    Associated materials

    Pierre Berton fonds (MG 57)

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