Richardson GMP
The Watch That Ends the Night

Book review by Tyler

I have always been a fan of the Canadian Band “The Tragically Hip.” One of their most iconic songs is called Courage (for Hugh MacLennan). I hadn’t giving the part of the title in parentheses much thought over the years but the song is one of my favorites by the band. Earlier this summer, my wife Julie bought the book The Watch That Ends the Night — by Hugh MacLennan for me. I didn’t know much about the book except for the connection with the song. We went on a family vacation last week to the Okanagan so I grabbed the book for lake-side reading. I have to say it is one of the better books I have read in years.

This is not your typical light summer read. It is hard to describe how fantastic this book was. People are correct when they say it is a Canadian literary masterpiece. It is.

The book was written in 1958 and is set in Montreal, and the city is a main character in the novel. George Stewart is a normal man who is married to Catherine, a girl he loved as a teenager. The story starts in the early 1950s, but much of the novel spans through the 1920s and 1930s. It revolves around George, Catherine and Jerome Martell, who was George’s best friend and Catherine’s first husband.

Jerome is the life-force of the novel. He possesses a character that George admires and is amazed by. We see how George views Jerome as a guide, a friend, a guardian angel or conscience for himself and his generation. We see how George slowly grows to have some of the courage that Jerome shows through his life. This isn’t to say George is a coward — he isn’t. He is just an ordinary man who, in several key moments, didn’t stand up for what he believed in.  Jerome is an iconic figure in the book. A man who came from extremely humble beginnings to become a brilliant doctor and a charismatic leader. That is not to say Jerome was without flaws, he had many. But he was courageous to stand up for what he believed in, despite the cost to himself.

Hugh MacLennan does a wonderful job of describing the evolution of Canada as a country, which really grew up and found its voice in the world in the period between 1920 and 1950.

The story is engrossing and hard to put down. Not in the way a thriller or mystery is hard to put down though. It is simply beautifully written. My favorite part is when Jerome talks about having the courage to fail, and to face death or the death or illness of a loved one, in a humble and graceful way.


Dwight Jefferson, CIMA®
Senior Vice President
Portfolio Manager
Tel.: 604.640.0555 • Email

Tyler Steele, CFA
Senior Vice President
Portfolio Manager
Tel.: 604.640.0554 • Email

Neil Kumar, CIM®
Portfolio Manager
Tel.: 604.640.0406 • Email

Wendy Lloyd
Tel.: 604.640.0556 • Email

Jessica Dewey
Tel.: 604.640.0405 • Email

Brenda Geib, BA
Tel.: 604.640.0559 • Email

Eddie Gudewill
Tel.: 604.640.0562 • Email

Richardson GMP Limited
500 – 550 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 2B5

Toll Free: 1.866.640.0400
Fax: 604.640.0300


The opinions expressed in this report are the opinions of the author and readers should not assume they reflect the opinions or recommendations of Richardson GMP Limited or its affiliates. Assumptions, opinions and estimates constitute the author's judgment as of the date of this material and are subject to change without notice. We do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of this material, and it should not be relied upon as such. Before acting on any recommendation, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The comments contained herein are general in nature and are not intended to be, nor should be construed to be, legal or tax advice to any particular individual. Accordingly, individuals should consult their own legal or tax advisors for advice with respect to the tax consequences to them, having regard to their own particular circumstances. Insurance services are offered through Richardson GMP Insurance Services Limited in BC, AB, SK, MB, NWT, ON, QC, NB, NS, PEI and NL. Additional administrative support and policy management are provided by PPI Partners. Richardson GMP Limited is a member of Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Richardson is a trade-mark of James Richardson & Sons Limited. GMP is a registered trade-mark of GMP Securities L.P. Both used under license by Richardson GMP Limited.