Canadian historian and author Michael Bliss dies at 76

Renowned Canadian historian, author and public intellectual Michael Bliss has died in Toronto aged 76. The University of Toronto’s University College, where Bliss taught in the history department for 38 years, made the announcement on it website Thursday. History department chair Nick Terpstra said faculty members are in “absolute shock” at the news. “Nobody had any idea that he was in ill health . . . . It’s very sad,” Terpstra told the Star. He described Bliss as an “absolutely rigorous and determined” researcher who knew how to make history come alive for any audience.“What always really impressed me was Michael’s commitment to also being a public intellectual,” Terpstra said. “He was committed to being a historian. He was committed to research and writing . . . , but one of the reasons why his books were so popular was he was committed to being a Canadian who spoke to other Canadians.Article Continued Below“He thought that that was one of his obligations as a historian, to speak to a broader public.”Bliss authored 14 books over his career, on politics, medical history and business, including a comprehensive and well-received book outlining the discovery of insulin.His achievements included being named an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. At U of T, he was awarded the title of University Professor, an elite rank bestowed on less than two per cent of the university’s faculty.