Revealing Peggy Blair’s Mysteries and Secrets

We’ve got not one, but two incredible authors named Peggy!

In my most recent blog post, I offered you some brief replies to my questions for Peggy McColl, the New York Times Best Selling Author known widely as The Millionaire Author, who few people realize makes Ottawa home.

Today, I’m presenting answers to my questions from another successful author from Ottawa named Peggy. (And I’m not talking about Margaret Atwood – Peggy being a common nickname for Margaret, of course – who was born in Ottawa. But I digress…)

I’m referring to Westboro-based award-winning mystery writer Peggy Blair, who gave me some wonderfully candid replies to my five questions:

Sandra Tisiot: What can attendees at the Women in Business Conference expect to take away from your talk?

Peggy Blair: The value of persistence and perseverance. The only way to guarantee failure is to give up.

Sandra Tisiot: Where did your passion for your area of focus come from?

Peggy Blair: It was writing that taught me late in life not to quit, but to keep on trying. That’s a lesson I now bring to my real estate career as well.

Sandra Tisiot: What are a few of the highlights from your own career?

Peggy Blair: In the early 1990s, as a lawyer, I was representing the Chippewas of Nawash in the first trial of Aboriginal commercial fishing rights in the Great Lakes.

At that time, no First Nation had won a case recognizing commercial rights to fish — these were highly contentious – and the cases were hard to win. They involved quasi-criminal charges but the onus of proof was firmly on my clients to prove not only that they had treaty and Aboriginal rights to harvest but to successfully challenge the government’s entire management scheme.

The trial lasted for several years and on the day the judgment was to be delivered, it was one of those cases where CBC Radio announced a pending verdict every hour or so. Talk about pressure! We had to succeed on every ground and there were fourteen of them: the courtroom was standing room only.

As the judge got to ground thirteen I realized we’d won, but no one else in the courtroom seemed to grasp it except for one observer, a grad student from York who grinned and gave me a thumbs up.

When the verdict was released, the courtroom erupted in cheers. People hugged, even the presiding judge was smiling as he tried to get order. Outside, on the steps of the Toronto courthouse, there were hundreds of people (the entire community had bussed in for the verdict), the sun was shining, the drummers were drumming, there was a huge banner flapping on the courthouse steps. It was one of those moments I’ll never forget. The case wasn’t appealed, and we were able to negotiate a historic co-management agreement with the Ontario and federal government to resolve outstanding issues.

Another highlight would be the one that led to me getting published: after 156 rejections, my unpublished novel was shortlisted for a Debut Dagger Award by the UK Crime Writers Association. That was the moment I knew everything had changed. And of course, meeting Ian Rankin, which is what I’ll be touching on in my talk.

Sandra Tisiot: Why do you think it’s important for women to come together to support one another in business?

Peggy Blair: We “get” each other. We share the same shorthand. I refer a lot of business to other women and I am always shouting out their names on social media. I think we need each other to be successful.

Sandra Tisiot: Who would you most love to sit down with for a deep conversation?

Peggy Blair: You know, she’s passed away now (she was 98 when she died many decades ago) but I would have loved to have a deep conversation with my grandmother, Mary Blair.

She raised eight children in a log cabin in Moose Creek that didn’t even have electricity until the 1960s. I remember visiting her – it was when Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon – and she had a black and white TV showing the images. I remember thinking how insane it was that she’d lived through the era of horse and buggy and was alive to see something like that. I think she would have loved social media; she was always secretly listening into the party line with her hand over the mouthpiece to catch up on gossip.


Great stuff, Peggy! I’m looking forward to hearing you speak about the power of persistence.

Make sure you don’t miss out on hearing Peggy Blair and all eight inspiring speakers at the seventh annual Women in Business Conference in Ottawa on March 11. The conference is only a week away now!

If you haven’t yet done so, register for the conference today. There’s still time and room – but not a lot of both!

Posted March 06, 2015 in: 2015 by WIBC