Nick Auf der Maur (April 10,
1942 – April 7, 1998) was a journalist, politician and "man about
town" boulevardier in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
was also the father of rock musician Melissa Auf der Maur
, through his
marriage to Linda Gaboriau
youngest of four children of Swiss immigrants
Severn and Theresa Auf der Maur, he was a regular at
various downtown Montreal bars, and often transacted official and
unofficial business there, entertaining visitors to the city,
telling stories, and meeting with a wide range of Montrealers from
all walks of life.
claimed that Auf
der Maur once went bar-hopping with Conrad
and when they accidentally wandered into a gay bar and
were asked to leave, Black indignantly insisted it was his
democratic right to stay, so they did 
As a young man, he participated in left-wing politics
. While working as a
story editor at the Canadian Broadcasting
, Auf der Maur and his producer were arrested under
the War Measures Act
. His cell was across
from that of future Parti
cabinet minister Gérald
. He was not charged with an offence.
As a journalist he wrote regular columns for the Montreal Gazette
and the now-defunct
. A frequent
subject was his daughter Melissa
Auf der Maur
, about whom he often wrote in his newspaper
columns as she was growing up. She once observed that she had been
known her whole life as Nick Auf der Maur's daughter, until she
became the bassist for Hole
he became known as Melissa Auf der Maur's father.
As a politician, he was a long-time city councillor
in Montreal. He was also a candidate
at various times in provincial and federal elections in Quebec,
never successfully, with frequent changes of political affiliation.
He accurately predicted the massive cost overruns and deficits of
the 1976 Summer Olympics
in Montreal, and was a sharp critic of longtime mayor Jean Drapeau
. In 1987 Auf der Maur controversially
supported the Overdale development
which saw nearly 100 of his constituents evicted from their homes,
which were then demolished in 1989.
He was also a television
serving as co-host of the Canadian Broadcasting
with Les Nirenberg
during the early 1970s.
In 1974, he was elected as a city councillor for Montreal for the
citoyens de Montréal
(Montreal Citizens' Movement). In
1976, he formed the Alliance démocratique
(Democratic Alliance) party and ran as a candidate in the 1976 provincial election
party soon disbanded. In 1978 and 1982, he was again elected city
councillor under the "Municipal Action Group" banner, and in 1986
was re-elected as an independent candidate. In the 1984 federal election, he
ran as a Progressive
Conservative candidate in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, and although the Conservatives won that election
in a landslide including many Quebec seats, Auf der Maur failed to
win a seat.
He remained a city councillor, and in 1988, he even briefly joined
the Civic Party of retired former mayor Jean Drapeau
, which he once bitterly opposed.
He left that party a year later. However, by 1992, he was once
again in the Civic Party, and left again a year later. In 1994, he
ran as an independent and was defeated in what would prove to be
his final election. Columnist Allan
wrote that half the voters in Montreal thought Auf
der Maur was a joke and the other half thought he was a legend. It
was also said of Auf Der Maur: "half his (downtown) constituents
share his lifestyle -- and the other half wish they did."
Known for his smoke in mouth drinking attitude, he was diagnosed
with throat cancer
in December 1996 and died
in 1998. His funeral at St. Patrick's
Basilica was attended by nearly 3,000 people.
interred in the Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges in Montreal, Quebec.
He was strongly opposed to the practice of renaming streets after
illustrious individuals; therefore, after his death when it was
desired to honour him with a street name, it was necessary to find
a street with no name. A small alley off of Rue Crescent, whose
bars he was famous for frequenting, was therefore renamed Ruelle
Nick-Auf der Maur.
He wrote the book The Billion-Dollar Game: Jean Drapeau and the
(ISBN 0-88862-106-X). He was a co-author, along
with Robert Chodos
and Rae Murphy, of
the 1984 book Brian Mulroney: The Boy from Baie Comeau
which traced the new Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney
's life from boyhood to
He is the subject of the book Nick: A Montreal Life
1-55065-114-5). It is a collection of his columns published
posthumously by the Montreal Gazette
. The introduction was
written by his long-time friend Mordecai Richler
, and contains over 20
caricatures of Auf der Maur drawn by political cartoonist Aislin