Charles (Bill) Shirriff was born and raised in Saskatchewan during the depression years of the 30's. After graduation from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science in Math, Physics and Chemistry, he went to Swan River to begin a teaching career that was to span thirty-five years and would take him as far north as Cranberry Portage, Flin Flon and Norway House.
Most of those years were spent near Winnipeg in the city of Portage la Prairie where he held positions as teacher, counselor, and coordinator of programs for Special Needs students and for the Gifted & Talented in the School Division. A brief foray into the field of Meteorology provided him with the opportunity to work and live in Moosonee on the tip of James Bay.
His love of learning and a penchant for different experiences led him to obtain a B.A. degree from the State of New York and a Master of Science in psychology from the University of North Dakota. Additional courses in a variety of subjects were taken at the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, University of Connecticut (Storrs) and Stanford University in California.