Stephen Butler Leacock, FRSC (30 December 1869 – 28 March 1944) was an English-born Canadian economist, writer and humorist.
Leacock was born in Swanmore, near Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire, England, and at the age of six moved to Canada with his family, which settled on a farm in Egypt, Ontario, near the village of Sutton and the shores of Lake Simcoe. While the family had been well off in England (the Leacocks had made a fortune in Madeira and lived on an estate called Oak Hill on the Isle of Wight), Leacock's father, Peter, had been banished from the manor for marrying Agnes Butler without his parents' permission. The farm in the Georgina township of York County was not a success and the family (Leacock was the third of eleven children) was kept afloat by money sent by Leacock's grandfather. Peter Leacock became an alcoholic.
Stephen Leacock, always of obvious intelligence, was sent by his grandfather to the elite private school of Upper Canada College in Toronto, also attended by his older brothers, where he was top of the class and was chosen as head boy. In 1887, defending his mother and siblings against his father's alcoholic abuse, Leacock ordered him from the family home and he was never seen again. That same year, seventeen-year-old Leacock started at University College at the University of Toronto, where he was admitted to the Zeta Psi fraternity, but found he could not resume the following year because of financial difficulties.