Benson Cowan was born in North Bay and raised in a series of remote aboriginal communities in Northern Ontario and Manitoba. He was educated in Halifax and then Toronto where he practiced as a criminal defence lawyer. He was later a legal officer for the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo and an executive with a luxury adventure travel company. Benson presently works doing strategic social policy in aboriginal affairs for the Ontario government. He lives on the extreme western fringes of Toronto, next to the lake, with his two daughters, a black cat, and an extremely poorly trained Jack Russell.