Bruce Harwood was born in North Vancouver, British Columbia. An avid reader, Harwood worked as a librarian before making a living out of acting and also trained to be a professional ice skater. He graduated in Theatre Performance at the University of British Columbia in 1986 and began acting professionally in the following year.
Bruce Harwood appeared in a number of science-fiction television series, such as The Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1, Smallville and Supernatural, but his role as Byers is what made him known to the public. When his agent initially explained that The X-Files series was about FBI agents chasing UFOs, Harwood's first impression was that it was the stupidest idea he'd ever heard.
Harwood currently resides in Vancouver and has been married to Heather Harwood, a high school drama teacher, since 1989. He is a founding member of Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver.