In the Shadow of the Pole


In the Shadow of the Pole explains how the Arctic came to be part of Canada.

In the Shadow of the Pole tells the history of how the Arctic became part of Canada and how the Dominion government established jurisdiction there. It describes the early expeditions to Canada’s North, including the little-known Dominion government expeditions to the Subarctic and Arctic carried out between 1884 and 1912. The men on these expeditions conducted scientific research, meteorological studies, geological explorations, and hydrographic surveys. They informed the people they met there of Canada’s jurisdiction in the region and raised the flag from Hudson Bay to Ellesmere Island. These men endured as much hardship and adventure as Peary, Nansen, Amundsen, and other famous polar explorers, yet their expeditions were not widely publicized, and they received no glory for their efforts. This book delves into the story of the remarkable Canadian men who led these expeditions.


…ably fills a significant gap in modern scholarship of Arctic expeditions. It also makes clear the connection that commerce has had, almost from the beginning, with the ostensibly purer motives of science and sovereignty.

Osborne believes that the rich history of the region is yet to be fully documented, and in this book she does a great job of illustrating the monumental challenges faced by the ships and their crews . . . her descriptions of the hardships endured by these men will keep you turning the pages.

Canada’s History

. . . a fascinating and exceptionally well written work of northern historical scholarship by Canadian author S.L. Osborne.

Fairbanks News-Miner

About the Author

S.L. Osborne

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014

S.L. Osborne

S.L. Osborne's master's thesis on Captain Bernier blossomed into an obsession with the Canadian North. Her first book,50 Years on the Edge, is also concerned with ice: it is a history of the Pembroke Skating Club. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.