Canadian

Category: Canadian

Little did I know four years ago when I began researching a book on the history of reporters on Parliament Hill — before the elections of Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump — that it would be published at the height of a great debate about the future of journalism and the credibility of its practitioners. But as sure as the word “news” follows “fake” these days, as I tour the country promoting Power, Prime Ministers and the Press, interviewers are asking questions that reflect an uncertain public mood about the press. Who to trust? What to believe?

Before the mid-twentieth century, if you’d asked someone to describe a quintessentially Canadian story, they might’ve used the words “historical” and “wilderness”. That’s because many of the popular Canadian books from this period — such as Wacousta (1832) or The Man From Glengarry (1901) — followed characters contending with natural forces and historical contexts. These kinds of books created a mythology around a so-called Canadian identity: a mythology rooted in the natural landscape and a particular version of the country’s history.

Tell us about your book: What was your inspiration? Were there overarching themes you felt compelled to explore?

I was inspired to write about my tour in Afghanistan after I came home in 2006 and this resulted in the strict accounting of events and combat actions described in my first book, What the Thunder Said: Reflections of a Canadian Officer in Afghanistan (2009). This book is a war story of a logistics unit.  It is all about the “up and out” experiences of my battalion. 

Yes, the lakes may still be ice-covered, and shrinking snowbanks might yet line the roads, but the spring season in Canada’s western mountains may be the optimal time to board one of the spectacular train excursions to explore the canyons and peaks of Canada’s finest scenery.

After all, it is the time of year when daylight extends well into the evening and busloads of tour groups have yet to clog the attractions.

Dundurn Press has just released Foreign Voices in the House, a striking book published ahead of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Its 600 pages are filled with, among other things, the major speeches 64 world leaders like Nelson Mandela, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Boris Yeltsin, and Barack Obama delivered in our House of Commons over the past century. Alongside pithy bios of each leader, illustrated with the dramatic Parliament Hill photos of these history-makers, are many surprising facts about them, which you might never have suspected.

New People and Places

Posted on September 6 by Barbara Fradkin in Mystery

But fifteen years is a long time for a writer to spend with the same characters in the same place. I wanted to travel. I wanted to meet new people. So I put him, his long-suffering wife, and his loyal colleagues on the shelf, left the complex, subtly hued city of Ottawa, and set off into the wilderness, both literally and figuratively.

In 1988 VIA Rail launched an all-daylight tour train known as the Rocky Mountaineer between Jasper and Vancouver, giving riders unequalled views of Canada’s most stunning mountain scenery.

But in 1990, when Brian Mulroney’s Conservative government slashed VIA’s routes by half, the Mountaineer was sold to the Great Canadian Rail Tour Company. Today the railway offers four scenic all-daylight routes through mountain passes and along the steep canyon walls of Canada’s western mountain ranges.

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