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February 1, 2008

More Heritage books in Perspective


I have been recommending books on local history and lumbering lately and have a few more I want to get off my chest before I move on to other things. 

The Ontario Historical Society (OHS) recommends history books in its 5 OHS Bulletins each year.  The December issue had a review of Wayne Lebelle's book Dokis: Since Time Immemorial which I mentioned recently.  Also recommended was a new book on William Logan a remarkable early scientist who surveyed many areas of Canada including an 1845 survey of the Upper Ottawa River with some side trips including the Mattawa River through to Lake Nipissing.  In his journals and field books he recorded comments on economic development, geology, the Fur Trade, lumbering and the people he met. 

The book William E. Logan's 1845 Survey of the Upper Ottawa Valley (2007) presents his 1845 journal with information on the areas mentioned in a detailed and fascinating way.  His drawings (there were no photographs) of what he saw and his maps are included. We travel with him on the Mattawa and La Vase and the Ottawa with his four native helpers and two birch bark canoes in a revealing trip 163 years ago. 

Logan became Sir William Logan and Canada's highest mountain is named after him.  The book is published by the Canadian Museum of Civilization.  Call 1-800-555-5621 to order. 

Also recommended by the OHS just in time for Black History Month in February is I've Got a Home in Glory Land: a Lost Tale of the Underground Railway.  It is by Karolyn Smardz Frost who happens to be the Executive Director of the OHS. It won the 2007 Governor General's Award for Non Fiction. Check on www.homeingloryland.com for more information. 

Covers of some of the new history books of interest.

Almaguin Chronicles - Memories from the Past by Astrid Taim (2008) 

As mentioned in a previous column Astrid Taim from Burks Falls has a new book hot off the press.  It provides more insightful stories of the Almaguin area - people, places, events, with revealing photographs. 

Holy Old Whistlin': Yarns About Algonquin Park (2006) 

Brent Connelly, who was a forester for 40 years with the McRae Lumber Co. Weyerhaeuser and The Algonquin Forest Authority wrote the book above.  It tells of many of his experiences and some of the characters he met over these years.  There is a long chapter on the McCrae Lumber Company in Whitney that especially interested me because I had read outstanding Globe & Mail reporter Roy Mac Gregor's book A Life in the Bush about his father who was one of the key players at McCrae. 

Connelly's new Finer Than Hair on a Frog: More Yarns about Loggers and the Hike (2007) came out just before Christmas.   

Algonquin Harvest the History of the McCrae Lumber Co. (2007) 

Speaking of the McCrae Lumber Co. Donald L. Lloyd who wrote the fascinating Canoeing Algonquin Park (2000) has the book above out profiling McCrae. It is a classic study of the McCrae family business through several generations and the evolution of the lumber business. It is loaded with photographs, charts, drawings, maps and details on the business in its various locations and adjustments. 

All of the above books should be available at Gullivers, One Stop Books, Coles or online at Chapters Indigo.  You can also ask at your local library where if they don't have it they may get it.

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