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December 3, 2010

Books make good Christmas presents

With the holiday season and winter approaching some new history books, including a new book by me, may be of interest.

Classic Republished

Murray Leatherdale’s classic 1975 book Nipissing From Brule to Booth on  Lake Nipissing and area before settlement is the best local book on the era when the population was aboriginal and the French began to arrive.  Murray did some remarkable research including the perusal of the 73 book series of Jesuit material which was published in a limited edition. The Leatherdale  book has some excellent illustrations and maps by Bert Saunders. Leatherdale, a chiropractor, was an outstanding community leader and family man all of which is profiled in the introduction in the new book. His wife Holly and children Trudy, Libby, Myles and Lauren who live here oversaw the reproduction.  Outstanding North Bay Artist Tom Grainger who is married to Libby was editor of the new book and has added some of his works including the cover to enhance the book.  Murray died at age 57 and will be memoralized with the new edition.

Murray Leatherdale’s new edition of Nipissing From Brule to Booth

There will be a book launch of the Leatherdale book on December 10 at Discovery North Bay (The North Bay Museum) on Ferguson St. North Bay at 7:30pm. There will be some memorabilia on hand. I am pleased that I will be sharing the evening with them launching my new book Voices from the Past which has 40 of my favourite Heritage Perspectives columns from the 370 I have written for Community Voices.

Voices from the Past

Forty columns and close to 100 photos and maps on personalities, communities, trains, planes, logging, war stories and northern life in general are included in my new book. The columns have been updated where necessary to make them current. The book was designed and published by my son Paul. (see cover).

Some of the proceeds of this evening will go to the Museum. Both books will be available at Gullivers’ Books & Toys and elsewhere. Check my website www.pastforward.ca for locations of my books including on line orders.

Voice from the Past. Heritage Perspectives Columns by Doug Mackey

Gateway to Silverland

Professor Francoise Noel from Nipissing has republished the North Bay section of the earliest book on North Bay on the book’s 100th anniversary. A fascinating look at the early days which creates a nice link with the Leatherdale book.

Noel also published a book of North Bay photographs called Through A Viewfinder with historical text in July covering many aspects of North Bay Life. She also recently published a scholarly study Family & Community Life in Northeastern Ontario.; The Interwar Years. The book received the Ontario Historical Society’s Award for the Best Regional History in Ontario for the last three years. (see my July 2 & July 19, 2010 articles on my website – Google Heritage Perspectives index )

J.R. Booth & John Leach

Murray Leatherdale’s book  tells about Booth’s arrival on the Wasi River in Chisholm Township where he set up a Depot and logged for years before heading to Lake Nipissing where he took out millions of logs at Wasi Falls and on his railway to Lake Nosbonsing and on to his mills in Ottawa.

The Booth Depot was on the property of the remarkable Chisholm Township author John Leach. I made an excursion with John and teenage student Doug Cox to the Booth site in November 2000. (see article online). John went back many times to what is quite a remarkable archaeological site. Doug Cox by the way is now the Chair of the Board of  Powassan’s Clark House Museum.

Photo of guests at John Leach memorial on J.R. Booth site in Chisholm Township. Michael Leach photos.

Speaking of authors John Leach has written 4 books along with having a remarkable life. I have visited him many times in his off the grid home and enjoyed his writing. He recently set up a Conservation section in the East Ferris Library. Eva MacWilliams wrote an excellent profile of John in Community Voices after the opening of the section

John died on Sunday November 14, 2010 at age 88 with his 5 children at his side. A memorial was held on the 16th and it included a walk to the Booth site mentioned above. (see photo). John’s books are available in the Powassan Library and other libraries. His home will remain in the family as a gathering place in the future. John donated his body to science.

World War II Book Well Received

When North Bay’s Sandy O’Grady got a translation of the Dutch WWII book Five Days in November she read it several times. Her father Major Keith Sterling from the Algonquin Regiment was in the battle and became a P.O.W. He is quoted several times. The book, told touchingly from the point of view of children, was launched here recently and is available at Gulliver’s Books and Toys. A remarkable look that should be read and shared.

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