||March 28, 2008
History in Perspective
- Books and Exhibitions
Author Astrid Taim lives in Burk's Falls, the heart of the
Almaguin District and recently published her excellent second book on the area
called Almaguin Chronicles, Memories of the Past. The Almaguin Highlands is
that 90km corridor from Callander to Huntsville, west to Dunchurch and east to
Algonquin Park. It has a remarkable heritage that needed to be better told and
Taim has done it with style and detail. She taps into out of print local
history and discovers new sources and stories on paper and from people in the
Astrid's first book Almaguin: A Highland History was
published in 1998 and sold well. It features 31 chapters each with a unique
story from the area. Many came from the archives of the Almaguin New where she
worked for years.
||Cover of Almaguin Chronicles by Astrid Taim
Besides many unique photographs one of the things I liked
about the first book and which is found in the second is her stories of current
or recent personalities. One I enjoyed on looking again at the first book
recently was a story about Doug Mackey: A Champion of Rural Life. The new book
records the important contribution of Richard Thomas, politician, author, and
activist who lived outside Burk's Falls and died after a car accident in 2005.
Some samples of his writings are preserved in the book.
Among other characters profiled in the book is Clarence
Brazier who will be 102 years old this summer and didn't learn to read until
into his 90s. Canada Post awarded him the 2006 National Literary Prize at age
100 and turned him into a poster boy for literacy. The touching story of his
life is typical of the old river driver who survived on what was available.
The main thrust of the book is the early life of the area -
the rivers, their boats, the Grand Trunk Railway, their impact, the logging and
lumbering industry, and the people involved. The personalities and communities
involved in these activities bring the story to life and gives an excellent
overview of Almaguin's Past.
I was especially pleased to see the recognition of the work
of Everett Kirton whose Logging Days in Parry Sound, now long out of print, is
an invaluable record of logging in the early days that I have used as a
reference on numerous occasions.
The new book, published by Natural Heritage Books and
distributed by Dundurn Press, is available at Gullivers Books, North Bay and
online, sells for $25.00, is 190 pages long and has an excellent index,
appendices and numerous photographs. It belongs in the homes of Almaguin and
elsewhere where northern Ontario History is appreciated.
Astrid will be giving a talk and signing books at the
Powassan Library courtesy of Friends of the Library on Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at
6:30pm. Refreshments will be served.
The Legacy of John Waldie & Sons: A History of the Victoria Harbour Lumber
In her look at the lumber business west of highway 11
Astrid Taim mentions the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company. A new book on the
company and its remarkable founder is now available. Waldie was a merchant,
ship owner and politician who had a major impact in Ontario before his death in
1907 and had "the second largest lumber operation in Ontario".
||Cover of The Legacy of John Waldie & Sons,
Kenneth A. Armson and Marjorie McLeod 2007.
The book is available, like the Almaguin book, from Dundurn
Press which distributes Natural Heritage books, or your local book store.
Bridges to Home
||The Bridges to Home Exhibit at Discovery North Bay. D.
As mentioned last week a fine exhibition "Bridges to Home" a
cultural exhibit on immigrant women in Canada is currently on display at the
Discovery North Bay Museum, Tuesday - Saturdays.
Heritage Perspective Home Page