Main content

Canadian nonfiction

  • “Métis” Race, Recognition, and the Struggle for Indigenous Peoplehood
    Author:
    Andersen, Chris
    Summary:

    Ask any Canadian what “Métis” means, and they will likely say “mixed race.” Canadians consider Métis mixed in ways that other Indigenous people are not, and the census and courts have premised their recognition of Métis status on this race-based understanding. Andersen argues that Canada got it wrong. From its roots deep in the colonial past, the idea of Métis as mixed has slowly pervaded the Canadian consciousness until it settled in the realm of common sense. In the process, “Métis” has become a racial category rather than the identity of an Indigenous people with a shared sense of history and culture.

  • ’Tis a wonderful time to be alive : life in a Newfoundland outport
    Author:
    Oldford, Winston
    Summary:

    'Tis a Wonderful Time to Be Alive is Winston Oldford’s personal account of growing up in Burnside, Bonavista Bay, in the 1940s and 1950s.

    The tiny community underwent a baptism by fire—literally—in the early twentieth century. Following a devastating forest fire in the area in 1912, the settlements of Squid Tickle and Holletts Cove became known, collectively, as Burnside. Today, with a population close to 200, it is one of seven communities on the Eastport Peninsula.

    This book takes a look at the history of Burnside, as well as the day-to-day lives of those who have lived in the community over the last two centuries. Winston Oldford takes the reader on a guided tour of his hometown and the cultural foundations upon which Burnside was built.

  • Author:
    Clarke, Austin
    Summary:

    2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature — Longlisted 2016 RBC Taylor Prize — Longlisted The unforgettable memoir of Giller Prize–winning author and poet Austin Clarke, called “Canada’s first multicultural writer.” Austin Clarke is a distinguished and celebrated novelist and short-story writer. His works often centre around the immigrant experience, of which he writes with humour and compassion, happiness and sorrow. In ’Membering, Clarke shares his own experiences growing up in Barbados and moving to Toronto to attend university in 1955 before becoming a journalist. With vivid realism he describes Harlem of the ’60s, meeting and interviewing Malcolm X and writers Chinua Achebe and LeRoi Jones. Clarke went on to become a pioneering instructor of Afro-American Literature at Yale University and inspired a new generation of Afro-American writers. Clarke has been called Canada’s first multicultural writer. Here he eschews a traditional chronological order of events and takes the reader on a lyrical tour of his extraordinary life, interspersed with thought-provoking meditations on politics and race. Telling things as he ’members them.

  • Zoroaster's Children
    Author:
    Kociejowski, Marius
    Summary:

    Bringing together the best of Marius Kociejowski's travel writing, 'Zoroaster's Children'snags on the borderline between dream and meaning, offering unusual glimpses of some of the places, exotic or 'otherwise, the author has been. 'Attracted to society's outcasts'as it is these, he argues, which point towards an underground of conformity that will not contain them'Kociejowksi offers in these essays glimpses of locales as diverse and seemingly divergent as Prague, Tunisia, Moscow, Aleppo and Toronto, among others. By turns empathetic and virtuosic, and always on the lookout for the deeper meaning seeded inside language, the essays in'Zoroaster's Children'evince the deep absorption in a people and a place which are the hallmark of all great travel writers.

  • Zombie Army The Canadian Army and Conscription in the Second World War
    Author:
    Byers, Daniel
    Summary:

    Zombie Army tells the story of Canada’s Second World War military conscripts – reluctant soldiers pejoratively referred to as “zombies” for their perceived similarity to the mindless movie monsters of the 1930s. In the first full-length book on the subject in almost forty years, Byers combines underused and newly discovered records to argue that although conscripts were only liable for home defence, they soon became a steady source of recruits from which the army found volunteers to serve overseas. He also challenges the traditional nationalist-dominated impression that Quebec participated only grudgingly in the war.

  • Author:
    Baum, Daniel J.
    Summary:

    Real cases from the Supreme Court dealing with youth issues. Laws, as they relate to youth and youth issues, can be difficult to understand for those they are intended to serve. In the first book of the Understanding Canadian Law series, author Daniel J. Baum breaks down the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisions relating to youth in plain language intended for readers of all ages. Drawing on examples from recent Supreme Court rulings, Youth and the Law walks the reader through such controversial subjects as spanking, bullying, youth violence, and police in the schools. Each chapter contains prompts to encourage critical thinking. Youth and the Law is an objective introduction for all readers to better understand how law impacts the young.

  • Author:
    Blizzard, Christina
    Summary:

    A day-by-day celebration in words and photographs of the young couple’s first tour of Canada. On April 29, 2011, Prince William of Wales married Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. The newlyweds’ first royal tour took place in Canada from June 30 to July 8. People across the country rejoiced with the couple as they made their way through a land that holds special significance for the Royal Family, emphasizing and renewing the bond with Canada. This was not the Duke of Cambridges first trip "home to Canada," since he accompanied his parents, Charles and Diana, in 1991 and his father and brother, Harry, in 1998. This journey included such highlights as Canada Day in Ottawa, dragon boating in Prince Edward Island, visiting homeless youth in Quebec City, street hockey in Yellowknife, and a side trip to help bolster the courage of fire-devastated citizens in Slave Lake, Alberta. The Duke and Duchess presented the vibrant, modern face of the Royal Family, and excitement followed them everywhere as they travelled across Canada.

  • Author:
    Wilson, Sharry
    Summary:

    Young Neil is a detailed chronological narrative of the early life of iconic Canadian musician Neil Young. Exploring a time in this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s life that has yet to be documented with such depth of research, Young Neil is an exhaustive document of his “Sugar Mountain” years, from 1945 to 1966. From his birth in Toronto through his school years in Florida, Ontario, and Manitoba, the book examines the development of Young’s unique talent against a backdrop of shifting postwar values, a turbulent family history, and a musical revolution in the making. Includes many previously unseen photos, memorabilia, and set lists.

  • Author:
    Hunter, Martin
    Summary:

    Taking inspiration from John Glassco's Memoirs of Montparnasse, Young Hunting is both a story of discovery and transformation. While Toronto changes around him, from a puritanical British colonial outpost to a mixing bowl filled with colourful cultural components, a young boy emerges from his middle class childhood to become a flamboyant adolescent, a questioning adult who refuses to accept conventional wisdom. The Toronto of the '40s and '50s is often painted as the epitome of dull convention--but this was clearly not Martin Hunter's experience. The child of eastern Ontario farmers, he was exposed to fundamentalist Presbyterian values; yet at the same time he was connecting with a number of remarkable artists who profoundly influenced the course of his young life. In Young Hunting, the dichotomy is personified by Hunter's two closest friends: Dick, who would become an Academy Award-winning animator; and Jimmy, who would go on to become the minister of Canada's largest Presbyterian church. The pull of each of these influences was strong, and each helped define both Hunter's youth and developing view of life. Along the way, he soaked up vast and varied experience: as an actor in a children's theatre company; a boarder at an evangelical summer camp; a messenger delivering samples on Queen Street; an officer cadet in the Royal Canadian Navy; a student at Oxbridge-inspired Trinity College; and as a labourer at both a mining camp in the Yukon and a paper mill in Quebec. And while, as Young Hunting explains, Martin Hunter 'thoroughly enjoyed the often ludicrous pretension of these various institutions,' it was not until he escaped to fulfill his 'dreams of high culture' that he gained true perspective on his life's journey--discovering that Europe's vaunted old world cultural superiority was just as hollow as the institutions of his homeland.

  • Author:
    Hoolboom, Mike
    Summary:

    "Chase Joynt and Mike Hoolboom here give each other the gift so many people only dream of: ample, unhurried space to unspool crucial stories of one's life, and an attentive, impassioned, invested, intelligent receiver on the other side. The gift to the reader is both the example of their exchange, and the nuanced, idiosyncratic, finely rendered examination it offers of biopolitical experiences which, in many ways, define our times. I'm so glad they have each other, and that we have this." - Maggie Nelson "You Only Live Twice is an intelligent ode to enchantment, to the possibilities that arise in their 'second lives' when all past expectations have been foreclosed." - Chris Kraus "The writing is out of the park-strong and surprising, a relay race of brilliant twirling, tossing thoughts back and forth like balletic rugby bros. Joynt and Hoolboom's dances of disclosure are so courageous and generative, gifts to us all." - John Greyson What if it's not true that you only live once' In this genre-transcending work of true fiction, trans writer and media artist Chase Joynt and HIV-positive movie artist Mike Hoolboom come together over the films of Chris Marker to exchange transition tales: confessional missives that map out the particularities of what they call "second lives": Chase's transition from female to male and Mike's near-death from AIDS in the 1990s. Chronicling reactions from friends and families, medical mechanics, and different versions of "coming out,' YOLT explores art, love, sex, death, and life in changed bodies. The unspoken promise was that in our second life we would become the question to every answer, jumping across borders until they finally dissolved. Man and woman. Queer and straight. Mike Hoolboom is an author and filmmaker based in Toronto. He has written four books, received more than thirty international film prizes, and enjoyed nine international retrospectives of his work. Chase Joynt is a Toronto-based moving-image artist and writer who has exhibited his work internationally. He recently received a Mellon Fellowship in Arts Practice and Scholarship at the University of Chicago.

  • Author:
    Green, Lyndsay
    Summary:

    Are you ready to live a long time, or do you dread it? Recent medical advances mean we could live longer, but doesn’t guarantee the quality of that life. In the words of one senior, "We’re not living longer, we’re dying longer." The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Getting older doesn’t have to mean living a limited life. Author Lyndsay Green has interviewed forty successful seniors to talk not just about the problems of old age but its strength and benefits. These seniors were from all walks of life and from all over the country, living in Victoria, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Kingston and Halifax, aged 75 to 100. They have been identified as the self-reliant seniors we would like to be and they share their wisdom and strategies for independent and happy living. The book combines their advice with cutting edge research, to arrive at specific suggestions for what we should be doing now to prepare for old age, and includes resources to help us implement the advice, including:Money isn’t everything, and won’t cure ill-health or loneliness.Cultivate new friendships now.To keep your dignity, give up your pride.You need a work plan, instead of a retirement planTo keep a home, consider leaving your house.If you push too hard to stay young you’ll get old faster.The unique message is that we should not try to avoid old age. Instead of trying to do the impossible to stay forever young, Green comes to the radical conclusion that in order to get as much as possible out of our old age we will need to embrace it.

  • Author:
    Benedetti, Paul
    Summary:

    Hamilton Spectator columnist Paul Benedetti’s essays paint a wonderfully funny portrait of family life today. Paul Benedetti has a good job, a great family, and successful neighbours — but that doesn’t stop him from using it all as grist for a series of funny, real, and touching essays about a world he can’t quite navigate. Benedetti misses his son, who is travelling in Europe, misplaces his groceries, and forgets to pick up his daughter at school. He endures a colonoscopy and vainly attempts to lower his Body Mass Index — all with mixed results. He loves his long-suffering wife, worries about his aging parents and his three children, who seem to spend a lot of time battling online trolls, having crushes on vampires, and littering their rooms with enough junk to start a landfill.

  • Author:
    Kelsey, Elin, Kim, Soyeon
    Summary:

    You Are Stardust begins by introducing the idea that every tiny atom in our bodies came from a star that exploded long before we were born. From its opening pages, the book suggests that we are intimately connected to the natural world; it compares the way we learn to speak to the way baby birds learn to sing, and the growth of human bodies to the growth of forests. Award-winning author Elin Kelsey — along with a number of concerned parents and educators around the world — believes children are losing touch with nature. This innovative picture book aims to reintroduce children to their innate relationship with the world around them by sharing many of the surprising ways that we are all connected to the natural world.  Grounded in current science, this extraordinary picture book provides opportunities for children to use their imaginations and wonder about some big ideas. Soyeon Kim’s incredible diorama art enhances the poetic text, and her creative process is explored in full on the reverse side of the book’s jacket, which features comments from the artist. Young readers will want to pore over each page of this book, exploring the detailed artwork and pondering the message of the text, excited to find out just how connected to the Earth they really are.

  • York's Sacrifice Militia Casualties of the War of 1812
    Author:
    Nickerson, Janice
    Summary:

    Not only professional soldiers but also citizens serving as militiamen participated in the War of 1812. The militia’s contribution to the War of 1812 is not well understood. Even now, 200 years later, we don’t know how many Upper Canadian militia men died defending their home.York’s Sacrifice profiles 39 men who lost their lives during the war. They include 19 residents of the Town of York, five residents of York County, and 11 residents of Halton, Peel, and Wentworth Counties. Where possible, biographies include information about each man’s origin, residence, occupation, civic life, family, militia service, and circumstances of death. A section on records provides detailed guidance in finding and using records from the period to trace an ancestors militia service and life in this difficult time period.A complete list of men who served in the three York regiments during the war identifies those who were killed, injured, captured, or deserted.

  • Yoga, rencontrer la tradition
    Author:
    Bastien, France
    Summary:

    Cet ouvrage témoigne de sa progression dans l’art du yoga, et c’est sans prétention que l’auteure vous accompagne dans la voie qu’elle a elle-même suivie. Il s’adresse autant au néophyte qu’à l’adepte aguerri ; chacun y trouvera des outils pour s’épanouir dans sa pratique de cet art. Il est construit sur le modèle de l’Échelle de Pa-tanjali, huit échelons qui conduisent l’adepte à l’état de Conscience, au-delà de tout concept, dans Cela. En plus des techniques traditionnelles de yoga, l’auteure convie ses lecteurs à l’intériorité, à l’exploration et à la disponibilité intérieure.

  • Yip Sang and the First Chinese Canadians
    Author:
    Hern, Frances
    Summary:

    During the second half of the 19th century, thousands of Chinese men arrived on the west coast of North America, seeking to escape poverty and make their fortunes in the goldfields or working on the railroads. Among them was 36-year-old Yip Sang, a native of Guangdong province in southeast China, who arrived in Vancouver in 1881 after failing to strike it rich in California. His luck was about to change. Through perseverance, hard work and an eye for opportunity, the enterprising Yip Sang amassed considerable wealth to pass on to his wives and 23 children when he died in 1927. As the unofficial mayor of Chinatown, Yip Sang was instrumental in helping new Chinese immigrants as they fought to overcome social, economic and political barriers. This fascinating history details the struggles and successes of Yip Sang and the first Chinese Canadians as they built new lives and left a lasting legacy for their families and community.

  • Xwelíqwiya The Life of a Stó:lō Matriarch
    Author:
    Point Bolton, Rena, Daly, Richard
    Summary:

    Xwelíqwiya is the life story of Rena Point Bolton, a Stó:lō matriarch, artist, and craftswoman. Proceeding by way of conversational vignettes, the beginning chapters recount Point Bolton's early years on the banks of the Fraser River during the Depression. While at the time the Stó:lō, or Xwélmexw, as they call themselves today, kept secret their ways of life to avoid persecution by the Canadian government, Point Bolton’s mother and grandmother schooled her in the skills needed for living from what the land provides, as well as in the craftwork and songs of her people, passing on a duty to keep these practices alive. Point Bolton was taken to a residential school for the next several years and would go on to marry and raise ten children, but her childhood training ultimately set the stage for her roles as a teacher and activist. Recognizing the urgent need to forge a sense of cultural continuity among the younger members of her community, Point Bolton visited many communities and worked with federal, provincial, and First Nations politicians to help break the intercultural silence by reviving knowledge of and interest in Aboriginal art. She did so with the deft and heartfelt use of both her voice and her hands. Over the course of many years, Daly collaborated with Point Bolton to pen her story. At once a memoir, an oral history, and an “insider” ethnography directed and presented by the subject herself, the result attests both to Daly’s relationship with the family and to Point Bolton’s desire to inspire others to use traditional knowledge and experience to build their own distinctive, successful, and creative lives.

  • Author:
    Butts, Edward
    Summary:

    Bestselling true crime author Edward Butts presents a rogues’ gallery of desperadoes whose crimes range from robbery to murder. English bank robbers on the run turn up in Newfoundland. A legendary Nova Scotia detective matches wits with smugglers. In the West the Mounties track down bandits and rustlers. Vancouver police officers hunt down the bank-robbing Hyslop Gang in the 1930s. A decade later the Polka Dot Gang rampages across Southern Ontario. The Newton Brothers’ Gang, outlaws from Texas, engage in a gunfight with bank guards on the streets of Toronto, and a former Canadian Pacific Railway engineer masterminds a sensational kidnapping in Colorado.No matter where the atrocities were committed and no matter what the circumstances, these individuals all had one thing in common: they lived on the wrong side of the law.

  • Author:
    Chiasson, Paul
    Summary:

    2017 Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award — Shortlisted Paul Chiasson reveals the possibility that early Chinese settlers landed in Cape Breton long before Europeans. From the very beginning of the European Age of Discovery, Cape Breton was considered unusual. The history of the area even includes early references to the island having once been the land of the Chinese. In 1497, at least a century before any attempt at European settlement in the region, the explorer John Cabot had referred to Cape Breton as the “Island of Seven Cities.”  The indigenous people of the region, the Mi’kmaq, were the only aboriginal people of North America who had a written language when Europeans first arrived. This writing, clothing, and customs also suggested an early Chinese presence. In Written in the Ruins, Chiasson investigates the ruins at St. Peters in the southern part of the island, where evidence brought to light supports a theory that could answer all the questions raised by the island’s curious, unresolved history.

  • Author:
    Oliver, Greg
    Summary:

    Hockey history like you've never seen it before. Who knew that paperwork could be so fascinating? In Written in Blue and White, author Greg Oliver explores the fascinating archives of Allan Stitt, one of hockey's leading collectors, unearthing gem after gem that details the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs through the past century. Explore early contracts with players, and how the clauses evolved; read personal correspondence from Leaf players and management; find out what was behind Wally Stanowski's 1945 fine for $100; see receipts from the 1935 Stanley Cup playoffs — and learn just how much oranges cost. Since documents can’t talk, Oliver seeks out the men behind the words, like former general managers Jim Gregory, Gerry McNamara, and Floyd Smith; players such as Ron Ellis, Dick Duff, and Darryl Sittler; and key behind-the-scenes people like trainers, agents, reporters, and publicists.

    The documents that breathe life into Written in Blue and White are complemented by a wide variety of stunning and rare photos from the Hockey Hall of Fame archives, as well as sample contracts and historical pieces from the collection of Allan Stitt.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Canadian nonfiction