The world is full of a number of things (as RL Stevenson is supposed to have said) and one of them is books. There are some very good ones by Canadian authors that deal with Canadian (even Western!) subjects. One of those – about which you’ll see an opinion column in next week’s Leader – is Rudy Wiebe’s ‘A Discovery of Strangers.’ It’s based on the 1819 Franklin expedition to the Arctic Ocean. You could do far worse than it as a summer reading project.
If you’re a quick reader it won’t last the summer, so how about ‘Kanata’ by Don Gillmor? It’s a dandy story based on the life of noted explorer and mapmaker David Thompson. Thompson was a giant in his field and very important in the development of Western Canada as we know it. He also married a woman from the West and has lots of descendants – maybe even somebody you know!
Not only that, Thompson was the first European (as far as we know) to lay eyes on Lesser Slave Lake. It happened on April 28, 1799. Somehow Gillmor overlooked this important detail when writing his book. However, it’s good stuff – well-written, informative and entertaining.