We met so briefly at the Barbours’ 50th commemoration, which was a shame as I had lots of questions to ask about Edmonton’s gardening history. Well, now having read the book, you have certainly answered the big question [Why grow here?] and settled numerous other issues. I wanted to write you a fan letter, to say what a engrossing read it was, and what a big contribution to Alberta’s cultural history it is. More than that, too, it deserves to be read widely in Canada, not because it is about other parts of the country but for what a terrific model it would be for future cultural history elsewhere.
GreaterToronto, if I may mention my home city, has had a large number of public and private “show” gardens as well as more modest ones and a vast expanse of market gardens and orchards since the early 1800s. As an example, Etobicoke was mostly farm land with a few villages dotted here and there, until 1945. The market gardens were owned and run by Chinese and Ukrainians, the orchards (especially for apples) by old-time Ontarians. When we were first married, 1973, there was still a 20-acre market garden at the corner of Islington and Eglinton Avenues—now a major intersection—growing vegetables. With the wind in the right direction, you could smell the crops when ripe. All gone now.
So with all that background it is sad to say there is nothing like your wonderful study for Toronto, nothing even remotely like it. If one were interested, it would be necessary to construct the history (as you have done), from a vast array of sources. Some of these sources are pretty slim. Toronto has a botanic garden in a fine Victorian glasshouse in Allan Gardens, for example; there is a three page article on its history and that is all. The area around it is now called the “Garden District” but that is just real estate fakery, because there is no history of the area from the “garden” point of view, so no one knows why it is called that.
All the essays were resonant to me, someone who is not by nature a gardener. I especially liked the chapter about Rose City. My uncle was a rose grower and breeder at Mills Roses in Bedford Park (now a north Toronto neighbourhood but then a village named after the famous garden suburb near London) just north of Toronto in the teens and ’20s of the last century. They moved to “faraway” Richmond Hill in the ’30s and continued until the 1970s. Both of those extensive properties and their miles of glasshouses are all gone, buried under expensive houses.
If I may say so, the most memorable part of your study is the essay on Edmonton’s Chinese market gardeners, which gives character to those whom history usually renders anonymous. In my youth in Toronto, the local greengrocer’s was called “the Chinaman’s” (everyone ignored the name on the shopfront: “Wong’s”). This was despite the fact that the son of “the Chinaman” was my classmate, Kennedy Ho. So your history of Bark Ging Wong’s family and enterprise was especially moving in delineating the struggles and triumphs of what must have been a terribly hard life.
What else to say? It’s a beautiful (great book design too!) and important work. So many great things in it—I hope you sell a lot of copies.
June 24, 2016
“Canada’s national parks have a complex history in which sport-oriented nature tourism is a key element. PearlAnn Reichwein. Climber’s Paradise provides a detailed account of the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) and its entwined relationship with Canada’s mountain parks. This history focuses on western Canada and a western Canadian sport heritage. It is a valuable addition to social, environmental, and sport historiographies…”
“Wilderness. Symbol of nationhood. Playground. Sanctuary. Revenue source. Over the last century Canada’s mountain parks have been imagined and reimagined through a spectrum of meanings and contending desires. PearlAnn Reichwein’s history of the Alpine Club of Canada explores these incarnations and tells the fascinating stories of the people who cared fiercely for the mountains and struggled over their use and value. Just as importantly, Reichwein traces out the less visible tracks of class, race, and gender that weave through the grand narratives of adventure and conquest. This is vital reading for anyone who cares about our vanishing wild heritage.”
“This is a remarkable story. It’s about how a small group of urban, middle-class, Anglo Canadians, working through the Alpine Club of Canada, sought to assert their narratives of alpinism, the environment, nation, and interpersonal relations on Canada’s western Canadian mountain parks, and the conditions they faced, the institutions they created, the political victories they achieved, and the struggles and setbacks they encountered. Professor Reichwein tells it brilliantly, bringing both a climbers’ love of the mountains and a social historian’s critical distance and research to her subject. Her analysis is illuminated with mini-biographies of the key players, grounded in their speeches and personal correspondence resourcefully dug out of archival collections, and an extensive collection of photographs. It’s an important contribution to the history of Canadian sport and recreation and a telling case study of volunteering, but anyone who has ever holidayed or even contemplated a hike in a mountain national park would enjoy and benefit from this book.”
“Climber’s Paradise is both an informative and entertaining read. It makes a good companion book for specialists wishing to learn further details about national park history, the history of mountaineering, the making of Canadian nationhood, and other topics. Due to the accessible nature of the text, it also provides an enjoyable gateway into Canada’s past for nonspecialists.”
Jessica M. DeWitt, Canadian Journal of History
Read more reviews on our website.
On December 14, we celebrated Winter Solstice with UAlberta North. It was both humbling and inspiring to hear all the achievements Director Roger Epp, listed in his talk—and to realize that many of them are our authors and collaborators.
As neighbours and partners of UAlberta North, we have experienced the benefit of their work through the wonderful conversations we have had about research in the north and in the new friends we have made among scholars of the north. Roger Epp’s work as liaison and acquisitions editor for northern research and topics has been invaluable.
A few years ago, the University of Alberta Press launched a northern imprint. Polynya Press is moving at full speed, with three books already in the imprint and more on the way. A quick glance at the editors and contributors to these publications—Idioms of Sámi Health and Healing (Barbara Miller), Care, Cooperation and Activism in Canada’s Northern Social Economy (Frances Abele and Chris Southcott), and Imagining the Supernatural North (Eleanor Barraclough, Danielle Marie Cudmore, and Stefan Donecker) shows how UAlberta Press’ reach and influence extends throughout the circumpolar north how our author base to includes authors from around the world who write on northern subjects from other perspectives and other institutions.
What stands out about these titles is the correspondence with the northern themes that UAlberta has been pursuing. This correspondence confirms that Polynya Press is charting the future of northern studies alongside UAblerta North.
The University of Alberta Press and its northern imprint, like UAlberta North, is flourishing and set for even greater things. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate these achievements alongside those of our colleagues.
Some of the highlights of Roger’s talk at Winter Solstice included:
- Applauding John England, this year’s recipient of the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research, which comes with $50,000 and other research-oriented support;
- Acknowledging the achievements of David Hik, who received the Polar Medal from the Governor General at a special ceremony in Edmonton, recognizing his extraordinary services in the polar regions and in Canada’s North;
- The Digital Library North project led by Ali Shiri, which was community-tested in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region this fall;
- The Tracking Change project, led by Brenda Parlee (ALES), and the conference in spring 2016, which drew students from throughout the Mackenzie River basin to UAlberta for a workshop;
- Graham Pearson being elected as Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada;
- Duane Froese joining the RSC’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists;
- Mark Nuttall for receiving UAlberta’s most prestigious research award, the J. Gordin Kaplan Award for Excellence in Research;
- Martin Sharp, receiving a key grant to support building the Canadian Ice Core Archive;
- The strengthening of Northern-focused teaching and research activities through new faculty appointments: Maik Kecinski (Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology); Priscilla Ferrazzi (Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine); Adam Gaudry (Faculty of Native Studies/ Department of Political Science); and Rob McMahon (Extension).
- Acknowledging students who were recognized for their scholarship and contributions, including Ashley Dubnick, Carolyn Gibson, Jared Gonet, Laurie-Ann Lines, Ellorie McKnight, and Isobel Ness.
Peter Midgley with files from Roger Epp.
The Edmonton launch for Farm Workers in Western Canada: Injustices and Activism gave key individuals an opportunity to acknowledge many years of striving to ensure that Charter rights are enforced for Alberta farm workers.
There were many key attendees from government, the activist community, labour policy organizations, media, and publishing. It was a particular pleasure to welcome:
- Christina Gray, Minister of Labour and Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal. December marks the one-year anniversary of the Alberta’s government’s work on Bill 6: The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act.
- David Swann, Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party, MLA, and long-time supporter of this human rights issue.
- Darlene Dunlop and Eric Musekamp, advocates and activists who have spearheaded this conversation for over a decade, at great personal cost.
- Bob Barnetson, professor of labour relations at Athabasca University and co-editor, with Shirley McDonald, of the book.
- Zane Hamm, an Edmonton contributor to Farm Workers in Western Canada.
It was an honour to be in the room with these strenuous advocates for workers’ rights in Alberta—to hear their stories and learn why they were inspired to do this work.
We know that the information and stories in Farm Workers in Western Canada will reach an important audience, from farm workers to employers to policy makers. In the book, key issues are covered in depth, with accuracy, and for posterity. The launch at The Common, organized by Dr. Swann and his staff, was a great start to letting people know where they can go for this information.
On September 30, 2016 the School of Library and Information Studies and the University of Alberta Press celebrated the release of Dr. Margaret Mackey’s book One Child Reading: My Auto-Bibliography. The guests gathered in Henderson Hall (Rutherford South at the University of Alberta) enjoyed the speeches and presentations by Linda Cameron, Heide Blackmore, and Margaret herself.
We’d like to share Heide’s speech here, which is a great overview of the book. Who wouldn’t want to read One Child Reading after hearing her speak?
For all of my remembered life I have been a reader. Riding in tandem has been an ongoing curiosity about readers and especially their pleasure-reading preferences.
Some two decades ago I met Margaret by auditing her course on reading at the School of Library and Information Science, and I have been learning from her ever since.
And so it is my particular delight to be here to celebrate the publication of her latest book, One Child Reading: My Auto-Bibliography.
So then here is one reader (me) reading about one child reading. Well, this reader likes:
– first person narratives—TICK
– complex situations—TICK
– suspense—hmm, oddly enough—TICK
– a nice fat book—TICK!
This book is thick, it’s heavy—I love the soft colours of the cover, the weight and shape of the book in my hands, the restful layout, the lovely font, the white space, the smooth feel of the paper—it’s a full body treat; it even fits precisely into my arm. Kudos to the craftsmanship of the folks at the U of A Press for creating a physical object that perfectly embodies one of Margaret’s themes—namely that reading is grounded in the physical, local, and personal. Great job!
It was a surprise to me how little overlap there is between my childhood reading and that of the young Margaret, and yet I frequently found myself staring into the distance as warm memories surfaced of similar early reading experiences. And so I was happy to follow the paths and note the landmarks [one of the metaphors that shapes the book] in the young Margaret’s world, certain that new awareness—both general and personal—was in store for me from Margaret’s examples and analysis.
Close on the heels of that pleasure was the intellectual workout this book offered me—I don’t remember the last time I had to skip so many words because I was in such a rush to keep reading to discover the next theory or insight. Of course, I had to go back since the meaning rests in the words!
This book is an astonishing accomplishment—a self-disciplined scholar applying a courteous detachment—carefully examines the reader she knows best, in order that her readers can learn not about her, but about themselves.
You do write beautifully, Margaret.
“This is a passionately written academic book – a characterization which the author would probably agree should not be an oxymoron. The passion suggests that it is written as much for curious general readers as for academics. I hope it reaches many of both, particularly those who know or have known war survivors…. Grace’s specific subjects are Canadian literary and visual representations of 20th-century war created in the 1977-2007 period, and the tasks of collective national memory that these perform…. Official war histories record the losses, gains, and casualties but seldom the savage and often impulsive and unnecessary means by which these came about. In these 600+ pages Grace examines numerous novels, plays and television films…” Frank Davey, Frank Davey Blog, January 1, 2015
“… officialdom and media have celebrated wartime exploit as a central fixture of the Canadian experience. This is factually dubious but worthy of thoughtful analysis. Professor Sherrill Grace, a professor of literature at the University of British Columbia, examines the phenomenon. The result is striking and poignant…. Prof. Grace examines this ritual of remembrance over a 30-year period, citing hundreds of Canadian poems and films, novels, memoirs and documentaries.” Holly Doan, Blacklock’s Reporter, January 17, 2015
“An extraordinary and seminal work of truly impressive and seminal scholarship…. [E]specially recommended for academic library Canadian History reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists.” Michael Dunford, Midwest Book Review Bookwatch, January 2, 2015
“[The prominent Canadian literary critic Sherrill] Grace’s new book is an exhaustive look at the way Canadian artists have recently understood and remembered both wars. Her work is nuanced, probing the contradictions and ambiguities of the ‘good’ war, particularly through Joy Kogawa’s Obasan. Grace regularly returns to the theme of democracy and freedom being ‘fragile,’ especially during wartime. She also asks crucial questions using the metaphor of memory as landscape.” Jamie Swift, ActiveHistory.ca, April 9, 2015
“[Sherrill Grace’s book] examines the work of artists, who can be instrumental in voicing and depicting war memories that are painful, sometimes heroic, and often shocking…Blending raw personal point of view with objective academic discourse, Grace describes how she was propelled into writing this book…. Landscapes of War and Memory is a compelling and provocative cultural study that poses important questions regarding where Canada stands today in relation to war.” Anne Cimon, Canada’s History Magazine, June 1, 2015
“Despite the passage of five decades, Canadian novelists, memoirists, playwrights and artists are decidedly far from finished with the World Wars—with the experiences of our predecessors in battle and the sometimes atrocious actions of citizens on the home front. In particular, UBC literature scholar Sherrill Grace argues, we are concerned with memory, with remembering and forgetting… ‘Forgetting is a trap,’ she shows us. Art, then, does the vital memory work of ‘bearing witness’ to our troubled and restless war-scarred past. Naomi K. Lewis, Alberta Views, July 1, 2015
In Landscapes of War and Memory, Sherrill Grace examines the twin processes of commemoration and amnesia that have shaped cultural responses in Canada to the two global conflicts of the twentieth century. Her study, immensely rich, surveys works of theatre, visual art, and film as well as novels and stories, but above all it is concerned with fiction in a catholic sense — with the perpetual reinvention of the past…. I cannot do justice in a brief review to the six hundred pages of her book, and in summary I suggest only that it is a pleasure to read despite the sobering topic: Grace is an admirably clear writer, her study perfectly accessible. It will appeal to specialist readers of this journal as well as to students of Canada at large.” Nicholas Bradley, BC Studies, online, March 1, 2016
Bill 6, the government of Alberta’s contentious farm workers’ safety legislation, sparked public debate as no other legislation has done in recent years. The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act provides a right to work safely and a compensation system for those killed or injured at work, similar to other provinces.
In Farm Workers in Western Canada: Injustices and Activism, activists and scholars place this legislation in context. They look at the origins, work conditions, and precarious lives of farm workers in terms of larger historical forces. They also examine how the rights and privileges of farm workers, including seasonal and temporary foreign workers, conflict with those of their employers, and reveal the barriers many face by being excluded from most statutory employment laws, sometimes in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Are you saying that Alberta’s farm animals are protected by laws that farm workers are denied?
—from Chapter 2
Bob Barnetson’s blog shares some excellent material from the book. We encourage everyone to join the conversation about farm safety.
For More Information
Shirley A. McDonald, Faculty of Creative/Critical Studies, UBC
Work: 250-807-8121 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Barnetson, Professor, Labour Relations, Athabasca University
Work: 780-454-9881 / Email: email@example.com
Darlene Dunlop, Activist
Work: 403-330-2264 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org