Expanding on his landmark Globe and Mail series in which he documented his travels down 16 of Canada's great rivers, Roy MacGregor tells the story of our country through the stories of its original highways, and how they sustain our spirit, identity and economy--past, present and future.
No country is more blessed with fresh water than Canada. From the mouth of the Fraser River in BC, to the Bow in Alberta, the Red in Manitoba, the Gatineau, the Saint John and the most historic of all Canada's rivers, the St. Lawrence, our beloved chronicler of Canadian life, Roy MacGregor, has paddled, sailed and traversed their lengths, learned their stories and secrets, and the tales of centuries lived on their rapids and riverbanks. He raises lost tales, like that of the Great Tax Revolt of the Gatineau River, and reconsiders histories like that of the Irish would-be settlers who died on Grosse Ile and the incredible resilience of settlers in the Red River Valley. Along the Grand, the Ottawa and others, he meets the successful conservationists behind the resuscitation of polluted wetlands, including even Toronto's Don, the most abused river in Canada (where he witnesses families of mink, returned to play on its banks). Long before our national railroad was built, our rivers held Canada together; in these sixteen portraits, filled with yesterday's adventures and tomorrow's promise, MacGregor weaves together a story of Canada and its ongoing relationship with its most precious resource.
ROY MACGREGOR is the acclaimed and bestselling author of Home Team: Fathers, Sons and Hockey (shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award); A Life in the Bush (winner of the US Rutstrum Award for Best Wilderness Book and the CAA Award for Biography); and Canadians: A Portrait of a Country and Its People; as well as two novels, Canoe Lake and The Last Season, and the popular Screech Owls mystery series for young readers. MacGregor has been a regular columnist at The Globe and Mail since 2002; MacGregor's journalism has garnered four National Magazine Awards and two National Newspaper Awards. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and was described in the citation as one of Canada's "most gifted storytellers." He and his wife, Ellen, live in Kanata, ON.
Finalist for the 2018 Ottawa Book Award for English Non-Fiction
“Well known for his books and articles on sports, Roy MacGregor has done Canadians a tremendous favour by showing not only how our rivers can provide tranquility and diversion but also how important it is that we protect and nourish our river system, an asset we must cherish.” —Winnipeg Free Press
“On your next [paddling] trip, may I suggest you bring Original Highways along. It would make great campfire reading.” —The Sun Times
“MacGregor expands on his acclaimed Globe and Mail series on Canada’s rivers, bringing these historic waterways, and the stories of those whose existence is inextricably linked to them, to remarkably vivid life.” —Canadian Geographic
“When I see a book about Canada or individual Canadians with Roy MacGregor’s name on it, I feel compelled to pick it up. . . . Mr. MacGregor writes lyrically and convincingly, opening to us Canadian experiences that have lain buried. A joy to read.” —The Millstone
Praise for Canoe Country:
"[MacGregor] has his creative fingers on the pulse of our national imagination like few others.... A compelling storyteller who, like Pierre Berton before him, transforms historical research into high drama, elevating ordinary people who do extraordinary things into admirable folk heroes. I couldn't put Canoe Country down." —Waterloo Region Record
"Canoe Country is a rollicking good read—engaging, thought-provoking and, at times, startling." —The Globe and Mail