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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Listed: Historic Canadian Settings

Yesterday, I went to Word on the Street with the lovely Rachel. Before the festival, while we were having breakfast and bemoaning the fact that Kat was working and could not join us. Along with the general gnashing of teeth, I asked Rach to help me put today’s Listed post together. Because I wanted to do historic Canadian settings, there is really no one better suited to helping out with this sort of thing.

And so! Ten books that take a look at Canada settings, way back in the day. (*cough* Yes, there are a lot of L.M. Montgomery books here, but that’s because she’s awesome.) What I really love about these books is that they showcase parts of where Canada came from, and while these are fictional books they still do show a snapshot of Canadian history.

  1. Avonlea, PEI in the late 19th century from L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. Originally appears in Anne of Green Gables, originally published 1908.
  2. Manawaka, Manitoba in pre-1970’s from a bunch of stuff that Margaret Laurence has written.
  3. Horseshoe, Saskatchewan in the Great Depression from Arthur Slade’s Dust. Originally Published 2001.
  4. Deptford, Ontario in the early 20th century from Robertson Davies’ Deptford Trilogy. Originally appears in Fifth Business, originally published 1970.
  5. Mariposa, Ontario in the early 20th century from a bunch of stuff that Stephen Leacock wrote.
  6. Deerwood, Ontario in the 1920’s from L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle. Originally Published 1926.
  7. Victorian Toronto, Ontario in the late 19th century from Maureen Jennings’s Detective Murdoch series. Originally appears in Except the Dying, originally published 1997.
  8. Crocus, Saskatchewan in the 1940’s and 1950’s from W.O. Mitchell’s Jake and the Kid. Originally Published 1961.
  9. Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1915 from Cathy Buchanan’s The Day the Falls Stood Still. Originally Published 2009.
  10. Blair Water in early 20th century from L.M. Montgomery’s Emily series. Originally appears in Emily of New Moon, originally published 1923.

All of these books are fiction, but if we had chosen to list non-fiction too then there would’ve been so many others to list!

Have you read any of these? What are your favourite books in historic Canada?

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:37 am September 28, 2009.
Category: Listed

  • Bella

    I haven’t read any of these, but I will have to check out the two set in Saskatchewan, since that’s where I live :)

  • Susan

    Let’s see – Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising (about the Halifax explosion, 1917 I think); plus his Two Solitudes, which explores the divide between the English and the French in Quebec (which was written in 1946, so necessarily historical now!); MOrdecai Richler – early Montreal circa 1950-1970, with Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and later Barney’s version; and Janet Lunn, who wrote and writes many historical novels for teens and younger children exploring Canada’s history. None of these are my favourites, but for anyone looking for good historical novels, these are classics in Canadian lit field….

    I like your post, and I might use it(link to it) one day. I have enough with the mysteries right now, but definitely there is something niggling at the back of my mind!! Really fun idea, Court, I like it.

    I’ve also seen The Day the Falls Stood Still in stores, and it looks interesting…

  • Court

    Bella – oooh, I hope you enjoy them then!

    Susan – Oooh, I wanted to read some stuff about the Halifax explosion!! I’ll definitely add that to my TBR list! (And I didn’t include Duddy Kravitz because it is SO not my favourite book.) Thanks for all the additions. Will definitely be looking into some of them! Thanks! :)