NVCL Reads: Canadian History Edition

It’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year! If you were hoping to learn a bit more about Canada’s history this year, here is a list to get you started.

Saltwater City by Paul Yee saltwatercity

Let’s ease into our study of Canadian history with pictures! Created by a former City of Vancouver archivist, Saltwater City documents the history of the Chinese community in Vancouver. Photography has the potential to humanize our past in a very immediate way, and even a quick peruse through this volume will give you a new window onto our shared history.

1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal by Christopher Moore


And now for some constitutional history. But it’s really readable and interesting!! Written in 1997 after Canada had gone through two attempts at constitutional reform, this book explains why our political system works the way it does. You’ll be able to talk intelligently about things like why we (usually) don’t have fixed election dates! You’ll be the life of the BBQ!


A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and Phil Fontaine knock.jpg

An edited and abridged version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on the horrors of Canada’s residential schools. It’s not an easy read – the story of cultural genocide is never easy. But by becoming more informed about our past, you’re helping to create the possibility for a healthier, more democratic future for all Canadians.


Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin iceghostsExpedition by Paul Watson

Who isn’t fascinated by the lost (and then, over 150 years later, dramatically found) Franklin ships?!?!? Commanded by Sir John Franklin, the Erebus and Terror set off from London in 1845 to find the fabled Northwest Passage. Neither ship returned, and all 129 men aboard were lost. An extraordinary search ensued that didn’t end until 2016. Well worth the read.


-Cara Pryor



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