Being a Canadian carries with it a tangible sense of living on the edge of a vast barren interior. Only named as such in 1883, the Canadian Shield is an empty immensity of lakes, bogs, rivers, forest
Being a Canadian carries with it a tangible sense of living on the edge of a vast barren interior. Only named as such in 1883, the Canadian Shield is an empty immensity of lakes, bogs, rivers, forest and protruding ribs of hard Precambrian crystalline rock that covers more than half of the total land area of Canada.
This book traces the geologic evolution of the Shield, its first tentative exploration by humans starting 11,000 years ago as the last great ice sheets withdrew, its changing economic fortunes as Europeans penetrated its remote rocky vastnesses for furs and metals, and its transformation in the twentieth century into a national icon to Canadians.
Regarded as 'barren' and of no value, much of the Shield was given away in 1670 to a single London-based fur trading company, the Hudson Bay Company, who jealously guarded its northern domain until 1867. This two hundred year long monopoly created a virtual government over a huge piece of North America. Without the HBC, much of it would have passed into American hands and there would have been no 'Canadian' Shield or country called Canada. As a nation, we are indebted to hard rock.
View Biographical note
Nick Eyles is the author of Canada Rocks, Ontario Rocks, and Road Rocks: Ontario. He is a professor at the University of Toronto.
Arnold Zageris graduated from the University of New Brunswick and Loyola College, in addition to studying with Eliot Porter. Formerly based in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, his work has explored the art and mystery of the Canadian Shield from Northern Ontario to Labrador. He has had many exhibits across the nation, including the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in Ottawa, the Rooms of St. John's, Newfoundland, and the Canada Pavilion at Expo '92 in Seville, Spain.
Renowned Yellowknife-based photographer, Tessa Macintosh has depicted the heart and soul of Canada's North on assignment and on personal explorations from the Mackenzie Mountains to the Arctic Coast. She was the official photographer for the government of the Northwest Territories from 1982-1992, and received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for her service to the northern communities. Co-author of eight books, her photo library consists of more than 10,000 images.
One of Canada's foremost painters and print makers, Ed Bartram has been inspired by the colours, textures, and history of the Canadian Shield. Resident for most of the year in King City, Ontario, Bartram spends his summers chronicling the ever-changing dynamics of his small island just off Parry Sound in Georgian Bay.