Vintage Picture Map Geography of Canada

nw-territories

I recently came across a copy of an old school book, “Picture Map Geography of Canada and Alaska” by Vernon Quinn, that includes charming woodcut picture maps by Bruno da Osimo, a then noted Italian illustrator, for each of the Canadian provinces (other than Nunavut, which was then part of the Northwest Territories).  Originally published in 1944 and updated in 1954, it has a light but well-written chapter devoted to individual provinces.  Each map features animals, plants, activities and industries peculiar to the province depicted.  In addition to the maps (scanned in above and below), the book is adorned throughout with other delightful illustrations by da Osima (some of which I’ll compile in a future post).

alberta british-columbia manitoba-saskatchewan newfoundland nova-scotia-new-brunswick-pei ontario-2 quebec yukon

 

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1933 Quebec Tourist Road Map

Old Maps and Their Hidden Stories

Songs & Ballads From Nova Scotia

Canadian Cities in 1950s Watercolors

Edmonton

For Canada Day weekend, this post features images that span the geography of this vast country.  Around 1953, in a grand display of national pride, the Montreal-based alcohol and beverage giant Seagram Company commissioned over a dozen Canadian artists (including several among the famed Group of Seven) to create a series of  watercolors of major Canadian cities. The paintings were subsequently the focus of a world tour organized by Seagram to showcase Canada and its urban landscapes.

While recently rummaging through an antique shop I came across a small booklet, dating to 1953, in which these paintings were reproduced and for which this post shows a sampling of the now somewhat faded images.  While many of the provincial capitals are depicted, I find the inclusion of several less prominent cities (including Fort William, Hamilton, Sarnia, Shawinigan Falls and Trois Rivieres) to be fascinating.

St. John's

Calgary

Shawinigan Falls

Charlottetown

Halifax

Montreal

Regina

Quebec City

Saint John

Hamilton

Vancouver

Toronto

Winnipeg

Windsor

Artist to Appreciate: Walter J. Phillips

Walter J. Philips -- York Boat on Lake Winnipeg (1930) v2

Walter J. Phillips, York Boat on Lake Winnipeg (1930)

Walter Joseph Phillips is yet another unquestioned master of magnificent woodcut images of the Canadian landscape.  He often printed his artwork in color inks rather than just black ink as used by many of his contemporaries working in the same medium.  Although born in England, he settled in Canada as a youth and resided in Winnipeg, Manitoba for much of his life (the same place, coincidentally, chosen as a newfound home by another exceptional Canadian woodcut artist and fellow European immigrant, Eric Bregman).  Phillips produced the bulk of his work from the late 1910s through the 1940s.  In many of his images of the Canadian west he situated people within the scene, providing both a sense of scale and nice human emotional element.

Walter J. Philips -- Mount Cathedral & Mount Stephan (1928)

Walter J. Phillips, Mount Cathedral & Mount Stephan (1928)

Walter J. Philips -- Lake of the Woods (1931)

Walter J. Phillips, Lake of the Woods (1931)

Walter J. Philips -- Red River Jig (1931)

Walter J. Phillips, Red River Jig (1931)

Walter J. Philips -- The Clothes Line - Mamalilicoola (1930)

Walter J. Phillips, The Clothesline –Mamalilicoola (B.C.) (1930)

Walter J. Philips -- The Stump (1928) v2

Walter J. Phillips, The Stump (1928)

Eric Bergman: Master Wood Engraver

H. Eric Bergman, "White Morning" (1932)

H. Eric Bergman, “White Morning” (1932)

The intricate artistry of wood engravings amazes me and Canada has its fair share of accomplished artists in this medium. Chief among them is H. Eric Bergman, who emigrated from Germany in 1913 and made Winnipeg, Manitoba his home throughout a highly productive career until his passing in 1958.  Images from the Canadian wilderness figure prominently in many of his very stylized and moody works.

Similar posts on O’Canada: 

Lisa Brawn’s Vibrant Woodcuts

Laurence Hyde’s Southern Cross

They’re Giving Away Land!

Farm----2-New-Homeland

Back in the day, Canada needed more people to build up its country and, in particular, in its vast western inland plains. With lots of land and not so many people, the federal and provincial governments and land companies starting in the late 1800s on into the early twentieth century launched  recruitment campaigns  around the world, especially in Europe, with the lure of free land grants and the potential for prosperity.  The distance was far and farm life was (is!) tough, but the appeal drew many new immigrants to Canada’s west.   I love the variety and details in some of these posters! (Click on images to enlarge)

Winnipeg’s Cozy and Artful Warming Huts

Woodpile HutWood Pile Hut

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Skating on the frozen surface of the Assiniboine River, a popular winter pastime, will work up quite a chill.  Recognizing this, makeshift warming huts have long been used along the river to provide a temporary respite from the cold.  Several years ago (2010), a local art-and-architecture competition was started in Winnipeg to see how the simple warming hut might be creatively rethought.  The result has been an annual showcase of fun and function that does Winnipeg proud, as these images attest!  More about the warming huts can be found at the site for the annual competition.

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The-Hole-idea

The Hole Idea Hut

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Fir Hut

Fir Hut

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Five-Hole-Hut----Gehry-Part

The Five-Hole Hut

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Ha(y)ven Hut

Ha(y)ven Hut

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Hygge House Hut

 The Hygge Hut

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Ice Pillows Hut

Ice Pillows Hut

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Red Blanket Hut

Red Blankets Hut

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Rope Pavillion Hut

Rope Pavillion Hut

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Windshield Hut

Windshield Hut

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Image credits:   Warming Huts Competition Site

Artist to Appreciate: Michael E. Glover

Michael Glover, End of the Line, Hines Creek, Alberta (2010) 2

Michael Glover, End of the Line, Hines Creek, Alberta (2010)

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Michael Glover’s realist artwork conveys a deep appreciation for the stark and forlorn rural and industrial landscapes that hint at the hardscrabble existence of the hardy folks who settled such remote areas long ago.  His sense of place is strong — even to the point that the titles of his paintings denote the specific towns depicted — and I like that much of his work focuses on the often overlooked Canadian heartland regions of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta.  However, Glover is the rare Canadian painter whose work embraces images of virtually all the country’s provinces, reflecting his wide travels across Canada’s vast expanse.

Michael Glover, In The Heartland, Aneroid, Saskatchewan (2006)

Michael Glover, In The Heartland, Aneroid, Saskatchewan (2006)

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Michael Glover, On the Crowsnest Line, Pincher Station, Alberta (2012)

Michael Glover, On the Crowsnest Line, Pincher Station, Alberta (2012)

Michael Glover, Forgotten Timber, Wawa, Ontario (2007)

Michael Glover, Forgotten Timber, Wawa, Ontario (2007)

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Michael Glover, Once Proud, Still Strong, Fredericton, N.B. (2004)

Michael Glover, Once Proud, Still Strong, Fredericton, N.B. (2004)

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Michael Glover, Standing Proud in the Eleventh Hour, Mossleigh, Alberta (2006)

Michael Glover, Standing Proud in the Eleventh Hour, Mossleigh, Alberta (2006)

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Michael Glover, The Final Days of Fleming, Fleming, Saskatchewan (2012)

Michael Glover, The Final Days of Fleming, Fleming, Saskatchewan (2012)

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Michael Glover, Alexandria Falls, Enterprise, NWT (2012)

Michael Glover, Alexandria Falls, Enterprise, NWT (2012)

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Michael Glover, Nightstop, Grenfell, Saskatchewan (2012)

Michael Glover, Nightstop, Grenfell, Saskatchewan (2012)

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Glover has a much-deserved exhibition opening in late November 2013 at the Art Gallery of Northumberland (Ontario), appropriately entitled “The Lost and Forgotten: Canada’s Vanishing Landscape.”   More of Glover’s exceptional art may also be viewed at his website here and at the Quinn’s of Tweed (Ontario) gallery.

Image Credits:  Michael E. Glover

Manitoba Might Have Made a Difference

“If Barack Obama had bought Manitoba, Republicans would have understood his winning.”

Atlanta’s Loss = Winnipeg’s Win

Well-placed rumors have it that a group in Winnipeg is in the final stretches of sealing a deal to purchase the Atlanta Thrashers NHL franchise and relocate the team to Winnipeg.  Here in Atlanta there’s great lament about possibly becoming the only U.S. city to lose two pro hockey teams to Canadian venues — the first being the loss in 1980 of the Atlanta Flames to Calgary.  An official announcement may come as early as today.

Reasons abound for why Atlanta would find itself in the position of losing a pro team, with local columnists trotting out the lack of fan support as the number one reason, although many die-hard hockey fans beg to differ and attribute the move to mismanagement of the team by the current owners.  Although the view that management shortcomings are to blame may have some legs to it, fan support is an issue in a city like Atlanta, where there are simply too many competing professional sports teams, which ends up diluting the focus of local sports fans rallying behind either a single or just a few teams.

Reports suggest that Winnipeggers are ecstatic about the impending move.  Even so, Winnipeg will have its own challenges making a go of this opportunity given that the city lost the Winnipeg Jets franchise about 15 years ago following financial issues then and ultimately leading to the relocation of that NHL team to Phoenix.  Well, we’ll know soon enough how this game of musical chairs will continue.

Voices of the Floods

Flooding in Lumsden, Manitoba (Photo Credit: David Stobbe, Reuters)

Although wreaking havoc and presenting immense challenges, natural disasters allow us to better maintain perspective on the things that should matter most.  The record-breaking floods now affecting many areas of Canada, including Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, and the similar flooding to the south that is inundating major swaths of the Mississippi River valley serve as powerful reminders of nature’s force and our inability to bend it to our will.    In an article about the floods near Louisiana, the reporter James Byrne on NOLa.com aptly quoted from T.S. Eliot’s “The Dry Salvages”:

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god – sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities – ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons, and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.

Flooding Near Bonnet Carre Spillway, Louisiana (Photo Credit: Brett Duke, Times Picayune)

The flooding also had me thinking about the experiences and emotions being shared by people north and south of our common border.   In that spirit, I surveyed a variety of stories about the widespread flooding and below is a small sampling of quotes I found interesting from affected individuals in Canada and the U.S.

It speaks to our spirit. Flooding is not pleasant . . . People put their best foot forward and deal with it.  People tend to stay. This doesn’t drive people out of communities. If anything, it probably makes the community stronger when you have a (common) response to it.”  Chuck Sanderson, Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Organization, quoted in the Leader-Post

“I don’t think they can afford this flood.  I don’t think the government can pay for all the damage. It’s heartbreaking.  We worked hard all our lives to get established, to take care of our families. Now this.”  Glen Fossey,  Starbuck, Manitoba, quoted in Winnipeg Free Press

“I don’t think I’m afraid.  I just don’t know what to do.”  Chris Yuill, Starbuck, Manitoba, quoted in Winnipeg Free Press

“It’s been very, very long.  As long as the electricity keeps working, I can hang in till the end.”  . . . She added it was heartening to see how people are helping each other out, including one volunteer who has been using his all-terrain vehicle and a wagon to provide a free taxi service through chest-deep water to the main road.  Linda Durbeaum,  St.-Paul-de-l’Ile-aux-Noix, Quebec, quoted in the Windsor Star

 In my lifetime, we’ve never seen anything like this. It’s going to be serious.” Ray Bittner, Manitoba Agriculture, quoted in the Windsor Star

 “What I’ve seen in Shelby County over the past couple of weeks isn’t so much a rising river, it’s a rising community.  . . . Wave after wave of volunteers show up asking ‘what can I do?’”  Craig Strickland, Cordova, Tennessee, quoted in the Memphis Commercial Appeal

“When you live in an area like this, you sometimes forget the magnitude and awe of the river.”  Susan Brown, Bartlett, Tennessee, quoted in the Memphis Commercial Appeal

“This is all I got.  I’ll protect it the best I can.”   Francis Cole, Popular Bluff, Missouri, quoted in the Aribiter

“I packed everything, and I mean ev-ry-thing. . . . It’s depressing. But what are you going to do?  This is a resilient bunch of people, and I imagine the biggest part of them will come right back.”  Terry Bower, Butte La Rose, Louisiana, quoted in NOLA.com 

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