CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1984.
unpaged, cloth, $39.95.
ISBN 0-7710-6084-X.

Grades 6 and up.

Reviewed by Louise Dick.

Volume 12 Number 6
1984 November

In Canada/A Year of the Land (Queen's Printer, 1967) and Between Friends/ Entre amis (McClelland and Stewart, 1976) Lorraine Monk celebrated in photographs the special characteristics of our country, and more recently, Toronto, in Celebrate Our City (McClelland and Stewart, 1983). Now she has produced a magnificent and stunning tribute to Ontario, a portrait of its richness and variety.

Monk chose the 150 coloured plates (some double paged) from submissions by professional and amateur photographers in the province; some ninety are represented here. John Robert Colombo was literary adviser; presumably his role was selection of quotations from the writings of early settlers (Anna Jameson, James Strachan, Catharine Parr Traill) and a few twentieth century contributors such as A.Y. Jackson. Quotations are placed opposite many of the plates, suggesting both continuity and contrast between past and present. Realistic descriptions by pioneers accompany the romantic vision of contemporary photographers, who present a clean, comfortable, and generally uncluttered scene. Impact is heightened by superb production with quality paper, colour reproduction, and printing. Identification of writers, photographers, and locations does not intrude but is available at the end of the volume. There are three plates from original early silver prints and an early photograph.

Most scenes are rural or recreational, with a few urban views (a College Street, Toronto fishmonger, and a Rideau Canal regatta). There is only a hint of the variety of Ontario's peoples, but the range of terrain and seasonal changes is striking.

Monk's volume would be a dramatic introduction for newcomers to Ontario. For those more familiar with the province, it offers a stimulus to reflection and discussion of ecology ("these magnificent upper lakes—the purity, the coldness, the transparency of the water") and of permanence and change: "Some century hence how different will this spot appear."

Louise Dick, Branksome Hall School, Toronto, ON.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works