Islands of Hope: Ontario's Parks and Wilderness


288 pages
Contains Photos, Maps
ISBN 1-895565-10-3
DDC 363.6'8'09713092





Edited by Lori Labatt and Bruce Litteljohn
Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is associate director of programs at the Canadian Museum
of Nature in Ottawa.


This collaborative and sponsored volume celebrates a century of Ontario
parks—like Janus, looking backward at what has been achieved in those
100 years and forward to the uncertain prospects for wilderness in the
province. The text focuses on history and attitudes, physiographic
regions (especially the Canadian Shield and Hudson Bay lowland), youth
and nature, and thoughts for the future.

United in their love of wilderness, the contributors (including
conservationists, governmental officials, worthies, and children) offer
a diversity of perspectives on its value and function: social history,
the development of conservation organizations, economic and esthetic
utility, issues of loss and emotions, and personal testimonies.
Attention is paid to critical issues such as near-urban parks and the
activities of harvesters (including Natives, trappers, loggers, hunters,
and anglers), notably with the term resourcismo by John Livingstone. The
breathtakingly beautiful photographs greatly enhance the impact of the

The book makes it clear that despite its enormous natural heritage (for
instance, the Niagara escarpment is a UNESCO biosphere reserve), Ontario
remains a long way from the target of 12 percent of protected areas
urged by the UN environmental program. The increasing urban blight of
the Golden Horseshoe testifies to the grievous lack of a general policy
for effective use of land. All who care about our world will resonate
with deep concerns eloquently and passionately expressed here, and find
this book a touchstone.


“Islands of Hope: Ontario's Parks and Wilderness,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024,