The Maple Leaf Forever: A Celebration of Canadian Symbols


224 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-55046-474-4
DDC 971




Photos by Matthew Beverly
Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


Britain has the lion and John Bull. The United States has the eagle and
Uncle Sam. We lucky Canadians have three internationally recognized
emblems: the beaver, the maple leaf, and the Mountie. This richly
illustrated coffee-table book is a breathtaking study of how Canada’s
three most popular symbols have been treated both at home and abroad.
Drawing on their own extensive collection as well as artifacts from
numerous museums and archives, the Hutchinses take the reader on an
informative, nostalgic, and often humorous tour of Canada’s cultural
history, looking at how these three symbols were used in commerce,
politics, travel, entertainment, home decoration, and artistic
expression. The featured examples range from high culture to kitsch. Be
it coin of the realm or tacky cracker can, the beaver, Mountie, and
maple leaf have served Canada well.

The Hutchinses also mention other symbols that have been used to
symbolize Canada, including moose, mountains, Wayne Gretzky, beer,
curling, and the Avro Arrow. But for sheer frequency and longevity,
nothing can quite touch the big three. In their introduction, the
authors examine the historical origin and early uses of each symbol and
try to figure out why the beaver, maple leaf, and Mountie caught on the
way they did. They also point out that these symbols represent the
primarily the 19th-century British-Canadian world view—First Nations
and French Canadians sometimes had a different perspective, especially
the First Nations view of the Mountie. Each page bursts with Matthew
Beverly’s eye-catching full-colour photographs. From bobble-head
Mounties in Hong Kong to busy beavers selling war bonds to beat the
Kaiser, it turns out that nothing is too tacky or over the top for


Hutchins, Donna, and Nigel Hutchins., “The Maple Leaf Forever: A Celebration of Canadian Symbols,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,