Mapper of Mountains: MP Bridgland in the Canadian Rockies, 1902–1930


295 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88864-456-6
DDC 526'.092




Reviewed by William A. Waiser

William A. Waiser is a professor of history at the University of
Saskatchewan. He is the author of Saskatchewan’s Playground and Park
Prisoners.  His book, Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West
Rebellion, was nominated for a 1997 Governor Genera


Mapper of Mountains is the remarkable story of Morrison Parsons
Bridgland (or M.P., as he was popularly known), who performed
often-difficult phototopographical mapping in the Rocky Mountains in the
first three decades of the 20th century. Bridgland, a federal surveys
engineer, would climb to the top of mountain peaks with his camera
equipment and take a series of precise photographs in all directions.
The photographs, once developed from the exposed glass plates, would
then be used by Bridgland in his Calgary office over the winter to draw
topographical contour maps.

Ian MacLaren does a fine job examining Bridgland’s life and work in
clear, elegant prose (and notes containing a wealth of information). His
treatment of the subject is thorough and revealing. Bridgland’s
expertise in the field,

for example, was unrivalled, but it still did not prevent his abrupt
dismissal in 1931 when the Bennett government was grappling with the
Great Depression. His mountaineering abilities led to his co-founding of
the Alpine Club of Canada. He also co-authored a popular guide to Jasper
National Park.

University of Alberta Press should be commended for the quality of the
publication. Mapper of Mountains is a handsome book, richly illustrated,
and creatively designed. A nice bonus is a series of period and
contemporary photographs illustrating how the landscape has changed over
the 20th century.


MacLaren, I.S., with Eric Higgs and Gabrielle Zezulka-Mailloux., “Mapper of Mountains: MP Bridgland in the Canadian Rockies, 1902–1930,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024,