Souvenir of Canada


144 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations
ISBN 1-55054-917-0
DDC 971





Reviewed by Debbie Feisst

Debbie Feisst is the reference/Internet resources librarian in the
Information Services Division of the Edmonton Public Library.


Vancouver-based Douglas Coupland, bestselling author of Girlfriend in a
Coma (1998) and All Families are Psychotic (2001), wanted to “give
people a book that explains what it feels like to be Canadian.” He has
achieved that goal in Souvenir of Canada, a glossy coffee-table book
that is resplendent with images of stubbie beer bottles and graphic
tobacco packaging, and packed with 50 short, interesting essays on all
things Canadian.

There are 11 still-life photographs by the author himself—playful
assemblages of tacky souvenirs, kitsch, and everyday items culled from
our collective national memory. Who can forget Canada’s foray into
subpar television game shows in the 1970s, or their first whiff of Old
Dutch salt and vinegar potato chips? Canada’s relationship with its
powerful southern neighbour occupies a generous portion of the book.
Among the other topics explored are the Trans-Canada Highway, the rare
Oopik, and (of course) hockey.

Coupland’s view of Canada is simultaneously surreal and familiar.
Read Souvenir of Canada and you’ll never look at poutine the same way


Coupland, Douglas., “Souvenir of Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024,