Niagara's Changing Landscapes


368 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88629-235-2
DDC 971.3'38




Edited by Hugh J. Gayler
Reviewed by Joseph Leydon

Joseph Leydon teaches geography at the University of Toronto.


In the established tradition of a regional geography text, Niagara’s
Changing Landscapes considers both the physical and the human landscape
of the Niagara Region. Its 12 essays cover such topics as physiography,
climate, ecology, European arrival, land survey, urban development,
agriculture, recreation, and regional government. A glossary is provided
for those unfamiliar with physical geography terminology.

Each essay provides a general survey of the topic, highlights areas of
research, identifies research questions, and speculates on future
directions. The well-written essays are accompanied by numerous maps,
diagrams, and photographs to guide the reader.

Although the book establishes itself as a regional geography, there is
a lack of integration between the sections dealing with the physical and
human landscape. Furthermore, there is little cross-reference between
essays on related topics. Such problems are common in a multiauthored
collection, but their impact could have been lessened by a more detailed
introduction and a succinct conclusion.

Also, the essays vary significantly. For example, Tinkler’s piece on
postglacial physiography is quite complex, while Turner’s, on the
early settlement of Niagara, is quite general. And though the
pre-European settlement of the region is mentioned in essays by Moss,
Turner, and Hughes, the topic receives a cursory treatment overall.

Despite these criticisms, this is a valuable collection that will
appeal to both the specialist and the general reader. Geographers,
historians, planners, and those with an interest in the Niagara Region
will find much to spark their attention; for those with little knowledge
of the area, it will provide a useful and enjoyable introduction.


“Niagara's Changing Landscapes,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,