The New North: An Account of a Woman's 1908 Journey through Canada to the Arctic

Description

311 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations
$15.95
ISBN 0-88833-210-6

Year

1986

Contributor

Edited by David Richeson

Caroline M. Hallsworth is a librarian at Cambrian College in Sudbury.

Review

In 1908, Agnes Deans Cameron and her niece, “the kid,” set out on a great adventure, on a trip by scow and steamer from Athabasca Landing to theArctic Ocean.

Agnes Deans Cameron’s writing provides a fascinating insight into life along the Mackenzie River at the turn of the century. She was particularly interested in two facets of that life.

Cameron, who was intrigued by the workings of the Hudson’s Bay Company, not only sought out company employees, whom she conversed with and wrote about, but also delved into company records and presented her most interesting findings in her book.

Cameron’s second great interest was in the native people of the region. She observed, participated in, and wrote about the daily routines of both the Cree and the Inuit. While her anthropological instincts were strong, they were sometimes marred by such misconceptions as her belief that “if these Eskimo were to wash themselves daily... they would be as white as we are” (pg. 215).

For the contemporary reader, Cameron’s over-embellished Victorian style may be one flaw in the book.

Unfortunately, the re-editing of The New North, by David Richeson, has failed to enhance this book. Richeson has inexplicably deleted a potentially interesting chapter on whales and whaling. His footnotes are curiously disappointing and are often lacking in both substance and relevance. The New North is an interesting account of a summer spent exploring, photographing and recording life as it was eighty years ago in Canada’s north.

Citation

Cameron, Agnes Deans, “The New North: An Account of a Woman's 1908 Journey through Canada to the Arctic,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/34833.