Trans-Canada Country: A Photographic Journey


208 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-00-217652-1






Reviewed by John H. Gryfe

John H. Gryfe is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon practicing in


The Trans-Canada highway begins at the intersection of Parade St., Carter’s Hill and Freshwater Rd. in St. John’s and 7750 kilometres later, terminates at the store of Oak Bay in Victoria. This “practical route that was built for economic reasons,” permits the traveller an unparalled opportunity to survey the mosaic that makes this country unique. One would expect the ominous peaks of the Rockies, the endless golden fields of prairie wheat, the relentless numbing spray of the agitated Atlantic — in short the panorama of this magnificent country — to dominate the subconscious of those who would make this pilgrimage and record its sensations. To the credit of photographer Brian Milne and his travelling companion Dawn Goss, the collection of photographs that comprises the heart of this volume reflects the true soul of Canada — the multicultural heritage that is etched on the countless faces they encountered during their odyssey.

Acknowledged as a wildlife photographer of some repute, Brian Milne has periodically graced the pages of prestigious publications such as Equinox and National Geographic. His other book credits include, among others, Alaska and the Yukon and A Day in the Life of America. Dawn Goss is also a photographer and her work was featured in the Canadian pavilion at Expo ‘86.

R.D. Lawrence, a dedicated conservationist and outdoorsman and one of Canada’s premier wildlife writers, has travelled the Trans-Canada Highway extensively since he immigrated to this country in 1954. This experience has allowed him the opportunity to lend to this book descriptive passages of landscapes that the photographers have ironically chosen to exclude. The product of this prose and picture portfolio is both sensitive and sensible.

The ultimate success of a coffeetable book (and this is the venue for the viewing of this volume) is determined not by the artistic eye of the photographer nor the melodic prose of the author, but, unfortunately, the creativity of the publisher. It appears that Collins Publishers wanted a picture book of places rather than people, and the results have left us all too often with a most delightful collection of countenances squashed into a 3 x 5 space. In many instances, equally tasteful countryside images have been bisected by the gutter.

Trans-Canada Country is a pleasant, sometimes entertaining, book. Like most volumes of this nature, however, the task of creating a singular and memorable commentary has fallen short of its intended mark.


Milne, Brian, “Trans-Canada Country: A Photographic Journey,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,