ISBN 0-660-11790-8




Reviewed by Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer is a Toronto-based free-lance writer.


Dalton Muir is with the Canadian Wildlife Service. Derek Ford teaches at McMaster University. Castleguard was published as part of the 1985 celebration of Canada’s National Parks Centennial. This picture book shows us the landscape and plants (but not animals) of the Castleguard caves and valleys of the high altitude regions of Banff National Park. Castleguard consistsof 113 generally striking full-page color plates accompanied, on facing pages, by two or three paragraphs of occasionally vivid text. The landscape of Castleguard was shaped by the last ice age, and the pictures provide insights into the stark beauty of Canada’s past. The Castleguard area is best known for its caves, and this is where the book disappoints. A long series of plates shows the treacherous subterranean paths, but smack-dab in the middle of each is a grimy hard-hatted explorer, back to the camera, spoiling the image. Castleguard is at its best when it’s content to be simply a coffeetable book. When it attempts to be a reference work, it fails. If you like magnificent desolation, you’ll like Castleguard. If you don’t, you’ll find little here to hold your interest.


Muir, Dalton, and Derek Ford, “Castleguard,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,