Canada's Colonies: A History of the Yukon and Northwest Territories


251 pages
Contains Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88862-931-1




Reviewed by Gerald J. Stortz

Gerald J. Stortz is an assistant professor of history at St. Jerome’s
College, University of Waterloo.


The author of two books about the Pacific National Exhibition and co-editor of a work on the Alaska Highway, Kenneth Coates teaches history at Brandon University.

Coates begins this volume by asserting that “Canadians can no longer ignore the north” (p.9); he then goes on to explain the title, Canada’s Colonies, claiming that the term colony accurately defines the relationship between southern Canada and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. He turns to the history of the North to illustrate his point, giving us a well-written and entertaining history, and not a strident polemic. The book is divided chronologically, following what was the dominant economic activity in the North at the time. Predictably but unavoidably, this means that some chapters (such as the one on the gold rush) are much more interesting than others. There is also the feeling engendered by any good survey history: just as Coates has whetted the reader’s appetite, the book moves to another subject.

This book would suit the general reader or the serious history student at senior high school or junior university level. The publisher should also be congratulated, not only for including two maps at the front of the book but for printing them on double pages so that the reader can actually use them without a magnifying glass.


Coates, Kenneth, “Canada's Colonies: A History of the Yukon and Northwest Territories,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 7, 2023,