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 Featured Title
Shaped by the West Wind
Nature and History in Georgian Bay
Claire Elizabeth Campbell  

$97.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 12/21/2004
ISBN: 9780774810982    

$36.95 Paperback
Release Date: 7/1/2005
ISBN: 9780774810999    

320 Pages

Nature | History | Society series


About the Book

Along the east shore of Ontario’s Georgian Bay lie the Thirty Thousand Islands, a granite archipelago scarred by glaciers, where the white pines cling to the ancient rock, twisted and bent by the west wind -- a symbol of a region where human history has been shaped by the natural environment. Over the last four centuries, the Bay has been visited by some of the most famous figures in Canadian history, from Samuel de Champlain to the Group of Seven. This book traces the history of Canadians’ reactions to and interactions with this distinctive and often intractable landscape.

Claire Campbell draws from recent work in cultural history, landscape studies in geography and art history, and environmental history to explore what happens when external agendas confront local realities -- a story central to the Canadian experience. Explorers, fishers, artists, and park planners all were forced to respond to the unique contours of this inland sea; their encounters defined a regional identity even as they constructed a popular image for the Bay in the national imagination.

Beginning with a revealing analysis of the cartographic history of the Bay, Campbell proceeds to examine changing cultural representations of landscape over time, shifts between resource development and recreational use, recurring motifs of water and rock in landscape design and representation, the evolution of regional identity, and the environmental politics of place read through debates about resource management and parks. Each chapter presents a different type of encounter -- the varying ways in which people approached and interacted with the Bay. The book also has many illustrations, including historical maps, archival and contemporary photographs, and paintings by the Group of Seven and other Canadian artists.

Shaped By the West Wind is not a narrowly conceived local history but a focused argument about how places take on shifting cultural meanings over time. It speaks to a wide variety of interests, including geography, art and design, literary criticism, environmental studies, and history.

About the Author(s)

Claire Elizabeth Campbell is an assistant professor of history at Dalhousie University.

Table of Contents

Illustrations / ix

Foreword: Of Canoes and Pines and Rock-Bound Gardens / xi
Graeme Wynn

Acknowledgments / xix

Introduction: Writing a History of Place / 1

1 What Word of This Curious Country? Surveying the Historical Landscape / 23

2 A Region of Importance: Industry and Land Use / 62

3 A Vivid Reminder of a Vanished Era: Imagining Natives and History in a Terre Sauvage / 96

4 Rocks and Reefs: The Culture of an Inland Sea / 117

5 Our Dear North Country: Developing a Sense of Place / 139

6 Some Proper Rule: Managing and Protecting Georgian Bay / 161

Conclusion: Listening to the Bay / 193

Notes / 208

Bibliography / 243

Index / 269


Campbell gives a well-reasoned and reflective yet unromanticized account of a place that has captivated many people for centuries (herself and myself included). Her prose is crisp and fluid, and the book is a true pleasure to read.
-- Nik Luka, University of Toronto Quarterly, v75, no1, winter 2006

Campbell deserves high praise for this excellent first book. What may have been a local history with little significance becomes a window on Canadian nationalism as it relates especially to the intersection of nature and culture. The book is written with grace, as Campbell knows how to deploy telling details and lively quotations within a sophisticated scholarly argument. Not only well written, the book is beautifully illustrated with dozens of maps, figures, and even color plates of several Group of Seven paintings. Shaped by the West Wind ought to be read widely and could serve as a model for an interdisciplinary study of place. If this is the type of book we can expect from the series and from Campbell, a bright future indeed awaits us.
—Adam M. Sowards, The American Review of Canadian Studies, 37, No. 2, Summer 2007

In Shaped by the West Wind: Nature and History of Georgian Bay, historian Claire Elizabeth Campbell (Dalhousie University) offers a reflective account of the interactions between human and nonhuman forces along the Thirty Thousand Islands....

Her arguments rely on maps, images, and artistic works, many of which are reproduced. Considering also her skilled use of oral hjstory , the work is a compelling argument for an inclusive view of what constitute historical sources. Campbell is a remarkably gifted writer, and her talents are most on display in her compelling descriptions of her own relationship to the landscape. She succeeds in generating an appreciation for the area that is perhaps not entirely dissimilar from the sense of place she argues is possessed by many who have spent time on the Bay.

The book is a compelling meditation on a landscape of unrecognized significance, a distinctly Canadian contribution to key debates in the international field of environmental history....
- Shannon Stunden Bower, Environmental History Journal, Volume 12, Number 4, October 2007

Sample Chapter


Related Topics

History > Canada
Natural History
Cultural Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Shaped by the West Wind from UTP Distribution at:

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M3H 5T8

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