Maritime History

Around the World in a Dugout Canoe by John M. MacFarlane and Lynn J. Salmon

The first independent account of the remarkable voyage of the Tilikum. Anticipating fame and wealth, Captain John Voss set out from Victoria, BC, in 1901, seeking to claim the world record for the smallest vessel ever to circumnavigate the globe. For the journey, he procured an authentic dugout cedar canoe from an Indigenous village on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Margaret Atwood, Campobello Island and the Passamoquoddy by Rachel Bryant

(The following article, under the title “More cultural storytelling in Peskotomuhkatik” was penned by Rachel Bryant, author of The Homing Place: Indigenous and Settler Literary Legacies of the Atlantic. It was originally published on her website on September 21st, 2019 and is reproduced here with her kind permission.)

morning brought a new piece by one of my favourite local authors, Julia Wright — one about Margaret Atwood’s new novel, The Testaments, which apparently concludes with a scene on Campobello Island, a Canadian island that is connected by bridge to the state of Maine at the entrance of the Passamaquoddy Bay.…

Land Beyond the Sea by Kevin Major

It seems that Newfoundlanders write some of the best historical fiction around (see Gary Collins) and Kevin Major continues to uphold that distinction with Land Beyond the Sea. In my review of his 2016 novel Found Far and Wide, I said that “Mr. Major has left us wanting more, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.” So it was with great anticipation that I turned to this, the final book in his Newfoundland Trilogy.…

Canadian Confederate Cruiser: The Story of the Steamer Queen Victoria by John G. Langley

The official year of Canadian confederation is 1867, but we need to turn back the calendar to the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 when representatives from Canada West and East came to the city of Charlottetown PEI to try to convince the Maritime delegates to favour confederation rather than a Maritime union which would not benefit the Canadians at all. The role of the steamer Queen Victoria in all this was pivotal, not only as a means of transportation but as a type of floating hotel with a hold packed full of Champagne and other amenities suitable to entertaining, persuading and befriending the East Coasters.…

A Wholesome Horror: Poorhouses in Nova Scotia by Brenda Thompson

Update 03/09/19: A Wholesome Horror has won the 2019 “The Very Best!” Book Award for Non-Fiction!

When I first saw the cover of this book, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: poor houses existed in Canada? While I grew up in a household that used the warning of “being put in the poor house” I didn’t know that it was a real house (by the time I was born, federal unemployment insurance measures were in place).…

Hope Restored by Robert A. Moran

Bibliophiles like myself are always on the lookout for new books, and as I live far from any bricks and mortar bookstore, I find books by local authors almost anywhere: a drugstore, a coffee shop, even a family restaurant. That’s where I found Robert A. Moran’s Hope Restored: the Ship Prince Victor, its Iconic Figurehead and the Maritime Heritage of St.

Looking for Bootstraps: Economic Development in the Maritimes by Donald J. Savoie

In 2006, award-winning author Donald Savoie wrote a seminal book on economic development in the Maritimes: Visiting Grandchildren. A decade later, he marks his return to that subject with Looking for Bootstraps. Concerned about the region’s future, he sought to explore and explain the reasons behind its lack of economic development. The result will spark a much-needed debate about the future of the Maritime provinces.…

The Trawlermen by Clarence Vautier

Clarence Vautier was born in 1972 in La Poile, Newfoundland. He moved away to attend high school, and after high school, he fished with his father, Clarence Sr., and his brother Raymond for a short time. He later went to work as a deck officer on the Great Lakes, first for P & H Shipping, then for Algoma Central Marine, where he remains today.…

Bearing Witness: Journalists, Record Keepers and the 1917 Halifax Explosion by Michael Dupuis

6, 2017, signals the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, Canada’s worst Maritime tragedy to date. In mere seconds, a large portion of Halifax’s North End and waterfront were obliterated when the damaged munitions ship Mont Blanc exploded, killing 2,000 people and injuring thousands more. Many were left homeless as the force of the blast levelled the poorly-constructed houses, and fires consumed the wooden debris and trapped bodies. …

Desperation: The Queen of Swansea by Gary Collins

storyteller and prolific author Gary Collins hails from Newfoundland and his previous book, Left to Die concerned the tragic death of 78 seal hunters on an ice floe in 1914. For his eleventh book Desperation: The Queen of Swansea (2016, Flanker Press), Mr Collins has gone back to the year 1867 to interpret another tragic maritime event, the shipwreck of the brig Queen of Swansea on Gull Island and the eventual death of all crew and passengers, either aboard ship or on the barrenness of lonely Gull Island bereft of anything slightly edible or drinkable.…

Heroes of the Sea: Stories from the Atlantic Blue by Robert C. Parsons

Bestselling author Robert C. Parsons presents more than fifty exciting stories of high-seas adventure, set mainly along the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador in the 1800s and 1900s, these are true stories of men and women who faced the dangerous Atlantic Ocean in the days of sail. The stories are loosely grouped into nine parts such as Unusual, Wreck, Danger, Anxiety, Survival, Abandonment, Court, People, Conflict.…

Left to Die: The Story of the SS Newfoundland Sealing Disaster by Gary Collins

The story of the SS Newfoundland sealing disaster of 1914, in which 78 of 132 men died on the ice, is told in arresting fashion by Newfoundland author Gary Collins in Left to Die (2014, Flanker Press). Known as “The Story Man” in his native Newfoundland, Mr. Collins has written a book that will appeal to those who enjoy reading actual survival accounts from history.…