Quarterly Book Review - Holdun

Original Highways

The title of the book is surely apt, for the earliest means of travel in this great land we call Canada, was the canoe, gliding across bodies of water, usually rivers, sometimes lakes, for purposes of commerce or war. The earliest explorers, starting with the French, followed by the Scots, got as far as the mouths of the Mississippi and the Fraser respectively – quite extraordinary achievements for that, or any, period.

Today, those rivers endure, more or less intact; commerce remains – war has fortunately disappeared – with the felicitous addition of leisure activities in its many forms, be it canoeing, kayaking, rafting, tubing, or just plain swimming.

Each and every one of our readers can easily identify with one of the rivers portrayed in the book, from east to west – mine is the mighty St. Lawrence, pictured here, up and down which moves all Great Lakes shipping.

We are reminded of the preeminent role our First Nations have played throughout, not just our, history; indeed, without their assistance, our ancestors would likely have perished from the cold, lack of food or deficient navigational skills!

We are also reminded of how precious water is as a resource, and how important it is to protect that resource, and not take it for granted, as one who is used to anything that appears to be plentiful, whatever form it takes, can become complacent.