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History General

Canoe Country

The Making of Canada

by (author) Roy MacGregor

Random House of Canada
Initial publish date
May 2016
General, North America, Canoeing
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2016
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


One of our favourite chroniclers of all things Canadian presents a rollicking, personal, photo-filled history of the relationship between a country and its canoes.

From the earliest explorers on the Columbia River in BC or the Mattawa in Ontario to a doomed expedition of voyageurs up the Nile to rescue Khartoum; from the author's family roots deep in the Algonquin wilderness to modern families who have canoed across the country (kids and dogs included): Canoe Country is Roy MacGregor's celebration of the essential and enduring love affair Canadians have with our first and still favourite means of getting around. Famous paddlers have been so enchanted with the canoe that one swore God made Canada as the perfect country in which to paddle it. Drawing on MacGregor's own decades spent whenever possible with a paddle in his hand, this is a story of high adventure on white water and the sweetest peace in nature's quietest corners, from the author best able (and most eager) to tell it.

About the author

In the fall of 2006, Roy MacGregor, veteran newspaperman, magazine writer, and author of books, came to campus. Since 2002, MacGregor had been writing columns for the Globe and Mail, but he had a long and distinguished career in hand before he came to the national newspaper. He has won National Newspaper Awards and in 2005 was named an officer in the Order of Canada. He is the author of more than 40 books — 28 of them in the internationally successful Screech Owls mystery series for young readers — on subjects ranging from Canada, to the James Bay Cree, to hockey. That fall, he spoke to a packed room in the St. Thomas chapel. After the lecture, Herménégilde Chiasson, the Acadian poet, artist, and New Brunswick's Lieutenant Governor of the day, hosted a reception at the majestic Old Government House on the banks of the St. John River. MacGregor spent the evening surrounded by young journalists and the conversation continued late into the night. After all, there were more than three decades of stories to tell.

Roy MacGregor's profile page


  • Short-listed, Ottawa Book Award for Non-Fiction

Editorial Reviews

“MacGregor, a talented writer and engaging storyteller, therefore, weaves an impressive tale about the view from a Canadian canoe. . . . He writes majestically. . . . [S]uperb book.” The Washington Times
“[J]ust perfect for the die-hard canoeist.” —Ottawa Citizen
“Canoe Country is a rollicking good read—engaging, thought-provoking and, at times, startling in the quirky turns of the research and storytelling, as far as it goes. MacGregor weaves a convincing argument that the canoe is one of Canada’s great characters.” —James Raffan, The Globe and Mail

“I couldn’t put this collection of essays down. . . . [Canoe Country] should be placed on every Canadian’s bookshelf.” —Explore Magazine
“MacGregor has developed a reputation as one of Canada’s finest storytellers. . . . Never flashy, MacGregor’s prose weaves colorful characters into nuanced narratives, often with ‘everyman’ charm. . . . MacGregor is in fine form. . . . Canoe Country is destined to become classic literature.” —Canoe & Kayak Magazine

Canoe Country is essential reading for any cottager.” —Ottawa Magazine

“MacGregor is a superb writer, and this book has increased my admiration. . . . Roy MacGregor’s Canoe Country is a great book, and he has certainly made the case that the canoe inspired many Canadians to do remarkable things.” —The Peterborough Examiner

“MacGregor is especially suited to writing a celebration of the canoe. . . . [MacGregor] has his creative fingers on the pulse of our national imagination like few others. . . . McGregor is a compelling storyteller who, like Pierre Berton before him, transforms historical research into high drama, elevating ordinary people who do extraordinary things into admirable folk heroes. I couldn’t put Canoe Country down once I started paddling into its narrative rapids.” —Rob Reid, Waterloo Region Record

“Roy MacGregor, one of Canada’s leading writers, has pulled together the history, the legends and personalities linked to this magical watercraft. . . . The result is a book that celebrates our love affair with the canoe and how the vessel shaped Canada in its early years and how it still plays a huge role in defining who we are as a people and in differentiating ourselves from Americans” —Bob Hepburn, Toronto Star

“MacGregor is, as he has always been, a compelling storyteller. . . . [Canoe Country] will appeal to those who love the Canadian wilderness and the canoe, but will also be a bit of an eye-opener to those urbanites who have never experienced either.” —Edith Cody-Rice, The Millstone

“Written by one of Canada’s most talented writers, Canoe Country is one of those rare ‘must reads.’” —

Other titles by Roy MacGregor

The Ice Chips and the Grizzly Escape

by (author) Roy MacGregor & Kerry MacGregor
illustrated by Kim Smith

The Ice Chips and the Killer Wave

by (author) Roy MacGregor & Kerry MacGregor
illustrated by Kim Smith

Ice Chips 1-4 paperback box set

Ice Chips and the Magical Rink; Ice Chips and the Haunted Hurricane; Ice Chips and the Invisible Puck; Ice Chips and the Stolen Puck

by (author) Roy MacGregor & Kerry MacGregor
illustrated by Kim Smith

Ice Chips and the Invisible Puck, The

Ice Chips Series

by (author) Roy MacGregor & Kerry MacGregor
illustrated by Kim Smith

The Ice Chips and the Haunted Hurricane

Ice Chips Series

by (author) Roy MacGregor & Kerry MacGregor
illustrated by Kim Smith

Clarence's Big Secret

by (author) Roy MacGregor & Christine MacGregor Cation
illustrated by Mathilde Cinq-Mars

The Ice Chips and the Stolen Cup

Ice Chips Series Book 4

by (author) Roy MacGregor & Kerry MacGregor
illustrated by Kim Smith

The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink

Ice Chips Series Book 1

by (author) Roy MacGregor & Kerry MacGregor
illustrated by Kim Smith

The Ice Chips and the Invisible Puck

Ice Chips Series Book 3

by (author) Roy MacGregor & Kerry MacGregor
illustrated by Kim Smith

Reality Check in Detroit

by (author) Roy MacGregor

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