Shortlisted for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction
Winner of the Louise de Kiriline Lawrence Award for English Non-Fiction
Longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize
Envisioning the mysterious land that would eventually be called “Canada” through the eyes of the explorers who first set foot on these shores, A History of Canada in Ten Maps brings our stories to life.
Every map tells a story, and every map has a purpose: inviting us to go somewhere we’ve never been. It is an account of what we know, but also a trace of what we long for. Like a story, a map is never completely objective. It records special interests and agendas. It leaves important things unsaid even as it purports to lay things out clearly and indisputably. We can know our history by our maps.
That is what A History of Canada in Ten Maps will do. This book chronicles not just the centuries of Canada’s existence; it conjures the world as it appeared to those who were called upon to map it. What would the new world look like to Jacques Cartier, who could see no farther than the treeline? What would the north have looked like to Martin Frobisher, confronting a sea of ice but imagining that Cathay lay just beyond? What would the vastness of the country look like to a surveyor or railroad engineer (or an investor in Great Britain)? And what rival claims to the land were left off all these maps?
Historical maps may tell only part of the story, but they also tell us volumes about what we didn’t know, and hint at what we may have preferred go unrecorded. A History of Canada in Ten Maps will tell the story of the creators of these maps, and also recount how they used the maps for their own ends. It is a book that will surprise readers, and reveal the Canada we never knew was hidden. It will bring to life the characters and the disputes that forged our history, by showing us what the world looked like before it entered the history books. Combining storytelling, cartography, geography, and of course history, this book will show us Canada in a way we’ve never seen it before.
Adam Shoalts has been called one of Canada’s greatest living explorers and in 2018 was named an Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He is also an historian, archaeologist, and geographer, and his book Alone Against the North was a #1 national bestseller. His second book, A History of Canada in Ten Maps was also national bestseller. Shoalts holds a Ph.D. from McMaster University where his doctoral research examined the influence Indigenous oral traditions had on explorers and fur traders in Canada’s subarctic and Pacific Northwest. He has done archaeology in four countries and enjoys long walks in the woods.