Shaped By The West Wind: Nature And History In Georgian Bay by Claire Elizabeth CampbellShaped By The West Wind: Nature And History In Georgian Bay by Claire Elizabeth Campbell

Shaped By The West Wind: Nature And History In Georgian Bay

byClaire Elizabeth CampbellIntroduction byGraeme Wynn

Paperback | July 1, 2005

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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, fishermen, 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, changing memories of place, and the environmental politics of place read through debates about resource management and parks.

Campbell investigates the relationship between landscape, culture, and regional identity, and presents a case study in modern environmental thought. Each chapter presents a different type of encounter -- different ways in which people approached and interacted with the Bay. She incorporates a wide variety of sources, including art and literature, maps and survey journals, cottage architecture and boat design, government and park archives, tourism brochures, and oral interviews.

This is not a narrowly conceived local history but a focused argument about how places take on shifting cultural meanings over time. The author argues that the environment of Georgian Bay is not simply an imagined geography but has been created through an active engagement between cultural readings and physical circumstances. Shaped by the West Wind speaks to a wide variety of disciplines including geography, art and design, literary criticism, environmental studies, and public history. It will appeal to anyone interested in the environmental dimensions of Canadian history.

Claire Elizabeth Campbell is an associate professor in the Department of History at Dalhousie University.
Title:Shaped By The West Wind: Nature And History In Georgian BayFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.75 inPublished:July 1, 2005Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774810998

ISBN - 13:9780774810999


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Georgian Bay - more than terre sauvage Georgian Bay’s fabled archipelago, its north by east coast from the Severn Sound to Killarney, is usually taken for granite (as old Charlie Farquharson would tell you) by the people who do not live along its precambrian shores or who have not been seduced when sailing through the myriad passages of its 30,000 islands. In fact, Parry Sound’s folkloric farmer is perhaps the only history authority that Claire Elizabeth Campbell has not referenced in her excellent environmental history of the Bay. This 282-page book examines the “sixth great lake” through the prism of history and literature, geography and political science, sociology and ethnography, to mention just a few of the academic avenues it travels along. It’s the first volume in Canadian environmental history studies in the UBC Press’s Nature/History/Society series, and as such, it is a written to impress both the scholar and inform the general reader. That it achieves both purposes is commendable. There are six chapters: a survey of the historical landscape – Champlain, the Jesuit missions and Henry Bayfield, the impact of nineteenth century industrial exploitation by foresters and fishers, native settlement and the adjustments and accommodations that have ensued over the past two hundred years, the culture of “rocks and reefs” in Canadian literature and art, Campbell’s thoughts about the sense of place or the mentality of the residents – both the year-around and seasonal cottagers, and finally, the politics of “protecting” (a loaded word, that) and sustaining the Bay into the twenty-first century. The text is not slavishly chronological but rather thematic, and people like Anna Jameson and the Georgian Bay Association appear throughout the work. Shaped by the West Wind is amply illustrated with half-tone maps to help us locate settlements and physical features (I found only one mistake that I’m aware of), a selection of historical maps from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, photographs of cottages and coast lines, and a well chosen collection of 16 colour plates. The latter includes eight works of the Group of Seven, the significance of each of them effectively explained in the author’s text. Perhaps the most valuable resource for “Bay people” (we all know who we are), to whom she dedicates her book, are Campbell’s extensive notes to each chapter and what must be the most thorough bibliography of primary and secondary sources available in a popular, accessible publication. I have lived and sailed on Georgian Bay for many years. In countless pages I came across ideas that were fresh to me about places like the abandoned settlement at Depot Harbour, the trees on Franklin Island, and the hazard of Dalles Rapids (in the French River), and that have given them many more dimensions in time than merely physical. Campbell has accomplished her defined task: to “establish the significance of Georgian Bay in Canadian historiography…to make the research relevant and accessible to a wider audience. I wanted to study Georgian Bay as an academically trained historian but also as someone who has loved the Bay since childhood. This is not hard to do – because in my mind’s eye I am still simply looking out to the Open, listening to the water and the wind in the pine.”
Date published: 2007-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful book! This book is specatular! A great read! It was informative and insightful with classic references to a beautiful area of Canada while subtuly educating the reader on the historical placement of Georgian Bay and the 30,000 islands! Marvelous...a must read for anyone interested in history and the sensitive landscape of Georgian Bay.
Date published: 2006-09-01

Table of Contents

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

Introduction: Writing a History of Place

1 “What word of this curious country”: Surveying the Historical Landscape

2 “A Region of Importance”: Industry and Land Use

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

4 Rocks and Reefs: The Culture of an Inland Sea

5 “Our Dear North Country”: Developing a Sense of Place

6 “Some Proper Rule”: Managing and Protecting Georgian Bay Conclusion: Listening to the Bay




Editorial Reviews

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, Vol. 75, No. 1, Winter 2006