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O Canada: Travels in an Unknown Country Book Review Summary

Detailed Plot Synopsis of O Canada: Travels in an Unknown Country

The author travels across Canada from east to west with stops in almost a dozen cities. Beginning in the Atlantic territories of Newfoundland and New Brunswick, Morris talks of history and seafarers, shipwrecks and fishermen, attending a public celebration held in Memorial Stadium in St. John's. After a brief stay in St. Andrews stay, then it is on toward the population centers of Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto where the author points out the beauty of the country and its people. In Montreal she describes the ethic melting pot of old world refugees including Greeks, Jews, Lithuanians, and Italians that give the Boulevard St. Laurent its charm and vigor. Of course there is a tribute to Mont-Royal the hilltop from which the city derives its name. The Parliament Buildings in Ottawa draw her interest and along with the French Canadian separatist movement. She notes that far too often Canadians sell themselves and their beloved country short due in part to the huge shadow the United States casts upon its benevolent northern neighbor. She states her belief that Toronto can never be mistaken for a northern extension to America.

The majesty of the Canadian Rockies and the remote western wilderness is the next stop on Morris' travelogue. Visiting North American Native museums in Saskatoon, the ski resorts of Banff, and the mining and oil boomtown that became wealthy Edmonton touching on the struggle to blend traditional values and cultures with progress and modernization. She describes the odd assortment of buildings she finds in the Alberta capital, citing unusual architectural designs for the Convention Centre, Country Music Hall of Fame, and others. Her final destination is the resplendent Pacific Coast and Vancouver, paying homage to the Asian influence on the region and its culture. Only one small problem with the wonderful writing was the maddeningly frustrating habit of name-dropping the celebrities and politicians she hung out with along the way. O Canada recounts a significant and notable history of a nation.
This report prepared by David Fletcher








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Chapter Analysis of O Canada: Travels in an Unknown Country

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Plot & Themes

Ethnic/Relig. of subject (inside)    -   Canadian (eh!) Ethnic/regional/gender    -   Yes ethnic of society (outside)    -   Canadian (eh!) Period of greatest activity?    -   1950+ Big/small town?    -   Big city Road trip    -   Yes Travelogue?    -   Yes

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   writer Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   British

Setting

How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   10 () The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   Canada Misc setting    -   resort/hotel Century:    -   1980's-Present

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   thoughtful Pictures/Illustrations?    -   None How much dialogue in bio?    -   little dialog

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Jan Morris Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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