Every writer on the geography of Canada is confronted by the profound variety of Canada's great regions, with their distinctive scenery, people and cultures. From the vast resources and internal contrasts of British Columbia, to the expanse of the ...
prairies, to the demanding Arctic tundra, the forests and minerals of the Canadian Shield, the axis of the Saint Lawrence River and its industries and cities and the coastal fisheries, islands, and peninsulas of the Atlantic, Canada's many landscapes and cultural regions have been a challenge to characterise and understand. "So Vast and Various" provides selections from the works of seven of the country's most astute geographical writers to elucidate the ways in which the country has been depicted and understood over time. John Warkentin looks at the work of geographers from 1831 to 1977 through the regional descriptions of seven perceptive observers of Canada who provide very different but illuminating interpretations: Joseph Bouchette, a surveyor-general from Lower Canada; George Parkin, an educator and journalist from New Brunswick; J.D. Rogers, a British barrister and scholar; Harold Innis, the great economic historian; R.C. Wallace, a geologist with administrative experience in the North; Bruce Hutchison, a brilliant BC journalist with deep regional insights; and Thomas Berger, who presided over a Royal Commission on northern development in the 1970s. Warkentin's introduction reveals how their descriptions and interpretations of Canada's areas helped provide the perceptions that influence contemporary conceptions of the country - both its regions and as a whole.