Muskoka by-the-Book

Reviews by J. Patrick Boyer

Books about Muskoka, quietly lining up like patient friends, wait to share information and entertain you with great stories. Many have been reviewed by Muskoka author and historian J. Patrick Boyer, whose observations below help introduce these companions to readers.

MacGregor's Book is to Canoeing What a Valentine is to Love

Canoe Country: The Making of Canada –Roy MacGregor

You can cover a lot of territory in a canoe and master story-teller Roy MacGregor does just that writing about this unique vessel in his new book Canoe Country.

Most Canadians have a connection, either personal or cultural, with the canoe. The number of this magazine’s readers linked somehow to canoeing must be close to one hundred percent. “The canoe,” observes MacGregor, “stands well above most other unifying symbols.”

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Making His Muskoka Boyhood into a Universal Story

Raisin Wine: A Boyhood in a Different Muskoka –James Bartleman
Out of Muskoka –James Bartleman

For Jim Bartleman, growing up in Port Carling after World War II was to live in one village but inhabit many worlds.

For openers, there was the aboriginal community of his mother and her relatives, the Caucasian universe of his hard-working father and his wine-drinking philosopher friends. Even within these dual spheres, the boy encountered many additional worlds.

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From Oka to Muskoka:
the “Special Case” of Wahta Mohawks

An Indian Odyssey
Tribulations, Trials, and Triumphs of Gibson Band of the Mohawk Tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy
–Sylvia DuVernet

Wahta Mohawks of west Muskoka were not included in John W. Grant's1984 book Moon of Wintertime because, its author believed, in a general account of the aboriginal-Christian encounter, "they were a special case."

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Remembering the Saga of Wahta Mohawks

A History of the Wahta Mohawk Community
–Wahta Mohawks

For seven thousand years aboriginal peoples, primarily identified today as Ojibwa, travelled through and lived in the territory that would become known as "Muskoka" after Chief Musqua-Ukee. When we think about early Canadian history and European settlement, the idea invariably is that aboriginals were here first, back through "the mists of time" and millennia of unrecorded history, truly the country's "first nations."

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