Missing people. Missed the train. Pals in print. A familiar face. Provincial police overlooked. Remembering Lorene. Made in the U.S.A.
Ienjoyed Roy MacGregor’s sweeping review of our search as Canadians for our national identity [“An Unknown Country,” June-July 2016]. He referenced George Grant’s journal of the Sandford Fleming expedition. This 1872 record is really a bookend to another significant traversing of our country: Paul Kane’s Wanderings of an Artist and his two distinct journeys of 1845 and 1846–48.
What strikes one in reading the two journals back-to-back is how markedly different was the land they were traversing in this twenty-four-year period. Kane journeyed across a continent that was inhabited and governed by indigenous people. The Fleming-Grant expedition found a land largely depopulated of its Aboriginal inhabitants.
One might surmise that, to the journeying Europeans of the Victorian age, their encounters with the now-depleted indigenous cultures and peoples confirmed that it was indeed an unknown and largely unoccupied land — an idea that subsequent settlers hold to this day. Michael Clague