National Geographic rarely disappoints and adds another fine publication with this book. They have made a name of bringing the world's splendor to our fingertips and, true to form, manage to transform "America's neighbor" into a complete, fascinating, and refreshing journey. Canada, better known to some of us in the States for bad health care, a few odd accents, and a lower drinker age, gets an NGS makeover, and one worth every page.
Author William Howarth takes us on a cross country trip on the Trans-Canada Highway, a 4800 mile stretch reaching from sea to shining sea. He sets out on the eastern seaboard in St. Johns, Newfoundland and, before coasting to an ocean-side stop in Victoria, British Columbia, manages to wind through the bottom edge of ten provinces. He explores the popular (e.g., a vibrant Toronto, Mountie boot camp, and Glacier National Park) and the lesser knowns (e.g., Delaware-sized Prince Edward Island, canoeing down the Patawawa River, and Winnipeg's Ukrainian egg artists), all with an eye for the unique Canadian touch that binds these people with their land. Howarth's fluid prose moves smoothly with his journey, coasting along the ultimate scenic route. His writing reflects the intimacy and the honesty of his subjects who shared their lives amidst the stunning natural backdrop.
Equally breathtaking are the photographs by George Mobley. His images, saturated with brilliant color and detail, provide a remarkable portrait of Canada. The quality of course is excellent but the photos are most provoking in their exploration of the geographical and cultural diversity thriving within Canada's muted borders. The pictures, paired with Howarth's writing, touch at the heart of the country. A cross-cultural spirit, rooted in its Native American and European ancestry, is celebrated best within Canada's expansive landscape, whether on flower-dotted plains, along beaten Atlantic cliffs, or overlooking a rugged skyline.
I admit I wanted to hop in my sputtering Dodge and journey the Trans-Canada myself, but for those of us who cannot, this book provides a most satisfying substitute.