Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

February 2015

February 28, 2015

When I lived in Ottawa back in the day I used to take my kids to visit the old Victoria Memorial Museum on Metcalfe Street. In those days (the early '80s) the museum shared its castle-like building with the Museum of Natural History but we were mainly interested in the First Nations exhibits in the history section. (Subsequently the museum moved to its impressive Douglas Cardinal-designed home in Gatineau and is now called the Canadian Museum of History.)

At the entrance to one of the...

February 10, 2015

I can't allow my pal Brian Busby to walk off into the sunset without an acknowledgement.

Six years ago Brian launched his website, The Dusty Bookcase, dedicated to what I think of as Canadian pulplit but what he calls "the suppressed, ignored and forgotten in Canadian literature." Always entertaining and witty, sometimes surprising, Brian's blog brought to light hundreds of books, mainly pulp fiction, that had been lost to posterity until...

February 4, 2015

Wierd. The CBC on its website recommends 10 books to read for Black History Month, yet as far as I can tell all of the titles are novels, not history.

So let me add to the list a few books that are actually Black history.

First of all, a couple of old chestnuts:

The Blacks in Canada, by Robin Winks: first published in 1971, this classic has a...