Great to see this article turn up in today's Calgary Herald. Looks like my old home town is ready. I'll be at Pages on Kensington Tuesday evening, at Global TV on Wednesday morning, and then at Cafe Books in Canmore that evening.
By Eric Vollmers, Calgary Herald
Pride is a peculiar thing.
It is clear to author Ken McGoogan as he travels Canada by rail that while we may still struggle with our infamous inferiority complex on a national level, regional pride is alive and well.
McGoogan is travelling from coast to coast promoting 50 Canadians Who Changed the World, his latest historical book that should challenge our infamous modesty.
“I learned that a long time ago when I worked at the Toronto Star as a young reporter,” says McGoogan, from a tour stop in Saskatoon. “The Toronto Star is famously obsessive. If there’s an earthquake in India, what does it mean for metropolitan Toronto? Was there a Torontonian involved? That was beat into me early. People like to hear about themselves, read about their own. It’s just a human thing. It’s true in Winnipeg, true in Saskatoon and I’m sure it’s going to be true across the country.”
So one of the handy bonuses in publicizing this book, other than being able to travel the country by rail, is that different cities tend to focus on different characters McGoogan has profiled depending on geography.
Albertans can rejoice that Edmonton-born luminaries such as philosopher Marshall McLuhan and activist/actor Michael J. Fox are included. We can also beam with pride when reading about the tremendous contributions to computer-aided architecture made by Calgary-born Douglas Cardinal. In a pinch, we can also lay claim to iconic singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, who was born in and then quickly vacated Fort Macleod.
But McGoogan, who has lived in cities across the country and was Calgary Herald books editor from 1979 to 1999, is obviously after a more communal, Canada-wide love-in for the book. In the Table of Contents, he doesn’t even name those the chapters are dedicated to, hoping to dissuade that reader temptation to simply skip to the names they have heard of.
“I didn’t want it to be a list,” he says. “You have to actually go into the book. I wanted people to get into the book and wrestle with the Canadians themselves.”
Which is not to say that the book is full of obscure figures. But McGoogan wanted them to be modern — no Sir John A. MacDonalds or Norman Bethunes or anyone else one born before 1900 — and to be recognized abroad for their contributions. . . .
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