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50 Canadians Who Changed the World: this really happened!


Hard to believe that four years have passed since we boarded a west-bound train called The Canadian in Toronto. We were celebrating 50 Canadians Who Changed the World – both the book and the individuals so designated, most of whom are alive and thriving -- by following in the tracks of those who linked this nation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. We called this endeavor The VIA-Rail, Cross-Canada, Ocean-to-Ocean, Book-Tour Extravaganza.
Faithful readers of this blog (hi, mom!) will know that Our Hero made stops in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Canmore, Banff, and Jasper. After enduring many hardships and overcoming countless obstacles (ahem), he reached Vancouver, made his way to English Bay and, carrying a copy of his new book (which paints a vivid portrait of cutting-edge Canada, if I do say so myself), waded into the Pacific Ocean.
Then came the second leg of the train journey, traveling on VIA-Rail’s “Ocean”: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax. One afternoon, acting on the advice of locals, and assisted by a trio of volunteers, Our Hero made his way to Point Pleasant Park. There, despite a steady rain and a rocky shoreline that would have deterred a less intrepid author, he waded into the Atlantic Ocean, thus accomplishing his declared objective: ocean-to-ocean.  He was tempted to build a cairn, but decided to wait until he next visited the third ocean.
Of those I wrote about in this book, let's see. Sheila Watt-Cloutier has since published a bestseller called The Right to be Cold. Naomi Klein is preparing to launch a new book, No is Not Enough, in which she argues that Trump is extreme . . . but not a Martian. And Leonard Cohen has left the building. You know he would want us to party on!
(Pix by Sheena Fraser McGoogan)


Ken McGoogan
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2 comments:

The Furry Gnome said...

You're nothing if not intrepid!

Ken McGoogan said...

That IS the word on the street. Although I have also heard it phrased, Fools rush in.

Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.

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