Most readers of Stephen Leacock's works are familiar with his witty and humorous writings, but few may be aware that he was also a gifted teacher, political ideologue, economist and fiction writer. Though he wrote six books on Canadian history, none of them attained the status of a standard text on the subject and were regarded more as opinion pieces without much academic foundation. Yet, the Chronicles of Canada series by Stephen Leacock remains an interesting and entertaining read. In this volume, Dawn of Canadian History: Aboriginal Canada, which is part of a thirty-two book series of short and simple essays, Leacock explores the little known origins of Canada's past. Leacock begins with his theories on the geological formation of the country and the beginnings of the earth's structures. The emergence of human beings and the original settlers of the North American Continent, the Native Americans as we know them today, is also well described, though in terms that may seem outdated to modern readers. The “Canadian aborigines” and their culture is also described in terms of the different tribes and their relationship to the Eskimos in the extreme northern part of Canada. The advent of the white races like the Vikings or Norsemen is also one of the important events in Canada's history, as it changed the course of civilization in this country. Legends of Greenland and Iceland are well retold in the chapter entitled The Legend of the Norsemen. Another crucial event was the arrival of John Cabot of Bristol somewhere on the Labrador coast in the sixteenth century. Politics in the sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe and the rivalry between nations like Spain, Portugal, England and France, seeking to explore new worlds and enrich their own countries is also well described. Leacock ends his book with the arrival of French explorer Jacques Cartier, known today as the Father of Canada. In historical terms, this would be set in the seventeenth century, when another great French explorer, Samuel de Champlain was making the first accurate map of the country. For present day readers, Chronicles of Canada..., is a pleasant blend of facts with myths and legends. It is this quality which makes it much more entertaining than a pure historical account.
Most readers of Stephen Leacock's works are familiar with his witty and humorous writings, but few may be aware that he was also a gifted teacher, political ideologue, economist and fiction writer. Though he wrote six books on Canadian history, none of them attained the status of a standard text on the subject and were regarded more as opinion piec... Show more