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Baird, Donal M.

Erin (Ont.), The Boston Mills Press, 1986. 248pp., cloth $29.95. ISBN 0-919783-31-7. CIP.

Grades 6 and up
Reviewed by Joan Kerrigan

Volume 15 Number 5
1987 September

Fires in pioneer communities were even more terrifying than they are in today's society. Information about the history of fire-fighting in this country is not easily found, and Donal M. Baird has produced a volume which is extremely comprehensive.

Baird is very well qualified in the subject. His interest in fire-fighting began when he grew up across the road from a fire station in Saint John. Later he became a volunteer with the Fredericton Fire Department while he was attending the University of New Brunswick. This led to a career as a professional analyst of fire departments.

The research which has been put into this work is most impressive. Sections are divided into the following categories: "A Need for Protection (1600-1800);" "Fire Clubs to Fire Departments (1800-1840);" "Transition (1840-1880);" "Opening of the West (1860-1890);" "Bigger Cities, Bigger Fires (1880-1920);" "A Diversity of Fire Problems (1920-1945);" and "The Modern Era (1945-1980)."

The book is filled with historically fascinating drawings and black-and-white photographs of such appropriate subjects of fire-fighting equipment and fire fighters in action. Students will be intrigued by the primitive equipment which was used in the early days of our history. The author acknowledges "the generosity of many fire chiefs, firefighters, fire buffs, librarians and archivists" for his pictorial examples.

There is no index, but the book is laid out in such an organized fashion that students should be able to locate their subjects by using the table of contents.

The Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Office of the Secretary of State are to be congratulated for their financial assistance; and The Boston Mills Press has put together an extremely handsome volume.

The Story of Firefighting in Canada has excellent applications for courses in Canadian Studies as well as being an interesting and informative browsing book. Recommended for all Canadian school libraries at the senior elementary and secondary school levels.

Joan Kerrigan, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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