________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 5. . . .October 7, 2016


Canada Year By Year.

Elizabeth MacLeod. Illustrated by Sydney Smith.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2016.
96 pp., hardcover, $21.95.
ISBN 978-1-77138-397-4.

Subject Heading:
Canada-History-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7/ Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton

***½ /4



1883 Timothy Eaton’s store Timothy Eaton changed the way Canadians shopped. In 1869, he opened a store in Toronto based on three promises: fixed prices, cash only and satisfaction guaranteed or money refunded.

What a difference! Up to then, shoppers and store owners would haggle over dollars and cents, but “fixed prices” meant everyone knew the cost. “Cash only” put an end to bartering for goods and gave the shop owner more money to pay the bills. And “satisfaction guaranteed or money refunded” gave the buyer peace of mind- if the goods were faulty, the store promised to take them back.

By 1883, business was booming, and Timothy opened a three-storey store on Yonge Street. This light, airy workplace had many modern innovations, including indoor washrooms, electric lights and an elevator.

But Timothy wanted to sell to even more people, including those living outside of Toronto. So in 1884, he put out a mail-order catalogue. It became known as the “Farmer’s Bible”. People shopped from the Eaton’s catalogue- and also used it for hockey shin pads, insulation and toilet paper!


Leading up to Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, this timely book examines one milestone event for every year since Confederation. Canada Year by Year is divided into 10 chapters, and the information is arranged in chronological order. A wide variety of topics, some well-known and others not, include politics, sports, literature, music, cinema, art, education, inventions, medicine, philanthropy, Nobel Prize winners, Canadian “firsts”, and conflicts fought both on Canadian soil and on the world front. These topics range from the serious, such as the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, to light, human interest stories, such as the birth of the Dionne quintuplets in 1934. MacLeod explains the facts in kid-friendly language, but she does not avoid controversial subjects, such as women’s rights, residential schools and Quebec’s separatist movement. She presents these subjects matter-of-factly, fairly, and without bias. Sidebars, quotes, trivia, mini-biographies and timelines round out the text, while an additional section at the back of the book highlights 39 more “great Canadians” who merit inclusion in the book but, perhaps, did not quite fit into any of the annual “milestones” featured. Some examples are architect Arthur Erickson, astronaut Chris Hadfield and Inuit artist Pitseolak Ashoona. The illustrations appear to be rendered in watercolour and ink and complement the text very nicely. A table of contents and an index are provided.

      Interesting, educational and entertaining, Canada Year by Year has a place in every public school and library. Even adults will find it to be an enjoyable read. Kudos to Elizabeth MacLeod for tackling such a broad subject and for her judicious selection of events in our country’s 150-year history- not an easy task!

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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