North Bay: Northern Gateway.
Michael Barnes. Photography by Ed Eng.
Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.
Great local interest was expressed in the situation of the administrative seat for the District of Nipissing. Mattawa and Sturgeon Falls vied with North Bay for this distinction. Both other centres had been established longer than North Bay but lacked the determination of its citizens. Everyone voted, even railwaymen who pushed their train to the limit to get back in order to exercise the franchise. North Bay won and its political clout increased. But to put the new district town in perspective, the place had only just opened high school classes and the librarian, who was also the janitor, had but 152 books to loan out. But 1890, 1,762 North Bay residents were scattered over 500 acres. Assessment had climbed to $302,461 but as yet there was no hospital. Two doctors coped with residents' needs and treated patients at home. In the wider area, fire and logging cleared the land between Powassan and Trout Creek.Honoured with the Order of Canada in 1995 for his contributions to literature about the North, Michael Barnes has written nearly forty books about this area of Canada, and this work about the city of North Bay will only add to his reputation for excellent writing and in-depth research. Ed Eng, M.F.A., whose photographs add to the charm of the book, lives and works in North Bay, and is an internationally known photographer.
Barnes begins his description of North Bay in the distant geological past, then progresses through the ages, the arrival of the first native people who became known as the Nipissings, the French fur traders, the Jesuits, the Northwest Company, the first settlers, loggers, farmers, businesspeople and continues in this fashion to the present day. The story of North Bay and many surrounding smaller towns is told in clear and entertaining prose and with an astonishing amount of detail. Archival photographs provide a window to the past, giving readers wonderful views of historic buildings and hard working pioneers. The present day photographs cover everything from Queen Elizabeth's recent visit to the establishment of the Ontario Provincial Police detachment and the construction of the modern airport.
Barnes has produced a very interesting, educational, and readable book. As both a valuable resource for historical study and as an enjoyable reading experience, this book, which includes a selected bibliography, would be an excellent addition to library collections requiring information on North Bay.
Luella Sumner is Head Librarian at the Red Rock Library in Red Rock, Ontario.
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Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Manitoba Library Association
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - MARCH 27, 1998.
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