British Journal of Canadian Studies

'It Was Canadian, Then, Typically Canadian': Revisiting Wilderness at Historic Sites

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2008), 21, (1), 5–34.

Abstract

A culture of wilderness – academic, artistic, and popular – that idealised the heroic age of the fur trade so dominated historic site selection in Canada that our idea of wilderness became married to a particular point in time. Along the old routes of exploration and trade, on the rivers of the Canadian Shield spilling out onto the northern plains, Canada has preserved and reconstructed fur-trade sites to convey a sensibility of wilderness. Rocky Mountain House, York Factory, Old Fort William and others remain the flagship sites at both the national and provincial levels. However, these sites face significant dilemmas in terms of managing their environmental and historical resources. Choices of location, reconstruction and interpretation are essential to constructing an illusion or memory of wilderness.

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Author details

Campbell, Claire