Read Your Way Across Canada One Book at a Time

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Vancouver Public Library and V.I.A. have teamed up to help you discover new reads, hidden book gems and surprising literary finds. Check back every couple of weeks for the latest reading recommendations from the experts at Vancouver’s library.

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What’s your favourite Canadian book? VPL’s reading experts asked readers on social media, who came back with 100 favourite Canadian books! We’ve rounded up a list of top picks for each province and territory so you can read your way across Canada.

British Columbia:

Measure of the Year by Roderick Haig-Brown

Roderick Haig-Brown welcomes us onto his lush farm for a year of insights and observations. In this eloquently written account, Brown and his family goes through each season and explores how Earth governs the events in our lives.

Alberta:

The Outlander by Gil Adamson

This great Canadian adventure story has a strong and compelling female heroine. The book can be enjoyed as a neo-Western, a romance or historical fiction. It’s especially memorable for its depiction of the Frank Slide – Canada’s deadliest rockslide.

Saskatchewan:

Who Has Seen the Wind by W. O. Mitchell

In this rich account of the Saskatchewan landscape, a young boy grows up on the Prairies with his loving parents and a stern grandmother. Slowly, he discovers the mysteries of life and the lessons of death in this Canadian classic story.

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Manitoba:

Kiss of the Fur QueenThe Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway

This semi-autobiographical novel follows two Northern Cree boys who are taken from their families and placed in a residential school where all aspects of their language and culture are forbidden. The brothers find salvation through music and dance.

Ontario:

Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

This coming-of-age novel follows Del Jordan, a young woman who must balance her dreams against the reality of her life. It’s the type of story that begs to be first read when you are young and then re-read as a mature adult.

Quebec:

The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay

Meet the residents of Montreal’s Rue Fabre. Based partially on his personal experiences, Michel Tremblay depicts a day in the life of this working-class community. His observations are detailed and affectionate, and showcase the vitality of life on the street.

Newfoundland:

Galore by Michael Crummey

Michael Crummey offers a fanciful, multi-generational saga of the Newfoundland outport Paradise Deep. The genealogies of the Devine and Sellers families are biblical in scope, and their histories distill regional history, local gossip, myth and tall tales in a tasty and potent brew.

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New Brunswick:

Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards

Set in a landscape that is unmistakably Canadian, this is the powerful story of the Henderson family. After being ridiculed and bullied for years while trying to remain good and generous, Sydney is accused of a crime he did not commit, while his son, Lyle, embarks on a life of stealing, drinking and violence with a conscience.

Prince Edward Island:

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery

Since the appearance of Anne of Green Gables in 1908, Montgomery’s story of an 11-year-old orphan girl has captured the imagination of readers of all ages. Start at the very beginning when she first arrives in Prince Edward Island and dream with Anne on all of her adventures.

Nova Scotia:

Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan

Set during the tragic backdrop of war and the Halifax Explosion of Dec. 6, 1917, Barometer Rising recreates a week in the life of Halifax before and after the explosion. At its centre is a compelling romance story with emotional appeal and lots of twists and turns.

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Nunuvut:

Consumption by Kevin Patterson

Consumption is the fascinating account of a relocated Inuit community dealing with the loss of its traditional hunting grounds, diet, culture and lifestyle. Despite the grim social conditions, Kevin Patterson’s story is filled with insights, moments of tenderness and a final note that is sure to satisfy readers.

Northwest Territories:

The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp

This internationally praised novel is also the subject of a film by the same name. It follows teenager Larry Sole, who is the son of residential school survivors and loses much of his memory in an accident. His world gets shaken up when someone new moves to town, and he is faced with the challenges of breaking the cycles of abuse.

Yukon:

Close to Spider Man by Ivan E. Coyote

This debut collection of interconnected stories highlights the lives of a younger generation torn between their love for the Yukon and the attraction of life away from the North. The stories are intimate and moving amidst the lonely, breathtaking landscape of the Yukon.

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