Viking Canada (AHC) (2001)
ISBN 10: 0670880094
ISBN 13: 9780670880096
It was the route of explorers and fur traders, the premier entry point for Europeans emigrating to Canada, a haven for pirates and the site of major battles and shipwrecks. It is also the most important commercial waterway in Canada, and a source of both electrical power and awesome beauty. Spanning nearly 1,200 kilometres, the St. Lawrence River runs deep into Canadian history. Award-winning author Phil Jenkins is passionate about the St. Lawrence. In River Song, he sails a tall ship from one end of the river to the other, walks its banks and dives its depths to trace the flow of Canada’s early history. Along the way, he recounts how individual characters have made brief or lasting acquaintance with the St. Lawrence, from the king of Siam to the Molson family magnates to a man named John Smith, who paddled a canoe the length of the river during the Depression.
River Song is a rich panorama that features tales of war, trade, hope, disappearance and triumph. Whales and wildlife abound, canoes yield to streamers and freighters, and newcomers arrive at the river’s mouth en route to Grosse Ile, the quarantine station where the ancestors of an estimated one quarter of Canada’s population first set foot. Smugglers, pirates and sailors, past and present, traverse the turbulent waters – including an engine room stoker who survived Canada’s worst civilian maritime disaster, the sinking of the RMS Empress of Canada, and may have also survived the RMS Titanic and the RMS Lusitania. Decades later, the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway changes the shape of Canada forever, drowning villages as nature is realigned to make way for commerce.