D. E. Stevenson

Canada Connections

Red Ensign and Plains of Abraham, ca 1920s There's not a scene in DES that takes place in Canada, but a variety of DES characters, good and bad, have emigrated there or have come back from there.

And some, like all good Brits, have a cousin in Montreal or an aunt in Medicine Hat (perhaps you've met them?)

new editions

The Young Clementina - Fontana pb 1970
Fontana Paperback, 1970
The Young Clementina (1935)

Tracking Moose

Occasionally an author drifts into the library and peers round at the dusty shelves in dismay. "Oh--er--I was told that this was a geographical library," he says. "Have you--er--up-to-date travel books here?" "Any book that adds to the geographical knowledge of the world," he is informed. "A book about Borneo," he says deprecatingly (or Canada or the Antarctic perhaps.) "A book about Borneo--something not too--er--heavy. Just to give one the idea of the--er--country and its inhabitants. A little local colour--perhaps you can advise--"

Perhaps I can, because I make a point of reading all the books that come into the library--or at least glancing through them--and because this is my job and I have been at it for twelve years. Twelve years is a long time to spend amongst books about Borneo and Canada and the Antarctic. "Ah, thank you," he says, flipping over the leaves and examining the illustrations with studied carelessness. "This does seem the kind of thing--this seems exactly--"

Authors often leave their sentences unfinished like that--at least the kind who come to Wentworth's do--and they are always men. Women authors seem to bother less about local colour, or perhaps they bother more. Perhaps they actually pack a couple of suitcases and trek off to Borneo or Canada or wherever it may be, before they send their hero there to hob-nob with the head-hunters or to track moose.


Snowbound for Months

Geoff Howard, the bachelor engineer who attended Garth's coming of age party in 1914, has now returned from Canada, where's he's lived since the War, and makes friends with Char and Clementina.

Mr. Howard [resumed] his rather one-sided conversation with me. I had never met a man who talked so continuously as Mr. Howard without being boring or didactic. I found afterwards that he had spent long months snowbound in Canada with nobody of his own stamp to converse with, and concluded that he was still busy making up for lost time.

A. Y. Jackson The Valley of the Gouffre River

Still Glides the Stream 1959
Collins 1959

Still Glides the Stream (1959)

It's a big country, you know

Patty Elliot Murray is delighted to learn that her friend Brenda Heston's father has a business partner named Murray who was born in Canada and just might a relative. Despite the fact that he changed his name, and Murray is a very common name, and Canada is a big country, he is.

"Because they're relations," replied Patty. "At least Daddy thinks they may be. Mr. Murray is probably the son of Daddy's father's brother who went to Canada and got lost...."

"Oh Patty, what fun!" exclaimed Brenda. "Mr. Murray was born in Canada, I know that. Duncan told me."

A locket turns out to reveal the relationship.

"My father was a bit wild in his younger days," explained Mr. Murray. "He quarrelled with his family and went over to Canada in a huff determined to make his fortune. That's why he dropped the 'Elliot' from his name and ceased to communicate with them."

The House on the Cliff (1966)

The Scuzzball from Montreal

Elfrida Jane's long-lost Canadian cousin, Walter, is not only a slimeball in general, but a villain in particular, out to bilk her of her inheritance. We will not dwell on his crimes.


Fontana, 1970

The Story of Rosabelle Shaw (1938)

Clearing in the West

Rosabelle's friend Tom Gilmour goes to Canada prior to the First World War
...to study the conditions of farming over there. It was what he had always wanted to do, and his father thought it could do him no harm to see a little of the world before settling down at Langside.

After his return...
Tom talked about Canada and his experiences there, and the huge golden fields of corn* which stretched as far as eye could see, and he told Rosabelle about the farm where he had boarded, about the rough hard life and the tough hard men and women who lived it.

Wheat field in Alberta
*Tom is no doubt referring to wheat, taking into account the transatlantic differences in the meaning of the word 'corn'