In the preface to The Old Way North: Following the Oberholtzer-Magee Expedition (Borealis Books), David F. Pelly laments that most people know about Arctic explorers such as John Franklin, but few know of the adventurers who explored the inland reaches of Canada. Well, one reason is that Ernest C. Oberholtzer didn’t have a Lady Franklin taking care of promotion and marketing on the home front. Nor was Oberholtzer a compelling chronicler. His journal entries, which give information on his adventures canoeing through northern Manitoba and Nunavut in 1912, are uninspired; Oberholtzer, it seems, was a man of few words. There’s an awful lot to learn about the region from this book. But what transforms a canoeist into a legend are the trials and tribulations of the journey, and what he makes of them. Had Oberholtzer kept a better diary, or at least Mowat-ized his experience a bit, there might be a song written about his adventures, as well as a better book.