essay

Bill MacDonald
Essays
The Ghost of James Cawdor

A seance to contact a dead miner at Port Arthur, Ontario, in 1923—conducted by Conan Doyle himself.

MARCELLO DI CINTIO
Essays
The Great Wall of Montreal

The chain-link fence along boulevard de l’Acadie— two metres high, with “appropriate hedge”—separates one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Montreal from one of the poorest.

HAL NIEDZVIECKI
Essays
The Life and Death of Zadie Avrohom Krolik

Hal Niedzviecki com­mem­o­rates his Jewish grand­fa­ther—a heavy drinker, a bad driver and a Polish refugee.

Stephen Osborne
Essays
The Great Game

The British called it the Great Game. The Russians called it Bolshoya Igra. The playing field was, and still is, Afghanistan.

DAVID COLLIER
Essays
The Last Grain Elevator in Regina

When you live in Saskatoon, you find yourself caring more about the details of grain farming then you did when you lived in Toronto or Windsor.

Daniel Francis
Essays
War of Independence

World War I, Canada’s “war of independence,” marked a turning point for a young colony wanting to prove itself as a self-reliant nation, but at what cost.

M.A.C. Farrant
Essays
Notes on the Wedding

The mother of the groom measures the distance between two weddings: twenty-six years, six thousand miles, and a donkey covered with flowers. It’s outtasight.

Paul Tough
Essays
City Still Breathing: Listening to the Weakerthans

I wasn’t certain whether I was in Winnipeg because of the Weakerthans, or whether I cared about the Weakerthans because I care about Winnipeg.

Annabel Lyon
Essays
Eye for Detail

What is at the heart of this Edith Iglauer profile by Giller nominee Annabel Lyon? Hint: Ice Road Truckers.

Steven Heighton
Essays
Everything Turns Away

Going unnoticed must be the root sorrow for the broken.

JUDY LEBLANC
Essays
Walking in the Wound

It is racism, not race, that is a risk factor for dying of COVID-19.

Ann Diamond
Essays
How I (Finally) Met Leonard Cohen

On a rainy night in October 1970, I crossed paths with Canada's most elusive poet.

Mia + Eric
Essays
Future Perfect

New bylaws for civic spaces.

HOWARD WHITE
Essays
How We Imagine Ourselves

When Geist first approached me with the idea of speaking here, I made it known that of all the things I ever wanted to be when I grew up, being an after-dinner speaker was very low on the list.

Eve Corbel
Essays
Getting It Wrong

It's human nature to jump to the wrong conclusion–and stick with it.

DAVID COLLIER
Essays
Happy Hearts

A series of lucky events seemed to conspire to bring me to Stettler, Alberta, one day in June 1998. Jennifer, the woman who was in between being my roommate and my girlfriend, was at the Banff Centre and I was on my way there from Saskatoon, where we lived. She had left me fifty dollars for gas so I could pick her up after her workshop, and I had accepted, hoping that when the time came I wouldn’t need it and I could give it back. I did need it, of course. I had been waiting for a cheque to come from the Globe and Mail for one of a series of drawings I was doing for them, and when it was time to leave, the cheque still hadn’t arrived. So I set out from Saskatoon with just a tank of gas and the fifty dollars.

Bart Campbell
Essays
The Real Woman

And then I remembered an important event. It happened at a funeral in St. Paul’s chapel for a twenty-four-year-old prostitute who had overdosed in her Gastown hotel room. The small chapel was half full, and very quiet. There were a couple of fresh flower arrangements in front of the cheap, closed coffin. Most of the congregation were other prostitutes dressed in their working clothes, and a few pimps. One woman apologized to Brother Tim for having nothing black to wear, except for lingerie and a leather miniskirt.

J. Jill Robinson
Essays
One Night at the Oceanview

Did that really happen? J. Jill Robinson initiates a midnight stand-off between the police and two drunk brothers in an RV Park in White Rock, B.C.

CONNIE KUHNS
Essays
Life After Virginity

A flower child looks back, to the time between Motown and acid rock.

Caroline Adderson
Essays
Lives of the House

A basement shrine in her 1920s home inspires Caroline Adderson to discover the past lives of her house and its inhabitants.

SADIQA DE MEIJER
Essays
Do No Harm

Doing time is not a blank, suspended existence.

Bill MacDonald
Essays
An Ounce of Civet

Dinner with James Reaney—poet, playwright, professor—who is mistaken by a pair of Irish ladies for “that decadent writer Mordecai Richler.”

M.A.C. Farrant
Essays
Attila the Bookseller

I answered the ad: SWM likes to dance. Called him up (said his name was Jay), suggested we meet at the local cafe Tuesday night, something different, a performance poet performing. Free coffee and cookies, the place rocking with middle-aged angst.

David L. Chapman
Essays
Postcolonial Bodies

Mastery of the self

Daniel Francis
Essays
Re-hanging the National Wallpaper

When I lived in Ottawa in the 1970s, I used to enjoy passing lazy afternoons at the National Gallery looking at the pictures. I remember how surprised I was when I first encountered the Group of Seven collection. These paintings were completely familiar—I’d seen them in schoolbooks and on calendars, posters, t-shirts, everywhere—yet at the same time they were completely unexpected.

Daniel Francis
Essays
Red Scare

The Bolshevists are coming! The Bolshevists are coming! Daniel Francis recounts Canada's close call with a revolution.

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