The Unknown Country, Canada and Her People

By Bruce Hutchison | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Made in Canada

The house where I was born stood at the corner of Dibble and Edward Streets, in Prescott, Ontario. It was a huge, oblong chunk of gray stone, with walls two feet thick. In winter it was warm, in summer cool. Down in the dark basement there was a rich smell of apples in fat barrels and pickles and jam, and the hugely timbered attic was littered with trunks full of ancient clothes, hooped skirts, top hats, useful for dressing up in on rainy days, and discarded bric-a-brac and the musty smell of age. From the upstairs windows you could look through the elms of the garden down to the St. Lawrence and see the smoke of Ogdensburg, New York, on the far side.

In the winter we used to walk across the ice to buy things at the low American price in the stores of Ogdensburg, which seemed to us a city of great splendor. Then we would smuggle our purchases back through the Canadian tariff without serious official interruption. All the women of Prescott had enormous bags suspended from the waist under their skirts to carry this contraband past the sleepy customs officers, and sometimes my grandmothers would waddle up Edward Street from the summer ferry wharf so swathed in bolts of smuggled cloth that they seemed to have doubled their weight since morning and could hardly move -- pious women, the salt of the earth, who went to church twice on Sundays and spent most of their lives in charity, but the customs law was fair game. They always brought me a toy from Ogdensburg, stuffed elephants mostly, though they had little money to spare. Nobody objected to this

-110-

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The Unknown Country, Canada and Her People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • My Country 3
  • Chapter One - Chez Garneau 6
  • Mother of Canada 21
  • Canadian Spring 43
  • Chapter Three - The Wood Choppers 46
  • Letter from Montreal to Young Lady With Violets 61
  • Chapter Four - Ville Marie 64
  • The Tower 77
  • Chapter Five - Three O'Clock, Ottawa Time 79
  • Leaves Falling, Dead Men Calling 107
  • Chapter Six - Made in Canada 110
  • The Ready Way to Canada 129
  • Chapter Seven - The Wedge 132
  • Mrs. Noggins 155
  • Chapter Eight General Brock's Bloody Hill 158
  • Winter 179
  • Chapter Nine - Wood, Wind, Water 182
  • The Names of Canada 209
  • Chapter Ten - Sailors' Town 211
  • The Queer Lady 219
  • Chapter Eleven - The Home Town 222
  • The Trees 231
  • Chapter Twelve - Fundy's Children 234
  • The Geese 247
  • Chapter Thirteen - The Frontiersman 249
  • The Canadian 269
  • Chapter Fourteen - The Men in Sheepskin Coats 272
  • Father's Plow 289
  • Chapter Fifteen - Drought and Glut 292
  • Never Go Back 309
  • She's Quiet Tonight 329
  • Chapter Seventeen - The Lotus Eaters 332
  • The Buckskin 351
  • Chapter Eighteen - Cariboo Road 353
  • Index 375
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