Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Montreal Memories of the Century from the Sketchbooks of John Collins

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Montreal Memories of the Century from the Sketchbooks of John Collins

Article excerpt

John Collins, Montreal Memories of the Century from the Sketchbooks of John Collins (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue: Shoreline, 2000), 113 pp. Paper. $19.95. ISBN 1-8967-5411-2.

For over forty years, John Collins was editorial cartoonist of The Montreal Gazette and older readers of that curate's egg of a newspaper will recall with affection and glee the witty, sarcastic cartoons which were to win him two National Newspaper Awards. He will be particularly remembered, as William Weintraub reminds us in his foreword to this book, as the creator of Mr Canadian Taxpayer, 'so robbed by the government that he was often depicted as being deprived of his very clothes: to hide his nakedness he wore a barrel.' Collins, who trained at the Ecole des beaux-arts in Montreal, also illustrated editor E.A. Collard's historical column 'All Our Yesterdays'.

This collection - it might almost be called a scrapbook - of Collins' sketches of Montreal and its people will certainly evoke memories of a now distant or fast-receding past: there are, for example, pictures of old cars, trams, farmhouses on Côte St Luc, Moving Day, Milloy's Bookstore, lakers and goélettes. But many of the pictures relate to a Montreal that is still instantly recognisable: not least touristy spots such as Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, Dominion Square, Youville Square, the City Hall. …

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