Thursday, May 7, 2009

Canadian Culture from A-Z

Did you know that the first lending library in Canada opened in 1783?
The Quebec Library was opened in Quebec City in 1783 with roughly a thousand volumes. However, at £5 to join and an annual £2 subscription, it was only accessible to the wealthiest citizens. Montreal opened a similar library three years later.

Did you know that the first English Canadian novel was published in 1769?
The History of Emily Montague was written by Frances Brooke, who only spent a few years in Canada before returning to England with her husband, a chaplain in the army. The four-volume novel, which was set in Quebec City, became a kind of travel guide for Europeans who wished to learn more about Canada.

The first novels written by native-born writers:
St. Ursula’s Convent by Julia Beckwith (1824)
L’Influence d’un livre by Philippe Aubert de GaspĂ© (1837)

Did you know that Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American steel magnate, funded the building of more than 100 libraries in Canada?
Over the course of twenty years, Andrew Carnegie funded 125 libraries in Canada, the vast majority of them in Ontario. The first Carnegie library was opened in January 1903 in Chatham, Ontario. The $2.5 million that Carnegie handed out to Canadian libraries made an enormous difference in the cultural life of many communities.

For more fascinating facts about libraries, publishing, books and Canadian culture in general, pick up a copy of The History of Canadian Culture by Jonathan Vance.
"Jonathan Vance has made an essential contribution to the always consuming and often perplexing landscape of Canadian culture and identity - it is also a terrific read" Paul Gross

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