Calgary set to join ocean-to-ocean, 50 Canadians extravaganza



Great to see this
article turn up in today’s Calgary Herald. Looks like my old home town
is ready. I’ll be at Pages on Kensington Tuesday evening, at Global TV on Wednesday
morning, and then at Cafe Books in Canmore that evening.

By Eric Vollmers,
Calgary Herald

Pride is a peculiar

It is clear to author
Ken McGoogan as he travels Canada by rail that while we may still struggle with
our infamous inferiority complex on a national level, regional pride is alive
and well.

McGoogan is
travelling from coast to coast promoting 50 Canadians Who Changed the World,
his latest historical book that should challenge our infamous modesty.

“I learned that a
long time ago when I worked at the Toronto Star as a young reporter,” says
McGoogan, from a tour stop in Saskatoon. “The Toronto Star is famously
obsessive. If there’s an earthquake in India, what does it mean for
metropolitan Toronto? Was there a Torontonian involved? That was beat into me
early. People like to hear about themselves, read about their own. It’s just a
human thing. It’s true in Winnipeg, true in Saskatoon and I’m sure it’s going
to be true across the country.”

So one of the handy
bonuses in publicizing this book, other than being able to travel the country
by rail, is that different cities tend to focus on different characters
McGoogan has profiled depending on geography.

Albertans can rejoice
that Edmonton-born luminaries such as philosopher Marshall McLuhan and
activist/actor Michael J. Fox are included. We can also beam with pride when
reading about the tremendous contributions to computer-aided architecture made
by Calgary-born Douglas Cardinal. In a pinch, we can also lay claim to iconic
singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, who was born in and then quickly vacated Fort

But McGoogan, who has
lived in cities across the country and was Calgary Herald books editor from
1979 to 1999, is obviously after a more communal, Canada-wide love-in for the
book. In the Table of Contents, he doesn’t even name those the chapters are
dedicated to, hoping to dissuade that reader temptation to simply skip to the
names they have heard of.

“I didn’t want it to
be a list,” he says. “You have to actually go into the book. I wanted people to
get into the book and wrestle with the Canadians themselves.”

Which is not to say
that the book is full of obscure figures. But McGoogan wanted them to be modern
— no Sir John A. MacDonalds or Norman Bethunes or anyone else one born before 1900
— and to be recognized abroad for their contributions. . . .

To read the rest of
this GREAT
PIECE, click here.

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