Tom Terry's 45 year love for the north, the land, the waterways, the people, detailing his canoe route adventures is now available in print in his recent release of the "Canoe Atlas of the Little North".
This large book is available from a number of online bookstores including:
Canoe atlas covers waters in Little North
Marc Paulichenko, STAFF WRITER - August 1, 2007
MOST authors are adults by the time they start to outline their ideas for a book, but authors and canoeists Thomas Terry and Jonathan Berger started collecting their information before they could hold a paddle.
The two have collaborated with their collection of maps and route knowledge in northern Ontario for the “Canoe Atlas of the Little North.”
“I started when I was probably in my teens, just doing trips and collecting route information,” said Terry, 56, a Sioux Lookout resident. “We have been gathering
the information since we were young.”
Berger, who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, called Terry looking for canoe route information back in 1985.
Since then the two have been discussing the idea for the atlas.
“I talked to him for a couple of hours that first time and discovered we both had a similar idea to try to document all the routes in this huge area,” recalled Terry. “At the time our coverage complemented each other considerably.
“We combined resources right through the whole thing.”
Berger contributed the majority of the book’s sketches, as well as some of the writing in the introduction.
They started actively working on the atlas and developing ideas after initial talks.
The actual leg work for the maps and gathering of historical information from the experienced canoeists started 15 years ago.
“The history is all over the place. Some of the history we gathered really is from people who still use the water ways.”
Some historical information came from the Hudson’s Bay Company archives.
The time for a canoe atlas in Ontario’s north was long overdue, said Terry.
“I think it’s overdue because it adds to the knowledge of northern Ontario, the culture landscape. Really there’s very, very little information on northern Ontario and in some ways, intentionally or not, there’s a lots of information in terms of mapping and that’s the prime motivation for the atlas.”
The original map sheets their atlas is based on were last printed in the 1920s.
“At that time there was considerable canoe route information on the maps, but…there was less and less,” described Terry.
“When the maps first came out, canoe route information was important for anybody from the outside who wanted to get into the area. It was the only way to travel.”
Over the years, the airplane became the preferred travel choice and the canoeing information, in the government’s eyes, became less important.
Now if canoeists were to get copies of the maps they’d find them out of date and would realize people occupy the land, Terry said.
“These routes supported culture for hundreds of years, hundred of generations, and they’re still valuable as a transportation network.”
A small print run was used for the 144-page book with only 1500 copies, each selling for less than $95.
Both Terry and Berger contributed $5000 each to maintain the oversize format to keep the map’s condition.
The atlas covers more than 20 major lake and river systems within 1.3 million square kilometres.
“We thought it was really important to maintain the integrity of the maps,” said Terry.
“Many route publications are now a strip map treatment. They present the routes along the water ways.
Our presentation is based on the northern network.”
The term Little North is a name from the fur trade era.
The first traders from Montreal called it “Le Petit Nord” and The Northwest Company adopted that name for the area.
Rather than focusing on going from point A to point B, the book’s emphasis is on connection, said Terry.
“You can travel from one end of the Little North to the other,” Terry said, speaking of the west end of James Bay to Lake Winnipeg, and south of Hudson Bay to Lake Superior.
For some people the atlas will be more than a collection of canoe routes.
“It really speaks more of how people used the land in the past and how they use it now and how they continue to use it in the future to support their economy,” said Terry.
So far this summer Terry has found it hard to find time for canoe tripping, however he plans to hit the waters in the upcoming months.
“(Canoeing) offers a very pleasing, stressfree way to experience the outdoors and for many people they find it’s simplicity and… getting away from the common stresses and distractions,” he said.