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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

On the Art of Being Canadian

When Vincent Massey wrote On Being Canadian in 1948, he acknowledged the importance of the arts to education and citizenship. He did not consider what the arts can tell us about being Canadian. In On the Art of Being Canadian, Sherrill Grace traces how painters, writers, and filmmakers have shaped Canadian identity in three fields of representation that are staples of Canadian culture – the North, iconic national figures, and war. By telling stories in their chosen media and genres about life here or about events and figures from the past, she shows that artists help us to understand the Canadian landscape and to create a shared history.

Table of Contents


Introduction: On Being Canadian

1 Creating a Northern Nation

2 Theatres of War: Battle Fronts and Home Fronts

3 Inventing Iconic Figures

Epilogue: Listening for the Heartbeat of a Country




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