The Amazing Foot Race of 1921

A non fiction, social history; winner of the Shuswap International Writers Festival, Heritage House Book Proposal Competition; Published by Heritage House Publishing Co. (Victoria) and Nimbus Press (Halifax) 2011.

Canadians have long been fascinated with trekkers who conquered this country sea to sea, from John Hugh Gillis in 1906 to Terry Fox in 1980 to Rick Hansen in 1985. This adventure tale celebrates five Canadians who hiked from Halifax to Vancouver in 1921. For a nation struggling with post-war inflation, labour unrest and unemployment, the prospect of the 3,645-mile hike was a welcome distraction.

Daily reports from the competitors, who followed the CPR tracks, ran in the Halifax Herald and in other newspapers, and it wasn’t long before the race had become a national obsession to rival today’s Amazing Race television series or the Tour de France. Bands played. Crowds cheered. People placed their bets. By the time they were done, all five competitors had turned Canada “walking crazy.”

This story about men and women with modern-day derring-do is told in the vernacular of the day, with newspaper accounts and over 50 photographs.

The Amazing Race has been well received, and is getting excellent publicity in publishers’ catalogues.  Most recently, BC Books for BC Schools displays the book on page 12 as part of the Heritage House Press contribution.

The Halifax Chronicle Herald reviewed the book for the Christmas trade:

In 1921, an attempt to set a new record for walking across Canada turned into a dash for glory as three pairs of Nova Scotians batttled through snow, rain, heat, mosquitoes and trash-talking telegrams to try to be the first to reach Vancouver.  It was a race in which the competitiors started days apart but that still went down to the wire before the winners crossed the finish line.  The book follows the teams as they work through small-town Canada and large cities alike in a race followed with rapt attention by readers of the Chronicle Herald.

Works in Progress:

  • WHEN THE RENT IS DUE: A book of fiction that reminds us that there may be moral consequences involved in renting a Grandmother.
  • THE CLOTHSLINE: A mystery that examines civil liberties in Canada under the War Measures Act in 1941. Draft form.

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