Big, luscious, red yellow or green apples! Who doesn't enjoy them? But they are so familiar that we take them for granted. Apples have been a part of Canadian life ever since the first European settlers arrived in the early years of the 17th century. In the east, Champlain led his tiny colony to Hochelaga (Quebec City) and brought along young saplings to be planted. In the west, Sir George Simpson arrived to found the most westerly Hudson's Bay company fort with apple seeds tucked into his vest pocket. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries horticulturalists across the country worked to develop varieties of eating apples that could withstand Canadian winters. Why were apples so desirable? For early immigrants, they provided a sweet and healthy addition to their sometimes meagre diet, and dried they were available for use all year round. But, most of all, apples could easily be turned into cider, the ubiquitous drink of the times. Native people too welcomed these cultivated apples that were such an improvement over the small, hard crabapples they were accustomed to. Before long, apples were a major part of the Canadian economy: fruit was being shipped by the boatload to Europe and the northern United States. All this, including the story of the discovery of our own McIntosh, popular the world over, is told in THE APPLE: A HISTORY OF CANADA'S PERFECT FRUIT.