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Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada [Hardcover]

Allan Casey
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 28 2009

More than just a place, Lakeland is a state of mind in this ode to Canada's abundant freshwater systems.

The story begins at Emma Lake, Saskatchewan, site of writer Allan Casey's family cabin, built by his parents in 1960 for $2,500. From there, we embark on a journey through ten of Canada's seldom-celebrated but beautiful and increasingly fragile lakes in this extraordinary piece of writing celebrating one of Canada's iconic natural features.

More than 60 percent of the world's five million lakes are crammed into this one northern country. Endless pure lakes are the defining and unifying symbol of the Canadian landscape, making us the envy of a thirsty world. Casey, an award-winning journalist, takes us on a journey of these lakes, from log cabins to lakeside mansions, from the semi-desert of Okanagan Lake to the ponds of western Newfoundland, and over the language barrier to Lac Saint-Jean, Quebec. Across the sprawling, hard-to-define land called Canada, the language of lakes is spoken. Lakeland, suggests Casey, is a place, a state of mind, and perhaps even a new synonym for Canada. Despite problems of overdevelopment, these lakes remain the heartland of this country, and the place where our relationship with wilderness itself begins. Also available in paperback.

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“…Once I started the book, I could not put it down. Allan Casey’s love of lakes is infectious, and in many ways, it parallels my own. A long-term lover of lakes can see many of the things that professional scientists measure and quantify and can reach very similar conclusions.” --Canadian Geographic

"In prose as crystal clear as the waters of Great Slave Lake, Allan Casey invites us to take a new look at the landscape, and see all of it with fresh eyes." --Wayne Grady, author of The Great Lakes

"Lakeland is closely observed, smart, evocative, and personal. It's natural history writing at its best." --Rick Boychuk, former editor of Canadian Geographic

"Allan Casey peers deep into Canada's lakes and sees himself, a nation, and human nature reflected there. A heartfelt and compelling adventure, Lakeland rings both sweet and true." --Brian Payton, author of The Ice Passage and Shadow of the Bear

"I always wanted to write a book about lakes, and our persisten Canadian love affair with them, but I'm striking it off the list. Allan Casey is a passionate and entertaining writer, and no one could improve upon his exploration of this enigmatic subject." --Jake MacDonald, author of Grizzlyville and Houseboat Chronicles

“Casey wanted to know how other lakes across Canada are faring and to discover the real condition of Lakeland. By visiting 10 lakes across Canada and meeting with ordinary people who live and work on lakes, he gauges the quality of their lives and how the lake has changed over time…the Chapters are eminently readable and they provide a fine beginning place to appreciate lakes we may never visit but whose environmental and economic health is vital to the overall well-being of Lakeland.” --Winnipeg Free Press

"CASEY writes clearly, offering historical and scientific information, and he writes with the heart of a poet." --Chronicle Herald

About the Author

Allan Casey is an award-winning journalist whose writing and photography appear in major magazines and newspapers. He is the co-founder of, a national forum promoting responsible use of private property in natural areas. He lives in Saskatoon, SK.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lakeland Nov. 24 2009
Not bound to merely delving into the environmental aspects of lake preservation, Allan Casey takes us upon a tour of Canada, showcasing the breathtaking beauty that is Lakeland. Combining rich imagery with formidable story telling, Casey is able to not only able to rouse the passion that we all have for that one lake in particular, but also brings to light the obstacles facing our diverse Canadian ecosystems.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lakeland Dec 11 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The first time I read LAKELAND, it was loaned to me and then given to me. I recently got two copies for presents for friends from Amazon and have recommended it to my environmentalist friends. A wonderful tour of Canada but wistful and educational too and I was amazed at how many of the lakes I had been to.Lakeland.A welcome addition to my bookshelf....along with the Great Lakes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Love Our Lakes Aug. 6 2010
Oh, how we Canadians love our lakes!
Ancient glaciers, unique to our country, have blessed us with over thirty million lakes. In this book, Casey writes about lakes in several province, in all four seasons. The journey begins in Saskatchewan, where his family cottage, built in 1960 for $2500, marked him for life - first boat, first outboard motor, first water-skiing. He feels compelled to return to Emma Lake, even as he laments the invasion of "super-size-me" mansions.
In each chapter, the narrative moves from musings on Grey Owl's cabin in Prince Albert National Park to descriptions of a stint aboard a research vessel investigating algae on Lake Winnipeg. From observations on the sea/freshwater lakes and Gaelic traditions of Cape Breton, to Gros Morne's "ponds," teeming with moose and hunters and Europeans who fly over to enjoy the deep inland fjords. From witnessing the bleak silence of Uranium City on the Lake Athabasca winter road and the unique desert biodiversity of Lake Okanagan valley, poised precariously between preservation and development. From glimpses into year-round island life on Lake of the Woods, to a wild boat trip across Lake Nipissing, with its former boom towns caught between filling lodges and appeasing indigenous fishers. From awkward conversations in Lac Saint Jean, where "pure laine" Quebecois families hold street festivals and applaud cross-lake swimmers, to the scenic challenges of Waterton Lakes' extreme heights and extreme weather. After his mother's death, Casey returns to the family cottage, where he arrives at a conflicted resolution about his future on Emma Lake.
Throughout this far-ranging, and at times poetic, book, Casey introduces us to fascinating and quirky "lake people.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legacy of Lakelands Dec 13 2009
By Arthur Pell - Published on
I thoroughly enjoyed the people Allan met and captured in his travels and was relieved that he ventured beyond journalist-speak to poetic descriptions; each chapter is a gem. Casey's emotional response tracing family history through various locations of Lakelands is clear, gently and informatively he invites us to recognize we are all in this together- The Big Picture. I think the book addresses what it means to be absolutely connected to environment but just as importantly an understanding of the legacy we are in the midst of creating on our waterways and lakes.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Less could have been More.... Dec 23 2009
By C. Walsh - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lakeland was more about the authors personal journey in life and his environmental philosophy than it was about the culture of lakes. I was anticipating that this book would explore the fascinating geology, geography and anthropology of lakes and the cultures and lives which both changed and were changed by them. A most dissapointing purchase.
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific reading March 30 2011
By David Hrushowy - Published on
I absolutely loved this book, and I am in the book business. Ideas seem to jump off off every page about Canada and its lakes.
There are so many ideas yet to explored about Canada and water and this book opens the doorway.
The author writes with such great insight and economy of style. It really is hard to put this book down once one starts to read the text.
I only hope the author will write another book on other Canadian lakes.
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