Wild Things

Wild Things: Nature, Culture, and Tourism in Ontario, 1790-1914

Patricia Jasen
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 194
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2ttsbs
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  • Book Info
    Wild Things
    Book Description:

    The first book to explore the cultural foundations of tourism in Ontario, Wild Things also makes a major contribution to the literature on the wilderness ideal in North America.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8349-5
    Subjects: History, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1 Introduction: Nature, Culture, and Tourism
    (pp. 3-28)

    Dreams of wild things brought hundreds of thousands of tourists to the region now known as Ontario during the nineteenth century. Tourists made pilgrimages to Niagara, so that they could experience the wonder and terror of its wild, foaming waters. They floated down rivers, crossed vast inland seas, glided through wild archipelagos, and crashed through tumbling rapids. They ventured into the depths of the primeval forest, thrilling to think what wild things lurked there, unseen and unheard. They sought out the Iroquois, the Ojibway, and other Native peoples to act as picturesque figures in the landscape, as wilderness guides, and...

  5. 2 Taming Niagara
    (pp. 29-54)

    Why must a book about Ontario tourism begin with Niagara? The reasons are several. Niagara Falls was the place where the tourist industry began, not only in Ontario but in North America. By the late eighteenth century the falls had become world famous as an icon of the sublime, to use Elizabeth McKinsey’s phrase, and before many more decades had passed Niagara was attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year.¹ The result, of course, was that Niagara was transformed by such an insistent human presence, and its descent from the wild to the tame made it the prototype of...

  6. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  7. 3 Wilderness Panorama
    (pp. 55-79)

    Niagara Falls was a special place, unique in North America. The pattern of its development as a tourist attraction, however, would be more or less duplicated in countless other wilderness areas as the century progressed. As certain places of natural beauty were ʹdiscoveredʹ and found to conform to the values of romanticism, they were given new and seductive meanings. These were embodied in literary and visual imagery and then disseminated to a broader public. The transformation of such places into popular tourist sights thus depended, initially, on their ability to gratify the yearnings for beauty, romance, and adventure that drew...

  8. 4 Native Lands
    (pp. 80-104)

    Richard Bonnycastle, author ofThe Canadas in 1841, was surprised at the way that British visitors to Canada habitually ʹconfine[d] their tours to the Falls of Niagara and the St Lawrence. Nature certainly exhibits her power and her grandeur on the most extensive scale in the course of that father of floods,ʹ he admitted, but in his view ʹthe fresh water seas of Superior and Huron are still more extraordinary, and equally worthy of contemplation.ʹ¹ Beyond doubt, throughout much of the nineteenth century, the greatest number of tourists contented themselves with the well-travelled waterways and multiplying railway lines of southern...

  9. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  10. 5 A Rest Cure in a Canoe
    (pp. 105-132)

    ʹYouhavenʹt forgotten the Stone Age,ʹ a gun manufacturer in Woodstock, Ontario, assured early twentieth-century readers ofCanadian Magazine. ʹThat uneasy, cooped-in, office feeling … itʹs your Stone Age inheritance surging in your blood.ʹ Through a series of advertisements, the Tobin Arms Manufacturing Company of Woodstock promoted hunting as a recreation that would, they promised, bring their customers nearer again to the ʹoriginal man animal – nearer physical betterment and mental rest.ʹ Hunting, they announced, ʹis manʹs natural sport, and has been ever since he was a monkey. Itʹs the best cure for brain-fag known.ʹ¹

    During the late nineteenth century,...

  11. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  12. 6 Close Encounters
    (pp. 133-149)

    In no aspect of Ontario tourism did ideas about civilization and the primitive come under more sustained scrutiny than in the relations between white tourists and Native guides. People who spent their holidays fishing, hunting, and camping in the wilderness relied on guides not only to avoid getting lost, but because they needed their services as oarsmen, packers, hunters, cooks, and companions. And for many, the value of Native guides went far beyond the practical, for close contact with men who lived so close to nature added another dimension to the romance of their wilderness holidays. This chapter examines the...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 150-154)

    When William Varley outlined the tourist attractions of Ontario for the Canadian reading public at the beginning of the twentieth century, he said almost nothing of cities and industries, but portrayed the province still as a wild and watery wonderland:

    A land of lakes and rivers … rivers that have their source in the cool northern forest, and flow, now swift, now peaceful, till they join those vast inland seas, Superior, Huron, Erie, Ontario, whose waters are in turn borne by the broad St Lawrence to the ocean.

    Varley urged tourists to follow the now familiar routes: to Niagara, through...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 155-184)
  15. Index
    (pp. 185-192)
  16. Picture Credits
    (pp. 193-194)