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Heather Robertson wins inaugural Speaker’s Book Award

Journalist and author Heather Robertson has won the inaugural Speaker’s Book Award, which recognizes books by Ontario authors that reflect “the diverse culture and rich history of the province and of its residents.”

Both fiction and non-fiction titles were eligible for the prize, established last year by MPP Dave Levac, speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Robertson won for Walking into the Wilderness: The Toronto Carrying Place and Nine Mile Portage (published by Winnipeg’s Heartland Associates), which covers the geological and cultural history of the ancient paths and waterways connecting Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay.

Fifty titles were submitted for this year’s prize. The winning title will be featured at the Queen’s Park’s Legislative Gift Shop and in the Legislative Library.

Walking into the Wilderness was shortlisted alongside 15 other titles. They were selected by a committee comprising Levac, prize co-chair Graham Murray, University of Western Ontario professor Sid Noel, author and publisher Randall White, and legislative librarian Vicki Whitmell.

The other nominees were:

  • Two Billion Trees and Counting: The Legacy of Edmund Zavitz by John Bacher (Natural Heritage/Dundurn Press)
  • Destination Algonquin Park: Tracks to Cache Lake and the Highland Inn by Donald Beauprie (General Store Publishing House)
  • Misconceptions: Unmarried Motherhood and the Ontario Children of Unmarried Parents Act, 1921“1969 by Lori Chambers (University of Toronto Press)
  • The Guardian: Perspectives on the Ministry of Finance of Ontario by Patrice Dutil (UTP)
  • Elections in Oxford County, 1837“1875: A Case Study of Democracy in Canada West and Early Ontario by George Emery (UTP)
  • Reinventing Brantford: A University Comes Downtown by Leo Groarke (Dundurn)
  • Collections and Objections: Aboriginal Material Culture in Southern Ontario by Michelle A. Hamilton (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
  • Tecumseh and Brock: The War of 1812 by James Laxer (House of Anansi Press)
  • Beyond the Global City: Understanding and Planning for the Diversity of Ontario by Gordon Nelson (MQUP)
  • Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City that Might Have Been by Mark Osbaldeston (Dundurn)
  • Tim Horton: From Stanley Cups to Coffee Cups by Don Quinlan (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)
  • Current Affairs: Perspectives on Electricity Policy for Ontario by Douglas Reeve, Donald N. Dewees, and Bryan W. Karney, eds. (UTP)
  • Persistent Poverty: Voices from the Margins by Jamie Swift, Brice Balmer, and Mira Dineen (Between the Lines)
  • Race on Trial: Black Defendants in Ontario’s Criminal Courts, 1858“1958 by Barrington Walker (UTP)
  • A Short History of Ontario by Ed Whitcomb (From Sea to Sea Enterprises)