Letters to the Granddaughter

The Story of Dillon Wallace of the Labrador Wild

Comments by Writers on the North

 Bryan Greene, October 14, 2012:

Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to read your manuscript. I was impressed with the account, and especially with the many maps and photographs, that give the reader a real sense of the country.

I would like to take issue with your discussion of the Innu portage route around Maid Marion Falls, especially your suggestion that it did not turn south at Bibikwasin, but continued to the west and north to avoid Michikamau.  Editorial Note:  Bryan Greene’s supporting arguments will be documented in the End Notes.  The author is already in the preliminary stages in planning a canoe trip with Bryan the summer of 2013 to see who is right!

Best regards, and congratulations on a great job! 

Bryan Greene is the former head of the Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador.  He is one of the authors of The Woman Who Mapped Labrador: The Life and Expedition Diary of Mina Hubbard, together with Anne Hart and Roberta Buchanan (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005).  It was short listed for the Winterset Award for excellence in Newfoundland writing.

Gerard Kenney, Aylmer, Quebec, October 21, 2012:

In the late summer of 1999, Philip Schubert and I decided to explore Labrador waters in the North West River area. We left North West River by canoe, paddled up Grand Lake to the mouth of the Naskaupi River, then turned up that river to the mouth of the Red Wine River. At that conjuncture sits Louie Montague’s tilt where we established our camp for a few days and explored the land and waters of the surrounding area. After a few great days, we headed back down to Grand Lake and explored a short distance up the Susan River.  From there we returned to North West River village, and back to Ottawa - mission accomplished.

What we did not realize at the time, though, was that Philip had become infected – badly. For more than a decade now, every year has seen Phil tramping trails, or solo-paddling waters, that Leonidas Hubbard and Dillon Wallace traversed, or wanted to traverse, on their unfortunate 1903 attempt to travel from North West River in Labrador to Ungava Bay in northern Quebec.

Phil’s Letters to the Granddaughter takes us with him as he explores the Hubbard and Wallace saga of 1903 and the further trips that took place in 1905 and 1913. He does this with authority, having himself been physically over the very terrain that he writes of, supported by the authority of Wallace’s granddaughter, Amy McKendry, who collaborated with him in creating the book. 

Gerard Kenney has published four books including three about the Arctic: Arctic Smoke & Mirrors, published in 1994, Ships of Wood and Men of Iron (Natural Heritage, 2005), and Dangerous Passage (Natural Heritage, 2006).  His latest book is the Lake of the Old Uncles (Dundurn Press, 2008).  He is published on a regular basis in the First Air magazine, Above and Beyond, recent articles being Arctic Navigator, Joseph Elizéar Bernier and Henry Larsen's Sailing of the Northwest Passage (1941 - 42).

Dr. Roberta Buchanan, October 26, 2012:

I enjoyed reading Letters to the Granddaughter very much.  I look forward to seeing it in print.  Once your narrative gets going, it is gripping reading and the reader gets caught up in the danger and drama of the multiple canoe trips of Dillon Wallace, yourself and at times Mina Hubbard too. The vividness of your account is enhanced by the wonderful photographs and detailed maps which take us right into the heart of Labrador.  It will be a grand book, and a valuable addition to the Wallace / Hubbard saga.

Dr. Roberta Buchanan was born in South Africa and educated in England before immigrating to Canada in 1964. She taught English and Women’s Studies at Memorial University for 38 years and is now Professor Emerita.

Poet and memoirist, she published a book of poetry, I Moved All My Women Upstairs (part of the Newfoundland Poetry series from Breakwater Books, 1997).  She co-authored with Anne Hart and Bryan Greene, the non-fiction work The Woman Who Mapped Labrador: The Life and Expedition Diary of Mina Hubbard (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005).  She co-edited Charm Against the Pain: An Anthology of All New Writing From Newfoundland (Pennywell Books, 2006), together with Georgina Olivere Queller and Geraldine Chafe Rubia.  She is currently editing the 1905 expedition diaries of George Elson and Joseph Iserhoff, two of Mina Hubbard’s guides, which are the basis of her forthcoming biography of their lives.