Monday, 16 March 2015

Leaving the Green North Behind

A few parting thoughts:

Population density factors in Rohmer's argument for his Mid-Canada Corridor. Leaving aside the fact that all his projections are way off, let's focus on the Canada of 1970, when The Green North was published. Actually, let's zero in on what Rohmer refers to as "Canada South", land beneath "Mid-Canada". Going by his map, it amounts to roughly 3.5 million square kilometres - ten times the size of Germany. In 1970, the combined populations of East and West Germany was 79 million. Germany has 80 million today, well over twice Canada's population of 35 million.

I remind you that Germany is a tenth the size of Canada South.

According to the last Statistics Canada census, over half of the land Rohmer identifies as Canada South has a population density of under 0.4 persons per kilometre.

Like your privacy? Don't want to deal with "stricter bylaws, statutes, regulations and rules"? Go west, young man… or east or north or south. Ten or twenty kilometres oughta do it.

Sweden! Rohmer encourages us to embrace the Swedish model. (Ho! Ho!) He encourages us to populate our north the way the Swedes did theirs. (Hee! Hee!)

Here's the thing: Sweden hasn't populated its north; the vast majority of its population live in the southern provinces. What’s more, those same provinces are even more temperate than Rohmer's Canada South.

Finally, a few words on Thunder Bay, site of the Mid-Canada Development Conference, and home to the remarkable David Morgan ("one of the Morgan family"). Rohmer suggests that the city play a key role in his scheme, holding it up as an example of Mid-Canadian city to emulate. Remember the bit about Canadians clinging to the 49th parallel? Well, Thunder Bay lies south of the 49th, and is just 25 kilometres north of the American border.

Back to that map. Is Thunder Bay even in  Mid-Canada?

I have nothing more to say, other than this: The Green North is the first book I've read that discusses the rectal temperatures of Eskimos.

I very much doubt there will be another.

1 comment:

  1. I keep looking at this stupid map and thinking that if you erased the text, it would look like a likely cover for Rohmer's first fantasy novel - an evil wizard from the east extending his claw of power across the land.

    Maybe that's another candidate for my inevitable foray into fan fiction. Richard R.R. Rohmer - "There has always been a Stark at Winterfell".
    "Yes - and there has always been a Rohmer at the Mackenzie Delta".