I study the social, cultural, and environmental history of 20th-century Canada, with a special focus on the west and British Columbia. I am currently a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of History at the University of Toronto, having completed my Phi) at Queen’s in 2012 under the supervision of Ian McKay.
My main area of interest is the relationship between networks and practices of mobility that is, transport, travel, traffic, tourism, and their related infrastructures — and Canadians’ changing experiences of landscape and community In pursing these themes, I have studied a wide range of topics, including:
- the history of parks, especially provincial parks
- the history of public history: makers, monuments, local museums, etc.
- boosterism and the service industry in small towns and rural communities.
- the forest industry since the rise of truck logging in the 1940s
- visual and material culture, especially vernacular photography and commercial architecture
I am conducting two new research projects at the University of Toronto. The first is a social and business history of Highway 401 in southeastern Ontario. It examines how the construction of that superhighway during the 1950s disrupted established traffic patterns, business practices and everyday routines in the lakeside communities located between Cobourg and Cornwall. I hope to gain a better understanding of the positive and negative effects this massive piece of infrastructure had on surrounding communities.
Here are links to a couple of my scholarly publications. Check out my CV for some others you can track down.
“Behind the Scenery: Manning Park and the Aesthetics of Automobile Accessibility in 1950s British Columbia, BC Studies 170 (Summer 2011): 41-65.
“‘A Questionable Basis for Establishing a Major Park’:
Politics, Roads and the Failure of a National Park in British Columbia’s Big Bend Country,” in Claire E.Campbell, ed.
A Century of Parks Canada, 1911-2011 (Calgary: University of Calgary Press,2011): 79-102
I am currently completing two books manuscripts. One is a collection tentatively titled Moving Nature: Mobility and the Environment in Canadian History, while I am co-educating with Jay Young and Colin Goates. It brings together more than a dozen scholars who are studying the intersections of transport, travel, and the environment in Canada since the 1860s.
The other is a monograph titles British Columbia By the road: Automobility and Landscape Experience 1920-1970