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Andrew Watson

Network in Canadian History and Environment Prize for Best Book


Andrew Watson, Making Muskoka : Tourism, Rural Indentity, and Sustainability, 1870-1920. UBC Press, 2023.

Making Muskoka is a rich and layered story of modernity and energy transitions. Paying close attention to the materiality of shield ecology, Watson foregrounds sustainability as a process whose attention to change over time makes it a rich historical analysis. Though now known largely for its recreational cottages, as Andrew Watson shows, the Ontario Shield reveals a multi-scalar transformation at hand. Interested in economic and environmental sustainability, community identities, and the consequences of energy transitions on Muskoka’s local consumerism and tourism, as well as the region’s greater enmeshing into wider networks and outside markets, Watson tells a history that is highly relevant to the broader field of Canadian environmental history. Watson makes a significant and prescient contribution to the field in this richly researched and elegantly written history.