Powering Up Canada: The History of Power, Fuel, and Energy from 1600

McGill-Queen’s University Press

With growing concerns about the security, cost, and ecological consequences of energy use, people around the world are becoming more conscious of the systems that meet their daily needs for food, heat, cooling, light, transportation, communication, waste disposal, medicine, and goods. Powering Up Canada is the first book to examine in detail how various sources of power, fuel, and energy have sustained Canadians over time and played a pivotal role in their history.

Powering Up Canada investigates the ways that the production, processing, transportation, use, and waste issues of various forms of energy changed over time, transforming almost every aspect of society in the process. Chapters in the book's first part explore the energies of the organic regime - food, animal muscle, water, wind, and firewood-- while those in the second part focus on the coal, oil, gas, hydroelectricity, and nuclear power that define the mineral regime. Contributors identify both continuities and disparities in Canada’s changing energy landscape in this first full overview of the country’s distinctive energy history. Reaching across disciplinary boundaries, these essays not only demonstrate why and how energy serves as a lens through which to better understand the country’s history, but also provide ways of thinking about some of its most pressing contemporary concerns. 

Engaging Canadians in an urgent international discussion on the social and environmental history of energy production and use - and its profound impact on human society - Powering Up Canada details the nature and significance of energy in the past, present, and future.

Contributors include Jenny Clayton (University of Victoria), George Colpitts (University of Calgary), Colin Duncan (Queen’s University), J.I. Little (Emeritus, Simon Fraser University), Joanna Dean (Carleton University), Matthew Evenden (University of British Columbia), Laurel Sefton MacDowell (Emerita, University of Toronto Mississauga), Joshua MacFadyen (Arizona State University), Eric Sager (University of Victoria), Jonathan Peyton (University of Manitoba), Steve Penfold (University of Toronto), Philip van Huizen (McMaster University), Andrew Watson (University of Saskatchewan), and Lucas Wilson (independent scholar).


Publication Type