I love to read.
Since I was about 5, I’ve fallen asleep every night of my life with a book no matter where I am: at home, in a hotel room, or in a tent.
Each year, I read a few dozen books from a variety of genres, but outdoor adventure books are my favourite.
I love getting lost in someone else’s travels, learning about new places, and hearing about the natural world.
And as a proud Canadian, .
I love reading adventure books about Canada or by Canadian writers
Here are my favourite Canadian adventure books.
I think there’s something for everyone on this list from traditional adventure memoirs to books about animals and trees.
I hope you love these books as much as I did.
Hey there: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase.
Thanks for supporting my website.
-Taryn How to Read New Books If You Can’t Leave The House I know a lot of us are cooped up at home right now, and going to the library or a bookstore isn’t possible.
Here are some tips on how to read new books right now: Download an ebook reading app.
There are lots of options including the Kindle app from Amazon
Kobo, Google Play Books, and Apple Books.
The apps are free and there are versions for your phone, computer, or iPad. Order an ebook reader and have it delivered.
I have been using an Amazon Kindle for over a decade and love it
It has a backlight so I can read it in bed without bothering my husband.
And I love having hundreds of books all stored in one place. Check to see if your public library has ebooks to lend.
But make sure the file format they use is compatible with your ebook reader or app.
Buy ebooks online.
They are usually much cheaper than physical books.
You can also sign up for services like Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited that let you read as many books as you want for a monthly fee (typically around $10/month).
You can even try it for free for a month.
Download an audiobook.
If you sign up with a service like Audible, the first month is free, then it’s $15/month.
Buy physical books online and have them delivered.
Check with your local bookstore.
Many of them are shipping books right now, and they could use your support.
The Golden Spruce by John Valliant This fascinating book tells the story of a rare golden-needled spruce tree in Haida Gwaii and the man who chose to cut it down.
But The Golden Spruce is about much more than a man and a tree
It’s about the intersection of logging, environmentalism, and indigenous culture.
I like this book so much, I’ve read it twice. Big Lonely Doug by Harley Rustad This is another book about a man and a tree, but in this case, the man chooses not to cut the tree down.
Big Lonely Doug is about the massive douglas fir of the same name that stands alone in a clearcut on Vancouver Island.
It’s a great read, but it’s even more special if you make the pilgrimage to Port Renfrew to see Big Lonely Doug in person.
(Here’s my post about how to visit Big Lonely Doug and the other old-growth trees in the area.
) Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris This beautifully written book is the story of Ontarian-turned-Yukoner Kate Harris’ cycling trip along Asia’s Silk Road.
But Lands of Lost Borders is really so much more than that
It’s about transcending borders and cultures, connecting to nature, and exploring our place in the world. Rising by Sharon Wood Canadian Sharon Wood was the first woman from the Americas to summit Mount Everest in 1986.
She tells the story of that climb in Rising, but what I found more interesting was her exploration of the way the climb and the fame that it brought has shaped her life since. Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance by Stephen Herrero While not exactly light reading, Bear Attacks is a must for anyone who hikes and camps in bear country.
Stephen Herrero is a professor at the University of Calgary and an expert in the study of bear behaviour.
While parts of this book may scare you, by the end you’ll feel more prepared to encounter bears.
(Looking for a quick bear safety overview.
Read my post about Bear Safety for Hikers, Campers and Backpackers) All that Glitters by Margo Talbot This is a book about ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies, but it’s also a book about pain and a book about hope.
Margo Talbot shares everything, warts and all, in this intensely personal memoir.
She battles through some rough times, finding solace in climbing.
All That Glitters is a tough read, but a powerful one. Once They Were Hats by Frances Backhouse Beavers are Canada’s national symbol, so of course, this list includes a book about these fascinating creatures.
After beavers moved into an urban pond near my old office, I wanted to learn all I could about them.
Once They Were Hats is one of the best animal books I’ve ever read.
It covers everything from beaver behaviour to the fur trade (that’s the hats reference) to the ways that beavers shape our landscape.
And it’s told in such an engaging way.
Highly recommended. Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow by Maria Coffey Vancouver Island-based Maria Coffey lost her partner on Everest in 1982.
In Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow she speaks with the spouses, parents, and children of renowned climbers about the dark side of adventure and what happens when people don’t come home. Beyond the Horizon by Colin Angus Many Vancouverites followed local adventurer Colin Angus as he attempted to circumnavigate the globe entirely by human-power between 2004 and 2006.
In Beyond the Horizon, he tells the story of that trip, which included bikes, rowboats, skis, and a fairly public split with his adventure-partner.
(If you liked this one, you’ll also like Colin’s earlier books Lost in Mongolia: Rafting the World’s Last Unchallenged River, and Amazon Extreme: Three Ordinary Guys, One Rubber Raft, and the Most Dangerous River on Earth. Unbound by Steph Jagger Vancouver-native Steph Jagger was riding the ski lift one day when she literally saw a sign: “Raise restraining device”.
She took the hint and left her corporate life, bought a bunch of plane tickets, and set out to ski 4 million vertical feet in a year.
Unbound is partly a travelogue, recounting the adventures of that year.
But mostly it’s a memoir about finding yourself and learning how to be a strong woman in a masculine world.
Inspiring. Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat Farley Mowat is Canadian royalty
His books about the outdoors and the Canadian north are beloved
His best-known works are Never Cry Wolf and People of the Deer.
But my favourite is Owls in the Family.
Aimed at kids, it tells the story of a boy who adds owls to his eclectic collection of pets.
Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer In 2003 Karsten Heuer and his wife Leanne Allison trekked for five months across the Yukon and Alaska, following the migration of the 100,000+ animal Porcupine caribou herd.
Being Caribou is an incredible story about adventure, biology, and the way that humans are impacting our planet.
(Leanne also made an amazing film about their trek that you can watch for free on Canada’s National Film Board website.) Lines on a Map by Frank Wolf Frank Wolf is one of our country’s most accomplished contemporary adventurers.
Also, he’s badass and pretty damn funny.
Lines on a Map is a compilation of his stories from the last two decades of adventures in Canada and around the world.
Definitely one of my favourite Canadian adventure books from the last few years
Surviving Logan by Erik Bjarnason and Cathi Shaw I read Surviving Logan in a single afternoon.
Erik Bjarnason took part in an expedition to climb Mount Logan (the highest mountain in Canada) in 2005 with fellow members of North Shore Rescue, Vancouver’s famous Search and Rescue team.
After a storm pummels the mountain, .
Erik and his teammates struggle to survive
(I first heard about Erik’s story through a short film about his journey called Be a Man of More Words.
It’s a great short film – and it’s on Youtube.) Into the Planet by Jill Heinerth Caves have fascinated me for a long time, but they are an inherently scary place.
Add in water and frankly they get a bit terrifying.
So I found Toronto-born Jill Heinerth’s memoir Into the Planet, about her life as a cave diver both fascinating and terrifying.
Jill is a woman in a macho and male-dominated field, so it was also interesting to get her perspective on pushing the limits of her sport. The Killer Whale Who Changed the World by Mark Leiren-Young Today orcas are perceived as friendly, intelligent whales, but just a few decades ago, they were seen as bloodthirsty killers, capable of devouring anyone who got too close.
The Killer Whale Who Changed the World explains how that perception shifted
and I was surprised to learn that it happened in my hometown at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Even if you’re not a whale nerd, this is an excellent read – I finished it in one sitting.
Stories from the Magic Canoe by Cecil Paul Cecil Paul, also known as Wa’xaid is an elder and activist from the Xenaksiala First Nation in Northern BC.
Stories from the Magic Canoe is part memoir about his life, part musings about the environment and our relationship to nature.
But the thing that I found most interesting, is that it is an oral history: Briony Penn recorded Wa’xaid’s stories over a period of 15 years and complied them thematically into a book.
A must read for an insider perspective on indigenous context in Canada.
More Canadian Adventure Books on My Reading List Like many avid readers
I have a long list of books I want to read.
Here’s are some adventure books about Canada or by Canadians that are currently on my reading list.
As I work my way through them, I’ll add the recommended ones to this post.
Talking with Bears: Conversations with Charlie Russell by G.
Bradshaw With You By Bike: One Couple’s Life-Changing Journey Around the World by Katrina Rosen In Search of Al Howie by Jared Beasley The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World by Wade Davis Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe by Charlotte Gill Chasing Clayoquot: A Wilderness Almanac by David Pitt-Brooke The Oil Man and the Sea: Navigating the Northern Gateway by Arno Kopecky Beyond the Trees: A Journey Alone Across Canada’s Arctic by Adam Shoalts How many of these Canadian adventure books have you read.
What else should I add to my reading list.
Tell me in the comments.
Read Next: Women are underrepresented in the adventure memoir genre.
But their books are usually SO good.
Read my list of 20+ Women’s Adventure Books That Will Inspire You I’ve written a few book reviews on this site.
Read what I thought of Active Vancouver, The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore, and 105 Hikes in Southwestern BC. Get more adventure inspiration: 80+ Women’s Adventure Films You Can Stream The post The Best Canadian Adventure Books appeared first on Happiest Outdoors.