It’s cool to be Canadian. It may be the country’s incredible natural beauty. It may be the sesquicentennial birthday. It may be Justin Trudeau. Whatever the “it” factor may be, the coolest thing about Canada may be that we don’t need to shout about it.
“Glorious and free” is a phrase Canadians know all too well. For Kim Bozak and Rita Field-Marsham the national anthem lyric served as inspiration for a 396-page book celebrating Canadians who embody freedom and expression. Glorious & Free, published by the House of Anansi Press, was feted with release parties at Holt Renfrew in both Toronto and Vancouver, hosted by Alexandra Weston.
“This book is a reflection of the contemporary side of Canada,” said Bozak, co-author, at the Vancouver launch. “We really want to tell another story about Canada that is beyond the mountains, the Mounties, and the maple leaf.” From coast to coast—Zita Cobb the 59-year-old social entrepreneur and founder of Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland to Jesse McCleery, the 38-yeard-old chef of Pilgrimme, a restaurant in the woods on Galiano Island in British Columbia—the collection of 33 personal stories redefine how Canadians see themselves.
“They’re original, audacious, hard-working risk-takers,” adds co-author Field-Marsham of the Canadians selected for the book. “They’re creators and doers who have a vision of how they want to live and then make it happen. They succeed, fail, invent, and reinvent over and over again,” Among the notables are writers Madeleine Thien and her partner Rawi Hage, celloist Stéphane Tétreault, fashion designers and twins Bryon and Dexter Peart, sprinter Andre De Grasse, and photographer Edward Burtynsky.
And for the association with Holt Renfrew? Weston, director of brand and creative strategy explains: “I curate this little [in-store shop] within Holt Renfrew of socially responsible merchandise. A shop that is very big in my heart with things that tell stories above and beyond just the product that they are.” Dubbed H Project, it has previously celebrated the cultures and crafts of India, Africa, and South America. In honour of our country’s milestone birthday, this year’s H Project focuses on Canada for Uncrate Canada. “Glorious & Free defines what is this new Canada we live in. We engaged Smythe, the Canadian designers, to create a tote bag for the book to make it that much more special for Holt Renfrew,” she adds.
As Yann Martel writes in the foreward: “We live in a country of extraordinary freedom—a hard-earned gift we must do everything to preserve—and each of these brilliant individuals has made the most of that freedom. This book is a celebration of both the Canadian story and the people of that story.” Meet the glorious and free.
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