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From the archives

The Other Side of “Irish Eyes”

Brian Mulroney abroad and at home

The Ramble

Memories from the PMO

Vintage Years

Two political memoirs

Mark Lovewell

Mark Lovewell has held various senior roles at Ryerson University. He is also one of the magazine’s contributing editors.

Articles by
Mark Lovewell

Royal Descent

Rideau Hall is brought down to earth March 2021
No one would call the governor general’s job an easy one. Juggling the roles of figurehead, political arbiter, patron, and diplomat demands someone adept at ceremony, attuned to political nuance, and comfortable in the public eye: that’s no straightforward combination. Is it any wonder the pool of potential candidates was kept so narrow for so…

The Fire and Brimstone Next Time

We deal with the reality of evil by thinking of ways that sinners are punished January | February 2019
Naraka, Hades, Gehenna, Inferno. Hell’s names are legion as we try to make sense of the overpowering reality of evil.  So, too, in its Western Christian incarnation, are its memorable features: “the quarrelling, devilish personalities, and the demonic cast of thousands…the horrid instruments of torture and the never-quenched fire,” as Marq de Villiers writes in his latest…

Voices from the Wilderness

Very different portrayals of two Canadian explorers April 2004
On a blustery January day in 1757, a young widow and her son set out by stagecoach from their Dorset village—a trip prompted by twelve-year-old Samuel Hearne’s wish to join the Royal Navy.His mother had used family connections to arrange an interview at Portsmouth’s admiralty offices. Luckily, the captain who interviewed them was impressed enough to hire the boy on the…

Latin Graces

The history of a Canadian academic fiefdom is finally told May 2016
As a piece of modernist architecture, Massey College is remarkable. A blend of brick and concrete that manages to evoke a medieval cloister, it looks inward on a quadrangle that seems a world away from the busy campus that surrounds it. As an institution, Massey is equally noteworthy. When it opened a little over a half century…

Classical Canada

The ancient roots of self-government here and down under March 2015
In 1849, when Governor General Lord Elgin gave his assent to the Rebellion Losses Bill, which remunerated allies of the Patriotes in the 1837 rebellion, the result was a loyalist riot in the streets of Montreal and the burning of the city’s parliament. Much more importantly for the long term, Elgin’s act also launched responsible government in the province of…

Harder Than It Looks

Three Canadian authors try their hand at crafting political thrillers. July–August 2005

He Daunts Us Still

A new book takes aim at Pierre Trudeau’s legacy November 2013
In the world of Canadian political commentary, unvarnished critiques are relatively rare. Bob Plamondon is forthright about what prompted his in The Truth about Trudeau. “This book was born at the Politics and the Pen dinner in 2009,” he says, “just after John English, a member of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau…

The Inconvenient Crown

Two new books defend the uneasy state of the monarchy in Canada June 2012
The inherent paradoxes of Canada’s system of government were described over a century ago by historian Goldwyn Smith: “The King who reigns and does not govern is represented by a Governor-General who does the same, and the Governor-General solemnly delegates his impotence to a puppet Lieutenant-Governor in each province.” Yet the virtues of this delegated authority bear close…

Made in Canada?

A provocative argument about the origins of European integration. May 2011
In July 1907 an 18-year-old Frenchman travelled as a saloon-class passenger on the SS Virginian from Liverpool to Quebec City, then took the CPR westward. On assignment as a sales agent for his family’s cognac firm, he was heading to Winnipeg, home of the Canadian headquarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Given HBC’s sizeable bulk purchases of high-quality French…

Dangerous Liaisons

Strathcona Park. They did so with an ulterior purDangerous Liaisons Revealing the hidden history of anti-gay security measures in Canada. June 2010

Another City

Two recent books offer nostalgic glimpses of Toronto’s cultural past. September 2009

Frozen Moments

Two books untangle fact and fiction at memorable times in Arctic history. April 2009

Past As Prologue

A new collection highlights the history of the Massey lectures April 2008
The year 1961 marked the launch of the Massey lectures. “Each year,” ran the official announcement, “the CBC will invite a noted scholar to undertake study or original research in his field and present the results in a series of half-hour radio broadcasts.” Naming the series in Vincent Massey’s honour was not just an acknowledgement of his public…

The Young Englishman

A new exploration history links the careers of Champlain and Hudson. November 2007

Another Country

A Canadian writer seeks the remnants of a lost empire. January–February 2006

The Advantages of Union

Does the history of Scotland foretell the future of Canada? September 2002
When James Boswell first arrived in London, at the age of 20, it was impossible for him to hide his unease about his national origins. On meeting Dr. Johnson he announced, “I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it.” Johnson showed no surprise: “That, Sir,” he responded, “I find, is what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help.” Modern Scots are rarely so sheepish about their…