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From the archives

Pax Atlantica

NATO’s long-lasting relevance

The Melmac Years

My peculiar resin d’être

Susan Crean

Susan Crean is the author of several books, including The Laughing One: A Journey to Emily Carr and Finding Mr. Wong.

Articles by
Susan Crean

A Rare Bird

With binoculars at the ready June 2022
In my small ravine-defined corner of Toronto, there have been unusual wildlife sightings in recent months. Early morning street visits from rabbits and hares can, of course, be explained by residual lockdown quiet and the constrained din of the nearby Don Valley Parkway, yet curiosity does seem to play a role. One day over coffee, I watched a hare take up curbside sentry…

Paws for Thought

The costs of man's best friends January | February 2021
It’s a gaze that spans time and species. A sea wolf, the very definition of cunning and strength, stands on a rocky ledge with a huge rhododendron in riotous bloom close behind him. The photo on my desk occupies half a page in the Guardian Weekly and is arresting, all the more so because the face is…


Notes on climate catastrophe April 2020
At dawn he hovered in the grey sky, his lungs swelling with the cadence of his mating song. Now she didn’t respond to the offer of courtship feeding. The tundra call was irresistible. He flew again and called once more. Then he levelled off, the rising sun glinting pinkly on his feathers, and he headed north in

Source Code

The men and women who have changed our world September 2019
Coding is what, exactly? Those who do it often talk about “writing” code, and for a while in the 1980s, a group of programmers had informal meetings with members of the Writers’ Union of Canada. Our conversations were fascinating (I personally learned a lot about computing), but ultimately our two professions were too dissimilar for a single…

Genes That Never Fade

Why are we so mesmerized by digging up ancient family history? April 2013
In Falen Johnson’s recent play Salt Baby, the central character is a young Métis woman tormented by her pale complexion, which leads people to mistake her for a non-Native. “I been told I look white my entire life,” she laments. She considers DNA testing as a way to prove her Tuscarora/Mohawk ancestry, although she anguishes about the possibility of unexpected…

National Archives Blues

Is a precious Canadian asset being digitized to death? January–February 2011
Like many writers, I have spent a good part of my life in the archives. There have been periods when I virtually lived in the reading halls of the National Archives in Ottawa. And in 2002 I spent the entire summer in the provincial archives in Victoria, long enough to chart the fate of the brood of mallard ducklings being reared in the shallow pond in front of the…