|Canoescapes, 1995 Book Review by Michael Peake, 1996:
Canoescapes, The last book from Bill Mason
"Though, incredibly, 1996 marks the eighth year of the passing of Bill Mason, he is with us still. His legend has only grown and he is woven into the very fabric of Canada and canoeing.
Canoescapes is a valuable addition to the Mason collection. While Bill was an accomplished film maker, lecturer and writer what he loved best was painting. He devoted the last few years of his life to it and many canoeists are familiar with some of his work. What Canoescapes does is gather all this artwork together in one volume along with Bill's comments on his art.
The book opens with an acknowledgement from Bill's wife Joyce, where she writes that the book is presented as Bill designed it. Some of the text was deleted because the accompanying artwork could not be found. The whole family worked on the book including his children Paul and Becky. Joyce reveals that the publication of this book is the fulfilment of a promise made to Bill a few weeks before his death.
Many of the 160 pictures are from Lake Superior and most involve crashing water, surf or rapids. Bill was clearly fascinated by water; what it did and what it does to us. One of the nicest reproductions is Cascade Falls on Lake Superior. These famous falls were featured in many of Bill's films. One of the great scenes in Waterwalker is Bill doing a wonderful rendering of the falls from the adjacent beach - and then crumpling it up and throwing it in the fire!
The final section in the book is a two page Afterword by Bill Mason, perhaps the last words we shall read from him. He reminds us all that it is important to listen to Nature and that this takes time. He writes, "We can enjoy the view from a car, train, aircraft, motorboat or snowmobile, but to achieve a relationship with the land we must travel on foot or by canoe... too often it's the destination that's important, not the journey itself."
While Bill Mason's own destination on this earth has been reached, he is still leading us on a wonderful journey."
(This review, written by Michael Peake, is reprinted in part from CHE-MUN, The Journal of Canadian Wilderness Canoeing, Winter issue 1996, a publication of the Hide-Away Canoe Club, Box 548, Station O, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4A 2P1)