Trailblazers of the Canadian Rockies

By: E.J. (Ted) Hart
ISBN: 978-1-926983-47-9
Publication date: October 2020
Word count: 41,000 words
File Type: PDF eBook/Kindle
Files size: PDF version 0.8mb


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Renowned historian Ted Hart’s Trailblazers of the Canadian Rockies is the story of the intrepid men who blazed and opened up the trails of Banff, Jasper and Waterton Lakes national parks from the 1880s to the 1950s when the tourism industry in Canada was in its beginnings.

As the tourist trade developed in the Canadian Rockies in the late 1800s, a special breed of men emerged to lead wealthy, latter-day explorers into the Canadian Rockies wilderness. These guides and outfitters were often as undisciplined and unkempt as their clients were refined and polished. But together this unlikely alliance forged the last chapter in the history of exploration of the Canadian Rockies. Trailblazers of the Canadian Rockies describes the colourful lives and times of :

  • Tom Wilson
  • the Brewster boys
  • Curly Phillips
  • Jimmy Simpson
  • Bert Riggall
  • Andy RussellThese were all true mountain men of the Canadian West who played a major role in making the Canadian Rockies accessible to those who came to experience its glories.

About the author

E.J. (Ted) Hart's life and career have been dominated by the history of Banff. Born and educated in Edmonton, Alberta, Ted graduated with a Masters in Western Canadian History at the University of Alberta in 1971. The following year he was hired by the late Maryalice Stewart to work in the archives at what was then known as the Peter Whyte Foundation, beginning what would be a 40-year-long career involved with the cultural history of Banff and the Canadian Rockies.

Encouraged by noted mountain poet Jon Whyte, Ted published his first book on Canadian Rockies history, Diamond Hitch, the Early Outfitters and Guides of Banff and Jasper, in 1975. In 1976, Hart took over as the head of the Whyte Foundation, a position that evolved into the Director of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies and that he held until 2008. During this period Hart authored 12 books relating to Banff and the Rockies, including his award winning The Selling of Canada: The CPR and the Beginnings of Canadian Tourism; Jimmy Simpson, Legend of the Rockies and a work of fiction, Ain't it Hell: Bill Peyto's Mountain Journal. Between 2008 and 2010 Ted continued to oversee the archives at the Whyte Museum and work on a major biography of Dominion Parks Commissioner J. B. Harkin, published in 2010 as J. B. Harkin, Father of Canada's National Parks.

Ted retired from the Whyte Museum in 2010 and now lives with his wife, Pat, south of Calgary in the foothills town of Okotoks.