Making Canada a Roadside Attraction

Lecture, in English, Paul Desmarais Theatre, 23 February 2017, 6pm

Ben Bradley presents how the automobile shaped how Canadians encountered their country during the twentieth century. As thousands and then millions came to know Canada by motoring, their travel patterns, viewing habits, and tastes shaped and reshaped the places they passed through. Canada’s roads came to be festooned with scenic pullouts, viewpoints, and a constellation of roadside attractions. Common experiences of even seemingly natural sites (and sights) such as pastoral rural scenes, pristine wilderness parks, and heritage buildings that evoked history were intertwined with complex networks of fixed infrastructure and flexible, mobile technology.

Presented as an extension of the project It’s All Happening So Fast.

Ben Bradley is a historian at the University of Alberta, where he researches the intersection of technology, consumer culture, and the environment. He is the author of the forthcoming book British Columbia by the Road: Car Culture and the Making of a Modern Landscape (UBC Press, 2017).

Ben Bradley: Making Canada a Roadside Attraction

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