Canadiana in Project Gutenberg
I have assembled here a list of some eBooks in the Project Gutenberg
and Project Gutenberg of Australia collections that fall into the
category of Canadiana. These are free, volunteer produced, full
texts of public domain books. (Although, see below for information
about possible copyright restrictions depending on your location.)
As is often done with Canlit, I've been inclusive rather than
restrictive in compiling this list. As well as books by
Canadian authors, one will find here books by foreign authors
who have moved to Canada, books by Canadian-born authors who have
made their homes elsewhere (such as Gilbert Parker), and various
books written about or set in Canada (such as those by James
List of Canadiana in Project Gutenberg
(sorted by author)
Here are selected items from the list arranged into catagories:
Classics of 19th Century Canadian Literature
- Wacousta : a tale of the Pontiac conspiracy by John Richardson
- Often credited as the first significant novel by a Canadian writer.
First published in 1832.
- The Clockmaker by Thomas Chandler Haliburton
- A collection of skeches, about Sam Slick (a stereotypical Yankee) outwitting and
passing comment on the "Bluenoses" of Nova Scotia. One of the earliest examples of
humourous writing in Canlit. First published in 1836.
- Roughing it in the Bush by Susannah Moodie
- An account of the author's experiences as a European settler in Upper Canada in
the 1830s. Chapters are interspersed with nationalistic poems.
First published in 1852.
- The Golden Dog by William Kirby
- A popular romance set in 18th-century Quebec. First published in 1877
- A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder by James De Mille
- A unique book for its time. Part fantastic voyage, part love story, part social satire.
The main story itself is being read by four educated men who have found the
title manuscript floating in the water and break in every so often with
their comments on it. First published in 1888, posthumously.
Popular Canadian books of the early 20th Century
- Legends of Vancouver by E. Pauline Johnson
- The author's romanticised reworkings of old Squamish legends. They often refer to specific
landmarks of the area around Vancouver.
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Possibly the best-selling Canadian book worldwide. It tells the story of impulsive,
red-haired Anne Shirley when she comes to Green Gables; set in Prince Edward Island.
- Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock
- Stories about the inhabitants of the fictional lake-side town of Mariposa.
Their shortcomings and weaknesses are presented in a humourous, but affectionate way.
- Arcadian Adventures With The Idle Rich by Stephen Leacock
- A series of humorous, connected stories about the privileged classes of an imaginary American city.
Many opportunities are taken to satyrically exaggerate the hypocrisy, pretences, and materialism of these
inhabitants of "Plutoria Avenue."
- Over Prairie Trails by Frederick Philip Grove
- Seven sketches of trips through the Manitoba countryside by horse and buggy.
When work kept the author and his wife living far apart, he would make the long,
solitary journey to visit once a week. This book describes some of the obstacles
he had to overcome.
- Sowing Seeds in Danny by Nellie L. McClung
- Stories about Pearlie Watson, her young brother Danny, the rest of their
poor Irish immigrant family and various friends and aquantences.
- Klee Wyck by Emily Carr
- Touching and sometimes humourous stories of the author's experiences
visiting West Coast native villages. When visiting Ucluelet, she received
the name Klee Wyck, which means "Laughing One".
Chronicles of Canada
In thirty-two volumes, published 1914-1916. This is all the volumes availible so far.
More will be added to PG as they are processed.
Notes Regarding Copyright.
Disclaimer: I am only an amateur in my understanding of copyright.
Please do not misconstrue the following as legal advice; it is
only my attempt to make some sense of the situation.
Copyright laws are different in every country, and this list contains
links to files in two different collections, so here is a brief summary
of some information that may be useful.
For People in the United States.
Project Gutenberg carefully verifies the American copyright status of
each of its eBooks, so you may freely download all texts from this source.
However, the eBooks from PG of Australia are not public domain in the United
For People in Canada.
The majority of the eBooks from Project Gutenberg are public domain
in Canada, but occasional titles are still subject to copyright here.
Generally, this will be the case if the author died less than fifty
years ago. I have noted authors that appear to fall into this category.
Please let me know if I have missed any. Australian copyright laws
are, at the moment, similar to Canadian ones, and all the eBooks
from PG of Australia should be public domain in Canada.
For anyone in other countries, the only comment I have to offer is
please check your local copyright laws before using these texts.
- Project Gutenberg
The main Project Gutenberg site.
- PG of Australia
Contains a collection of etexts which are public domain under the "Life+50" rule,
with a focus on Australiana.
Other Canadian sites with old Public Domain literature
Also see Northwest Passages for a large collection of links to Canlit resources.
Please send any corrections, questions or comments to me at: