Looking for a great read over the holidays? Here are some of the best stories that Canadian Geographic editors and staff read in 2014.
Aaron Kyle, Editor
CG: "The Find" from Dec. I think it's a really great story. It has characters, tension and a great narrative. Plus it represents, for me personally, a lot of great achievements: the culmination of embedding two writers on the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition, great investigate work, the longest piece of narrative non-fiction journalism I've been a part of publishing, a seamless combination of two writers, and really reveals many behind the scenes insights into this past year's Franklin search.
Non-CG: The Great Paper Caper from GQ. It's a story I wasn't previously aware of about a Canadian counterfeiter who claims to be the best counterfeiter ever. While he eventually got caught, he basically got away with it because of his creative moxie. The counterfeiter makes a great character and the story is an entertaining read that recounts, in a very understandable way, how he set up his criminal enterprise, and how it came crashing down. Bottom line: a great read that almost seems too good to be true.
Harry Wilson, Senior Editor
CG: Heather Lea’s avalanche piece from the January/February issue and Will Ferguson’s remarkable account of a Rwandan-Canadian’s return to Rwanda 20 years after that country’s genocide, which appeared in the April issue.
Non-CG: Some of the standouts that come to mind include Alex Mar’s fascinating and occasionally morbid story on excarnation in the Oxford American, Adam Gopnik’s nostalgic musings on the Montreal Expos in The Walrus, Charles Foran’s profile of Joseph Boyden in the same publication, Jody Rosen’s examination in T, the New York Times’ style magazine, of what it takes to become a London cabbie (it’s also a great geography story) and, finally, although it wasn’t in a magazine, Ian Brown’s utterly compelling feature in the Globe and Mail on retracing the path of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Ottawa attacker who shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.
Nick Walker, Managing Editor
CG: Vancouver-based Remy Scalza’s Canadian Geographic Travel story “The real cowboys of Pincher Creek” is a showcase for both his stunning photography and rich travel writing. He creates a vivid, celebratory portrait of a quintessentially Albertan small-town rodeo and the cowboys, clowns and fans who make it just that.
Non-CG: It doesn’t get much better than Esquire Writer at Large (and Canadian) Chris Jones’s gripping 9,000-word feature “Away,” about astronaut Scott Kelly, soon to be the first American to spend a straight year in space — a key step in humankind’s great push to reach Mars.
Ellen Curtis, Education Program Manager
CG: Stories about the First World War from our July/August issue that focused on kids. It's interesting to see how all lives were affected and how what we know to be normal life now was defined by the war.
Carys Mills, Social Media Editor
CG: “The Find” from December’s issue. This inside story of discovering Franklin’s HMS Erebus was one only Canadian Geographic could tell in such a detailed way. As well as the search,. you also get to know the people involved, through telling details, such as the archaeologist’s trademark Parks Canada cap and his desire for a Keurig coffee maker on the ship.
Non-CG: “Hello, My Name Is Stephen Glass, and I’m Sorry” from The New Republic in November. The story was fascinating because it traced Glass’ extensively fabricated stories at the magazine. While the story was part of TNR’s 100-year anniversary issue, it went beyond examining fallout within TNR to his personal relationships. The story is written by an old friend, Hanna Rosin, and her decisions over the years about whether to forgive Glass.
Sabrina Doyle, New Media Editor
CG: “How to train your astronaut” from the October issue. Elizabeth Howell does an amazing job of giving a human face to the tough reality of becoming an astronaut and illustrating the extreme isolation and psychological strain it takes to go into space.
Non-CG: “The Story that Tore Through the Trees” from New York Magazine. For the first sentence to the last, this story has beautiful writing and masterful storytelling. Through tragedy, it examines our relationship with nature.