Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Mel Hurtig speaks at the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Encyclopedia in Ottawa on Oct. 6, 2010.

Mike Carroccetto/Mike Carroccetto

Official Ottawa doesn't shut down when the House of Commons adjourns for the day. It moves to bars and parties and speeches and fundraisers.

That's where we found Mel Hurtig and Peter Lougheed Wednesday night, at the old train station that is now the Government Conference Centre. Mr. Hurtig is 78 now; Mr. Lougheed is 82.

Twenty-five years ago the Canadian patriot and the Alberta premier collaborated to produce the Canadian Encyclopedia, which for a generation now has educated Canadian kids about their own history.

Story continues below advertisement

Wednesday night the two were together again recalling that remarkable partnership. Cabinet ministers, MPs, historians, academics and journalists helped mark the 25th anniversary of the encyclopedia with them.

Mr. Hurtig told the crowd how he went from bookseller - he opened a bookstore in Edmonton in 1956 that grew to be one of the country's largest - to book publisher. Tired of seeing libraries full of books that told history through an American lens, Mr. Hurtig had an idea to create an affordable Canadian encyclopedia but he just didn't have the money.

That's where the premier came in. Wednesday night, Mr. Lougheed remembered the serendipitous moment when he was talking to his staff about doing something to honour the 75th anniversary of Alberta becoming a province. Two days later Mr. Hurtig walked into his office.

Mr. Lougheed decided to fund the encyclopedia, ponying up $4 million as a gift to all of Canada from Alberta. It went into schools across the country; the two men presented it to prime minister Brian Mulroney on Canada Day and to Jeanne Sauve, the former governor-general. And he joked that he had an "ulterior motive" - the presentation of the volumes allowed him to talk to all of his provincial colleagues and push some of his agenda items.

"It's a really happy story. It's a happy Canadian story," Mr. Lougheed said.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies