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10 Must-Read Biographies of Canadians We Admire

Our home and native land is filled with millions of incredible stories, but these are a few of our favourites.

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photo credit: shutterstock

Canadian Biographies We Love

There’s no better time to learn more about the stories of our country’s most noteworthy citizens. We promise you won’t be able to put these 10 Canadian biographies down.

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Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream

Very few Canadian musicians can boast a successful forty year career – but that’s just one of the things that makes legendary singer and songwriter Neil Young so special. For the first time ever, Young shares stories about his Canadian childhood and shares intimate details about his unparalleled music career.

Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream by Neil Young, $19 at 

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The Reason You Walk: A Memoir

When his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Winnipeg broadcaster and musician Wab Kinew spent a year reviving the distant relationship he had with the respected Aborignal chief and leader who’d raised him. Filled with hope, healing and forgiveness, The Reason You Walk will be one of the most poignant and memorable stories you’ll read all year.

The Reason You Walk: A Memoir by Wab Kinew, $30 at 

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Waiting For First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD

As a retired Canadian general and former senator, Romero Dallaire is also known as one of the world’s leading humanitarians. In Waiting For First Light, Dallarie bravely shares the trauma he’s faced after witnessing the mass horrors of Rwanda’s genocide in 1994, in addition to communicating revolutionary insight on the importance of peacemaking in modern conflict zones.

Waiting For First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD, by Romero Dallaire, $29 at 

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An Astronaut’s Guide To Life on Earth

Astronaut Chris Hadfield captivated the world with his stunning photography and insightful commentary during his five-month mission as the Commander of the International Space Station in 2013. In his first book, Hadfield shares his extraordinary stories about what it’s really like to be an astronaut and how any earthbound human can achieve success and happiness if they only “think like an astronaut.”

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield, $20 at 

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Terry Fox: His Story

“Nobody is going to call me a quitter.” When 19-year old Terry Fox lost his leg to cancer, he wanted to use his second chance as a way to raise awareness and funding for cancer research. Writer Leslie Scrivener shares the intimate details of the Canadian hero’s life and the intimate diary he kept during his Marathon of Hope.

Terry Fox: His Story, by Leslie Scrivener, $21 at 

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99: Stories of the Game

In honour of the NHL’s ninety-ninth anniversary, Wayne Gretzky shares the NHL’s most memorable moments in his point of view. This living Canadian hockey legend’s personal story of triumphs and upsets is a must-read for anyone who has ever loved our nation’s most beloved game.

99: Stories of the Game by Wayne Gretzky with Kirstie Day, $22 at 

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Join Mitchell: In Her Own Words

Malta Marom and Joni Mitchell’s 40-year friendship provides the perfect interview-source relationship. In this timeless book, Joni shares the secrets of her creative process and her experiences with love and loss and glamorous triumphs and tragic hardships. Told through a series of interviews, lyrics, paintings and photographs, this unique story is truly one-of-a-kind.

Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words Interviews with Malka Marom, $25 at 

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I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen

Calling all Leonard Cohen fans! (Which, of course, means everyone.) This is a biography that you won’t want to miss out on. Having interviewed more than 100 people from Cohen’s life and work, writer and journalist Sylvie Simmons has created the most in-depth biography of one of Canada’s greatest musicians of all time.

I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons, $23 at 

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A House in the Sky: A Memoir

Growing up in a violent home, reading old issues of National Geographic was Amanda Lindhout’s only form of escape. This childhood hobby ignited her passion for travel which led to a career as a TV reporter in warn-torn Afghanistan and Iraq. In August of 2008, Lindhout traveled to Somalia, known as the most dangerous country on Earth. On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men and was held hostage for 460 days.

Exquisitely vivid and suspenseful, Lindhout’s story of survival is a page-turner that you won’t be able to put down.

A House in the Sky: A Memoir, by Amanda Lindhout and Sarah Corbett $14 at 

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Open Heart, Open Mind

Clara Hughes is the only athlete in the world to win multiple medals in both the summer and winter Olympics. Unlike most professional athletes, who spent their whole lives training; Clara spent her teenage years drinking and using drugs as a way to escape the challenges of growing up in a home affected by alcoholism. In her long-awaited memoir, Hughes shares the journey of how she turned her life around at sixteen and how she survived a severe depression following her successful career as an athlete.

Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes, $13 at