Time Capsule: The ’70s

ALU presents…time capsule! We’re digging up historical and literary dirt through the ages, like which books made waves back then (or hearken back to and capture the spirit of times gone by) and which publishers came on the scene. We started off in the fifties and sixties, and are making our way through the seventies, the decade of glam rock and Pierre Trudeau.


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After catching up on historical books this January, we’re cracking open time capsules from each decade to see what books – and publishers born during that time – will fall out.

The ’70s

What went on

  • Freedom and personal expression were hot-button topics in 1970s North America, and could be seen in fashion choices marked by individuality and an anything-goes attitude. Bell-bottom pants were popularized by counter-culture youths, platform shoes and bright colours were everywhere, and androgynous glam rock looks were huge. Later in the decade, fashion took an anti-conformist approach with casual chic looks, consisting of jeans and sneakers. 
  • Despite Trudeau-mania of the ’60s cooling down, Pierre Trudeau’s personal and political life still dominated the political scene like no other Prime Minister before, and Canadians continued to have polarizing views of him.
  • Montréal played host to the Summer Olympic Games in July 1976 under tight security after the kidnapping and murder of Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972. In other sports news, Team Canada won the first Canada Cup in September of that same year.

Books of note

  • Saskatchewan publisher Coteau Books, which started off as a poetry-publishing cooperative, published illustrious Canadian poet Robert Currie in 1975 and continues to publish his work, including his newest collection The Days Run Away
  • Geza Tatrallyay’s narrative memoir The Expo Affair (Guernica Editions) recounts the author’s time at the Ontario Pavilion at the Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan when she was approached by three Czechoslovak hostesses wanting to defect to Canada and the diplomatic challenges related to the request.
  • BC publisher Caitlin Press collaborated with Room Magazine—established the same year as the press—to co-publishMaking Room: Forty Years of Room Magazine, an anthology broken down into the four decades of feminism it encompasses.
  • Turning Left to the Ladies (Palimpsest Press) is a poetic account of Kate Braid’s fifteen years as a tradesperson starting in 1977. Kate became the first woman to teach trades full-time at the BC Institute of Technology.
  • George Elliott Clarke’s dramatic poem Trudeau (Gaspereau Press) is a portrait of one of Canada’s most controversial politicians and the balance of world powers in the ’60s and ’70s.

Publisher birthdays

* * *Our second Time Capsule is sealed! Stay tuned every Tuesday and Thursday to take a walk on the time-side (this made more sense in our heads).