Timbit Nation

A Hitchhiker's View of Canada

Publisher: Vintage Canada
After spending years travelling through some of the poorest nations of the world, seeking out the people’s story, award-winning journalist and bestselling author John Stackhouse turns his keen eye toward his own country.

Most people who travel across Canada begin their journey at either end of an impressively long strand of national highway. But Stackhouse, thumb out and knapsack in hand, chooses Saint John, New Brunswick, as a launching point, where his ancestors arrived in the late 18th century as refugees of the Loyalist rebellion. From there he heads east to Newfoundland, north into Labrador and straight west to Vancouver Island, curious to discover how Canada has changed in his lifetime -- since the advent of the superhighway, a global culture and continental economy have taken hold. Is Canada capable of remaining a distinct nation?

Following the route of the explorers, Stackhouse endures rain, bugs and gale-force winds, but also meets some incredible personalities, each with their own fascinating anecdotes and often surprising social and political commentary as well. Once and for all they dispel the myth that Canadians are a bland and complacent lot. Contemplating a Timbit in a Tim Hortons on the highway -- a truly Canadian experience -- leads Stackhouse to reflect on our remaining distinctions from our neighbour to the south. Americans may have perfected the doughnut as a fast-food staple, but it took Canadians to figure out how to truly exploit the hole.

A wry and perceptive look at our country in the present, Timbit Nation has all the prerequisites of
good travel literature: a cast of colourful characters, funny, informative writing, and a landscape of tremendous beauty.



I decided to hitchhike across Canada when my editor at the Globe and Mail asked what would be the best way to see the country. I had just returned from nearly eight years of living overseas, in New Delhi, as a correspondent for the newspaper, and he figured I might see my own country...
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“There is no shortage of interesting characters in this book…. Stackhouse’s project makes for a sort of rolling town hall on the state of Canada at the beginning of the 21st century…. engrossing reading.” -- Quill & Quire

“…perfectly entertaining and sometimes hilarious...” -- Georgia Straight

“…an entertaining and frequently hilarious glimpse into Canadian life…For a look at common Canadians in the third millennium, Timbit Nation is hard to beat.” -- The Province (Vancouver)

“Stackhouse never pretends his conclusions stand up under close sociological or statistical scrutiny. Yet his between-standing-by-the-road-coping-with-bugs-wind-and-rain conversations with average Joes and Janes who picked him up yielded a fount of surprisingly incisive social and political commentary.... They lead him to divine a sea change in who we are and where we’re headed. And he’s pretty convincing.” -- Winnipeg Free Press

“…well-written with many precious tidbits of information…” -- The Edmonton Journal

Timbit Nation is a rare gem of well-researched travel writing about Canada that explores each region of the country as Stackhouse passes through.” -- The Chronicle Herald (Halifax)

“It is impossible to write the definitive Canadian journey, but Stackhouse’s is one worth taking.” -- (Ottawa) Citizen’s Weekly

Timbit Nation…is both candid and reassuring, and paints us as better, happier people than we may be giving ourselves credit for.” -- The Calgary Herald

Praise for Out of Poverty:
“Stackhouse is a great storyteller . . . with a sharp eye for detail and a light touch of humour.” -- The Globe and Mail

“Truly inspiring . . . Stackhouse has found the light at the end of the tunnel. In tiny villages he finds modest, homegrown solutions to problems that have baffled the planet’s most resourceful nations.” -- The Hamilton Spectator