The Backwoods of Canada: Being Letters From the Wife of an Emigrant Officer, Illustrative of the Domestic Economy of British America, by Catharine Parr Traill, was published in 1836 in London. Traill's letters to her mother in England provide a perennially optimistic account of her day-to-day life in the "backwoods" of Upper Canada.
The letters describe her month-long voyage to Canada with her husband, and their travels to the "interior" to settle near Peterborough, where Traill lived for over 60 years. The letters, particularly vivid in natural description, give us both a portrait of a persevering, buoyant and resourceful woman adapting to a new life and place, and an encyclopedic cataloguing of the details of her new surroundings.
Whether describing Natives, Americans, wildlife, natural scenery, illnesses or Canadian customs, or providing recipes for soft soap, candles, vinegar or pickles, Traill's letters brim with vigour and with her evident pleasure at discovering the nature of her adopted homeland. Backwoods was translated into French (Paris, 1843). A selected English edition, edited by Clara Thomas, appeared in Toronto in 1966.