Honouring Scott McIntyre

It was wonderful to see everyone last night at a reception in recognition of Scott McIntyre’s tremendous contributions to Canadian culture. Andy Sylvester generously hosted the event at the Equinox Gallery, and the evening’s focus was an immensely touching Squamish Nation blanket ceremony: representatives of the Squamish Nation wrapped Scott McIntyre in one of their beautiful blankets, which represented the warm embrace of his friends, family, and community. He stood on four other blankets as various speakers—witnesses, as they were called—came forward to say a few words about what Scott has meant to them personally as well as to their cause; those blankets under Scott would “catch the intent” of the witnesses.

Russell Keziere thanked Scott for his enthusiasm, support, and unflappable confidence (“Of course you can do this!”) while Keziere was trying to establish Vanguard magazine, a publication out of the Vancouver Art Gallery about Canadian art and artists. Michael Audain, philanthropist and self-described “art groupie,” spoke about how much he’s gained by reading Douglas & McIntyre’s great art books and how, after decades of helping others tell their stories, perhaps it’s now time for Scott McIntyre to write his own. Margaret Reynolds of the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia thanked Scott for the muscle he flexed in lobbying the government for those programs, including the BC Book Publishing Tax Credit and the Canada Book Fund, that were so vital to establishing a vibrant publishing industry within the province and the country. Kathleen S. Bartels, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, spoke about the longstanding partnership between Douglas & McIntyre and the VAG that produced over twenty beautiful publications—including exhibition catalogues for Fred Herzog, Brian Jungen, Takao Tanabe, and other artists from BC—that together represent only a fraction of Douglas & McIntyre’s impressive list of art books. Ian Gill, principal at Cause+Effect and author of All That We Say Is Ours (“a runaway worst-seller,” Gill joked), likened Scott McIntyre’s commitment to quality and integrity to the core values of The New York Times. Gill also noted that Scott would not be where he is without the undying support of Corky McIntyre and that the two of them have made huge contributions to our collective understanding of the history, art, and contemporary culture of Canada’s aboriginal people.

“My heart is full,” Scott McIntyre responded at the end of the evening. He admitted that the last year has been difficult but that he’s buoyed by the fact that New Society Publishers; Greystone, now under Heritage Group; and Douglas & McIntyre, now under Harbour Publishing, are forging ahead and that Figure 1 Publishing has arisen with the commitment to continue some of D&M’s partnerships with galleries and museums, produce beautiful books, and challenge the old publishing model. Scott said that although authors were a huge part of D&M’s cultural legacy, what made everything happen was the people. Although I was part of D&M for only six of its forty-two-year history, I hope, Scott, that you consider me one of those people. If so, I’m honoured—although I know that what I gained during my time at D&M far exceeds what I could have contributed.

The evening concluded when the representatives from the Squamish Nation asked Scott to share the four blankets on which he stood. His chosen recipients were Corky McIntyre, Robert Bringhurst, Michael Audain, and Karen Love.

Thanks to Chris Labonté, Karen Love, and Andy Sylvester for coordinating the event. I’m so grateful to have been a part of it.

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