Gary Evans, author and former Dawson teacher, wrote a book to preserves Dawson’s history
By Jennifer Hughes
Canadian author and former Dawson teacher Gary Evans, is the author of Landmark of Learning, a book to help preserve Dawson’s history.
The book is about the creation of The Congregation of Notre-Dame Motherhouse and how, in 1988, it became a part of Dawson College. It includes photographs of the building since its construction and text written by Evans about the transformation of Dawson’s building. The book can be found in both the Dawson bookstore and library.
“When you’re working at a place, you want to know where it comes from,” Evans said.
Evans began working at Dawson College in 1972. He was hired at the Lafontaine campus to help start the Social Science and Humanities departments when Dawson consisted of five campuses across Montreal.
At Dawson, Evans specialized in Canadian Studies and Communications, which dealt mostly with documentary film. Evans also taught courses on Research Methods and History.
During two summers in the early 1980’s, Evans and a geography teacher took 15 Dawson students across western Canada for five weeks where they taught the students about the history and geography of the area.
During his time teaching at Dawson, Evans also taught courses at Concordia, McGill and Bishop’s University.
Evans finally left Dawson in 1997 because he wanted more time to do research and write. He was hired at the University of Ottawa three weeks later. “It must be the shortest retirement on record,” he said. “At university there’s a lot more time for you to do research and to write.”
Evans is part the Faculty of Arts, Department of Communication in Ottawa and teaches courses in film and communication theory.
“I think it [teaching] is the greatest profession there is, but everybody can’t be teaching.”
Evans was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario but has lived most of his life in Montreal. He completed his undergraduate studies at McGill in history, where he was taught by John Grierson, who founded the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the Documentary Film Movement in Britain. “That’s how I got into combining documentary film and history together, but history has always been my [main] interest,” Evans said.
Landmark of Learning, which was published in 1992, was one of the three books Evans wrote during his 25 years teaching at Dawson. The other two were John Grierson and the National Film Board: The Politics of Wartime Propaganda and In the National Interest: A Chronicle of the National Film Board of Canada from 1949 to 1989.
Evans has also worked on documentary films for the NFB and CBC and has appeared on national television and radio. Recently he acted as an advisor for CBC and Radio Canada’s television series, Love, Hate and Propaganda.
Evans is currently on his fourth visit to China, where he will be guest lecturing at four universities over the next month. The Canadian Embassy in Beijing sponsored his trip because this year is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Canada. One of his books, John Grierson: Trailblazer of Documentary Film, has been translated into Chinese and is being used at Chinese universities.