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Dear Canada: If I Die Before I Wake

Dear Canada: If I Die Before I Wake


The Flu Epidemic Diary of Fiona Macgregor, Toronto, Ontario, 1918

Fee comes from a large and loving family, one where she, her older sisters and her mother are all twins. Fee’s diary, which she uses to write to her "someday" daughter Jane, has lots of space for her to pour out all her dreams and wishes, fears and woes. There’s always something new to record getting a tandem bicycle on her birthday, their huge Great Dane toppling the furniture, the war still happening in Europe, getting sent out of town when the Spanish flu rages through Toronto.

The diary becomes Fee’s comfort when Fanny nearly dies from the flu, and when it actually claims her older sister Jemma. Sprinkled amid the horror of the flu are fun memories and lots of daily life in a big family elements, as well as Canada’s last hundred days that led to the armistice and the end of World War I.

The Spanish Flu killed 50,000 Canadians and over 25 million people worldwide, in a matter of months. Author Jean Little set the story in Toronto, where Fee attends Jessie Ketchum Public School, the same school Jean went to as a girl and also the school attended by the pandemic’s first Toronto victim. 

Time Line~Spanish Flu Epidemic, 1918-1920

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