History: Linda Mahood on Historical Hitchhiking in Canada | College of Arts

History: Linda Mahood on Historical Hitchhiking in Canada

Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2011

by Teresa Pitman

It was a trend that was promoted by the highest levels of government at the time. Pierre Elliot Trudeau had hitchhiked around Europe and the Middle East as a young man, long before he became prime minister. In 1970, apparently remembering his own experiences in a positive way, he publicly advised young Canadians to “Hit the road. Drive or hitchhike and see what Canada’s all about.” Many teens and young adults took his advice to heart, and hitchhikers with their thumbs stuck out became a familiar sight on Canadian highways. U of G history professor Linda Mahood never hitched across Canada, but she did hitchhike around her home in Saskatchewan and later on Vancouver Island. “When I mentioned this to some of the students in my women’s history class, they were horrified,” says Mahood. “That’s when I started to get interested in the history of hitchhiking.”

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