CANMORE – A new self-published book is about to drop in the Bow Valley.
Poo With A View has been a seven-year project for Canmore author and photographer Gavin Boutet, whose book takes a look at high alpine toilets in the Canadian Rockies.
“It’s a toilet humour book essentially. You know I hesitate to say it’s a travel book or anything,” said Boutet while laughing. “It’s intended to be in people's bathrooms as a sort of quick read and showcase some of the brilliant views in the Rockies.”
When the idea first came to Boutet, he was employed with the Alpine Club of Canada in hut services. In that role, he would provide maintenance to not only the huts, but also the outhouses.
“We would fly in and service the outhouses…and that’s when the idea came to me. The views are beautiful for starters, and the outhouses are sort of the unsung heroes so to speak. They are vital structures – you know everybody poops. So I thought it was an interesting side project to work on.”
While the book relies on toilet humor, Boutet said there is information about each location that adds another element to the humorous publication.
The outhouses featured in the book are all “unique structures” and share “impressive views” of the Rockies. One of Boutet’s favourite outhouses is located at the Ben Feris (Great Carin) hut in the northern Selkirks.
“It’s very primitive to say the least, but it’s also incredibly beautiful there and very remote.”
Another noteworthy outhouse featured is at the Neil Colgan Hut, which is situated in the Valley of 10 Peaks above Moraine Lake. Boutet said that outhouse is special because the hut is the highest permanent, habitable structure in Canada.
“The book features more than one picture from each outhouse. Of course, there is the picture of the structure and then quite literally in some cases the view you get from sitting on the John,” said Boutet.
The first inception of Poo With A View came in the form of calendars Boutet made for friends and family, but he saw potential in the idea and decided to self-publish a book so a larger audience could enjoy the views.
“Because of the fact that I self-published the book – I fronted all of the money. This has been a project that I have been passionate about for a number of years now. It’s never been about making money.
“It’s something I’ve had my heart set on, so I really wanted to step up my game and challenge myself by self-publishing.”
The book is currently available online at amazon.ca, but Boutet is hopeful to get it in local stores in the fall. Boutet is having the book printed overseas, but due to COVID-19 there has been a delay in production and shipping.
“My hope is to have the book well established in stores around the Bow Valley before the gift giving season, but with COVID who knows what will happen," he said.
Visit gavintboutet.com to purchase the book or for more information about the upcoming local book release.