The first book we did was Roughing it in the Bush by Suzanna Moodie. It was the fictionalized story of her life as an earlier Canadian settler. She settled fairly near to where I now live, which is actually pretty cool. The book isn't gripping, but it is interesting (and I bet I'd get a lot more out of it now than I did as a teenager.)
I'm not sure why we didn't do anything by Timothy Findley, Farley Mowat, Margaret Atwood or Michael Ondatje (just to name a few who are favorites of mine). Let's not forget Robertson Davies, Stephen Leacock, Mordicai Richler, Alice Munro...
It's too bad some of these books weren't what was on the curriculum in high school, because if it had been, I would have discovered all these amazing authors a lot sooner.
smut fixes everything