For nearly five hundred years, men have been drawn by the vision of a commercially viable and strategically advantageous seaway that runs west and north from Europe to the Far East. Though costs currently outweigh benefits, the oil and natural gas finds in the Beaufort Sea and the Canadian Arctic islands, as well as the possibility of higher energy prices in the 1990s, have made a gradual increase in the volume and duration of navigation in and about the Passage seem likely. While many of the technological obstacles to regular surface shipping have been overcome, new obstacles, largely political, are rapidly becoming apparent. These problems are thoroughly discussed, as are the international legal aspects of Canadian Arctic waters policy, environmental and socio?economic implications of Arctic marine transportation, and the issue of subsurface activities. In his concluding essay the editor, Franklyn Griffiths, suggests that if Canadians are to become true keepers of the Passage they will need a better understanding of their Arctic marine spaces and a new appreciation of themselves as a northern people.