Economy & industry

1529 Enter the Native Daughters

Hastings Mill: The Historic Times of a Vancouver Community by Lisa Anne Smith Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2021 $24.95 / 9781553806417 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * The history of Vancouver differs from that of Canada’s other major cities. It’s as though she jumped a couple of centuries to land at last on this side of the…
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1518 Brazen timber theft

Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America’s Woods by Lyndsie Bourgon Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2022 $34.95 / 9781771647199 Reviewed by Brett Josef Grubisic * For many readers, Tree Thieves will surprise, inform, disturb, alarm, and enlighten. This impressive, absorbing, and often riveting debut work of non-fiction introduces a serious issue, as well as cause…
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1514 Sternwheeler majesty

Connecting the Kootenays: The Kootenay Lake Ferries. A Hundred Years of Service, 1921-2020 by Michael A. Cone Nelson: Maa Press, 2022 $45.00 /  9781778350511 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Sternwheeler Majesty: A century of sailing the Kootenays on the “boats” that plied the region’s waterways My childhood memory of the bygone era of sternwheelers on…
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1513 History matters: Meares Island

Possessing Meares Island: A Historian’s Journey into the Past of Clayoquot Sound by Barry Gough Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2021 $26.95 / 9781550179576 Reviewed by Jason M. Colby * Barry Gough opens his newest book with a phone call that he received in early 1986. On the other end of the line was Jack Woodward,…
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1505 Vancouver’s neighbourhood hubs

Neighbourhood Houses: Building Community in Vancouver by Miu Chung Yan and Sean Lauer (editors), with a foreword by David Hulchanski Vancouver, UBC Press, 2021 $32.95 / 9780774865821 Reviewed by Jennifer Chutter * The text opens with a compelling question: “What would it be like to live in a welcoming community?” It is a provocative start…
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1501 Tales of a rural ethos

One Inch from Disaster: True Tales from the Wilds of British Columbia by Kelly Randall Ricketts Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2022 $22.95 / 9781550179262 Reviewed by Dave Flawse * Flip over a copy of One Inch from Disaster and you’ll see a picture of a shirtless Kelly Randall (Zeus) Ricketts glancing back at the camera,…
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1498 A politician for all seasons

Using Power Well: Bob Williams and the Making of British Columbia by Bob Williams with Benjamin Isitt and Thomas Bevan Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, 2022 $22.95  /   9780889714243 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * A Man for All Political Seasons: meet the creator of ICBC, the land reserve and an improved Downtown Eastside If B.C. ever had…
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1486 Canadian Pacific calling

Canadian Pacific Trackside 1977 to 2012 with Conductor John Cowan by John Cowan Avon-By-The-Sea, New Jersey: Morning Sun Books, 2022 $69.95 (US) / 9781582487854 This book is available from Kelly’s Kaboose, The Railway Store, in Savona, and Central Hobbies in Vancouver —  or order a copy from your local independent bookstore or directly from the…
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1482 The black cat lives on

For Freedom We Will Fight: The Industrial Workers of the World in British Columbia, 1905-1990 by Larry Gambone Edmonton: Black Cat Press, 2021 $16.00  /   9781926878263 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * B.C.’s Wobblies: A radical union that will not die The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), known everywhere as the Wobblies, were once the…
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1481 Save Swiss Edelweiss Village

ESSAY: Swiss Edelweiss Village: to be or not to be? by Ron Dart * Swiss guides were front and centre in the origins and development of mountaineering and mountain culture in Western Canada. The fact that much of their work was divided between Lake Louise and Rogers Pass meant that Golden, BC, became their place…
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1460 Trainspotting in the Kootenays

When Trains Ruled the Kootenays: A Short History of Railways in Southeastern British Columbia by Terry Gainer Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2022 $25.00  /  9781771604017 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Trainspotting in the Kootenays: Did we miss the train as a better way to travel in the 21st century? When I was a kid growing…
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1434 Kootenay mother lode

Silver Rush: British Columbia’s Silvery Slocan, 1891-1900 by Peter J. Smith Ladysmith: Two Daughters Publications, 2020. Also available at many BC bookstores. $39.95  /  9781999045906 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Kootenay Mother Lode: Mammoth Tome offers Detailed Account of Mining History in BC’s Colourful Slocan District A book the size of the old Eaton’s Catalogue…
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1418 Old time labour history

Smelter Wars: A Rebellious Trade Union Fights for Its Life in Wartime Western Canada by Ron Verzuh Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022 $34.95 / 9781487541125 Reviewed by Bryan D. Palmer * Old Time Labour History; or About Underwear as the Subject of Working-Class Politics Labour history was once all the rage. Less so now….
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1417 A small town in transition

Cambium Blue by Maureen Brownlee Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2022 $22.95 / 9781550179309 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * It is 1995, and Beauty Creek is celebrating its 60th year amidst climate change and hydra-headed Neo-liberalism. Like most BC Interior towns, the hamlet (somewhere north of Clearwater and resembling Valemount) is in transition, its defining pillars…
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