History (Canada)

1880 Small place, big story

Sheltering in the Backrush: A History of Twin Islands by Jeanette Taylor Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2023 $24.95  /  9781990776113 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Jeanette Taylor begins her book with the words: “Twin Islands, a private retreat just off the entrance to Desolation Sound Marine Park, is a small place with a big…
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1874 Bridge River Gold

Voices from Bridge River: The Bridge River Hydroelectric Projects, the People Who Built Them, and the Lives They Touched by BC Hydro Power Pioneers with Kerry Gold Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2022 $29.95  /  9781773271071 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * With her caustic wit and outspoken opinions, local newspaper publisher Ma [Margaret] Murray put BC’s…
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1870 Mack Laing in Alaska

Capturing the Summit: Hamilton Mack Laing and the Mount Logan Expedition of 1925 by Trevor Marc Hughes Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2023 $24.95  /  9781553806806 Reviewed by Sage Birchwater * When naturalist/cinematographer Hamilton Mack Laing was commissioned by the National Museum of Canada to accompany the expedition making the first ascent of Mount Logan in 1925,…
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1868 An inconvenient tale of Ukraine

Ukrainian Scorpions: A Tale of Larceny and Greed by Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson Toronto: ECW Press, 2023 $28.95  /  9781770415676 Reviewed by Larry Hannant * Their proxy war in Ukraine against Russia floundering, the Western War Heads have been able to retain their mastery only on one crucial front line – propaganda. At least…
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1861 ‘Only connect’

The Broken Heart of Winter By Judy LeBlanc Qualicum Beach: Caitlin Press, 2023 $24.95 / 9781773861050 Reviewed by Carole Gerson * E.M. Forster’s well-known phrase, “Only connect  … Live in fragments no longer,” could well serve as the epigraph to The Broken Heart of Winter, Judy LeBlanc’s novel about the need to connect with family…
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1856 Connecting to ‘a vital abolitionist tradition’

Harrowings By Cecily Nicholson Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2022 $19.95 / 9781772014051 Reviewed by Marguerite Pigeon * A bright red tractor churning Southern Ontario soil, BC orchards, waving prairie wheat fields. Christian uplift, and hardscrabble Euro-immigrant toil. All idealized scenes that participate in a specific farming imaginary that lets some Canadians eat our veggies without much bile—mostly…
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1848 Share and share alike

Inheritance: a pick-the-path experience by Daniel Arnold, Darrell Dennis, and Medina Hahn Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2022 $24.95  /  9781772013627 Reviewed by Trevor Marc Hughes * There was an opportunity to post this review on National Indigenous Peoples Day, but then, I got to thinking: why do we have to pick just one day to look at…
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1826 An adventurous couple

Frances Barkley: Eighteenth-century Seafarer by Cathy Converse Victoria: Heritage House, 2023 $12.95 / 9781772034417 Reviewed by Dave Flawse * Frances and Captain Charles Barkley navigated the Imperial Eagle into Nootka Sound in June 1787. The wife, husband, and crew sailed across the globe through storms and pirate-infested waters to procure a seemingly humble item—sea otter…
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1813 Welcome Trevor and Brett

Welcome Trevor and Brett by Richard Mackie * On behalf of the Board of the Ormsby Literary Society and our Advisory Board I’d like to welcome Trevor Marc Hughes and Brett Josef Grubisic as interim editors of The British Columbia Review for the year May 1, 2023 to May 1, 2024. The position was made possible…
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1808 The rich and the desperate

Patterson House by Jane Cawthorne Toronto: Inanna Publications, 2022 $22.95 / 9781771339391 Reviewed by Valerie Green * In her novel Patterson House, Jane Cawthorne has produced a warm yet tragic story of a once-wealthy Toronto family who still own a stately mansion known as Patterson House. Cawthorne begins in 1873 with the ghostly voice of…
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1806 All the world’s a harbour

Workboats for the World: The Robert Allan Story by Robert G. Allan, with Peter A. Robson, and with a foreword by Peter G. Noble Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2022 $99.95 / 9781550179873 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * The ferry George Black has plied the waters of the Yukon River between Dawson City and Alaska since…
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1802 Return of the matriarchs

Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story by Kim Senklip Harvey with the Fire Company Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2020 $16.95 /  9781772012422 Reviewed by Amanda Wandler * This story, this ceremony is for our Indigenous Peoples, it is to give voice and illuminate the power of Indigenous womxn. It is about our unwielded power and unsuppressed Settler supremacy…
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1798 Under Mount Macdonald

Canadian Pacific Railway on the Revelstoke Division. Volume Six. The Connaught Tunnel — 106 Years of Service by Douglas R. Mayer Revelstoke: Revelstoke Heritage Railway Society, 2022 $40.00 / 9781999416850 Reviewed by Robert D. Turner Available from the Revelstoke Railway Museum, P.O. Box 3018, 719 Track Street West, Revelstoke, BC, V0E 2S0 (railwaymuseum.com) for $40.00…
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1791 Honey, you forgot the Island

Looking Back, Moving Forward: 160 Years of Jewish Life in BC by Michael Schwartz (editor) Vancouver: Jewish Museum and Archives of BC, [2020] $50.00 / 9780969126881 Reviewed by Richard Kool To place an order, contact the museum at (604) 257-5199 or email at info@jewishmuseum.ca * The urge to establish formal organizations, clubs, societies, buildings, cemeteries…
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1790 Thom’s modernist masterpieces

Ron Thom, Architect: The Life of a Creative Modernist by Adele Weder Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2022 $37.95 / 9781771643221 Reviewed by Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe * Ron Thom, reflecting in the early 1980s on his work as a creator of living and lived-in spaces averred, “any form of design or expression is locked in time. Whether it…
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1789 Tiny community living

Galena Bay Odyssey: Reflections of a Hippie Homesteader by Ellen Schwartz Victoria: Heritage House Publishing, 2023 $26.95 / 9781772034455 Reviewed by Catherine Owen * In the mid to later 70s, I was raised by hippie-ish parents. Which seems odd seeing as how they were religious and lived in the suburbs of Burnaby. But my father…
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1784 Along the White Pass & Yukon

Century of White Pass & Yukon Route Equipment by Carl E. Mulvihill, edited by Keith Nore Whitehorse: Yukon Transportation Museum, 2022 $59.00 / 9781777544317 Reviewed by Robert D. Turner * The White Pass & Yukon Route’s fascinating international railway has a history going back to the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon. It was built…
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