Mountains

Three missives from the peaks

“Don Munday and his wife Phyllis Munday are best known as first generation west coast pioneers in mountaineering, but Don was also a fine writer. ” Ron Dart reflects on several aspects of mountaineering life in his “Three Missives from the Peaks”

Travel, history on the rails

“In Train Beyond the Mountains: Journeys on the Rocky Mountaineer, Rick Antonson takes us on a trip through time as he recounts a multi-day excursion on historic train, the Rocky Mountaineer.” Natalie Virginia Lang reviews Train Beyond the Mountains: Journeys on the Rocky Mountaineer (Vancouver: Greystone Books, April 2023) $34.95 / 9781771644860

No. 2000 for the BC Review!

When we launched The British Columbia Review — then The Ormsby Review — in September 2016, little did we expect that seven years later we’d post our 2000th review. I’m grateful to everyone — reviewers, publishers, authors, booksellers, and readers — for making it such a success and promoting BC writers, writing, and culture. It…
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‘Trek by father and son’

The Boy and the Mountain: A Father, His Son, and a Journey of Discovery  By Torbjørn Ekelund (Translated by Becky L. Crook) Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2023 $27.95  /  9781771645096 Reviewed by Ron Dart * The Boy and the Mountain was originally published in Norwegian in 2017 and translated into English in 2023. Ekelund has, thus…
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1974 Marathon man like no other

Outsider: An Old Man, a Mountain and the Search for a Hidden Past by Brett Popplewell  Toronto: Harper Collins, 2023 $25.99 / 9781443457859 Reviewed by Daniel Gawthrop * British Columbia has long been a magnet for eccentric new settlers with mysterious backgrounds who come here seeking to reinvent themselves. Thanks to an investigative journalist from Ontario,…
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1947 Canadian mountain culture and mountaineering

ESSAY: Canadian Mountain Culture and Mountaineering by Ron Dart   * And sliding on the mountain snow, Dear Friend, we’ll let our worries go.                                                                                                            -Alexander Pushkin, “Winter Morning”   Great things are done when men and mountains meet; this is not done by jostling in the street.                                                                                                            -William Blake, Gnomic Verses   The…
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1946 Choice, responsibility, consequence

Instead: Navigating the Adventures of a Childfree Life – A Memoir by Maria Coffey Calgary: Rocky Mountain Books, 2023 $28.00  /  9781771606400 Reviewed by Mary Ann Moore * Maria Coffey who is based in Victoria, British Columbia and Catalonia, Spain, started travelling when she was a teenager. Various circumstances including her keen sense of adventure,…
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1922 Irresistible Stikine

Stikine Odyssey: From Adventure to Activism with The Great River by Peter Rowlands Victoria: FriesenPress, 2023 $24.49  /  9781775238348 Reviewed by Trevor Marc Hughes * What is it that draws adventurers to the Stikine River? For me, in 2012, it was a desire to see this beautiful, and integral, landscape in northern British Columbia before…
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1891 ‘Standing in the river’

Instructions for a Flood: Reflections on Story, Geography and Connection by Adrienne Fitzpatrick Qualicum Beach: Caitlin Press, 2023 $24.00  /  9781773861128 Reviewed by Catherine Owen * Gentle memories. That’s the descriptor that first flowed over me at the close of reading this short, pared set of reflections on land, water, Indigeneity, history, time, people and…
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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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1837 A dose of planetary reality

The Power of Dreams: 27 Years Off-grid in a Wilderness Valley by Dave and Rosemary Neads Surrey: Hancock House Publishers, 2022 $24.95 /  9780888397188 Review by Phyllis Reeve * A couple built a house in the wilderness of Precipice Valley, on the ancient trade route linking BC’s Interior Plateau with the coast, and stayed for…
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1824 Hello, Wells

British Columbiana: A Millennial in a Gold Rush Town by Josie Teed Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2023 $22.99  /  9781459750210 Reviewed by Forrest Pass * The summer that I was eight, my parents bought me a red Walkman in hopes that it would keep me entertained during the long drive up to Barkerville, the reconstructed Cariboo…
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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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1799 Secret of the North Shore woods

Forgotten Things: The Story of the Seymour Valley Archaeology Project by Robert J. Muckle Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022 $24.95  /  9781487588526 Reviewed by Daniel Francis * During the decades between the two world wars a small number of Nikkei (i.e. Japanese-Canadian) loggers lived with their families deep in the woods on the North…
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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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1794 Sense of place and self

Remnants: Reveries of a Mountain Dweller by Natalie Lang Qualicum Beach: Caitlin Press, 2023 $26.00  /  9781773861043 Reviewed by Paul Falardeau  * Natalie Virginia Lang is a promising new writer from British Columbia’s Fraser Valley, where she lives in a reclaimed loft on her family’s property on Sumas Mountain. It is from this home base…
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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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1761 Pacific highways and byways

Incredible Crossings: The History and Art of the Bridges, Tunnels and Inland Ferries that Connect British Columbia by Derek Hayes Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2022 $46.95 / 9781550179903 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh  * Pacific Highways and Byways: Travelling Through BC History by Boat, Train, Road or Armchair Pick a road, any road. Chances are you’ll…
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1757 Announcing interview series

Announcing the BC Review interview series by Richard Mackie * In November 2022, at the most recent board meeting of the Ormsby Literary Society, the chair, Byron Sheardown, suggested that we open a YouTube channel and start an interview series. Board member Trevor Marc Hughes jumped at the suggestion. “I’ve got filmmaking experience,” he said,…
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1754 The weight of the earth

Red Obsidian: New and Selected Poems by Stephan Torre Regina: University of Regina Press, 2021 (Oskana Poetry & Poetics) $19.95 / 9780889777750 Reviewed by Harold Rhenisch * There is an old story on this coast, told by people working daily with the Earth, turning it into land, fields and crops. It is called ‘The Farm.”…
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