#22 Haig-Brown & Al Purdy

“I want to catch some kind of Haig-Brown essence with the halo slightly askew.” — Al Purdy, 1974 by Ron Dart Al Purdy was one of Canada’s most prolific poets and writers, but when his many published books are listed, one volume, Cougar Hunter: A Memoir of Roderick Haig-Brown, is often omitted. Cougar Hunter has…
Read more #22 Haig-Brown & Al Purdy

Hungarian road safety stamp, 1973

#21 Bumbling down the Danube

1973: Bumbling down the Blue Danube, and the Red Danube, with Cornelius Burke by Howard Macdonald Stewart First published in instalments, October-November 2016 * The Ormsby Review is pleased to present a memoir by Howard Stewart, born in Powell River in 1952 and a long-term resident of Denman Island. When Stewart was twenty, in 1973,…
Read more #21 Bumbling down the Danube

#20 Master orator Charlie Yahey

Arts of the Dreamer: Dane-zaa Communities Remember Charlie Yahey by Robin Ridington First published September 24, 2016 * First Nations literature, as indeed all literature, begins with oral narrative.  Writing has never entirely replaced orality as a narrative genre, even in cultures that have produced written documents for millenia.  For many First Nations, oral literature…
Read more #20 Master orator Charlie Yahey

Postcard of the smelter at Trail, postmarked 1944

#19 The Reddest Rose

ESSAY: The Reddest Rose: Trade Unionist Harvey Murphy by Ron Vurzuh First Published: September 22nd, 2016 * Harvey Murphy is not a name that echoes loudly throughout the annals of 20th-century British Columbia labour history. In fact, the tireless trade union organizer, negotiator, and active Communist Party of Canada (CPC) bureaucrat has almost disappeared from…
Read more #19 The Reddest Rose

#18 The pianist and the knitter

First Published: September 19th, 2016 Ann Eriksson’s fifth novel The Performance (D&M $22.95) contrasts the worlds of elite classical piano with urban homelessness. Hana Knight, a privileged and talented young pianist, develops a tenuous friendship with Jacqueline, a homeless woman who collects empty bottles and cans to buy tickets to Hana’s concerts. Hana is blessed…
Read more #18 The pianist and the knitter

#15 Thruppence for your thoughts

First Published: April 27th, 2015 In 1944, Sylvia Thrupp expressed her belief that knowledge of local history is “essential for any one who professes to have a realistic approach to the political problems of the day.” Consequently UBC historian Sylvia L. Thrupp penned an article [below] in which she follows local history back to its…
Read more #15 Thruppence for your thoughts

#14 BC Crimes Stories: Train Bomb

First Published: April 08th, 2015   This story is from the book, Dead Ends: BC Crime Stories (University of Regina Press $19.95), by journalist Paul Willcocks [in photo above]. It’s part of the University of Regina Press’s Canadian True Crime Series. Each book in this series contains 40 bizarre and sensational transgressions. 978-0-88977-348-6 * The…
Read more #14 BC Crimes Stories: Train Bomb

#13 BC Crime Stories: The Big Con

First Published: April 08th, 2015 * Everything about Ian Thow was big. The investment adviser’s house was a $5.5-million waterfront mansion outside Victoria, with four bedrooms and seven bathrooms. There was a dock on the Saanich Inlet for his yacht, a seventeen-metre Sea Ray that would sleep six, and two smaller boats. The seven-acre property…
Read more #13 BC Crime Stories: The Big Con

#12 BC Crime Stories: Rattlesnake Isl.

First Published: February 17th, 2015 * They called him Crazy Eddie in the Okanagan Valley. Eddie Haymour complained constantly that powerful forces were conspiring against him, plotting to steal his land and his dreams, ruining his life. The provincial government, police, and bureaucrats were part of the conspiracy, he’d tell anyone who would listen. By…
Read more #12 BC Crime Stories: Rattlesnake Isl.

#11 Pioneers: Alys McKey Bryant

First Published: October 14th, 2014 Born in 1880 on a farm in Indiana, Alys McKey began flying in 1912 in Los Angeles after answering an ad: “Wanted: young lady to learn to fly for exhibition purposes.” The ad was created by Fred Bennett and John Bryant of the Bennett Aero Company. McKey became the first…
Read more #11 Pioneers: Alys McKey Bryant

#10 Pioneers: Flying Billy Stark

First Published: August 11th, 2014 The following article about early aviation in B.C. is excerpted from a long article written by Frank H. Ellis and published in the British Columbia Historical Quarterly in October of 1939. It describes how and when William (“Billy”) M. Stark made Canadian aviation history. Before he gained renown as a…
Read more #10 Pioneers: Flying Billy Stark

#9 David Thompson

David Thompson’s cartography, his endurance, his consistent respect for Aboriginal peoples, his pathfinding, his versatility in at least six languages and his prodigious literary legacy qualify him as the most under-celebrated hero in Canadian history. First Published: August 10th, 2015 The second in a planned three volumes of David Thompson’s writings, The Writings of David…
Read more #9 David Thompson

#8 Ann Blades

First Published: April 12th, 2015 B.C.’s maven of children’s literature, Judith Saltman, has designated Ann Blades’ self-illustrated Mary of Mile 18 (1971) as the “breakthrough” illustrated title by a B.C. writer for children. The published-from-Montreal story is based on Blades’ experiences as a novice teacher in northern B.C. Her second book in 1973 was similarly…
Read more #8 Ann Blades

#7 How the Douglas fir was named

“Should any of you boys visit the Sandwich Islands, look up the burial place of my college mate.” Botanist John Goldie (1793-1886) reflecting on David Douglas’s grave First Published: April 04th, 2014 One of the most prominent of the roving fraternity of nineteenth-century plant hunters who scoured North America for plant species new to Europe,…
Read more #7 How the Douglas fir was named