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      Reading the National Narrative


      Vancouver's Top Ten

      February 10, 2020

      The local CBC has been commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Vancouver/Whistler Winter Olympics. I was invited to join a few other historians in ranking where the Games fit on a list of significant events in the city's past.

      The results were tabulated and it seems we all agreed that the Olympics didn't have much of a long term impact at all. In fact, the Games came dead last, trailing other events by a large margin. Race riots, freeways debates, the world's fair of 1986, the dispossession of the Indigenous inhabitants, the creation of the condominium;?all?were considered more important. (See list here.)

      We historians all agreed that the most significant event was the land grant to the Canadian Pacific Railway that began it all. Given how influential the railway has been to the city, it seems like a no-brainer.

      But one episode that wasn't even on the list generated by the CBC deserves mention. That is the missing and murdered women of the Downtown Eastside and the trial of Robert Pickton. This tragedy revealed the city's dark side, showing how decades of indifference to the welfare of sex workers, many of them Indigenous women, had left them exposed to violent sexual predators. It is a shameful episode and should not be forgotten.

      January 13, 2020

      Congratulations to Sylvia Hamilton, this year's winner of the Pierre Berton Award, one of the Governor General's History Awards handed out by the folks at Canada's History.

      Hamilton is a public historian based in Grand Pré, Nova Scotia. The citation notes that she is "a?direct descendent of the Black Refugees (survivors) of the War of 1812" and "has made an...

      January 10, 2020

      This blog is not concerned with international events but the terrible tragedy in Iran has?me so angry this morning, probably because it has?hit so close to home.

      I was just over at my favourite coffee shop which is on Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver. Almost across the street is the memorial outside the?bakery owned by Amir Pasavand who lost his wife and daughter when the plane?went down.?Next door is one of the community's largest Iranian grocery stores. The North Shore, of course...

      January 3, 2020

      I was up in Powell River over the holiday when, passing Willingdon Beach, I came across this group of brave locals on New Year's Day testing their nerve.

      December 17, 2019

      November 29, 2019

      I have been remiss in not mentioning that The Ormsby Review has grown up and left home, setting off on an independent path.

      The Review is an online book?site, publishing reviews of most every book published about?British Columbia. (Full disclosure: I am a member of the board.) As well, editor Richard Mackie serves up the odd literary essay, by himself and by other contributors.

      The Review began life under the protective wing of Alan Twigg and his BC Bookworld?"empire...


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