Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative
March 14, 2016

Douglas Todd had a thoughtful piece in the Vancouver Sun this weekend about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's musings on national identity.

In an article in The New York Times Magazine last December, Mr. Trudeau opined that Canadians share certain values but not...

March 5, 2016

I note that yesterday, March 4, was Margaret Trudeau's wedding anniversary. It was 45 years ago that she and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau tied the knot at a quiet ceremony at a church in North Vancouver.

Does this qualify as a "remember where you were" moment for Canadians? I know it does for me. On the evening of March 4, 1971, I was in the press box of the hockey arena in Medicine Hat, Alberta. One of the perks of working at the local newspaper, for which I was writing editorials...

March 4, 2016

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Here is a nice photograph that came my way today. It is from the collection of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives (#749) and shows Streetcar #32 on Lonsdale Avenue outside the Municipal Hall at First Street in about 1910.

Streetcars came to North Vancouver on Labour Day, 1906, when the BC Electric Railway Company opened a line...

February 28, 2016

I have been reading Ethel Wilson's autobiographical novel, The Innocent Traveller, looking for a version of pre-World-War-One Vancouver told by someone who was there. Wilson, then Ethel Bryant, a ten-year-old orphan, came out from England in 1898 to be raised by her grandmother and aunt and the three women lived together in the city's West End for the next twenty years.

The Innocent Traveller is Wilson's account of that period. "It was the 'end of steel,' the...

February 7, 2016

For several years the North Vancouver Museum has been involved in planning a relocation from its present decrepit digs to a repurposed heritage building in the historic Shipbuilders' Square on the city's waterfront. New interactive exhibits have been designed and a successful fund-raising campaign has been going on. Until two weeks ago, that is, when City Council pulled the rug out and decided in a vote of 4-3 to kill the project.