Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative
August 15, 2018

Now that Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has added her voice to the debate about the statue of Sir John A. I guess it's time for me to add mine.

Let's look at some of the language Minister McKenna, and lots of other people, use to frame the issue. First of all she says that the statue is being "torn down." No it isn't. It is being removed from its original site outside Victoria City Hall and...

August 11, 2018

I spent a morning recently clambering around the top of Mount Seymour in the company of Alex Douglas, the "mountain man." Alex curates a small museum on the mountain and leads walking tours of some of the historic cabin sites.

According to Alex's website, "If you lived in Vancouver, Mount Seymour is where you learnt to ski." This was certainly true in my own case. Back in the mid-1950s my parents drove myself and my siblings up the...

July 22, 2018

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One of the joys of noodling around in the history of one’s hometown – in my case Vancouver – is the threads of personal connection that, tugged upon, unravel something new about one’s own relationship with the place.

A case in point is Maude Sherman (1900-1976). Sherman was a founding member of the BC Art League, a group of Vancouver art lovers who banded together in the...

July 8, 2018

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As mentioned below, I gave an illustrated talk on the history of squatting in Burrard Inlet recently. (If you are interested, Vancouver Sun reporter Kevin Griffin wrote a nice piece about it.)

One of the most organized of the...

July 2, 2018

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The debate about revising the historical reputations of some of our "founding fathers" and the consequent removal of street names, statues, etc. is an important and complicated one. But sometimes it descends into farce.

A case in point is a stretch of highway outside of Courtenay on Vancouver Island. In 1996 Glen Clark's NDP government christened a part of the...

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