Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative
December 28, 2016


The annual Boxing Day walk this year was abbreviated due to the weather here in Vancouver. This is Spanish Banks at approximately 11 a.m. We began with good intentions but ended with frozen extremities. (No jokes about wimpy Vancouverites, please.) Since the fish and chip stand in the distance was closed, we sought warm beverages elsewhere. At least we tried.

Happy New Year to all!

December 20, 2016


November 30, 2016

As a new-hire at the Ottawa Journal in the autumn of 1971 I was assigned to the early shift in the newsroom. Behind my desk by 6 a.m., I was responsible for whatever news was breaking cityside that morning, writing it up and getting it to the editor before deadline at eleven. Much to my own surprise I turned out to possess a facility with the idiom. Snowstorms blanketed the city. Traffic accidents snarled the morning commute. Dog bites man. That sort of thing.

It was a winter...

November 23, 2016

One of the more unpleasant aspects of getting older is that one keeps losing friends, and culture heroes, along the way.

November has been particularly sad in that regard as two of my favourite artists, Leonard Cohen and William Trevor, passed on. Cohen I'm sure you know about but unless you are a writer, or a reader, of short fiction you may not be familiar with Trevor's work. If that is the case, I urge you to rectify the situation immediately. 

Trevor is known in particular...

November 21, 2016

Lots of years ago I wrote my MA thesis on the history of institutions for the mentally ill in Maritime Canada. At the time the story of the asylum had produced several studies in countries like the UK and US but not very much work had been done here in Canada. I hoped that one day I would return to the subject myself but not every enthusiasm becomes a book and this one didn't.

So I am intrigued by a new online...