Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative


Visit to Powell River

January 20, 2023

The year began with a short visit to Powell River. Many nice hikes in that area, one of which took us to the top of Mt. Valentine with a wonderful view of the Salish Sea. That is the mill below us in the photograph above. Once the lifeblood of the town it is closed now and the property on the market. As far as one can tell the transition from company town has gone well; the community seems to be thriving.

A highlight of the visit was a stroll around the old townsite where we admired some of the historic homes which have been refurbished by their owners. The area is a National Historic Site and the details can be read on this plaque.

One notable building is the Patricia Theatre, the longest continuously running movie theatre in Canada, dating back to 1928. "Avatar" was showing when we walked by. If you are thinking of paying a visit, be sure to pick up a brochure at the Visitor Centre containing a walking tour of the neighbourhood.


December 13, 2022

November 15, 2022

Canada's History Society has announced the winner of its Governor General's History Award for Popular Media, better known as the Pierre Berton Award.

This year the award goes to Thomas King, the prolific novelist, historian, humourist, broadcaster and I could go on. In...

October 31, 2022

 I braved the monsoon rains last week to attend the regular meeting of the Vancouver Historical Society where Gregory Betts was speaking about the Grateful Dead and their visits to the city back in the 1960s and '70s. You can watch the lecture yourself here on YouTube.

What I remember about the music of those years was not the Dead -- I was out of town for their concerts -- but the Jefferson Airplane. For me, the...

October 14, 2022

The 1907 anti-Asian riots are remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in Vancouver's history. A crowd of several thousand people gathered at city hall to support a rally against Asian immigration. Following the meeting a mob descended on Chinatown, trashing businesses and threatening residents, before moving on to Powell Street to attack the Japanese community. (The...

October 2, 2022

In case you missed it -- and it was very easy to miss, given the scarcity of book news these days -- the BC Book Prizes were awarded last week. Here are the winners.

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize -- Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness (Viking/Penguin Random House)

Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize -- Jordan Abel, NISHGA (M&S/Penguin Random House)

Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize -- Henry Doyle, No Shelter (Anvil Press)

Roderick Haig-...