Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

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Canada's History Reaches 100

September 27, 2020

With its most recent issue, Canada's History magazine achieves a notable milestone -- 100 years of continuous publication.

Founded back in 1920 as the Beaver, a staff magazine for the Hudson's Bay Company, it has been independent of the HBC for many years now. It changed to its present name in 2010. I've contributed several articles over the decades, including the first in 1977, a piece about the whale hunt in Hudson Bay. That's 43 years ago! It's always been a pleasure to work with the highly professional editorial team at the magazine.

The new issue, available on newstands, is notable for the feast of wonderful photographs of the Canadian north selected from the magazine's archives.

Congratulations to editor Mark Reid and his colleagues.

September 22, 2020

The annual BC and Yukon Book Prizes were held over the past weekend in a responsibly distanced manner. My friends at the Ormsby Review have kindly posted the winners, which is a good thing since you'd be hard pressed to find the results in any of the mainstream media. I searched through the local...

September 20, 2020

While waiting for my next book, Becoming Vancouver: A New History, to be published -- delayed by the COVID situation -- I thought I'd introduce the project by telling some "tales of the city."

Following World War One, the southern shoreline of Coal Harbour developed as one of the city's busiest industrial areas. In particular it attracted boatworks,...

September 18, 2020

In the latest issue, just out, the folks at Geist magazine asked contributors what they were reading during the pandemic.

My response, with a twist, is here.

September 11, 2020

Back in February I mentioned my collection of deteriorating volumes from The Canadian Centenary Series. 

Recently the Active History website had this fascinating look back at the series by Donald Wright, author of a first-rate biography of Donald Creighton.

Trigger warning: lots of 1960s sexism and general ignorance about...

August 21, 2020

While waiting for my next book, Becoming Vancouver: A New History, to be published -- delayed by the COVID situation -- I thought I'd introduce the project by telling some "tales of the city."

Early in the morning of July 19, 1952, a 52-year-old stevedore named Clarence Clemons got into a scuffle with police at the New Station Café on Main Street. The New Station had a reputation as a lively afterhours joint close to Hogan’s Alley. “It was world-renowned,” affirmed...

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