Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative


June 1, 2013


Attention was paid in the press last week to a conference of orca experts taking place on Saturna Island, one of the southern Gulf Islands on the British Columbia coast. The conference was a commemoration of sorts of the first-ever live capture of a killer whale on July 16, 1964, at East Point on Saturna. (Details of the capture and the conference are...

May 30, 2013


When I was born, in 1947, my parents engaged a housekeeper to help my mother care for me and cope with my three elder siblings. The other day I met my nanny face-to-face for the first time; or, to be exact, the first time in sixty-six years.

Her name is Naomi Miller and she tapped me on the shoulder somewhere between the main course and dessert at a banquet in...

May 29, 2013

The latest issue (#88) of Geist magazine is on the stands with my column on a new book about Vancouver's Penthouse nightclub, Liquor, Lust and the Law, by Aaron Chapman (Arsenal Pulp Press).

I go interested in the Penthouse a few years ago when I was working on my own book, Red Light Neon, a history of prostitution in the city. The origins of the club go back to before the Second World War...

May 29, 2013

Top Read This Week:

The decision by a the parliamentary heritage committee in Ottawa to commence an investigation into Canadian history, including how the subject is taught in schools, touched off a bit of a squall from people who believe the government should keep its hands off history. I’m not sure why. Lindsay Gibson has a review and an analysis of the controversy at The History Education Network website.

Meanwhile in Great Britain the...

May 13, 2013

Last weekend at the BC Book Prizes gala award ceremony in Victoria my book Trucking in British Columbia (Harbour Publishing) was nominated for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award. As I expected, I lost out to the very worthy winner, Shelley Fralic's history of the Vancouver Sun newspaper. Naturally it was a letdown – there was cash involved! – but principally I was disappointed because it meant that I didn’t get to deliver my acceptance speech which would have included a brief tribute...