Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative


March 17, 2020

I suppose one thing we can be thankful for in the present health crisis is that we are not fighting a world war at the same time.

You'll have seen lots of references to the 1918-19 flu epidemic (it is often called the Spanish flu but in fact it originated in China) which swept the world and killed in the neighbourhood of 50 million people. At least that is the number we seem to have...

February 29, 2020

Tom Hawthorne has an interesting article at Montecristo Magazine about an episode in wartime Vancouver when some members of the Junior Board of Trade pretended for a day that the city was occupied by Nazi invaders. A mob of "soldiers" occupy the radio station. The mayor is marched...

February 18, 2020

The other day I was leafing through a copy of Arduous Destiny by P.B. Waite in search of a factoid when the pages fell apart in my hands. No surprise, I guess. My edition of Waite's book dates to 1978 and has followed me from Ottawa, where it was purchased, to Montreal and across the country to North Vancouver. Forty-two years later it doesn't owe me anything.

Arduous Destiny...

February 14, 2020

Up at Squamish this morning for the grand reopening of the Sea to Sky Gondola, back in action after being vandalized six months ago.

Guess what? The view hasn't changed at all.

Congratulations to everyone involved.

February 12, 2020

Anyone looking for a new narrative for Canadian history should check out Richard Mackie's latest essay over at the Ormsby Review.

Mackie, who is editor of the Review, prowled the halls of academe before choosing the more perilous path of a freelance historian. He has written several well-regarded books, my own favourites being his two-volume, wonderfully illustrated, history of...