Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative


May 22, 2020

People like to draw analogies -- historians certainly do -- and naturally the favourite comparison of late has been to the 1918 flu epidemic. But I've been thinking more about the Red Scare.

Following World War One and the flu outbreak, Canada was gripped by a fear of red revolution. It seems outlandish in retrospect, but at the time the...

May 2, 2020

The leftie progressive People's Co-op Bookstore is Vancouver's -- and Canada's -- oldest independent bookshop. It is celebrating 75 years in business by launching a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for its operations.

Like so many other small businesses the store, which has played a central role in the city's literary history, has been challenged by the pandemic shutdown.

If you...

April 26, 2020

The Fred Varley cabin in North Vancouver is up for sale and this has sparked renewed interest in the famous artist's 10-year sojourn on the West Coast. Varley (that's him above) was a founding member of the Group of Seven, who are associated with eastern Canada, but he spent a very productive decade in the...

April 22, 2020

Several years ago on my first, and only, trip to New York City, I paid a visit to the Tenement Museum on Orchard Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

The museum consists of a small storefront reception area where we were assigned a young guide who then led us into a nearby tenement building where the lives of early 20th century garment workers...

April 22, 2020

Spring in Vancouver.