Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Becoming Vancouver

A History

"Becoming Vancouver" follows the evolution of the city from before the arrival of the first European explorers to the present day. Beginning with the early habitation by the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, the book describes the emergence of a waterfront sawmill town, the flourishing speakeasies and brothels of the 1920s, the years of poverty and protest during the Dirty Thirties, the development of different ethnic communities, the long post-war boom and the city's current status as a real-estate investment choice for the global super-rich.

The book is enlivened with rich characterizations of many of the people who shaped Vancouver, and traces the pivotal events which shaped the physical, cultural and economic evolution of the city. It is the first synthesis of Vancouver's history to appear in several decades.


"Finally! The definitive history of Vancouver." - Eve Lazarus, author and historian

"Becoming Vancouver skillfully chronicles tensions that defined the city through the decades..." - Mark Forsythe, author and former CBC radio host 

"Daniel Francis has written the first complete, chronological history of Vancouver in a half-century, bringing the story up to date with engaging accounts of Indigenous life, as well as local politics, entertainment and crime that show the city in all its flawed glory." - Michael Kluckner, artist and writer

"...a lyrical, accessible, exciting and, above all, thoroughly enjoyable history." - Stephen Hume, writer