Barman, Jean. The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007. Authored by a local university professor, this book makes interesting reading for its exploration of the province’s lesser-known history.
Coull, Cheryl. A Traveller’s Guide to Aboriginal B.C. Vancouver: Whitecap Books, 1996. Although this book covers native sites throughout British Columbia, the Lower Mainland (Vancouver) chapter is very comprehensive. Also included are details of annual festivals and events and hiking opportunities with a cultural slant.
Coupland, Douglas. City of Glass: Douglas Coupland’s Vancouver. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2000. Best known for coining the term Generation X in his 1991 novel of the same name, local author Coupland delves deep into the cultural heart of Vancouver.
Duff, Wilson. The Indian History of British Columbia: The Impact of the White Man. Victoria: University of British Columbia Press, 1997. In this book, Duff deals with the issues faced by native peoples in the last 150 years, but also gives a good overview of their general history.
Johnson, Pauline. Legends of Vancouver. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998. First published in 1911, this small book contains the writings of Pauline Johnson, a well-known writer and poet in the early part of the 1900s. She spent much of her time with native peoples, and this is her version of myths related to her by Joe Capilano, chief of the Squamish. This most recent edition is the latest of many reprints over the years; search out others at Vancouver’s many secondhand bookstores.
Lavallee, Omer. Van Horne’s Road. Montreal: Railfare Enterprises, 1974. William Van Horne was instrumental in the construction of Canada’s first transcontinental railway. This is the story of his dream, and the boomtowns that sprung up along the route. Lavallee devotes an entire chapter to telling the story of the railway’s push through British Columbia to Vancouver.
Luxton, Donald. Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2007. Printed in two-tone, this beautiful reference book delves into the lives and work of prominent early architects, many of whom are represented by buildings that still stand today.
Murray, Tom. Canadian Pacific Railway. Osceola, Wisconsin: Zenith Press, 2006. Railway buffs are spoilt for choice when it comes to reading about the history of Canada’s transcontinental railway, but this large format book stands apart for its presentation of historic images and coverage of the railway industry today.
Nicol, Eric. Vancouver. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1970. An often-humorous look at Vancouver and its colorful past through the eyes of Eric Nicol, one of Vancouver’s favorite columnists of the 1960s. The book has been reprinted a few times, and although it has been out of print for many years, Vancouver’s secondhand bookstores usually have multiple copies in stock.
Scott, Chic. Pushing the Limits. Calgary: Rocky Mountain Books, 2000. A chronological history of mountaineering in Canada, with special emphasis on many largely unknown climbers and their feats, as well as the story of Swiss guides in Canada and a short section on ice climbing.
Spaner, David. Dreaming in the Rain: How Vancouver Became Hollywood North by Northwest. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2003. Tells the story of Vancouver’s short but dramatic rise as one of the world’s premier filmmaking centers.
Valliant, John. The Golden Spruce. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2006. The gripping true story of a man who chopped down one of the world’s only golden spruce trees, then disappeared to leave many questions unanswered.
Verchère, Ian. V0N 1B0: General Delivery, Whistler, B.C. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2006. An irreverent look at life in Whistler, including its short but dynamic history. Verchère is a local ski racer.
Wilson, Diana. Heart of the Cariboo-Chilcotin: Stories Worth Keeping. Vancouver: Heritage House, 2007. A series of short stories describing the native peoples, the gold rush, ranching, and the modern-day conservation movement.
Wynn, Graeme. Vancouver and its Region. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1992. An in-depth look at the city, its geography, and the history of its urbanization, through aerial photography, maps, graphs, and descriptive passages.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition