Biography

#72 Squamish matriarch and firebrand

The Amazing Mazie Baker: the Squamish Nation’s Warrior Elder by Kay Johnston Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2016 $24.95 / 9781987915068 Reviewed by Dorothy Kennedy First published Jan. 14, 2017 * In The Amazing Mazie Baker, Kay Johnston exposes the life and work of Mazie Baker (born 1931), the Squamish gadfly and firebrand who exposed irregularities…
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#68 Won Alexander Cumyow

ESSAY: Canadian First:  The Life of Won Alexander Cumyow (1861-1955) by Janet Mary Nicol First published Dec. 28, 2016 * Canada’s west coast accommodated “two solitudes”—people of the dominant English-speaking community and those of Asian heritage.  One man who tried to bridge these separate, often hostile worlds was Vancouver pioneer, Won Alexander Cumyow.  He was…
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#65 The Christy Clark Liberal era

Christy Clark: Behind the Smile by Judi Tyabji Victoria: Heritage House, 2016 $32.95  /  9781772031065 Reviewed by John Douglas Belshaw First published Dec. 17, 2016 * This book is neither fish nor fowl. Judi Tyabji, a former MLA who broke with the Liberal Party in an acrimonious split, states at the outset that this is…
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#64 From Jalna to timber baron

ESSAY: From Jalna to timber baron: reflections  on the life of H.R. MacMillan by Ron Dart First published Dec. 16, 2016 * For good or ill, Harvey Reginald (H.R.) MacMillan (1885-1976) is a name synonymous with the forestry business in British Columbia. Those with a flagging or limited memory will have some minimal sense of…
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#63 An Imperial crackpot in B.C.

Guilty But Insane: J.C. Bowen-Colthurst — Villain or Victim? by James W. Taylor Cork, Ireland: Mercier Press, 2016 €14.99 / 978-1781174210 Reviewed by Joe Simpson First published Dec. 14, 2016 * In Guilty But Insane, James W. Taylor traces the life of British Army officer Captain John Bowen-Colthurst of the Royal Irish Rifles. A veteran of campaigns in India,…
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#55 Eyewitness to Bill Miner

ESSAY: Eyewitness to Bill Miner:  A lost despatch from the Victoria Daily Colonist, 1904 by Fred Braches First published Dec. 1, 2016 * For British Columbians who know their history, the name Bill Miner evokes memories of a failed train robbery in 1906, a crime generously viewed as a gentleman’s transgression. Fred Braches shares new…
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#54 Breaking the glass ceiling

The Life and Art of Mary Filer by Christina Johnson-Dean, with an introduction by Robert Held Salt Spring Island: Mother Tongue Publishers, 2016 $35.95 / 9781896949550 Reviewed by Janet Mary Nicol First published Nov. 30, 2016 * The Life and Art of Mary Filer follows the career of the glass sculptor Mary Filer. Trained as…
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#48 From Soda Creek to best seller

Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival by Bev Sellars Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2016 $19.95  /  9780889229723 Reviewed by Caroline Woodward First published November  24, 2016 * Bev Sellars served as the Chief of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation near Williams Lake from 1987 to 1993 and from 2009 to 2015. But before that…
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#47 Ujjal’s odyssey

Journey After Midnight: India, Canada and the Road Beyond by Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2016 $34.95  /   9781927958568 Reviewed by Hugh Johnston First published November 21, 2016 * Journey After Midnight is Ujjal Dosanjh’s memoir of his journey from a village in the Punjab to London in 1964, and to Vancouver in 1968….
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#46 Crafting a lasting reconciliation

In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth & Reconciliation by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail Victoria: Brindle & Glass 2016 $19.95  /  9781927366448 Reviewed by J.R. (Jim) Miller First published November 19, 2016 * When asked in September 2016 how he thought the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was being received, former National Chief…
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#42 Nukwa and the merchant of Yale

Pioneer merchant Louis Oppenheim: not Oppenheimer by Bonnie Ellen Campbell First published Nov. 14, 2016 * Editor’s note: Bonnie Campbell assumed she was English. As a young adult she was surprised to learn that her grandmother was the daughter of a Prussian-Jewish merchant Louis Oppenheim, of Yale, and his wife Nukwa (Hannah) of Spuzzum, daughter…
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#39 From Quilchena Creek to Flanders

ESSAY: For Remembrance Day 2016, Michael Sasges has reconstructed the life of Nicola Valley rancher John Foster Paton Nash. First published Nov. 7, 2016 * Note to Ormsby readers: I have dusted off this essay by Mike Sasges for re-use on Remembrance Day, 2020. I have rewritten the introduction, re-sized and rearranged the photos, and…
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#35 Canada’s forgotten superstar

Aloha Wanderwell: The Border-Smashing, Record-Setting Life of the World’s Youngest Explorer Fredericton, New Brunswick: Goose Lane Editions, 2016 by Christian Fink-Jensen and Randolph Eustace-Walden $24.95  /  9780864928955 Reviewed by Bonnie Reilly Schmidt First published October 31, 2016 * Recently BC’s remarkable Aloha Wanderwell (born Idris Hall, 1906-1996) was officially recognized by the Guinness Book of…
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#29 Althea Moody and All Hallows

ESSAY: Across the Bright Continent: Althea Moody, Missionary and Artist in Western Canada by Jennifer Iredale First published October 21, 2016 * Missionary, linguist, educator, and artist Althea Moody (1865-1930) spent twenty years (1891-1911) teaching at the Anglican Church’s All Hallows School in Yale. This school admitted both “Indian” and “White” girls, making it exceptional…
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#24 The Usain Bolt of 1954

The Bannister-Landy Miracle Mile at the Commonwealth Games in Vancouver in 1954 is the subject of perhaps the most famous photo ever taken in B.C., capturing that poignant moment when Landy looked over his shoulder as he was being passed by Bannister. The world’s first sub-four-minute mile, as well as the heartbreaking plight of champion…
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