Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Talking About Prohibition

September 17, 2014

On Saturday, September 27, I'm going to be giving an illustrated talk about the prohibition era in Canada, the subject of my latest book. I'll be speaking at two o'clock in the afternoon at the North Vancouver Museum & Archives. Details here.

The event is part of BC Culture Days, which is celebrated across the province, so if you can't make my talk, check out the Culture Days website to see what is going on in your community.

September 9, 2014

I have to admit that the excitement over the Franklin expedition discoveries leave me a bit cold. "Lost ships." "169-year-old mystery." Well, not really. We've always known what happened to Franklin and his men and we've always had a pretty good idea where the ships were. What are we going to learn from this that we don't know already?

Two decades ago I wrote this essay about the Franklin search and I...

September 3, 2014

Walter Draycott was a pioneer settler in the Lynn Valley neighbourhood of North Vancouver. When World War One began he drilled with the local home guard and in November 1914 travelled east to Montreal and on to England where he joined his new regiment, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. By Christmas he was at the front and he spent the next four years serving overseas.

Draycott kept a daily journal his entire life, including the war years. The journals are in the...

August 20, 2014

It is a readily-acknowledged side effect of getting old(er) that the memory begins to lose its grip so I suppose I should not have been surprised when a friend arrived for dinner the other night with the news that he had just seen me on television and I had no idea what he was talking about. Turns out he'd seen a documentary on Vancouver during the Depression and there I was, one of those talking heads who fill in the spaces between the images.

As he described the program I began to...

August 19, 2014

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When I worked as a clerk in a book shop back in the day, the best part of the job was opening the boxes of new books when they arrived at the store. The smell, the feel, the pleasure of piling them onto the shelves; it was the most satisfaction I've ever had from a "real" job.

This morning I got to experience a bit of the same frisson when I opened the envelope from...

August 10, 2014

There has been some comment about the relatively modest way that our federal government commemorated the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One last week, especially given the prime minister's penchant for the militarization of our history.

Let me recommend a commentary by my friend Christopher Moore at his website. Chris speculates that the feds are planning to...

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