Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Walking Through Prohibition

September 29, 2014

If you are in Vancouver on Wednesday, October 8, and looking for something completely different, why not join Will Woods and I on a walking tour of some of the city's illicit historic sites?

Will is the founder and chief storyteller at Forbidden Vancouver, a tour company that specializes in the offbeat and the slightly exotic side of Vancouver history. He has allowed me to tag along as a guest co-guide for one night only to talk about some of the themes in my new book, Closing Time: Prohibition, Rum-Runners and Border Wars.

Should be fun. Check out Will's website for all the details.

September 24, 2014

I am really chuffed about the fact that I am receiving this year's City of Vancouver Mayor's Arts Award for the literary arts (which means writing and publishing).

There have been so many worthy recipients since the awards began in 2004, when my pal Stephen Osborne was the inaugural winner, that it is very exciting to be one of them. I choose to view it as welcome recognition of the importance of history writing...

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...

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...

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