Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Moby Doll Reviewed

October 18, 2016

In the summer of 1964 a whaling expedition mounted by the Vancouver Aquarium accidently captured a live killer whale near Saturna Island. Subsequently named Moby Doll, the young orca survived for almost three months at two different sites on the Vancouver waterfront.

Now journalist Mark Leiren-Young has written a book about the episode and its impact on public perceptions of the whales. My review of The Killer Whale Who Changed the World appears at the newly-launched Ormsby Review.

October 17, 2016


I am a Blue Jays fan and the author of a book about aboriginal stereotypes so perhaps that qualifies me to weigh in on the controversy about the Cleveland baseball team (as broadcasters have taken to calling it, to avoid saying the I word) and its logo.

Frankly I don't understand why this...

September 24, 2016

Next weekend (Sept. 30-Oct. 2) is Culture Days, a national celebration of arts and culture. 

As part of the festivities I will be presenting an illustrated talk about the history of North Vancouver, the subject of my latest book. It happens at the Community History Centre in Lynn Valley at 2 p.m. Saturday (Oct.1) afternoon.

Why not take in Karen Dearlove's walking tour of Old Shaketown first? That departs the History Centre at...

September 19, 2016


When I was a kid one of the only books about British Columbia on the family bookshelves was British Columbia: A History by Margaret Ormsby. I still own it, inherited from my parents and inscribed by the author. From its publication in 1958 (that's the cover of the paperback edition above), Ormsby's book was the definitive one-volume history of...

September 12, 2016

Interesting that this week a group of Vancouver sex trade activists will be unveiling some kind of memorial to one of the most acrimonious episodes in the city's history: the West End "sex wars" of the late 1970s, early 1980s.

The story is told in my book, Red Light Neon. Briefly, once the police wrongheadedly cracked down on prostitution taking place in the relative safety of downtown clubs in 1975, hundreds of sex...

August 28, 2016


Nice spread about my new book in the Vancouver Sun this weekend.

You can read it online here.

(Credit for the photo belongs to Bee Chalmers.)