Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

January 2015

January 24, 2015

This past week the news media here in Vancouver have been reporting on the imminent destruction of one of the last, if not the last, squatter cabins that at one time dotted the shoreline of Burrard Inlet. Local jazz legend Al Neil has occupied the cabin out in the Dollarton area of North Vancouver since 1966, latterly with his companion the...

January 20, 2015

Years ago we were driving along the causeway through Stanley Park talking about what to name the new dog when my (then) young son piped up from his booster seat in the rear, "What about Stanley Bark?" It was his first joke.

What brings this reminiscence to mind is that a new issue of Geist magazine has arrived on the newsstands -- making 95 times that the Vancouver-based cultural quarterly has made its way into print since it was founded in 1990 -- and it contains my regular...

January 10, 2015

Not long ago I read Julie Gilmour's fine book, Trouble on Main Street, about the 1907 race riots in Vancouver and their aftermath.

The riots are well known to those of us who live in Vancouver as an embarrassing episode in our city's history. They were spearheaded by something called the Asiatic Exclusion League (AEL), lasted two or three days, and involved the destruction of many properties...

January 6, 2015

Next Sunday (January 11) is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Canada's first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, and the festivities have commenced.

First out of the gate is journalist Stephen Marche who has written a rather incoherent assault on Macdonald's memory for the most recent issue of The Walrus. I say incoherent because, firstly, Marche claims he is going to avoid the kind of historical revisionism that criticizes...

January 4, 2015