Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

February 2016

February 28, 2016

I have been reading Ethel Wilson's autobiographical novel, The Innocent Traveller, looking for a version of pre-World-War-One Vancouver told by someone who was there. Wilson, then Ethel Bryant, a ten-year-old orphan, came out from England in 1898 to be raised by her grandmother and aunt and the three women lived together in the city's West End for the next twenty years.

The Innocent Traveller is Wilson's account of that period. "It was the 'end of steel,' the...

February 7, 2016

For several years the North Vancouver Museum has been involved in planning a relocation from its present decrepit digs to a repurposed heritage building in the historic Shipbuilders' Square on the city's waterfront. New interactive exhibits have been designed and a successful fund-raising campaign has been going on. Until two weeks ago, that is, when City Council pulled the rug out and decided in a vote of 4-3 to kill the project.


February 2, 2016

By a strange coincidence, two members of the acid rock band Jefferson Airplane died on the same day last week. Signe Toly Anderson was the group's co-lead singer for a brief period before being replaced by the more notorious Gracie Slick. And Paul Kantner was one of its founders.

To me it has always seemed that the Sixties came to Vancouver on the wings of the Airplane. In January 1966 I was attending my first year at UBC, innocent of LSD, bell bottoms or even the meaning of the word...