Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

A Birthday Gift from Harbour

May 26, 2015

Last evening found me at the Book Warehouse on Main Street for a book launch by my pals at Harbour Publishing.

It was Harbour's 40th anniversary last year and as part of the celebrations they've issued a new edition of their famous "magazine" Raincoast Chronicles. Actually it was the Chronicles that launched Harbour, as owner Howie White explained last night. It was 1972 and the federal government was handing out LIP grants -- LIP stood for Local Initiative Projects if I remember correctly. Howie applied for one to publish a magazine about the West Coast ethos. Much to his own surprise a cheque arrived in the mail and the rest, as they say...

I have a copy of the first issue on my shelves, containing articles on rum running, lepers, whaling and petroglyphs which seems pretty typical of the magazine's range. There have been 22 more issues published irregularly over the years -- I've even edited one -- all of them conveying the feel of life on the coast. The latest, launched last night, number 23, is edited by Peter Robson and contains excerpts from some of the classic books published by Howie and his wife Mary. Like every other issue it is bound to be a collector's item.

I have my own story about one of the books I published with Harbour, the Encyclopedia of British Columbia. You can read it here.