Reviewed by Adele Case
Reviewed by Adele Case
Volume 20 Number 4
Coastal Villages is a visual feast. The jacket (turquoise and sand coloured, enlivened by a colour photograph of Refuge Cove, once home to the author) tempts the reader to check on the history of villages from Lund (north of Jervis Inlet) to Nigei Island (between Goletas Channel and Queen Charlotte Sound).
Many of the illustrations are full-page aerial views of "sunny day" shots that celebrate the beauty of the coastline of southern British Columbia. The author also includes a wealth of black-and-white snapshots of pioneers in the coastal settlements — a subject on which she is well informed, having lived as a child in more than one of the locations for which she gives highlight anecdotes.
Life in the relatively remote up-coast villages was basic, and demanded strong, energetic, versatile and capable families. Medical services were far off, so the community had to be founded on the efforts of those who were not easily discouraged. Neighbours lived by the golden rule, helping others in times of need.
There are simple maps and the book is well indexed. Both will help the city dweller to locate the various villages. Historical vignettes are lively and surprising enough to keep the casual reader interested. Unfortunately, there are proof-reading errors (Duncanby is Duncan Bay; the present postmistress at Port Neville is Lorna (not Wendy) of the Hansen family and the native people in the Goletas Channel area are the Nahwitti) that suggest the work is designed for light reading rather than as a researched compilation of the many villages along the coast. Alas, some of the places mentioned are now ghost towns, and others (especially on the northern edge of the area dealt with) died after the Union Steamship Company terminated its service. These are not included in the book, which has a personal flavour.
One of the delights of the book is in the recounting of the lives of pioneers who hacked homesites from the bush, and fished and logged by hand, or with primitive equipment. Some even had the foresight to see the possibilities of tourism, or at least the need for visitor accommodation.
Coastal Villages will be treasured by all who want to know more of the loveliness of the historic villages along the lower B.C. coastline.
Adele Case teaches English at Britannia Secondary School in Vancouver, British Columbia.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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