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British Columbia History

British Columbia History

54.1 Spring 2021
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British Columbia History chronicles British Columbia’s unique story through the words and images of community writers, archivists, museum professionals, academic historians and more. Fresh, engaging, personal and relevant, every issue is packed with articles, photographs, maps, illustrations, book reviews and insights into local archives and historic sites.

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British Columbia Historical Federation
$7.88(Incl. tax)
$26.25(Incl. tax)
4 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
letters from readers

Dear Editor: I am heartened to learn you and others have enjoyed reading Union Laundry: The Story of Harry and May Yuen [in our Winter 2020 issue, 53.4]. What began as a modest genealogical keepsake for my family expanded into a multi-page document and became my pandemic summer project. What did I learn during the writing process? We are the product of a series of decisions made by forebears long before we are born. We truly do stand on their shoulders—how many times have we heard that? Delving into the history of one’s forebears is to empower oneself with a sense of purpose, place, and community. And gratitude. I am in awe of the risks taken by my predecessors in China and here in Canada and of the “bitter tea” swallowed so the next generations…

2 min.
the public side of history

I finished my biography of James Teit in the spring of 2018 and faced a difficult decision. Do I send it to a university press or to a trade press? The former targets mainly scholarly readers and the latter, more general readers. On the surface, my 500-page tome looked like a classic scholarly offering. Having spent years struggling to turn a mass of diverse facts into a compelling story, however, I worried that by placing it with an academic press, I might lose the readers I wanted to attract, most notably Indigenous readers. In the end, I chose a university press with hopes of straddling the scholarly/trade market divide. Now two years in, I have a richer perspective on the divide. From separate lines of book prizes, literary events, and book…

15 min.
ted hunt a multisport athlete who soared above the competition

Despite a knock-kneed running style described as “faintly reminiscent of your sainted aunt running for a bus,” Ted Hunt is one of the all-time great multisport athletes. He excelled in rugby, skiing, football, and boxing and gained accolades in swimming and diving. While still in high school, he was picked for Canada’s Olympic ski-jumping team in 1952. Hunt was the recipient of the BC Athlete of the Year award in 1957. His leadership and sportsmanship were recognized with the University of British Columbia (UBC) Bobby Gaul trophy in 1958. He was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1972 and the UBC Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and later enshrined in the BC Rugby Union. Perhaps Hunt’s most astonishing feat was playing for the BC Lions football team…

10 min.
making history public reflections of an academic historian

Wendy Wickwire’s 2019 book At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging is described as “beautifully crafted” and has been a runaway success in Canada, garnering more than ten awards and award nominations to date. With a view to thinking about the ways we create history, the BCHF invited Wendy to prepare a keynote speech for our first virtual AGM and Kitchen Party in September of 2020. We asked her to reflect on the idea and practice of public history from her vantage point as an academic historian who tailors her work to live beyond the academy, to appeal to a wide audience of readers from many disciplines. This article is an edited version of those remarks. I was intrigued to learn that public history as a “movement” arose…

10 min.
vancouver’s chinatown literary mappings of seclusion

We are pleased to present Harry Deng’s essay on Vancouver’s Chinatown, written for a fourth-year undergraduate history course at UBC. Deng’s essay was awarded the British Columbia Historical Federation W. Kaye Lamb Award for the Best Student work in 2020. In his application letter, Deng stated that “knowing the history of the province in which I grew up in and knowing the stories of the places I have visited creates a deeper, more meaningful connection with the space. Moreover, this knowledge has provided me with different perspectives of not only the land and its physical features, but also the people who inhabit this land and call it home.” Traditional narratives of British Columbian Chinatowns during the late 19th and early 20th centuries have usually depicted them as racially segregated forbidden enclaves. They…

5 min.
putting the pub in public history

I love a good story. I suppose my appreciation began in childhood when I eagerly looked forward to the nightly bedtime story. I did well at social studies and it only got better in high school when I got an “A” in History 12. I graduated with a BA in history from Simon Fraser University in 1986, then was accepted into an entry-level job in the BC Government. My partner and I moved back to Victoria in July 1986. Working for the government paid the bills and gave me a little left over to enjoy the occasional Friday night in the pubs. It was in the Ingraham Pub where I heard stories from those around our table, usually retired men, of the places they used to drink in and the humorous or…