As you plan and pack for your upcoming adventure on Vancouver Island and the beautiful west coast of British Columbia, allow us to make a few suggestions on what BC books to read if you need a rest from too much excitement on your memorable trip.
Wild Fierce Life
Dangerous Moments on the Outer Coast
Wild Fierce Life is a heart-stopping collection of true stories from the Pacific Coast that build a vivid portrait of life on the continental edge and one woman’s evolving place within it.
Author Joanna Streetly arrived on the west coast of Vancouver Island when she was nineteen, and soon adapted to the challenges of working on boats of all sorts, guiding multi-day wilderness kayak trips along the BC coast, and living in remote situations often without electricity or running water.
From a near-death experience while swimming at night to an enigmatic encounter with a cougar, these stories capture the joys and dangers of living in a wild environment. Streetly’s vivid storytelling evokes a sincere respect for nature, both its fragility and its power.
Full of unflinching self-examination and a fidelity to the landscape of Vancouver Island’s outer coast, these stories reveal the interplay between inner and outer landscapes—the evolution of a woman uncovering the pleasures and dangers of the wild life.
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Poems for the Pacific
Edited by Yvonne Blomer
While in the world of politics there are still climate change deniers, the poets watch the warming seas, the dying birds slicked in oil, the whales, the jellies, the sea otters and the octopus. They stand, as close to the shore as possible, watch the slow turning tide. In this collection of poems from the coast of B.C., California, Washington State, to Alaska and as far away as Auckland, New Zealand and as far back as early 19th century Japan these poems explore our connection to the Pacific, what we know and don’t know, how we’ve already changed the shore and the sea and what we fear losing.
Poets in this anthology include John Barton, Brian Brett, Bruce Cockburn, Lorna Crozier, Brenda Hillman, Gary Geddes, Steven Heighton, Patrick Lane, Arleen Paré, Melanie Siebert, Anne Simpson, Rob Taylor, Patricia Young, Jan Zwicky and many more.
In Refugium, editor Yvonne Blomer explores her deep concern with our sixth extinction and how stoic humans are continuing to wreak damage on the planet and her oceans.
More information on Refugium
Whale in the Door
A Community Unites to Protect BC’S Howe Sound
Pauline Le Bel
An exhilarating mix of natural history and personal exploration Whale in the Door is a passionate account of a woman’s transformative experience of her adopted home.
For thousands of years, Howe Sound, an inlet in the Salish Sea provided abundant food, shelter, and stories, for the Squamish Nation. After a century of contamination from pulp mills, a chemical factory, and a copper mine, the Sound, a noisy, stinky, polluted place, contained many biologically dead zones. Marine life was severely diminished. But major efforts by the Squamish Nation, governments, and industry has produced dramatic returns of herring, dolphins, porpoises, orcas, and humpbacks.
Today, Howe Sound, a spectacular fjord in Vancouver’s backyard, is a popular recreation and tourism destination. The recovery, however, is fragile. The Sound is being inundated with proposals for re-industrialization – a controversial liquid natural gas plant, pipelines, super tankers, a gravel mine on a salmon-bearing estuary, and major residential and commercial developments.
Pauline Le Bel, a resident of Howe Sound, embarks on a journey of discovery to find out what is special about the Sound, its wild nature and its people, to witness the cultural and spiritual revivals taking place. Her research, her interviews, her travels on the land, the water, the skies of Howe Sound, compel her to abandon antiquated ideas about wilderness and community, and to arrive at a new appreciation for the genius of her home.
Whale in the Door invites readers into a story of biological resilience as a community struggles to shape a vision for its future.
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Dancing in Gumboots
Adventure, Love & Resilience: Women of the Comox Valley
Edited by Lou Allison with Jane Wilde
After the extraordinary success of Gumboot Girls comes the sequel anthology, Dancing in Gumboots. Having relocated to Comox, Jane encountered a new group of women who travelled to the Comox Valley in the 1970s. Fascinated by their stories, Lou Allison and Jane Wilde return to their dynamic partnership to bring us an anthology that shines a light on these trailblazing women and their unique stories.
The 1970s was a time of intense cultural shifts for women all over North America. Freedom from traditional gender roles and expectations encouraged widespread relocation of young women seeking adventure and meaning, often migrating from urban to rural locations. The agricultural area of the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island offered a unique opportunity to these young women. Dancing in Gumboots collects the stories of thirty-two women who traveled from around North America to Vancouver Island, eventually settling in and around the Comox Valley. The young women who chose the agricultural Vancouver Island area to make their homes, showcase the personal challenges and struggles arising from such radical change.
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8100 Alderwood Road
Halfmoon Bay, BC