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Launch of The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names

Posted: August 24, 2009

Local author Andrew Scott is launching his landmark book The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names: A Complete Reference to Coastal British Columbia with a talk and slideshow at the Sechelt Arts Centre (5714 Medusa) on Wednesday, September 23rd at 7:30pm. He will also be doing a book signing in Madeira Park at Bluewaters Book Company (12887 Madeira Park Rd.) on Saturday, September 26th at 1:00pm.     

Harbour Publishing celebrates the hundredth anniversary of Captain John T. Walbran’s, landmark work, British Columbia Coast Names, by presenting the first book to update Walbran’s classic, Andrew Scott’s Raincoast Place Names. Walbran reportedly worked on his opus for ten years and produced some 1,500 entries. Scott worked on his for three years and produced 4,000 entries.
Like its progenitor, Raincoast Place Names is much more than simply a catalogue of name origins because it tells the often fascinating stories behind the names and in so doing serves as a history of the region in capsule form. It is also a monumental work, twice the size of Walbran’s and including more than three times as many places. Four thousand entries consider, in intriguing detail, the stories behind over five thousand place names: how they were discovered, who named them and why, and what the names reveal.
It describes the original First Nations cultures, the heroics of the 18th-century explorers and fur traders, the gruelling survey and settlement efforts of the 19th century, the lives of colonial officials, missionaries, gold seekers and homesteaders, and the histories of nearly every important vessel to sail or cruise the coast.
The book also examines—for the first time—the rich heritage of BC place names added in the 20th century. These new entries reflect the world of the steamship era, the ships and skippers of the Union and Princess lines, the heroes of the two World Wars and the sealing fleet, Esquimalt’s naval base and BC’s fishing, canning, mining and logging industries.

Andrew Scott is a veteran journalist who has published some 1,000 articles as well as having edited and produced several substantial magazines himself. His specialization is in BC postal history, which gave him a longstanding fascination with the province’s less-known nooks and crannies. Additionally, he is an avid kayaker and coastal explorer, having written two of his five previous books about visiting the less inhabited reaches of BC’s “Secret Coastline.”
He has written five previous books including the award-winning Painter, Paddler: The Art and Adventures of Stewart Marshall and Secret Coastline: Journeys and Discoveries Along BC’s Shores. He has written articles for publications such as Discovery, Western Living, Pacific Yachting, Globe & Mail, Vancouver Sun, Victoria Times Colonist and the Georgia Straight. He was also a contributing editor, subject consultant and writer for the Encyclopedia of British Columbia. A keen hiker, conservationist, traveller, historian and naturalist, Andrew lives in Sechelt, BC.

“The entries form a remembrance of sorts, touching briefly on past lives. They marvel at the stamina and courage of the pioneers, their daring and determination, and shudder at the sufferings they endured. They commemorate the officers and officials and chiefs who always get their names on maps, of course, but also recall a host of more modest characters on the frontier’s broad stage—gold seekers, sealers, fishers, merchants, homesteaders and seamen.”
—Andrew Scott, from the introduction to Raincoast Place Names

Sample Entries:

Adams Bay
(E side of Surf Inlet, Princess Royal I).
John B Adams (1876–1964), a long-time Victoria resident, participated in that city’s famous oldtimers’ reunion in 1924. This event, the first large-scale get-together of its kind in the province, was sponsored by the BC Historical Society and required considerable preparations. Seven hundred BC pioneers known to be resident in the province in the 1870s or earlier were invited, and 300 accepted. They were received at Government House, toured through the city in a grand cavalcade and entertained at a fine banquet and dance held at the Empress Hotel. The banquet table settings, which featured gold-rush scenes and models of sternwheelers and fur-trading forts, were so elaborate that the general public was invited to view them before dinner for a small fee. By all accounts the reunion was a huge success, and newspaper coverage was widespread. Downtown store windows displayed period clothes and historical photos. Sourdoughs from the Klondike rubbed shoulders with survivors of the Boer War. On the final evening, while the old-timers were being fêted at the legislature in the plush rooms of the Legislative Library, an upper storey caught on fire and several hundred people had to be evacuated. “’Tain’t everybody who would burn down their parliament buildings to give a kick to the entertainment,” one wag was reported as saying. “Or perhaps they set them on fire to get rid of us.” On the suggestion of regional hydrographer Henri Parizeau, the surnames of many pioneers in attendance were adopted in 1926 as place names on the BC coast. Nearby Adams Point is named for a different old-timer.

Trinity Bay
(SE side of Bowen I, Howe Sd, NW of Vancouver).
Named about 1907 by members of the Cowan family (see Point Cowan) for Trinity Hall, Ethel Bryant’s old school in Southport, Lancashire, UK, established in the 1870s to educate girls from Methodist families. Bryant (1888–1980) was born in S Africa and came to Vancouver from England in 1898, after the deaths of her parents, to live with her widowed grandmother, Annie Malkin, whose three sons had formed a successful wholesale grocery business, W H Malkin & Co, in the city (one of the brothers, William Malkin, was mayor of Vancouver, 1929–30). The Malkins owned land at Point Cowan on Bowen I and were part of the community there (they later bought more land on the W side of Bowen; see King Edward Bay). Bryant was sent to Trinity Hall, 1902–6, then returned to Vancouver, taught school and married Wallace Wilson (1888–1966), a local physician, in 1921. She began writing in the 1930s and, as Ethel Wilson, published five novels and many short stories, gradually developing a reputation as one of Canada’s best fiction writers. The Wilsons purchased their own summer retreat on Bowen about 1940 and later donated the property to UBC. Life on Bowen I was chronicled in Ethel’s 1949 biographical novel, The Innocent Traveller.