Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names
A Complete Reference to Coastal British Columbia
by Andrew Scott
978-1-55017-484-7 • 1-55017-484-3
$49.95 • Hardback
7 x 10 • 664 pp • September 2009
In 1909 Captain John T. Walbran published one of the most beloved and enduring of all BC books, British Columbia Coast Names. Harbour Publishing celebrates the hundredth anniversary of that landmark work by presenting the first book to update Walbran's classic, Andrew Scott's Raincoast Place Names. 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 grueling 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.
Richly illustrated with photos and maps, this book is an essential reference work, a must-have guide for boaters and mariners and a standard companion for anyone interested in BC history. It also makes a fine shelf-mate for the Encyclopedia of British Columbia.
Not much more needs to be said of this, a true labor of love. The book makes a welcome update to the classic work that preceded it a century ago. It was interesting to note that certain places on the British Columbia coast are named after Captain Walbran in honor of his 1909 work.
One minor criticism is the overuse of the term “First Nation” – a Canadian political correctness term for natives that is not in use in other countries. Hence it may cause some confusion with foreign readers.
With that said, we proclaim Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names the 2009 SeaWaves Magazine Book of the Year.