A Traveller's Guide to Historic British Columbia


281 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55110-095-9
DDC 917.1104'4





Reviewed by William A. Waiser

William A. Waiser is a professor of history at the University of
Saskatchewan, and the author of Saskatchewan’s Playground: A History
of Prince Albert National Park and The New Northwest: The Photographs of
the Frank Crean Expeditions, 1908-1909.


In the early 20th century, the coming of the automobile revolutionized
North American travel habits; holidays by car—or “auto-tourism,”
as it was called at the time—became fashionable in the 1920s as a
steadily growing number of motorists took to the roads of the country.
These kinds of outings have become popular once again, in large part
because they offer an inexpensive family holiday. But unlike the
motorists of the interwar period, who generally sought some form of
outdoor recreation, most tourists today also want to know something
about the local history of the region that they are visiting.

This book is Rosemary Neering’s answer to the recent interest in
“cultural tourism.” Dividing the province into eight regions, she
opens each chapter with a brief geographical and historical overview and
then proceeds to describe local items of interest (in most cases,
community by community). Unlike similar guides, Neering’s work is more
than a glorified itinerary; the book not only provides a good
understanding of each area’s beginnings and the changes that have
occurred there, but it is full of human-interest stories. Each chapter
is illustrated with a number of period photographs, and there is a good
index. Unfortunately, there is only a single highway map for each
provincial region; thus the readers must rely on the text for detailed

While the book tries to address all areas of possible interest,
including aboriginal, resource, and architectural history, its main
strength lies in the author’s abiding interest in the province’s
smaller, lesser-known communities and the individuals who settled them.
Indeed, it is perfectly suited for those who like to wander off the
beaten path.


Neering, Rosemary., “A Traveller's Guide to Historic British Columbia,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/13926.