The Ambitious City: A History of the City of North Vancouver.


342 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-1-55017-411-3
DDC 971.1'33





Reviewed by Ann Turner

Ann Turner is Financial and Budget Manager at the University of British
Columbia Library.


With characteristic foresight and prudence, the North Vancouver City Council commissioned this commemorative volume years before the event it celebrates, the centennial of the city’s incorporation in 2007. Despite its boom-and-bust beginnings, North Vancouver has an enviable record of good planning and self-financed projects. It has been particularly careful to designate funds to preserve its heritage. Well before the arrival of European settlers, the area was home to several First Nations peoples. Since 1862 the city has been shaped by several industries—timber cutting, lumber milling,  shipping, and shipbuilding—and these industries have continued through two world wars, the Great Depression, and economies both good and bad, to the present day. The city’s story is a lively one, full of strong personalities and controversy in the areas of ethnic relations, the labour movement, and politics at all levels. It is to the author’s credit that he recounts it with equanimity and consideration for all points of view. Packed with interesting and quirky details, liberally illustrated with archival photographs, and spiced with quotations from first-person accounts, this is a well-organized and entertaining local history.


Sommer, Warren., “The Ambitious City: A History of the City of North Vancouver.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024,