Historic Nelson: The Early Years


320 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88982-150-X
DDC 971.1'6203






Reviewed by William Glover

William Glassman is a professor of psychology at Ryerson Polytechnical


This amateur local history recounts the tale of early pioneers and mine
development at Nelson, British Columbia. The author’s purpose is not
to present an academic history, but rather to “infuse [the] facts with
the breath of life.” To that end, he is content to offer “pure
speculation” as to what people thought. His book contains minor
errors. For example, American Colonel Topping could not have traveled to
Victoria to obtain Canadian citizenship, because the Canadian
Citizenship Act was not introduced until 1947; also, Britain was not
responsible for law enforcement after British Columbia joined
Confederation. More curious is Norris’s failure to identify Sir Joseph
Trutch, the influential backer of the Silver King Mine and member of the
Nelson “society club,” as the province’s first
lieutenant-governor. Newspaper anecdotes of forgotten people and events
provide flavor, but the book would have benefited from a more complete
discussion of the politics of mine and railroad development.
Nevertheless, this is a colorful tale.


Norris, John., “Historic Nelson: The Early Years,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/31124.