Winners & Losers, Gamblers All: Memories of Historic British Columbia
Gerald J. Stortz is an assistant professor of history at St. Jerome’s
College, University of Waterloo.
Michael Breuer is an assignment photographer with Beautiful British Columbia. Rosemary Neering is a former associate editor of the same publication and is now a freelance writer specializing in articles on B.C. and on travel.
This work consists of a series of photographs accompanied by short descriptive vignettes. While some of the photographs might be described as mundane, the vast majority are interesting and, in some cases, curious. (In the latter category falls a pinup picture of a semi-nude woman from an old billiard hall.) The vignettes provide a diverse dose of anecdotal history, including tales such as that of the “butter” church, so called because it was financed by the sale of butter by local Indians. The research that has gone into these vignettes has produced some noteworthy results. A photo of the magnificent legislative building in Victoria, for example, is accompanied by a tale about the architect, Francis Mawson Rattenbury: when Rattenbury was shot by his estranged wife behind the building, one local critic of the architectural design commented that it should serve as “a warning to all architects.”
Those wanting a complete history of B.C. will have to look elsewhere. But those with warm memories of the Pacific Coast, or those unfortunate enough to be stuck in a typical Ontario January, will find this book to be a most enjoyable way to while away a Sunday afternoon.