Harbour Burning: A Century of Vancouver's Maritime Fires


208 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88839-488-8
DDC 971.1'33




Reviewed by Ann Turner

Ann Turner is the financial and budget manager of the University of
British Columbia Library.


Barely two months after its incorporation as a city in April 1886,
Vancouver was totally destroyed by a wind-whipped slash fire.
Reconstruction began immediately, and with it the development of
Vancouver’s outstanding fire protection program. Its state-of-the-art
equipment and dedicated firefighters have been tested many times since.
Harbour Burning tells the story.

Beginning with incorporation and concluding with the disastrous Alberta
Wheat Pool fire in August 1994, Hagelund succinctly documents the major
fires in and around the port as well as noteworthy events in
Vancouver’s history of firefighting. Five former long-term fireboat
captains and the master of an RCMP vessel contributed their firsthand
experiences and memorabilia to the narrative, detailing the history of
the Vancouver Fire Department and the horrific blazes it has subdued.
More than 70 black-and-white photographs of fires and firefighting
equipment from 1891 to 1994 illustrate the text. Though the book would
have benefited from more careful proofreading, it adds a new and
interesting chapter to Vancouver’s history, one that captures in print
the experiences of brave people who were there.


Hagelund, William A., “Harbour Burning: A Century of Vancouver's Maritime Fires,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/9365.