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Review in the Victoria Times-Colonist

"Don't be deceived by the title - Burrard Inlet itself may be made of water, but this is the story of what has happened on the land around it, especially in the past 150 years or thereabouts.

The transformation in that time has been nothing short of remarkable. It's gone from a sparsely populated area covered, for the most part, in forest to a teeming metropolis, the most important city in Western Canada.
The development of Vancouver has been written about hundreds of times. Doreen Armitage has, however, taken a different approach, looking at the city and its suburbs from the water, rather than the land.

It makes sense. Burrard Inlet has been the focal point of much of the development of the urban area, and was instrumental in determining the way the Lower Mainland was developed.

Armitage covers a wide area - all the way from Point Grey and Point Atkinson in the west to Indian Arm and Port Moody in the east. Today, the area includes everything from parks and beaches to commercial and industrial land to wilderness.

There have been many fascinating stories over the years, and many characters have given Burrard Inlet a colourful history. Armitage touches on many of these people, from the entrepreneurs whose commercial ventures helped shape development many years later, to the lighthouse keepers who saved lives.

There were the three far-sighted individuals - John Morton, William Hailstone and Samuel Brighouse - who took a chance buying 500 acres for one dollar an acre. Today, we call their land the West End, stretching from Burrard Street to Stanley Park.

And then there were people such as ferry operator John 'Navvy Jack' Thomas and hotel owner John 'Gassy Jack' Deighton, who is remembered today in the name Gastown. Burrard Inlet, the book, is richly illustrated with old photographs and drawings as well as maps and reproductions of advertisements from newspapers.

The history of British Columbia is based, to a large extent, on the history of the Vancouver area - and that history was built on the shores of Burrard Inlet.

This fine work by Armitage - who previously wrote an important history of the Howe Sound-Whistler area - adds even more to our understanding of how British Columbia became what it is today."

Dave Obee is the editorial page editor of the Times Colonist.