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Reviews

Canadian Book Review Association
This beautiful coffee-table book was clearly a labor of love for its creators, B.C. historian and humorist Howard White and a group of talented photographers headed by Keith Thirkell. All are residents of the Sunshine Coast. Some of the most spectacular scenery in Canada is found along this rugged and forested coastline, whose mountains, fjords, and islands extend northwest of Vancouver for 100 miles.

The geographic features of the region gave rise to small, relatively isolated communities, each with their own character and historical development. The book organizes them into four major areas - Gibsons (of Beachcombers fame); Sechelt; Pender Harbour; and Powell River, including Jervis Inlet. The portrait of each area includes a colorful history of fact and legend, reminiscences, and travelogue-style descriptions.

The book's color photography is superb, capturing the spirit of the area, its residents, and its commerce. A bibliography of more than 40 monographs about the Sunshine Coast and a general index of personal and place names complete this enticing introduction to the region and its history.
-Ann Turner

Picturing BC Landscapes
Howard White has seen a half-century of local history unfold since his family moved to the Sunshine Coast to operate a gyppo logging camp, and he proudly describes the area-the east side of Georgia Straight, angling northwest for 100 miles from Howe Sound-as an "oddball sort of place.' At first glimpse The Sunshine Coast seems an oddball sort of coffee-table book, with the 157 photos by several local residents threatening to overpower White's 45 pages of text. But White has an intriguing thesis. He believes that the area has long attracted two broad types, two pioneer strains distinguishable by their reasons for being on the Sunshine Coast. There are the "loafers," who come for the love of the place and are indifferent to economic prospects, and there are the "muckers," who come for economic reasons and are indifferent to the placeness of the place. Even as the population mushrooms to 40,000 and ferryloads of muckers commute to Vancouver, the "fine art of loaferdom" thrives.
Consider, for example, Sammy Lamont and Ann Clemence. Sam grew up in a cedar shack behind Powell River and spent most of his working years salvaging escaped sawlogs. Ann is an ex-nurse trained in England. They lived in a waterfront home, with all the furniture made by Sam. They ate well from the sea and from their seaweed-rich garden. White writes, "They lived great lives and they worked hard for it, but not in a pulp mill. To Statistics Canada they were loafers.'

White's family were muckers. He "was brought up with the impression it was really all happening someplace else," and if he had any brains he should use them to get away to one of those places at the first opportunity. In White's view such attitudes typify those who follow jobs to the area. Muckers tend to support clearcut logging and wide-open development while showing less concern for the preservation of rural values, although he himself is "living proof that the longer one stays, the more his motives tend to get confused.?

White's ability to blend the rustic with the worldly-in one sentence he links D.H. Lawrence, Kurt Cobain, and Peter Trower, suffuses The Sunshine Coast. There is a balance in both the prose and the photos that respects the muckers while celebrating the loafers, honours the settlers while acknowledging the newcomers, and advances White's bucolic philosophies while situating the area and its population globally.

The balance and frankness are equally evident when White turns to the area's Aboriginal peoples: "The Coast Salish have never enjoyed the renown accorded by white Indian-fanciers to the Haida and Kwakiutl, probably because the Salish didn't erect forests of totem poles, didn't carve sea-going war canoes, and didn?t produce world-class art except on one notable occasion. On the other hand, they didn't use the bodies of freshly killed slaves for boat bumpers.' We read that the Salish did create a profoundly democratic social order, and that they did excel at commerce, and continue to do so.
-Joel Martineau, Canadian Literature