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Vancouver Launch of The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names


September 9, 2009

Author Andrew Scott launches his landmark work, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names: A Complete Reference to Coastal British Columbia at the Vancouver Maritime Museum (1905 Ogden Avenue) on Saturday, October 24 from 2-4pm. Andrew will present a talk and slideshow and sign copies of his new book. Books will be for sale. For more information please contact: 604 257-8300.

“In terms of sheer magnitude it stands as one of the remarkable achievements of coastal literature. But it is so much more than that... Scott brings a lifetime’s fascination with the province and its people to his work... In one sense, Raincoast Place Names is a long-overdue update of coastal toponymy. In another, it is a chronicle of the BC coast in digest form.”
—Howard White, Publisher Harbour Publishing

In 1909 Captain John T. Walbran published one of the most beloved and enduring of all BC books, British Columbia Coast Names. Harbour Publishing celebrates the hundredth anniversary of that impressive collection by presenting the first book to update Walbran’s classic, Andrew Scott’s Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names. Walbran reportedly worked on his opus for ten years and produced some 1,500 entries. Scott worked on his for three years and produced 4,000 entries.

The book is a fascinating collection of BC coastal stories, many of which are unknown and have never been published. The author explores the origins of BC coastal place names and writes of the entertaining and adventurous inhabitants of this land.

Raincoast Place Names is much more than simply a catalogue of name origins because it tells the fascinating stories behind the names and in so doing serves as a history of the region in capsule form. It is also a monumental work, twice the size of Walbran’s and including more than three times as many places. Four thousand entries consider, in intriguing detail, the stories behind over five thousand place names: how they were discovered, who named them and why, and what the names reveal. It describes the original First Nations cultures, the heroics of the 18th-century explorers and fur traders, the gruelling survey and settlement efforts of the 19th century, the lives of colonial officials, missionaries, gold seekers and homesteaders, and the histories of nearly every important vessel to sail or cruise the coast.

The book also examines—for the first time—the rich heritage of BC place names added in the 20th century. These new entries reflect the world of the steamship era, the ships and skippers of the Union and Princess lines, the heroes of the two World Wars and the sealing fleet, Esquimalt’s naval base and BC’s fishing, canning, mining and logging industries.

Richly illustrated with photos and maps, this book is a must-have guide for boaters and mariners and a standard companion for anyone interested in BC history. It also makes a fine shelf-mate for the Encyclopedia of British Columbia.

Andrew Scott is a veteran journalist who has published some 1,000 articles as well as having edited and produced several substantial magazines himself. His specialization is in BC postal history, which gave him a longstanding fascination with the province’s less-known nooks and crannies. He has written five previous books including the award-winning Painter, Paddler: The Art and Adventures of Stewart Marshall and Secret Coastline: Journeys and Discoveries Along BC’s Shores. He has written articles for publications such as Discovery, Western Living, Pacific Yachting, Globe & Mail, Vancouver Sun, Victoria Times Colonist and the Georgia Straight. He was also a contributing editor, subject consultant and writer for the Encyclopedia of British Columbia. A keen hiker, conservationist, traveller, historian and naturalist, Andrew lives in Sechelt, BC.