Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search


Beneath the Coal Dust

Historical Journeys through the Elk Valley and Crowsnest Pass

by (author) Wayne Norton

Caitlin Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
NON-CLASSIFIABLE, Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


In Beneath the Coal Dust, author Wayne Norton digs deep, exploring the fascinating and sometimes sobering stories of the mining communities in the Elk Valley and the Crowsnest Pass. In this new collection, Norton chooses mainly a micro view, focusing on the stories that are specific to this isolated and unique geographic region. These tales span from the notorious red-light district of Fernie to women’s ice hockey in the 1920s, to the civic financial crisis caused by the Home Bank collapse, the regional history of breweries and prohibition, and the experiences and amazing fortitude of both Chinese and Syrian immigrants in what was a predominantly white settler town. This is a book about the local past, intended for those interested not necessarily in the broad sweep of national history, but rather in the smaller stories that are specific to this remote and historically rich area. And instead of dealing with the core regional narrative surrounding the coal industry, these explorations reveal some of what has been neglected and hidden “beneath the coal dust," as the title suggests.

About the author

Wayne Norton is a writer, publisher and historical consultant who was, for many years, a teacher in Fort Rupert and Kamloops in British Columbia and in England. Born in Calgary, he has written extensively on a wide range of historical topics. His interest in women’s ice hockey, like all his interests in history, was sparked in childhood by family visits to his grandparents in Fernie. His most recent publications are A World Apart: The Crowsnest Communities of Alberta and British Columbia and Kamloops History: Fictions, Facts and Fragments. Wayne now lives in Victoria, BC.

Wayne Norton's profile page


  • Winner, Community History Award - British Columbia Historical Federation

Other titles by Wayne Norton