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History General

British Columbia

Spirit of the People

by (author) Jean Barman

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
May 2008
General, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2008
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12
  • Grade: 7


In 2008, BC celebrates the founding of the Crown Colony of British Columbia and 150 years of cultural diversity, community and achievement. British Columbia: Spirit of the People celebrates this milestone, capturing the province's history, beauty and complex character in a lavish coffee-table book.

The text, by respected historian Jean Barman, is ambitious in scope. Barman delves into the region's history, from the first humans to arrive in British Columbia twenty thousand years ago to the promises and hopes of the twenty-first century, including the first contact between Indigenous peoples and newcomers; the legacy of the fur trade and gold rush; the contributions of immigrant cultures; the development of communities and urban centres and the flourishing of the arts.

A rich selection of archival images depicting the province's past are paired with iconic and stunning colour photographs capturing the diversity of the modern landscape. From the large stretches of open range and grassland of the Southern Interior, to the rugged geography of the Kootenays and Coast Mountains, the verdant beauty of the Gulf Islands and the excitement of the province's cities and communities, BC's geography is extravagant.

Images selected from the province's most talented photographers, including David Nunuk, Chris Cheadle and Vance Hannah, showcase this diversity.

Like the province of British Columbia, with its remarkable history, characters, places and achievements, British Columbia is a remarkable book and an important addition to the library of every British Columbian.

About the author

Jean Barman, professor emeritus, has published more than twenty books, including On the Cusp of Contact: Gender, Space and Race in the Colonization of British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2020) and the winner of the 2006 City of Vancouver Book Award, Stanley Park’s Secret (Harbour Publishing, 2005). Her lifelong pursuit to enrich the history of BC has earned her such honours as a Governor General’s Award, a George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, a Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing and a position as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She lives in Vancouver, BC.

Jean Barman's profile page

Librarian Reviews

British Columbia: Spirit of the People

British Columbia’s 150th year is celebrated in this beautiful book. Replete with pictures from all over BC, the reader is reminded what diversity the province contains, not only of land forms but also cultures. The book starts with a pictorial outline of the nine different areas in BC. It then gives a very general outline of Northwest Aboriginal culture, the coming of the Europeans, the foundation of the colony of BC and finally current history. This book covers everything from the cultural adaptations in the province to industry to well-known British Columbians. Paintings from artists around BC are included.

Jean Barman is also the author of The West beyond the West and Stanley Park’s Secret.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2008-2009.

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