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Travel Western Provinces

Enchanted Isles

The Southern Gulf Islands

by (author) David A.E. Spalding

photographs by Kevin Oke

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Oct 2007
Western Provinces, General, Photoessays & Documentaries
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2007
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9
  • Grade: 4


Longlisted for the 2007 Victoria Butler Book Prize

The southern Gulf Islands between Nanaimo and Victoria are among British Columbia's greatest scenic treasures, projecting an appeal so powerful as to make nesomanes (island lovers) of the most unromantic souls. Ranging in size from Saltspring (pop. 12,000) to unoccupied D'arcy, they first began to attract European settlers in 1859 and have been home to a special breed of freedom-loving denizen ever since. Author David A.E. Spalding and photographer Kevin Oke are both members of this unique tribe and in this book pay tribute to their chosen region with the sensitivity and insider knowledge only long-time residents can provide.

Brimming with gorgeous colour photographs by Oke, Enchanted Isles begins with a historic overview detailing how the islands served as a favoured hideaway of some of BC's most distinguished eccentrics. Remittance men and other escapees from British stuffiness form one stream of islanders, but there have been many others. A census of Saltspring in 1895 included a Patagonian, Germans, Portuguese, Hawaiians, Americans, Shetlanders and Scandinavians. Today you may expect to find individuals from virtually anywhere in the world.

Enchanted Isles showcases local wildlife, captures local character and history and offers insider tips for visitors. It is a spectacular coffee-table book that shows why the Gulf Islands rank with Whistler and the Pacific Rim as one of the most popular tourist destinations in BC.

About the authors

David A.E. Spalding held senior positions at the Provincial Museum of Alberta for 15 years and worked in radio and television. Spalding now lives on Pender Island, BC. He has published 13 books, including Whales of the West Coast, Dinosaur Hunters and Into the Dinosaurs` Graveyard, as well as many articles and television scripts.

David A.E. Spalding's profile page

Kevin Oke has photographed diverse landscapes and cultures throughout the world with his work appearing in numerous books, magazines and travel guides. Kevin's latest book Enchanted Isles: The Southern Gulf Islands was published by Harbour Publishing in 2007. Kevin has lived on North Pender Island, BC, since 1990 and in The Cowichan Region on Vancouver Island for the past three years, where he works as a freelance photographer and artist.

Kevin Oke's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Spalding's unusual textual treatment is as layered and unexpected as the islands themselves. Coffee table books like this are usually read; this one you experience. Somehow the flavour has gone into the mix along with the ingredients; how did they do that? The people, the places and the history all visually unfold on the page. A stunning gift book or to grace your own coffee table."
-Cherie Thiessen, January Magazine

Praise for <i>Enchanted Isles</i>

Librarian Reviews

Enchanted Isles: The Southern Gulf Islands

With more text than many coffee table books, this overview of the southern Gulf Islands from Gabriola to James, aligned to the coast of Vancouver Island from Nanaimo to Victoria, is a wealth of historical, geographical and social information. The digital colour photography shows stunning land and sea scapes and local people both eccentric and ordinary. Also included are archival black and white photographs of early island life. Useful to give ESL or elementary students a picture of this renowned part of the province, the book is probably most useful to high school students as an overview of the history and geography of this area or to Fine Arts photography students.

Photographer Kevin Oke offers technical details for each shot on his website. An author in his own right, David Spalding is the husband of well-known children’s author Andrea Spalding.

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

Other titles by David A.E. Spalding

Other titles by Kevin Oke