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History British Columbia (bc)

Raincoast Chronicles

Fifth Five

by (author) Alan Haig-Brown, Rick James & Judith Williams

foreword by Howard White

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Oct 2024
British Columbia (BC), Post-Confederation (1867-), Personal Memoirs
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2024
    List Price

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Brimming with stories and images, this fascinating collection celebrates Harbour Publishing’s fifty-year commitment to recording the unique ways of life that have sprung from the West Coast.

Half a century and hundreds of book releases have rolled by since Harbour Publishing was founded in 1974. So it is only appropriate to mark this golden anniversary with a new omnibus edition of Raincoast Chronicles, the series that has always been at the heart of Harbour’s mission to express the rich culture and history of BC’s coast. Indeed, it was the Chronicles, which began publication in 1972, that inspired the creation of Harbour itself, as the expansive articles grew into book-length works.

The lushly illustrated collection Fifth Five gathers volumes 21 through 24 of Raincoast Chronicles along with a new, previously unpublished Raincoast Chronicle 25 by Alan Haig-Brown, focusing on the author’s formative years as a deckhand in the 1960s and early ’70s on a fishing boat run by a We Wai Kai family he married into as a teenager. The history of commercial fishing and of BC itself, in all its twisting relations with Indigenous peoples, is mirrored in Haig-Brown’s vivid account of life aboard, where “there are no typical days” despite the tightly choreographed tasks and immense local knowledge required by this ever-risky business.

In issue 21, West Coast Wrecks and Other Maritime Tales, maritime historian Rick James leads an authoritative tour of BC’s most famous shipwrecks, as weathered sailors and divers share lore about one of the most dangerous stretches of coastline in the world. Also included are pieces from some of Canada’s most exciting and iconic writers—Al Purdy, Anne Cameron, Edith Iglauer, Patrick Lane and Grant Lawrence, along with stories of disasters at sea, scarcely believable bush plane feats, eerie events at coastal ghost towns and reminisces of the Schnarr sisters who kept cougars as pets.

In its passion for storytelling about overlooked but crucial aspects of the past, Fifth Five serves as a fitting tribute to Harbour Publishing’s own deep history.

About the authors

Alan Haig-Brown learned to swim in the 1950s, among the humpback salmon in the Campbell River. He seined salmon and herring until 1973, and served for eleven years as coordinator of Indian education in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Haig-Brown became editor of the West Coast Fisherman in 1986 and later founded The West Coast Mariner and The West Coast Logger. His award-winning books for Harbour Publishing include Fishing for a Living and The Fraser River.

Alan Haig-Brown's profile page

Rick James is a writer, maritime historian, photographer and field archaeologist, whose work has been published in numerous periodicals including The Beaver: Canada's History Magazine, The Sea Chest: Journal of the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society and Western Mariner. He is the author of Ghost Ships of Royston and co-authored Historic Shipwrecks of BC's Central Coast, Historic Shipwrecks of the Sunshine Coast and The Comox Valley. Many people recognize him from his role in The Sea Hunters documentary Malahat: Queen of the Rum Runners, which aired on Canada's History channel. He lives in Courtenay, BC.

Rick James' profile page

Artist and writer Judith Williams gathered material on the settling of Kingcome Inlet by homsteaders and the copper/cow pictograph's relation to the potlatch ban during ten years of visits to the inlet. She is the author of two previous books, High Slack and Dynamite Stories. Williams's work has been shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery, UBC's Museum of Anthropology and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. She splits her time and mind between Vancouver and Refuge Cove on West Redonda Island in Desolation Sound.

Judith Williams' profile page

Howard White was born in 1945 in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He was raised in a series of camps and settlements on the BC coast and never got over it. He is still to be found stuck barnacle-like to the shore at Pender Harbour, BC. He started Raincoast Chronicles and Harbour Publishing in the early 1970s and his own books include A Hard Man to Beat (bio), The Men There Were Then (poems), Spilsbury's Coast (bio), The Accidental Airline (bio), Patrick and the Backhoe (childrens`), Writing in the Rain (anthology) and The Sunshine Coast (travel). He was awarded the Canadian Historical Association's Career Award for Regional History in 1989. In 2000, he completed a ten-year project, The Encyclopedia of British Columbia. He has been awarded the Order of BC, the Canadian Historical Association's Career Award for Regional History, the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award and a Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree from the University of Victoria. In 2007, White was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has twice been runner-up in the Whisky Slough Putty Man Triathlon.

Howard White's profile page

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