When Jim Spilsbury, B.C's most famous pioneer entrepreneur, teams up with master storyteller and literary craftsman Howard White, the result is a spell-binding romp up and down British Columbia's rugged coast; eighty years of fascinating anecdotes and memories distilled into 190 pages.
Jim Spilsbury grew up in a tent on Savary Island, squatting on crown land. His story is one of the classic "rags-to-riches" stories in Canadian history. As well as being as brilliant inventor and an ambitious, astute businessman, he had the intangible gift of being in the right place at the right time. In 1923, at the age of 18, primed with a correspondence course in electrical engineering, Jim Spilsbury began building sophisticated radio telephones. Fishermen bought them, loggers bought them, and eventually homesteaders, explorers and even governments bought them. "Radio boomed," Spilsbury recalls, "and it carried me with it."
As we follow Spilsbury in his adventures, we meet Frank Osborne, the genius engine-builder; Emil Gordon, the obsessive flamboyant Powell River salesman who sold everything from refrigerators to cows; Red Mahone, the obstreperous Boathouse cook and Spilsbury's own bizarre family, including his rifle-toting mother who cut her hair like a man's and golfed on the beaches at low tide.
Howard White, himself a child of BC's backwaters, brings the voice of authority to Spilsbury's amazing tale. A rare gem of authentic storytelling - it flows fast and bright, like a mountain stream.