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History Pre-confederation (to 1867)

Thompson's Highway

The Literary Origins of British Columbia, Volume 3

by (author) Alan Twigg

Ronsdale Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2006
Pre-Confederation (to 1867)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2006
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 14
  • Grade: 9


For his third volume about BC literary history, Alan Twigg traces the writings of David Thompson, Alexander Mackenzie, Simon Fraser and thirty of their peers, mainly Scotsmen, who founded and managed more than fifty forts west of the Rockies prior to 1850. After the failure of Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser to find a navigable route to the Pacific Ocean, it was the remarkable mapmaker, David Thompson, who was instrumental in creating the "highway" for commerce that connected both sides of the North American continent. Thompson's exploration and mapping enabled George Simpson, the "Little Emperor" of the Hudson's Bay Company, and James Douglas, the founding father of the province, finally to bring viability to the corporate fur trade on the so-called Western Slope."Since the deaths of W. Kaye Lamb, William Ireland, Margaret Ormsby, and Charles Lillard, Twigg has been the main voice for what I call the British Columbia narrative." —Barry Gough, Papers of The Bibliographical Society of Canada

About the author

Alan Twigg is the publisher and editor of BC Book World, Canada's largest-circulating publication about books. He has also been contributing editor of Quill & Quire, Canadian books columnist for the Vancouver Province, books columnist for Vancouver magazine, a contributor of profiles to the Toronto Star and the Writers Union of Canada representative on the board of directors of the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing. In 2000, he was the first recipient of the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contibutions to literature and publishing.

Alan is the author of ten previous titles including For Openers: Conversations with 24 Canadian Writers, Hubert Evans: The First Ninety-Three Years, Vancouver and Its Writers, Vander Zalm: from Immigrant to Premier, First Invaders: The Literary Origins of British Columbia and Cuba: 101 Top Historical Sites.

Alan Twigg's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Passionately, almost obsessively, Twigg has been drawing the map of our conglomerate culture.” —Pacific Rim Review of Books

“Twigg is the Ali Baba of Canadian literary studies. He finds literary gems from the often silent and discursive past and brings them to life. . . . Since the deaths of W. Kaye Lamb, William Ireland, Margaret Ormsby, and Charles Lillard, Twigg has been the main voice for what I call the British Columbia narrative.” —Barry Gough, Bibliographical Society of Canada

Librarian Reviews

Thompson’s Highway: British Columbia’s Fur Trade, 1800 –1850

Twigg describes the lives of, among others, the fur traders/explorers Alexander Mackenzie, Simon Fraser and David Thompson. Their roles and importance in exploring and opening up the West Coast, as well as Thompson’s major achievements as a mapmaker, are documented. A major focus is on Thompson’s role in BC history and his route to the Pacific Ocean. Thirty-tree fascinating people are documented including John Jewitt, Paul Kane, Peter Skene Ogden, James Douglas and George Simpson. Fifty forts built along this ”highway” between 1800 and 1850 are described in an appendix.

Twigg’s First Invaders was nominated for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize.

Caution: References to Aboriginal peoples as “savages” and “Indians”.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2007-2008.

Other titles by Alan Twigg