Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Ambitious City: A History of the City of North Vancouver

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Ambitious City: A History of the City of North Vancouver

Article excerpt

Warren Sommer, The Ambitious City: A History of the City of North Vancouver (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2007), 342pp. Cased. $44.95. ISBN 978-1-5501-7411-3.

About a century ago the City of North Vancouver's location on the north shore of the Burrard Inlet, with its deep harbour and its potential for connections by bridge to the railway, was thought to offer great opportunities for development and expansion. Warren Sommer's richly illustrated history of the city describes its growth, its economic expansion, its survival through periods of recession, its changing social and cultural composition through migration, and its revitalisation through urban planning. The narrative begins with reference to the oral traditions of the Squamish people and to the Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh people who lived around the inlet before the first sightings of Europeans in the area in the late eighteenth century. The first land claims by Europeans, in the late nineteenth century, for land to be exploited for timber, were soon followed by establishment of a sawmill, a mission, a store, a residential school and a dock - precursors of the community which became formally incorporated as the City of North Vancouver in 1907. Fluctuations in the city's fortunes during the subsequent century are suggested by the chapter titles: for example, 'Boom and Bust, 1909-1912'; 'The Prodigal City, 1930-1939'; and 'Reconstruction and Restoration, 1990-1999'. The city's progress has not been uniform, with its fortunes and misfortunes being partly shaped by international events such as two World Wars and the international economic depression of 1929-33. …

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