The late Chuck Davis has been honoured with winning this year’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing for his celebrated final book The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver ($49.95, Harbour Publishing). This past fall, The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver proved to be what the author described as “the capstone of my writing career.” The hefty tome flew off the shelves in cities far beyond Vancouver, and nominations for awards—including two BC Book Prizes—are sweeping in.
In his extensive magnum opus, Chuck Davis embraces the history of metropolitan Vancouver with his characteristic flair for storytelling and quirky detail. Arranged chronologically and illustrated with the greatest collection of archival photographs of Vancouver ever published, The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver is a testament to the late author’s dedication to the city he adopted as home. This volume bristles with characters both famous, like White Spot founder Nat Bailey, and forgotten, like Squamish orator Mary Capilano. Alongside hilarious anecdotes like the near-decapitation of former Vancouver mayor Louis D. Taylor (“if he’d had an ounce more brains he’d have been a dead man,” said a wag), are the city’s major events—great fires, floods, world wars, epidemics, depressions and more. The story of how Greater Vancouver grew from a ramshackle collection of milltowns and fishing villages to today’s urban metropolis turns out to be interesting, complicated and hilarious.
Each year, the British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions for its Annual Historical Writing Competition to authors of British Columbia history. The BC Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing is awarded together with $600 to the author whose book makes the most significant contribution to the historical literature of British Columbia. Second place winners include Ron Leblanc, Keith Maxwell, Dwayne Snow and Kelly Deschênes for Swift & Strong: a Pictorial History of the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own). Dave Obee takes third place for The Library Book: a History of Service to British Columbia. Honourable mentions go to fellow Harbour Publishing author Heather Harbord forTexada Tapestry: a History, Francis Mansbridge for Cottages to Community: The Story of West Vancouver's Neighbourhoodsand Rita Moir for The Third Crop: A Personal and Historical Journey into the Photo Albums and Shoeboxes of the Slocan Valley, 1880s to early 1940s.
Charles Hector “Chuck” Davis (1935-2010) first moved to Vancouver in 1944. He left school at the age of thirteen and had a variety of jobs until he joined the Canadian Army. This is where he gained radio experience that led to a career in broadcasting. In 2010, he received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the literature of British Columbia.