A couple of years ago, one of the most comprehensive books ever written about the early years of Vancouver Island arrived with a thud.
At 839 pages, J.F. Bosher’s Imperial Vancouver Island was a substantial piece of work.
With biographies of 769 people who lived here during the 100 years he called the Imperial century, the book is an essential reference work for anyone digging into our past…
Vancouver Island in the Empire tells the story of the development of the Island, as seen and influenced by people from the British Empire.
That narrow focus means that not every aspect of our history is included, but that work can be left to others.
And besides, it is hard to think of a set of books totalling almost 1,400 pages as having a focus too narrow.
Bosher makes it clear that the Imperial influence was felt throughout the Island, and in the day-to-day lives of just about everyone here.
Bosher deals with just about every aspect of life here, from schools and churches to businesses and industries, from the young to the old, from the city to the country.
He argues that people from the British Isles were much more interested in, and much more respectful of, the First Nations in the area than were the Canadians or Americans who arrived here.
Bosher came to this belief based on several sources, including an analysis of history books and their authors, amateur anthropologists and collectors of native artifacts. The latter helped ensure, he says, that these items were preserved to this day.
The author’s goal, with this book and his previous effort, was to illustrate the social fabric of people and families linking Vancouver Island to the British Isles and the rest of the Empire.
In reaching for that goal, Bosher explores our history like no others have done. His perspective offers a different view on our past, and gives us a better sense of the forces that helped shape our community.
The publication of Vancouver Island in the Empire marks a dozen years of research, compilation and writing by Bosher. His work is destined to become one of the most important references available to us, for years to come, thanks to Bosher’s rich amount of detail.