When the first edition of Raincoast Chronicles was produced by a couple of novice publishers in the unlikely location of Pender Harbour in 1972, it boldly announced that it was going “to put BC character on the record.” Printed in sepia ink and decorated with the rococo flourishes characteristic of that extravagant era, the unclassifiable journal-c*m-serial-book about life on the BC coast struck a nerve and in time became something very close to what it set out to be—a touchstone of British Columbia identity. Soon the term “Raincoast,” which had been coined by the editors, was appearing on boats, puppet theatres, interior decorating firms and at least one other publishing enterprise.
Raincoast Chronicles also created another publishing enterprise—Harbour Publishing. Many of the stories that started out as articles in the Chronicles grew into books and so the White family was more or less forced to get into book publishing to deal with them. That undertaking went on to publish some six hundred books (and counting!) about every possible aspect of BC and, in 2014, celebrated its fortieth anniversary in the biz. To honour that occasion this special double issue of Raincoast Chronicles takes a tour down memory lane, selecting a trove of the most outstanding stories in all those Harbour books and republishing them in one volume.
Here are some of Canada’s most exciting and iconic writers—Al Purdy, Anne Cameron, Edith Iglauer, Patrick Lane and Grant Lawrence, to start a long list. Here also are stories of disasters at sea, scarcely believable bush plane feats, eerie events at coastal ghost towns and a First Nations elder who has seen so many sasquatches he finds them sort of boring. Full of great drawings and photos, this jumbo anniversary edition of Raincoast Chronicles is a feast of great Pacific Northwest storytelling.