Giller winner conjures ghost of Fitz St. John
History: The Saga of Fitz St. John
Behind Esi Edugyan's Giller Prize-winning novel about the astounding exploits of Barbados-born Washington Black lies the very true story of William Fitzclarence “Fitz” St. John: A Vancouver longshoreman, unionist, and pioneer who -- alongside his Indigenous co-workers -- blazed a trail for equality and fair wages on the docks.
Frozen memories of Finland warm a chilled soul
Travel: Finding A Sense of Faith in Finland
So far, so bad... The New Year's promise of a fresh start turns sour, forcing an old scribe to seek spiritual sustenance from the past via memories of a visit to Scandinavia.
By Rod Mickleburgh
Well, here we are in yet another decade, And, like much of the previous 10 years, with a few exceptions, so far so bad. As the outside world turns increasingly partisan and dark, I found myself seeking some spiritual sustenance from the past. I fastened on a similar passing of time 30 years ago: the last days of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, a decade which proved pivotal in my life and career in a way I never thought possible. My reflections were likely heightened by the fact that it all took place in the country where my mother was born, Finland.
I was lucky enough to be living in Paris that year, so it had seemed only natural to spend Christmas and New Year’s revisiting my ancestral roots. It was wonderful. Sparkling snow ...
One, two, three strikes — and Canada is out!
History: The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, Part Two
The workers of Canada united behind strikers in Winnipeg, leading to the largest labour action in Canadian history and a class division that continues to create friction and distrust 100 years on.
Holy Fuck! I Just Turned 40
Pop Culture Decoder: Turning 40
Though society still tends to value youth and beauty over age and experience, culture writer Misty Harris discovered she was filled with as much optimism as dread at the thought of turning 40. ‘I feel like I’m finally where I need to be – and with the tribe I’m supposed to be with.’
Lest We Forget the heroes once branded “enemy aliens”
Mickleburgh: Japanese-Canadian Veterans
Huddled under a colourful autumn canopy, in a secluded corner of Vancouver’s Stanley Park, Rod Mickleburgh found a Remembrance Day ceremony that refused to forget Canada’s racist past.
First Place Finnish
Travel: Celebrating Finland's 100th anniversary
Rod Mickleburgh returns to the land of his ancestors to discover an almost genetic propensity to fight for social justice and a rather bizarre predilection for odd sports
By Rod Mickleburgh
You may have missed it, but the land of my ancestors recently celebrated it’s centennial. On Dec. 6, 1917, small but mighty Finland officially severed itself from Russia, becoming an independent country for the first time. Russia’s new Bolshevik rulers did not protest. I remember leafing through one of my great aunt’s photo albums and seeing a grainy picture of the raising of the Finnish flag in their small community for the first time. A bit more than two and a half years after independence, my mother was born in the fishing/farming village of Sideby. When I first visited “the relatives” in the winter of 1971, I was given the very room where her birth took place. Under the mountain of blankets my two great aunts supplied, I remember ...
What The Knuckler? Pitching for Dummies… and Brian Doyle
When everything about baseball is new, having a knowledgeable buddy to help you get a grip on balls, strikes and four-seam fastballs can be more fun than shagging a can of corn
(The following is part of a continuing correspondence between Charley Gordon, journalist and veteran baseball fan, and Brian Doyle, author of Young Adult fiction and newly minted follower of the boys of summer.)
May 3, 2016
Dear Dr. Gordon:
I have a friend who has been a baseball fan for 70 years.
I am, as you know, a neophyte baseball watcher.
My friend (let's call him "Mike") has a superior attitude and is sneeringly patronizing when it comes to baseball comments.
I fear, when I come out of the closet, he is going to dismiss and even scoff at any observation I might make about the game.
I want to say something about knuckle ball pitchers in general and R.A. Dickey in particular. I want my comment to sound sensible and mature and reasonable and I want it to ...
Irene Howard, History Is Her Story
People: Plaque unveiled for Helena Guttridge
Mayor's tribute to Vancouver's first female councillor strikes a personal note for Rod Mickleburgh, who in turn honours a chronicler he calls 'Auntie Irene'
By Rod Mickleburgh
(May 19, 2017) - At the age of 70, my beloved Auntie Irene, under her scholastic name of Irene Howard, published her definitive biography of Helena Gutteridge, Vancouver’s first woman “alderman”. Ten years later, when she was 80, she completed her remarkable book Gold Dust On His Shirt, a moving saga of her family’s working class life in the gold mines of British Columbia, feathered with impeccable research of the times. At 90 she published a very fine poem, which is reproduced below.
And one morning last month, at the age of 94 and a half, Auntie Irene sat in the front row of chairs arrayed in a room off the main lobby at city hall, looking as elegant and vivacious as anyone who pre-dated Vancouver’s Art Deco municipal masterpiece by 14 years ...