Daniel Francis

Daniel Francis  Works as a freelance historical writer and researcher and the author of two dozen published books including the very successful Encyclopedia of British Columbia. His book L.D.: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver (Arsenal Pulp, 2004) won the City of Vancouver Book Award. His award-winning book, Red Light Neon: A History of Vancouver’s Sex Trade (Subway, 2007). Listen to the book here or visit his blog here. He is a contributing editor at Geist and lives in North Vancouver.

Park In Progress

Daniel Francis asks why a high-speed commuter route runs through Stanley Park, Vancouver's precious urban oasis. more »


Toronto The Good

Daniel Francis reviews Toronto: Biography of a City, a book bound to irritate readers who live outside Toronto—the "centre of the Canadian universe." more »


When Treatment Becomes Torture

Daniel Francis discusses Canada's failing mental health care system and its long history of mistreatment. more »

Columns 2 Comments

We Are Not a Nation of Amnesiacs

"Canadians have long been convinced that we do not know much, or care much, about our own history, but a new study suggests that this truism is not true." more »


Who Cares Who Ate John Franklin?

Daniel Francis on John Franklin, John Rae and the Globe and Mail's enthusiasm for cannibalism. more »


Magical Thinking

The canoe as a fetish object, a misreading of Canadian history and a symbol of colonial oppression. more »


Identity in a Cup

Is it the icons of Canadian pop culture—hockey fights, Tim Hortons coffee, Don Cherry’s haberdashery, Rick Mercer’s rants—that reveal the deepest truths about us? more »


Come to the Cabaret

The Penthouse, the notorious Vancouver night club, shares a history with several of the city's missing women cases. more »



Because of its status as the city’s tallest structure, the World Tower attracted a fair share of attention over the years, but nothing equalled the much-publicized attempt by Harry Gardiner, “The Human Fly." more »


Huan Tran

It's a Free Country, Isn't It?

During the 1950s the RCMP used a machine to identify federal employees who were homosexuals. The name of this bogus device? The "fruit machine," of course. more »


Warrior Nation

The Great White North gets rebranded and gains some military muscle: goodbye peacenik, hello soldier. more »

Columns 4 Comments

Boob Tube

Richard Stursberg’s memoir of his years in CBC programming raises the question: How did someone with no sympathy for public broadcasting get the job in the first place? more »

Columns 4 Comments

No Stopping, 1944.

Artray photo, Vancouver Public Library: VPL 84847. Used with permission.


Daniel Francis explores the photographer as Vancouver's most interesting historian. more »


Photo by William Notman

Deviance on Display

Daniel Francis investigates the practice of visiting asylums and penitentiaries as entertainment in nineteenth-century Canada. more »

Columns 1 Comments

Double Life

The poet John Glassco lived in disguise, masquerading as a member of the gentry while writing pornography and reinventing his past. more »

Essays 1 Comments

Sex, Drugs, Rock ’n’ Roll and the National Identity

In this essay, Daniel Francis discusses how Gerda Munsinger—a woman with ties to the criminal underworld—shaped Canadian politics in the 1960s. more »


Red Scare

The Bolshevists are coming! The Bolshevists are coming! Daniel Francis recounts Canada's close call with a revolution. more »


Killer Angels

Daniel Francis reviews the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, a minute-by-minute reimagining of the Battle of Gettysburg. more »


Acadia's Quiet Revolution

Revolutions need popular heroes, and unpopular villains, and the Acadians of New Brunswick had both. more »



One thing Canadians have learned from our armed incursion into Afghanistan is that we do not have a vocabulary for discussing war or warlike events. more »


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