Daniel Francis

Daniel Francis was born in Vancouver in 1947. He earned his BA from the University of British Columbia, then moved to Ottawa, where he worked as a newspaper journalist and obtained an MA in Canadian Studies from Carleton University in 1975. Since then he has worked as a freelance historical writer and researcher.

From 1984 to 1987 he was the editorial director of Horizon Canada, a bilingual illustrated history of Canada published from Montreal in weekly magazine format. In 1987 he moved with his family back to the Vancouver area.

Francis has written two dozen published books, most of them about Canadian history. Titles include: The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1992), National Dreams: Myth, Memory and Canadian History (Arsenal Pulp, 1997), Red Light Neon: A History of Vancouver’s Sex Trade (Subway Books, 2006) and A Road for Canada: The Illustrated Story of the Trans-Canada Highway (Stanton Atkins and Dosil, 2006). His book L.D.: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver (Arsenal Pulp, 2004) won the City of Vancouver Book Award. He also served as editorial director of the mammoth Encyclopedia of British Columbia, hailed on its appearance in 2000 as one of the most important books about the province ever published. He has also written several books for young readers, including Far West: The Story of British Columbia (Harbour, 2006), which stayed on the BC Bestseller list for many weeks.

His latest book is Seeing Reds: The Red Scare of 1918–1919, Canada’s First War on Terror (Arsenal Pulp Press).

Daniel Francis has been a member of the Geist editorial board since the magazine was founded in 1990. You can read Francis's blog at

He recently spoke to Joseph Planta from about his book, Red Light Neon: A History of Vancouver’s Sex Trade (Subway, 2007). Listen here.