Reviews – Legends of Vancouver

legends_cover150x230E. Pauline Johnson
Legends of Vancouver
100th Anniversary Edition

Review by Carole Gerson in BC Studies: The British Columbian Quartely, no. 183,
August 2014

For the centennial of Johnson’s death, a new Vancouver press launched a reissue of Legends of Vancouver, described as the “100th Anniversary Edition,” whose illustrations situate Johnson as a link between past and present. Many of the early volumes of Legends included picturesque photographs (by Leonard Frank, among others) of sites of the stories, selected to create a sense of timelessness by avoiding references to human beings or their built environment.

…the fresh vision embodied by this new edition of Legends of Vancouver…

This new edition, however, features recent photos (by Anne-Marie Comte) that document the inescapable impact of modernity: for example, images of Siwash Rock include the Stanley Park sea wall, and a shoreline view from Deadman’s Island looks east to downtown skyscrapers. These images are interspersed with dramatic photos of unpeopled canyons and mountains, effectively juxtaposing the old and the new, as does the cover drawing of a sea serpent, by current Salish Musqueam artist Raymond Sim, which recurs as a unifying motif within the volume.