raincoast place names

Andrew Scott’s latest book, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names, was published by Harbour in October 2009.


In 1909 Captain John T. Walbran published one of the most beloved and enduring of all BC books, British Columbia Coast Names. Harbour Publishing celebrates the 100th anniversary of that landmark work by presenting the first book to update Walbran’s classic, Andrew Scott’s Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names.

Like its progenitor, Raincoast Place Names is much more than simply a catalogue of name origins. It tells the often fascinating stories behind the names and in so doing serves as a history of the region in capsule form. It is also a monumental work, twice the size of Walbran’s and including more than three times as many places. Four thousand entries consider, in intriguing detail, the stories behind more than five thousand place names: how they were discovered, who named them and why, and what the names reveal. It describes the original First Nations cultures, the heroics of the 18th-century explorers and fur traders, the gruelling survey and settlement efforts of the 19th century, the lives of colonial officials, missionaries, gold seekers and homesteaders, and the histories of nearly every important vessel to sail or cruise the coast.

The book also examines—for the first time—the rich heritage of BC place names added in the 20th century. These new entries reflect the world of the steamship era, the ships and skippers of the Union and Princess lines, the heroes of the two World Wars and the sealing fleet, Esquimalt’s naval base and BC’s fishing, canning, mining and logging industries.

Richly illustrated with photos and maps, this book should be in every Pacific Northwest library. It is an essential reference work, a must-have guide for boaters and mariners, and a standard companion for anyone interested in BC history. It also makes a fine shelf-mate for the Encyclopedia of British Columbia.

7 X 10, 664 pages, cloth, maps, illustrations, charts, colour photographs $49.95 October 2009

The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names won the 2010 Roderick Haig-Brown BC Book Prize and the 2009 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing. It was also a finalist for the 2010 Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award.

Click here to visit the Harbour Publishing website.