A Chilliwack author has been shortlisted for the annual Historical Writing Competition.
Chad Reimer made the list with his book Before We Lost the Lake: A Natural and Human History of Sumas Valley. He is one of seven writers on the list.
The competition is presented by the British Columbia Historical Federation. The award celebrates books that make significant contributions to the historical literature of British Columbia.
Reimer wrote what he calls a “biography” of the lake that starts with the creation of it when glaciers receded more than 8,000 years ago. Drawing on archived oral accounts from First Nation elders given decades ago, along with the written accounts of explorers, navigators and surveyors, Reimer tries to give readers a sense of what life by – and on – the lake was like before it disappeared.
For thousands of years, the lake sat in a shallow basin between Sumas and Vedder mountains. It usually covered around 132 square miles, but during the spring and winter, its waters would rise and its expanse would double or triple. Even when the lake wasn’t flooding, vast expanses of wetlands and swamps covered the valley floor.
The B.C. Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded together with $2,500 to the author whose book makes the most significant contribution to the historical literature of British Columbia. The second-place winner will receive $1,500 and third place, $500. A book will also be awarded the Community History Award and $500.
Other finalists are: Lily Chow (Blossoms in the Gold Mountains: Chinese Settlements in the Fraser Canyon and the Okanagan); Cathy Converse (Against the Current: The Remarkable Life of Agnes Deans Cameron); Ken Mather (Trail North: The Okanagan Trail of 1858-68 and its Origins in British Columbia and Washington); Tyler McCreary (Shared Histories: Witsuwit’en-Settler Relations in Smithers, British Columbia, 1913 – 1973); Bruce Rohn (S.S. Minto: The Arrow Lakes Longest Serving Sternwheeler); Veronica Strong-Boag (The Last Suffragist: Standing The Life and Times of Laura Marshall Jamieson).
The winners will be announced at the British Columbia Historical Federation Conference Book Awards Gala on Saturday, June 8 in Courtenay.
— with files from Tyler Olsen