Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names

A Complete Reference to Coastal British Columbia

By Andrew Scott


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.

Raincoast Place Names 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 almost three times as many places. Scott details the intriguing tales behind more than five thousand places: explaining who bestowed the names and why, and what the names reveal. He describes the original First Nation 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 BC 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 CPR lines, the heroes of the two World Wars, the sealing fleet and BC’s fishing, canning, mining and logging industries.

Generously illustrated with photos and maps, this encyclopedia is an essential reference work, a must-have guide for boaters and mariners and a companion for anyone interested in BC history.


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Peter Vassilopoulos photo


Which Gulf island was owned by the “Johnny Appleseed of LSD”? Test your place names knowledge with these questions.

Did You Know?

Did you know that in 1934, Foul Bay was renamed Gonzales Bay after residents complained the name was “disgusting” and “vile?” The original name, however, referred to the bay’s poor...

Sample Raincoast Places Names Entries

Saltspring Island

Saltspring Island (48˚45'00" 123˚29'00" Largest of the Gulf Is, E of Duncan off SE side of Vancouver I). The Saanich First Nation people knew this place as Cuan, a name that can be translated as...