Fernie, a small community located in B.C.’s Kootenay region, emerged from the First World War with multiple controversies that threatened to tear their community apart.
Just over a hundred years later, Wayne Norton chronicles the trials and tribulations of the B.C. city in his book Fernie at War: 1914-1919 (Caitlin Press, 2017). One prominent character in the history was Albert “Ginger” Goodwin, a famous labour activist currently being celebrated as part of Cumberland’s 33rd Miners Memorial.
To honour Goodwin and commemorate a rich history of labour rights, the public is invited to come to the Cumberland Public Library (2724 Dunsmuir Ave) for a concise and in-depth presentation on Fernie at War and Goodwin on Saturday, June 23 at 2 p.m.. Admission is free. All are welcome. Books will be available for sale and signing. More info at https://minersmemorial.ca/schedule.
Fernie at War explores what it meant to live in Fernie during the confusing and divisive years of the Great War and its aftermath. As a resource-based economy with unusually large and varied immigrant populations, and exceptionally high recruitment levels, Fernie was profoundly affected by conflicting impulses of labour, loyalty and ethnicity.
Demands for internment of enemy aliens, resistance to prohibition and moral reform, the consequences of natural and man-made disasters, the unprecedented banning of recruitment, and the western labour revolt were all issues that contributed to a war-time experience for Fernie that was more dramatic and more revealing of underlying tensions than that of any other Canadian community.
On May 26, 2018, the British Columbia Historical Federation presented author Wayne Norton with the Community History Award which recognizes local and community history.
Wayne Norton is a writer, publisher and historical consultant living in Victoria. He has written extensively on a variety of topics including music of the First World War, historic women’s ice hockey, prairie settlement, public health, and the local histories of Kamloops and Fernie.