Flames on the Frontlines

December 6, 2021

Fire fighters are on the front lines of the climate crisis. These men and women were fighting several wildfires this past summer, the third worse season in British Columbia’s history. Ryan Moreside, BC Wildfire Service employee and member of the BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) says in an interview – “It’s easier to work at night. There is less wind and the temperature is down, but we’re still chasing the fire.” I also talk to Darrel Peters, a Firekeeper and territorial patrol leader with the Skeetchestn Indian Band, a member of the Secwepemc Nation. He speaks of a reverence for the land in trouble, saying, “This land is our dinner plate, where the medicine is.” You’ll also get the most amazing peek into the working life of a “smokejumper,” Ingrid Pond, one of those brave souls who is parachuted into fire zones to help fight the fires. (See blog post below for a link to the full story.)

The full article is available on line and in print, at Our Times magazine (Winter, 2021) – link at https://ourtimes.ca/article/flames-on-the-frontlines

The Midwife: A day in the life of Nellie Yip Quong

December 3, 2021

by Janet Mary Nicol

I imagine a day in the life of Nellie Yip Quong, a midwife and caregiver in Vancouver’s early twentieth century Chinatown. Nellie was a white woman in a mixed race marriage, a rarity in a time of pervasive racial discrimination. When a female academic from Chicago pays her a visit, Nellie has lots to say. Watch for the story in the latest issue of BC History magazine (Winter, 2021).

Mr. and Mrs. Charlie and Nellie Yip Quong

Into the Fire Zone

November 29, 2021

by Janet Nicol

Ingrid Pond began fighting BC wildfires two summers ago, after accruing seven seasons on crews in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. For four of those seasons in Ontario, Pond was crew leader. There, she and her crew were transported to remote wildfires by helicopter. Now she’s part of a unique BC Wildfire Service program called Parattack. Her job in BC still involves flying to remote fires, but with a difference. When they arrive at the scene, she and her fellow crew members parachute from a plane.

For my full interview with Pond, click on Our Times magazine link –


Watch for additional interviews with Indigenous fire watchers and BC Wildfire Service employees in an upcoming feature in Our Times magazine, Winter 2021. (in print and on-line)

Photograph credit – Pete West

October 29, 2021

Able to Lead: Disablement, Radicalism, and the Political Life of E.T. Kingsley, Ravi Malhotra and Benjamin Isitt

Book Review by Janet Nicol

Eugene Thornton Kingsley, an influential socialist in early British Columbia, was 33 years old when he adopted his revolutionary stance.  Employed as a brakeman on a railway in rural Montana in 1890, he fell between two moving train cars and lost both legs.  During a lengthy recovery in hospital, Kingsley read the books of Karl Marx.  After his discharge, he returned home to his wife and two young sons equipped with a pair of wooden prosthesis and a cane.  Two years later Kingsley inexplicably left his family and moved to California.  Authors Ravi Malhotra, a disability rights and law professor, and Benjamin Isitt, a historian, examine Kingsley’s ensuing activism through the lens of ableism, law, and the socialist movement.

So begins this review of a remarkable British Columbian. Full review available on line at BC Studies and at a later date, in the BC Studies print edition. (Link below)

Journalling…in these times

October 10, 2021

A life-long keeper of journals, I wrote about the benefits of recording one’s life journey while visiting the beautiful mountain town of Arequipa, Peru. (see article link below) Since the pandemic, I have been looking inward a lot more, developing my creative side and using pen and journal almost as frequently as the laptop. I’ll be giving a journal writing workshop with the Grind writing group (Vancouver) over zoom October 30.


A handmade journal purchased on my visit to Madrid, 2019.

Words, actions and accountability

September 17, 2021

By Janet Nicol

Tarana Burkę, creator and Executive Director of the American Me Too movement, set the stage for a timely discussion on human rights at a Canadian Labour Congress pre-conference event this June.   Burke was interviewed by Dr. Hadiya Roderique, a diversity and inclusion advocate.   A panel discussion comprised of Canadian activists followed.

For the full report, check out the Upfront section of Our Times magazine, Summer/Fall 2021, on magazine stands soon.

Burke’s recently published book, tells the personal and political story of the Me Too movement.

August 7, 2021

This article looks at the life of Vancouver artist Sing Lim and includes the artwork contributed by the Lim family. Click on the headline to access the full story. – Janet Nicol

Making History Visible

July 16, 2021

by Janet Nicol

A pair of exhibitions by Vancouver artists Cindy Mochizuki and Henry Tsang at the Surrey Art Gallery offer powerful meditations on Japanese Canadian internment during the Second World War. Both artists have a personal interest in exploring Asian Canadian histories and both use cameras and projection technologies effectively in their work.

The full review is at the Galleries West magazine website –


May 30, 2021

The Creative Voices Dundarave Print Workshop event is now on the Arts Council’s Youtube.https://youtu.be/8VeNPnSZWbg

Dundarave Print Workshop – History of Art and Community

May 26, 2021


Join us for an inspiring & informative live presentation on the history of the Dundarave Print Workshop, celebrating 50 years of art & community making. Did you know this staple of the Vancouver art scene started right here in West Vancouver? Or that B.C. Binnings was one of the founders? From humble beginnings in a garage in Dundarave to a celebrated institution that fosters acclaimed contemporary artists, discover the origins & stories of the Dundarave Print Workshop.

Leading us on this journey through time are acclaimed printmaker & multimedia artist Arnold Shives who was a member in the early days, celebrated printmaker Gloria Shaw who has been a long-time member, & award-winning writer & historian Janet Nicol.

Creative Voices will be presented live via zoom on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 7pm to 8pm.

SUPPORT our programming if you are able.

This is a free event.  Registration is required at the following link:


The event is sponsored by the West Vancouver Community Arts Council (WVCAC).

Dundarave Print Workshop and gallery is located on Granville Island in Vancouver. Copies of the DPW booklet on the 50 year history on sale. Check the DPW website for hours of operation.

This author stopping by DPW, a young talented artist volunteering at the sales desk. Check out my article on B.C. Binning, founder of DPW, published on line in Montecristo magazine.