In British Columbia by the Road, Ben Bradley takes readers on an unprecedented journey through the history of roads, highways, and motoring in British Columbia’s Interior. Challenging the idea that the automobile offered travellers the freedom of the road and a view of unadulterated nature, Bradley shows that an array of interested parties – boosters, businessmen, conservationists, and public servants – manipulated what drivers and passengers could and should view from the road. When it came to roads and highways, planners and builders had two concerns: grading or paving a way through “the wilderness” and opening pathways to new parks and historic sites. They understood that the development of a modern road network would lead to new ways of perceiving BC and its environment. Although cars and roads promised freedom, they offered drivers a curated view of the landscape that shaped the province’s image in the eyes of residents and visitors alike.
Selling British Columbia examines of the development of the tourist industry in British Columbia between 1890 and 1970. Michael Dawson argues that in order to understand the roots of the fully-fledged consumer culture that emerged in Canada after the Second World War, it is necessary to understand the connections between the 1930s, 1940s, and the postwar era. Cultural producers such as tourism promoters and the state infrastructure played important roles in fostering consumer demand, particularly during the Depression, the Second World War, and throughout the postwar era. Dawson draws upon promotional pamphlets, newspapers, advertisements, and films, as well as archival sources regarding government, civic, and international tourism organizations. Central to his book is an examination of the representation of popular imagery and of how aboriginal and British cultures were commodified and marketed to potential tourists. He also looks at the gendered aspect of these promotional campaigns, particularly during the 1940s, and challenges earlier interpretations regarding the relationship between tourism and nature in Canada.