Selling British Columbia is an entertaining examination 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.
Historians have tended to focus on either the first wave of
consumerism from the 1880s to the 1920s, or else on the era of economic
expansion that followed World War Two. As Dawson shows, the 1930-45
period in particular was an important and dynamic one in the creation
of Canadian and British Columbian consumer culture.
Michael Dawson's highly readable and engaging account of the
development of the British Columbia tourist industry will be welcomed
by British Columbian and Canadian historians, as well as other scholars
of tourism and consumerism.
Michael Dawson teaches in the Department of History at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Illustrations Acknowledgments Acronyms Introduction: Tourism and Consumer Culture 1. Boosterism and Early Tourism Promotion in British Columbia, 1890-1930 2. From the Investment to the Expenditure Imperative: Regional Cooperation and the Lessons of Modern Advertising, 1916-35 3. Entitlement, Idealism, and the Establishment of the British Columbia Government Travel Bureau, 1935-39 4. The Second World War and the Consolidation of the British Columbia Tourist Industry, 1939-50 5. Differentiation, Cultural Selection, and the Post-war Travel "Boom" 6. Tourism as a Public Good: The Provincial Government Manages the Post-war "Boom," 1950-65 Conclusion: From Tourist Trade to Tourist Industry Appendix: Key tourism promotion organizations in British Columbia, 1901-72 Notes Bibliography Index