No matter where people live on the BC coast, says Howard White, they have certain shared experiences: frustration with rain and ferries, familiarity with gumboots, bumbershoots, seagull droppings and barnacles in the wrong places. But each little community clings to its own sense of uniqueness and considers itself the true West Coast. As a case in point, White offers fifty funny sketches of life as he has come to know it in sixty-odd years of living along that hundred-mile stretch of monsoon-prone shoreline ironically known as the Sunshine Coast.
Included is what must be one of the most admiring testaments ever written about the virtues of the old-time outhouse; fond remembrances of saltwater fishing when a bad day meant you didn’t hook something in twenty minutes; and explorers who stooped to naming islands after favourite racehorses. We also meet a “bouquet of characters,” including a lyrical logger known as Pete the Poet; a diabolical seagoing remittance man; the saintly Quaker philosopher Hubert Evans and White’s barrier-busting Aunt Jean who taught him the advantages of “scientifically enlarging the truth.” Along with accounts of waste disposal wars and wry observations on modern technology, Here On the Coast offers a West Coast counterpart to such favourites as Letters From Wingfield Farm and Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.