A Sneak-peak……..

The sequel to Marion Crook’s bestselling and award-winning memoir, Always Pack a Candle,

is coming out on April 2, 2024.


In Always On Call: Adventures in Nursing, Ranching, and Rural Living intrepid public health nurse Marion Crook juggles marriage, children, and a vast array of patients and cases in rural British Columbia in the 1970s.

It has been over a decade since Marion arrived in the Cariboo for her first job out of nursing school. The vast rural territory that once left her awestruck now feels like home, as she embraces life on the ranch with her husband, Carl, three young children, and numerous farm animals. Recounted with warmth, compassion, and riveting detail,  Always On Call is a fascinating portrait of the hectic life of a rural nurse and highlights the importance of the helping professions.

Look for more details about the sequel in the Spring 2024 BCHNS newsletter.

Many thanks to Heritage House Publishing  for the heads-up information!


February 2023 BC Historical Federation BUZZ

This issue of the Buzz is archived at https://tinyurl.com/48kjaun6.

The February issue has several interesting articles and video presentations for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Supporter of BCHNS Lisa Anne Smith  recently spoke to the Vancouver Historical Society about the historic Old Hastings Mill Store Museum, Vancouver’s oldest surviving building (c. 1868).

BCHNS member Anne Wyness is author of The Larder of the Wise, a book which tells the story of James Inglis Reid Ltd. a Vancouver business which operated from 1908 to 1986. Anne appears in conversation about the business in a video from the Museum of Vancouver.

CTV’s Mike McCardell has The Last Word on Amelia Douglas the Indigenous woman who was the wife of B.C.’s first governor, and how she changed history.

Celebrating Four Decades of Advocacy


In the 2021 Summer/Fall Issue of Update Magazine the British Columbia Nurses Union (BCNU) marks its 40th year with a retrospective account of nurses’ fight for safe patient care and fair working conditions. This complete and well-illustrated article with contributions from many of the union’s nursing leaders traces the accomplishments and struggles experienced by the organization and its members during past decades.

You can read the complete article here.


For Your Winter Reading……

This is a delightful read with an intriguing title!

ALWAYS PACK a CANDLE  by nurse author Marion McKinnon Crook is the story of Marion’s nursing experience and adventures in the Cariboo-Chilcotin area of British Columbia in the 1960’s. Published by Heritage House in April 2021 the book has been on the BC Best Sellers List for months, currently occupying ninth position.

I purchased a hard copy and thoroughly enjoyed this true story of an intrepid nurse who ventured out into the vast wilds of British Columbia providing health care in rural communities. The book is also available as an e-book.

To read more about this nurse author, her career, and other publications visit https://www.heritagehouse.ca/book/pack-a-candle/

To read an excerpt from the book go to https://theorca.ca/visiting-pod/always-pack-a-candle/  You will be glad you did!

Service on the Skeena

Service on the Skeena is a biography of pioneer physician Horace Wrinch by author Geoff Mynett and published by Ronsdale Press.

Dr. Wrinch was the first qualified physician in the northern interior of BC and provided medical care in the region for over thirty years. In 1904 he established the Hazelton Hospital (now Wrinch Memorial Hospital), was an early advocate for publicly funded health insurance, a two-term Liberal MLA in the 1920s and worked closely with the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’ten peoples.

A book launch is being held in Vancouver at St. Phillip’s Anglican Church at 3737 West 27th Avenue on Thursday January 16th at 7:30 pm. For more information about the event contact Ronsdale Press at 604-738-4688 or [email protected].

Be sure to visit the author’s website www.geoffmynett.com  and check out his blog to learn more about Service on the Skeena and the life of Horace Wrinch.

Look for a book review in an upcoming BCHNS newsletter.

For your winter reading pleasure

When Days Are Long: Nurse in the North by Amy Wilson

This book was originally published as No Man Stands Alone in 1965 by Gray’s Publishing LTD. This new edition, republished by Caitlin Press and titled When Days Are Long: Nurse in the North is a memoir by a field nurse who worked in northern Canada during the 1950’s. The book includes an introduction by Wilson’s grandniece, Laurel Deedrick-Mayne, and brings insights to this important nursing figure in BC’s history. For more information about the book visit http://caitlin-press.com/our-books/when-days-are-long/

Reading List: Labor of Love

Labor of Love. A Memoir of Gertrude Richards Ladner 1879 to 1976

  • Authors: Sheila J. Rankin Zerr, Glennis Zilm, Valerie Grant
  • 113p, index, B&W photos/illustrations.

Labor of Love: A Memoir of Gertrude Richards Ladner 1879 to 1976 is based on a short family document written by Edna G. Ladner, daughter of Gertrude Richards Ladner.

Based on the memoirs and family photographs and documents, the book provides insights into the life of a nurse of the early 1900s, her life as a student nurse and her early career as an operating room nurse at the Provincial Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, British Columbia.

It also contains background on the pioneering Richards and Ladner families, as well as data relevant to the history of the Provincial Royal Jubilee Hospital and nursing uniforms of the day.


Reading List: Caring and Compassion

Caring and Compassion
A History of the Sisters of St. Ann in Health Care in British Columbia

By Darlene Southwell
In 1875 Victoria citizens wanted the Sisters of St. Ann to build a hospital, and even though the organization had no money, they were able to come through with St. Joseph’s Hospital. The Sisters went on to open a major school of nursing in Victoria as well as hospitals in Campbell River, Smithers and Oliver and extended care homes in Victoria and Nelson, all of which played a significant role in the development of the province. Darlene Southwell, who was granted unlimited access to the Sisters’ archives in Victoria, spent five years writing Caring and Compassion, which, against a backdrop of racism, war and seemingly insurmountable financial crises, serves as both a history of the Sisters’ healing pursuits in BC and a mirror of the times. (Excerpts from Book Description, Harbour Publishing.
  • Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park BC
  • ISBN 978-1-55017-560-8 
  • $29.95 CAD Hardback 
  • 296 pp, 80 B&W photographs.
  • ISBN: 978-0-9783195-4-0, $32.00