TOWN, Florida Ann




Author Tags: Early B.C., Local History

Born in Burnaby on July 1, 1932, Florida Ann Town worked from 1949 for the Vancouver Sun, The Province, and the Times and News Herald. She was also a media and public relations officer for Canada Post and Simon Fraser University. She retired from SFU in 1991. "That's a whole life-time of asking questions and interviewing interesting people," she says. "How lucky can you get? I love doing research and I’m an omnivorous reader. Often I’d come across little tidbits of information that piqued my curiosity, but I’d never had time to follow them up before. Now I can.”

Her first books were about Canadian heroes Alexander Graham Bell and Simon Fraser. She followed her history of the reconstituted North West Company with a young adult title called With a Silent Companion about Irish-born ‘James Barry’, aka Margaret Anne Bulkley, who masqueraded as a male physician for fifty years.

Having lived in the mining town of Britannia before there was a road into it, she recalled the community that was once the largest copper producer in the British Empire with The Lively Ghost of Howe Sound, a self-published history from Port Coquitlam. This was followed by an historical novel, Before the Road Came (Bookus, 2004), about a young girl who grows up in the isolated company town.

Recent archaeological findings suggest the Vikings were not the first ‘European’ visitors to the North American continent. That could explain why there were open pit copper mines in the Lake Superior region 5,000 years ago. Set more than 4,000 years ago, Florida Ann Town’s The Copper Trail is an adult novel about Adain, a Scythian boy, and Kaleen, a First Nations girl, who learn to communicate, cooperate and escape captivity. Their travels take them to landmarks that still exist.

With a M.A. in Education, Florida Ann Town is an avid outdoorswoman and 'compulsive volunteer' who has hiked the West Coast Trail with two of her twelve grandchildren. At 81, while active as a competitive outrigger canoeist, competitive swimmer, dragon boat racer and cyclist, she also published On the Rim (Dundurn 2013), a novel for adults described as "a tale in the Eat, Pray, Love vein," It follows the story of Ellen, a 40-year-old British Columbian woman who, after the collapse of her 20-year-marriage, attempts to regain her balance in life through cycling.

At a 2008 competition in Sacramento, Town won several medals as a member of Canada’s Golden Master outrigger canoe team. “That was a very special event for me,” says Town, “because my daughter Katherine was also competing, although in a different age category. I believe we were the only mother-daughter competitors there.” She has also received numerous medals in seniors’ categories in British Columbia Master Swimming competitions.

BOOKS:

Alexander Graham Bell (Grolier 1988)
Simon Fraser: Voyage of Discovery (Simon Fraser University, 1991), a curriculum guide co-authored with Liz Allen.
The North West Company: Frontier Merchants (Toronto: Umbrella Press, 1999)
With a Silent Companion (Red Deer College Press, 1999)
The Lively Ghost of Howe Sound (Bookus Press, 2000, $12.95)
Before the Road Came (Bookus Press, 2004) 0-9735750-0-X
The Copper Trail (Bookus Press 2012) 978 1461064015. $9.95 in paperback and $3 on Kindle.) - prehistorical fiction
On the Rim (Dundurn 2013) - contemporary fiction $19.99 9781459705180

[BCBW 2013] "Local History" "Early B.C."