SOMMER, Warren

Author Tags: Local History

Warren Sommer was born in Vancouver in 1951. With a Master's degree from UBC in historical geography, Warren has had a long career in curatorial and management positions in British Columbian cultural institutions, including Parks Canada, the Burnaby Village Museum, and the Langley Centennial Museum and National Exhibition Centre. His public service career has also included working for the Township of Langley’s Parks and Recreation department as Manager of Community Recreation Services, Project Manager, and Deputy Director. Warren has been a Langley resident since 1979 and is currently principal of Legacy Heritage Consultants, providing services in the areas of community history, cultural planning, social research, and community development. He has a particular interest in community history, historic cemeteries, historic architecture, and Canadian military history.

He is the co-author, with Kurt Alberts, of Langley, 125: A Celebration (Fort Langley: Birthplace of B.C. Gallery, 1998).

His own books are:

From Prairie to City: A History of the City of Langley (City of Langley, 1999)

From Far and Wide: Cultural Diversity in North Vancouver (North Shore Multicultural Society, 2000)

Frail Memorials: The Cemeteries of Langley (Corporation of the Township of Langley, 2005),

The Ambitious City: A History of North Vancouver (Harbour, 2007), published to mark the City of North Vancouver's centennial; and

Nothing Without Effort: A History of Langley (Corporation of the Township of Langley, 2008).

[BCBW 2013]

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
The Ambitious City: A History of the City of North Vancouver

Frail Memorials
Press Release (2005)

Langley Author Raises the Dead

Cemeteries hold fascinating information about the people who came before us, and just in time for Halloween author Warren Sommer raises the dead (or rather, a few eyebrows), with his new book Frail Memorials: The Cemeteries of Langley.

Unearthing the stories of Langley’s early residents, Sommer reveals the history of one of British Columbia’s oldest communities through a look at its cemeteries. The city’s funerary monuments mark not only a passing, they are telling social documents testifying to the cultures of past generations, providing fertile ground for discussing the lives and deaths of many who rest within them.

From the carpenter who was buried in the grave he had dug for another, to the farmer who died on Christmas day while felling a tree not far from what became his own burial place, author Warren Sommer captures the stories that lie just below the surface in Langley’s historic cemeteries.

“Warren Sommer’s excellent social history of burial customs and cemeteries is a fascinating look at one of life’s inevitabilities,” enthuses author Michael Kluckner, “adding another dimension to our understanding of British Columbia in its early years.”

Frail Memorials is Warren Sommer’s third book on Langley. The volume is a fascinating look into the underside of West Coast history and will appeal to a growing body of readers who find the province’s cemeteries engrossing places to visit.

Already well-known for his tours throughout Greater Vancouver cemeteries, Mr. Sommer will be signing his book and providing a lantern-light tour of Langley’s historic Murrayville Cemetery on October 29th as part of a day of activities focusing on cemetery preservation and appreciation.

[Langley Centennial Museum & National Exhibition Centre, 9135 King Street, Fort Langley, BC, V1M 2S2]

A Langley resident since 1979, Warren Sommer, with a master’s degree from UBC in historical geography, has written his third book about his hometown, Frail Memorials: The Cemeteries of Langley (Corporation of the Township of Langley, $24.95). 0-9682654-1-3

[BCBW 2006]

The Ambitious City (Harbour $44.95)

To mark this year’s Centennial of the City of North Vancouver, geographer and cultural planning consultant Warren Sommer has compiled a wide-ranging social history of the North Shore that has evolved from Moodyville to accommodate more than 125,000 people today, The Ambitious City (Harbour $44.95). The City of North Vancouver has 45,000 residents but Sommer’s survey includes the District of North Van, as well.

[BCBW 2007]