After completing an MA in history at the University of California, Riverside, Douglas Hamilton took a brief vacation to BC. Inspired by what he found and lured by the back to the land movement of the time, he moved to Lasqueti Island, piled up some driftwood and built a squatter shack. Today Hamilton still lives on his island property with his partner, her harpsichord, three cows and a flock of chickens.

Douglas L. Hamilton has previously written about the smallpox epidemic of 1862, the Pig War, rum-running, Typhoon Frieda and the Japanese submarine attack on Estevan Lighthouse.

Lasqueti Island, home to poets, artists, physicists, fishermen, loggers and professional consultants in engineering, alternative energy and education. Statistics Canada calls it one of the most highly educated communities in BC. The "back to the land" movement of the '70s and early '80s brought a flood of exotic characters to the island's rural communes - hippies, revolutionaries, utopians - all hoping to build a simpler, better life away from mainstream society. Lasqueti Island, the least known and populated of the Gulf Islands, was the place to be.

In Accidental Eden: Hippie Days on Lasqueti Island with Darlene Kay Olesko (Caitlin $24.95) Hamilton and Olesko explore Lasqueti's rowdy, divided reputation, its eccentric days and political accomplishments - like convincing BC Hydro to re-route a power line around, rather than over the island. Today some perceive the island as a romantic fantasy of a great place to raise children and grow old, others see it as a community of "inbred hermits,"; wanting to dodge the authorities and grow their own drugs. Accidental Eden is a collection of tales representing an irreplaceable era BC history.

BOOKS:

Sobering Dilemma: A History of Prohibition in British Columbia (Ronsdale Press 2004) $21.95 978-1553800163

Accidental Eden: Hippie Days on Lasqueti Island with Darlene Kay Olesko (Caitlin Press 2014) $24.95 978-1-927575-52-9

[BCBW 2014]

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Accidental Eden: Hippie Days on Lasqueti Island


see review