Facts, figures and ‘some frivolous stuff’

Did you know that Campbell River is the third fastest growing municipality on Vancouver Island? With an estimated population of 32,720 in 2014 and a 1.6-per-cent growth in population over 2013, it is behind only Langford (3.9 per cent growth) and View Royal (1.8 per cent growth).

This is just one of the interesting facts included in the second edition of the Vancouver Island Book of Everything, written by Peter Grant of Victoria.

Grant’s publisher is John MacIntyre from MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc. in Lunenburg, N.S., and he received a tip that the publishers, who have a Book of Everything series, were doing a Book of Everything for Vancouver Island. He emailed MacIntyre about it and MacIntyre took him on to write a few chapters of the first edition in 2008.

“The trouble with a compendium of facts and figures is that nothing is written in stone and everything changes all the time,” said Grant.

Between the time the book was written and the time it was published, the financial recession of 2008 had occurred, and the figures were already outdated when the book came out. So they decided they needed to write a second edition, which came out last year.

“We try to stick everything important in there and also some frivolous stuff,” said Grant. “There’s some slang, Vancouver Island talk. We try to cover everything, but that’s obviously impossible, so what have we left out, I wonder?”

There are a lot of references to Campbell River in the book.

“I did give a lot of air time to Campbell River’s own Roderick Haig-Brown,” said Grant. “He was the first environmentalist to take political action in B.C., I think back in the 1950s about the raising of the water levels to dam the Campbell River. He shows up in difference pieces because he was a writer, very successful.”

Grant really enjoyed working on both editions of the book.

“I have the collecting disease,” he said with a laugh. “I love compiling facts and figures. It just comes naturally to me.”

Grant hopes that the Vancouver Island Book of Everything becomes a ready reference for people.

“It’s not perfect; there’s no index, unfortunately, but there’s a table of contents,” he said. “I think if you get familiar with the chapters, they’re so different from each other, I think people can get a lot of useful information out of it. What it isn’t is a guidebook. You aren’t going to find a lot about where to go and what to see.”

Grant has written two other books about Vancouver Island for MacIntyre Purcell and has written seven books about Vancouver Island in total.

One of the books he has written is a companion to the Vancouver Island Book of Everything called the Vancouver Island Book of Musts, 101 Places You Have To See, which came out in 2010.

In that book, some of the local places or activities Grant has included are the Haig-Brown House, the guided walking tour of downtown Campbell River, the walking tour of the Campbell River Estuary, the Campbell River and the walk to the falls, Quadra Island and Strathcona Park.

“If I could think of another way to write about Vancouver Island, I would,” he said.