Along the E&N cover (Touchwood Editions)

New book from Island author details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Glen Mofford’s new book, Along the E&N, captures the history of Vancouver Island through the lens of its various hotels and saloons that lined the now-dormant rail line.

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River. Of all the establishments detailed in the book, only nine remain today.

“It was actually going to be a book about 100 hotels on Vancouver Island, and then I realized rather quickly as I was doing my research that it’s a lot of work,” Mofford said. “I boiled it down to 32 and I tied it together with the E&N, because they’re both nostalgic… When you pick this book up, that’s your ticket on to the E&N train 140 to 160 years ago, on a steam train from Esquimalt to Campbell River with 32 stops along the way.”

While the book does a lot to detail the various establishments along the E&N, Mofford also weaves interesting anecdotes and the history of the communities where the hotels existed. Chapters detail a murder suicide on Mount Sicker, a bartending dog in Bowser, and visits from John D. Rockefeller to a Chemainus hotel.

One chapter details the history of the Abbotsford Hotel that stood in Ladysmith from 1900 – 1935. The hotel was originally built by Andrew J. McMurtrie in the town of Wellington, which was once a booming coal town between Nanaimo and Ladysmith. When James Dunsmuir founded Ladysmith in 1900, the hotel was deconstructed and transported on the E&N to Ladysmith where it was reconstructed.

“That’s kind of neat in itself, especially if you’re not from around here, or even if you are and you’re not familiar with that story,” Mofford said. “They took the whole hotel and put it on flat cars of the E&N, which was really appropriate for this book, then they put it all back together again, and it did fairly well for awhile.”

Along the E&N is Mofford’s second book. His first book, Aqua Vitae, follows the history of drinking establishments in Victoria. Both were published by Touchwood Editions. Mofford is currently travelling Vancouver Island doing readings and presentations. He’s currently deciding whether to write his next book on drinking establishments of Nanaimo, Vancouver, or BC as a whole.

Outside of his books, Mofford writes for his blog, raincoasthistory.blogspot.com, and contributes regularly to his Facebook page, as well as the Facebook group Historic Hotels & Pubs of British Columbia.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teams back on the field in Langford

Soccer championships back in action after postponement

WorkBC Sidney zooms up virtual job fair

Fair scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday features four local employers

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Custom House construction site in Victoria

Government Street remains closed as investigation continues

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Most Read