T.W. Paterson has launched a website for his popular Chronicles. (Scott Johnson/Toadhollow Photography)

Vancouver Island historian T.W. Paterson launches Chronicles website

“It’s the fulfillment of a career-long dream, to publish an historical magazine”

They’re ba-ack! — the “new” online Cowichan Chronicles, that is.

After 23 years as the author of this popular feature in the Cowichan Valley Citizen (and the VI Free Daily since its launch in 2016), Vancouver Island historian T.W. Paterson has launched a new website, www.CowichanChronicles.com.

“It’s the fulfillment of a career-long dream, to publish an historical magazine,” he says, “so the new Chronicles will have far greater scope than was possible in the confines of a newspaper where every inch of space is critical.

“I’m not just the author and editor of the online Chronicles, I’m God! I can do anything within the bounds of respectful and accurate reporting short of libel.”

That said, he acknowledges the wide latitude and sounding stage that the Citizen provided for those 23 years and more than 2,000 columns.

“I was blessed with a succession of editors who understood the value of history to the contemporary world, who allowed me almost free reign, particularly when I ranted about the impending demolition of the Kinsol Trestle.

“And the Citizen also allowed me another pet passion, to write the annual Remembrance Day edition which, to me, is the most important occasion of the year.”

Based upon the input from readers Paterson has enjoyed over the years, he knows that history appeals to a wide cross-section of the community.

“I originally feared I’d be a ‘man’s column,’ but I’ve come to know for a fact that many of my readers are women.”

In particular, he takes satisfaction from knowing he has young readers, too.

“That’s when I know I’ve ‘scored,’ when a young person tells me they read my column regularly. How can we build a future as a society if we don’t know our past? It’s all about passing on the torch.”

He points out that all of us are making history right now because of the COVID-19 crisis.

“One hundred years ago we had the Spanish flu that killed millions world-wide. What a difference in the responses taken by the governments of today to both the virus and to the resulting economic downturn by the governments of that time and those of the 1930s Great Depression.

“We’re not talking day and night, we’re talking different planets!”

Paterson notes that the current continent-wide protests sparked by the death of an African American man while in police custody isn’t a contemporary phenomenon but the tip of an iceberg that, sadly, goes all the way back to the arrival of the first Europeans. It’s a reflection of systemic racism that has only been formally recognized and addressed in Canada in recent years.

These events all go to prove, he believes, that history is not just a living, breathing organism, but one that’s vital to our sense of community and nation.

A previous Citizen editor once summed T.W. up in a single word: Legacy. All these years later, all those columns and now www.CowichanChronicles.com, he firmly agrees with her.

And, after almost two million words about Cowichan and provincial history in the Citizen alone, the author of 30 historical books says he hasn’t even begun to run out of material or steam.

Columnist

Just Posted

Lyric John-Cliffe and Cory Cliffe sing a traditional Laichkwiltach canoe song by the Campbell River Estuary. Photo by Binny Paul/Campbell River Mirror
Learning the land: restoration and education collide on the Campbell River estuary

Wei Wai Kum First Nation project passing the baton of environmental stewardship to seven generations

Comox Valley Unhoused executive director Sam Franey, right, is pictured at the Comox Valley Art Gallery with Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, and Ronna-Rae Leonard, BC NDP candidate for the Courtenay—Comox riding. Scott Stanfield photo
Housing, for the unhoused, by the unhoused

Comox Valley man dedicated to battling homelessness after spending five years on the streets

The 21st annual Japanese Cultural Fair streams online Oct. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. (Facebook/Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)
Esquimalt’s Japanese Cultural Fair takes tastes, experiences and cultures online

21st annual free event streams Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at noon

Environment Canada is releasing scientific evidence to support banning most single-use plastics next year, in a Jan. 30, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Editorial: Ban on single-use plastics dwarfed by pandemic plastic pollution

It’s a step in the right direction but we have a long march ahead of us

Kwick’kanum (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation, addressed the crowd that gathered at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights

Supporters call on government to recognize Indigenous treaty rights

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Facebook photo)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

An artists rendering of the proposed Aragon Properties development in Sooke’s town centre shows a friendly, walkable neighbourhood. (Contributed graphic)
Large housing development eyed for Sooke core

Aragon Properties seeks to build 132 housing units

The Capital Regional District spent $1.7 million to restore the Todd Creek Trestle. (Sooke News Mirror)
Todd Creek Trestle restoration completed

Restoration work adds 35 to 50 years to life span of former rail span near Sooke

Bill Kelly, general manager at Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community, has been named executive professional of the year by the PGA of BC. Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay golf course, general manager earn PGA of BC awards

Crown Isle’s manager, facility honoured by the industry

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read