There are many books that have been written about Vancouver that are not only worth reading, but are, in some cases, quite noteworthy. If you truly want to comprehend the raison d’être of Vancouver, you must read these books, written for the most part by local authors, born and bred in the city; people who come by their knowledge honestly and who have captured glimpses of the city’s very heart and soul.
Fiction and Literature
Vancouver: A Poem—George Stanley
A literary journey through the city of Vancouver, written as a poem by a man who was, himself, an expatriate, transplanted from his native San Francisco many years earlier. A worthwhile read.
A Verse Map of Vancouver—George McWhirter
An anthology of poems mapping the sights and sounds of Vancouver, this book is also filled with striking photography of the area. Worthwhile for the photography alone.
Legends of Vancouver—Emily Pauline Johnson-Tekahionwake
A haunting collection of poems and stories written down by Pauline Johnson as told to her by her close friend Chief Joe Capilano of the Squamish People of North Vancouver. An important read as an essential part of Vancouver’s collection of local/historical literary works.
The Vancouver Stories: West Coast Fiction from Canada’s Best Writers—Douglas Coupland
A collection of stories written about Vancouver by local authors (including Pauline Johnson). Coupland’s introduction to the book (and story included in the collection) is a delightful, captivating read, of the type that makes you want to keep on turning the pages, particularly if you have any interest in Vancouver. An important and fascinating read.
Vancouver Remembered—Michael Kluckner
A local author, born and bred in Vancouver, reminisces about growing up in Kerrisdale and strives to portray the authentic Vancouver; those intrinsic qualities that can really only be known by those indigenous to the area. Worthwhile and noteworthy reading.
Captain Vancouver: North-West Navigator—E.C. Coleman
A biographical look at the man who gave Vancouver its name. Important to read for those who have little knowledge of the area’s history.
Vancouver: A Pictorial Celebration Including Vancouver Island, Victoria, and Whistler—Constance Brissenden, Elan Penn, Penn Publishing Ltd
An insider’s look at Vancouver written by an award-winning journalist and illustrated with lavish photographs of the city’s landmarks, both historical and modern. Nice book to have.
City of Glass: Doug Coupland’s Vancouver –Douglas Coupland
An essential read—one of the indispensable books on Vancouver—full of earthiness, portraying diverse idiosyncratic dimensions of the city. Photography to match. A must-read.
Vancouver and British Columbia—Alexander S. Holmes
An epic overview of the metamorphosis the province has undergone, from the early discovery years to modern times, complemented by stunning photography. A wonderful book to own.
Vancouver Living the Moment: A Photographic Essay of Metro Vancouver—Bob Herger
Iconic images of the city’s vibrancy; added thoughts by local celebrities. A must-have coffee table book.
Vancouver: A Visual Portrait—Claire Leila Philipson
Canada’s most celebrated photographers capture this glorious city in a breathtaking spread of the city’s historical character, visual playground, and dynamic modernity. A most noteworthy book.
Hope in Shadows: Stories and Photographs of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside—Brad Cran and Gillian Jerome
An important book capturing the DTES in photographs taken by local residents. The Hope in Shadows project began years ago as a yearly fundraiser for the Pivot Legal Society; over 200 disposable cameras were distributed to residents, and the resulting photographs were compiled in a calendar. These photographs have now been compiled in this essential book, endeavoring to portray the DTES honestly, and from the residents’ points of view, unhesitatingly displaying the dirty, the ugly, and the bad, yet through it all, emphasizing the underlying sense of community and hope.
The Man Who Saved Vancouver: Major James Skitt Mathews—Daphne Sleigh
Biography of the man responsible for creating and guarding Vancouver’s historical archives. Worthy read for historical purposes.
Public Art in Vancouver: Angels Among Lions—John Steil and Aileen Stalker
A visual portrayal of Vancouver through “public art”—that which is placed in its public spaces. Essential for anyone interested in furthering their knowledge about Vancouver and/or for those with an interest in art.
Saltwater City: Story of Vancouver’s Chinese Community—Paul Yee
An epic portrayal of the city’s Chinese population, their history, their story, how they came to Vancouver, and the tensions and racial hostility that surrounded them in the early years. Very important read, as portraying an essential part of Vancouver’s ethnography.
Vancouver: A History in Photographs—Aynsley Vogel
Vancouver’s coming of age in photographs. A must-have book.
Vancouver Matters—written and edited by Christa Min, James Eidse, Lori Kiessling, Joey Giaimo, and Mari Fujita
Vancouver Matters is a reading of the city through the diverse viewpoints of the professors and students of the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. A noteworthy collection of essays.
Vancouver Special—Charles Demers
Written by comedian and local writer Charles Demers, Vancouver Special peels back the façade that most people write about and digs deeper. An unashamed painfully honest look at the city that has captivated so many.
Great Walks of Vancouver: The Lower Mainland at Your Feet—Charles Clapham
One-day walks around the Lower Mainland; start by parking your car at the end of the walk, take transit back to the start, and then walk back to your car through the course of the day’s journey. Excellent book for anyone interested in exploring the area.
Walking Vancouver: 36 Walking Tours Exploring Spectacular Waterfront, Dynamic Neighborhoods, Hip Hangouts, and Tasty Diversions—John Lee
36 easy-to-follow walks around the city, exploring its diverse and colourful neighborhoods. A terrific book for newcomers and locals alike.
City Walks: Vancouver: 50 Adventures on Foot—Jennifer Worick
Explore the city like a native with this comprehensive guide printed on a set of 50 convenient cards along with 50 maps.
Easy Hiking Around Vancouver (An All-Season Guide)—Jean Cousins
62 day hikes from a seasoned hiker and avid naturalist. Easy to follow directions and good information on how to dress and which equipment to bring along. Worthwhile for those wanting to explore through hiking.
Easy Cycling Around Vancouver: 40 Short Tours for All Ages—Jean Cousins and Norman Cousins
40 bike routes around the Lower Mainland ranging from 15 to 45 km; this book is a great purchase for those who love to cycle.
Drive Around Vancouver & British Columbia, 3rd: Your Guide to Great Drives, Top 25 Tours—Maxine Cass and Fred Gebhart
Everything you need to explore the region by driving, with road maps, city plans, top sites to visit, places to stay, and great places to eat. Worthwhile purchase.
52 Best Day Trips from Vancouver—Jack Christie
This books aims to capture the most worthwhile places to visit in the region, all doable in a day’s trip. Concise and well-organized, this book saves busy people time by laying out the information clearly and efficiently. Must-have book.
Guidebook to Ethnic Vancouver: Walking, Shopping, and Eating Tours of the Ethnic Neighborhoods of Vancouver—Ann Petrie
Essential guide for getting to know the colourful ethnic neighborhoods of Vancouver. A must-read.
Best Places Vancouver—Kasey Wilson
Written by locals for locals, Best Places is one in a series of trusted guidebooks. A classic book and good to have for learning how to navigate the city successfully.
Fodors Vancouvers 25 Best—Fodors
Compact guidebook to Vancouver by one of the most trusted names in travel guides, with a pull-out map, walking tours, eating out chapter, and top 25 sites. Recommended.
Time Out Vancouver—Time Out Guides
This essential guide helps you get the best out of the city’s offerings, with the inside track on local culture and happenings, written by locals. Worthwhile book to have.
Vancouver Encounter—John Lee
Comprehensive guide to the city, written to help people discover the city in half the time. Must-have for those interested in getting to know the city better.
Hidden British Columbia: Including Vancouver, Victoria, and Whistler—Eric Lucas
Specializing in the lesser-known attractions and byways of the area, this book is essential for a unique approach to uncovering the hidden gems of these BC cities.
Secret Vancouver 2010: The Unique Guidebook to Vancouver’s Hidden Sites, Sounds, and Tastes—Alison Appelbe and Linda Rutenberg
An indispensable guidebook for unlocking the secrets and hidden treasures of the city.
Frommer’s Vancouver & Victoria 2010—Donald Olson
Indoor and outdoor highlights of the best of the attractions and sites, from a trusted guidebook publisher. A must-have book.
Eyewitness Travel Vancouver Pocket Map and Guide—Dorling Kindersley
A pocket-sized guidebook from DK, with the signature accuracy, brilliant photography, and outstanding cartography. Worthwhile to own, as with any DK book.
Insight City Guide Vancouver—Cathy Muscat
With lively essays by local writers, Insight provides a user-friendly guide full of colourful photographs and numerous maps, along with perceptive writing and practical information. A must-have book.
The Lobster Kids’ Guide to Exploring Vancouver—Christine Battuz
A valuable resource for visitors and locals alike, packed with information and ideas for kids and parents to explore Vancouver and get to know the city in depth. Written at a level that kids can easily comprehend, but enjoyable for parents too.
Eat.Shop Vancouver: The Indispensable Guide to Inspired, Locally Owned Eating and Shopping Establishments—John Hart
An indispensable guide to local hidden gems. Worthwhile to own.
Vancouver, City on the Edge: Living With a Dynamic Geological Landscape—John J. Clague and Bob Turner
A very readable geology and natural history book about the Pacific Northwest, written in lay-person terms and easy and interesting to read. A very worthwhile book , especially for those interested in the fascinating geological landscape of the area.
Parks and Nature Places around Vancouver—Nature Vancouver
A well-detailed nature guide to the parks of the Lower Mainland making exploring Vancouver’s urban wilderness an adventure.
Vancouver Birds: An Introduction to Familiar Species—James Kavanagh
A terrific book for any interested in birds and bird-watching, detailing species native to the region.
Gardening in Vancouver—Judy Newton
For those who are interested in growing a garden locally. Especially for beginning and intermediate gardeners, with a wide range of helpful topics.
Vancouver Cooks—Jamie Maw
Collection of three-course menus from more than 50 award-winning local chefs, published by the Chefs Table Society. Focusing on fresh, local ingredients.
Vancouver Cooks 2—Chefs Table Society
Chefs Table Society is back with Volume 2, featuring 120 new recipes from 70 regional chefs. Once again focusing on fresh, local ingredients.
ABC Book World — http://www.abcbookworld.com/—an extensive reference site for BC books and authors.
Walking Tours of Vancouver with John Atkin — http://www.johnatkin.com/
Vancouver in Print: 100 Books from a Century Past — http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/cultural/gasp/awards/book/pdf/VanInPrint.PDF