Spilsbury’s Coast (by Howard White and Jim Spilsbury)
**Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice BC Book Prize (1988)**
Price includes shipping in Canada
When Jim Spilsbury, British Columbia's most famous pioneer entrepreneur, teams up with master storyteller and literary craftsman Howard White, the result is a spell-binding romp up and down B.C.’s rugged coast; 80 years of fascinating anecdotes and memories distilled into 190 pages.
Jim Spilsbury grew up in a tent on Savary Island, squatting on crown land. His story is one of the classic ‘rags-to-riches’ stories in Canadian history. As well as being a brilliant inventor and an ambitious, astute businessman, he had the intangible gift of being in the right place at the right time. Almost accidentally, he started what became one of Canada’s largest domestic airlines.
In 1923, at the age of 18, primed with a correspondence course in electrical engineering, Jim Spilsbury began building sophisticated radiotelephones. Fishermen bought them, loggers bought them, and eventually homesteaders, explorers and even governments bought them. “Radio boomed,” Spilsbury recalls, “and it carried me with it.”
As we follow Spilsbury in his adventures we meet Frank Osborne, the genius engine-builder; Emil Gordon, the obsessive flamboyant Powell River salesman who sold everything from refrigerators to cows; Red Mahone, the obstreperous Boathouse cook and Spilsbury's own bizarre family, including his rifle-toting mother who cut her hair like a man's and golfed on the beaches at low tide.
"A thoroughly entertaining book."
- Canadian Geographic