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Doreen Armitage, 1931-2018

Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 4:01pm

With sorrow we report that Harbour Publishing author Doreen Armitage passed away in North Vancouver on May 15, 2018.

Born in Toronto in 1931, Doreen earned a teaching degree in Ontario and started her career as an elementary school teacher. She relocated to British Columbia in 1972 where she continued teaching in the field of Special Education, later earning her Master of Education at UBC. She worked as a special education consultant with the Vancouver School Board, and also as an instructor at UBC.

A writer who believed strongly in oral history, Doreen wrote for publications such as Canadian Geographic, Outdoors Canada and Canadian Living before publishing her first book, Around the Sound: A History of the Howe Sound-Whistler (1997), which developed organically from her innate curiosity about the world and the many years she spent boating in the sound, exploring the wilderness and driving the Sea to Sky Highway. Her second book, Burrard Inlet: A History (2001), the first comprehensive history of the inlet, was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award.

Doreen then turned her attention to recording maritime workers’ personal histories with her next two publications, From the Wheelhouse: Tugboaters Tell Their Own Stories (2003), which was shortlisted for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award, and Tales from the Galley: Stories of the Working Waterfront (2007), which she created by conducting a variety of interviews with fishermen, coastal pilots, commercial divers and skippers who earned their living in, on or beside the sea.

We are very grateful for the important stories Doreen recorded and the body of work she contributed to the history of British Columbia. She is survived by her husband, Bill, her daughters, Lynn and Lauren, four grandchildren and other extended family.