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 Featured Title
Inventing Stanley Park
An Environmental History
Sean Kheraj  

$95.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 5/15/2013
ISBN: 9780774824248    

$29.95 Paperback
Release Date: 8/1/2013
ISBN: 9780774824255    

304 Pages

Nature | History | Society series


About the Book

Honourable Mention, 2014 BC Historical Federation Book Award

Finalist 2014 Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize, BC Book Prizes

Shortlisted 2014 Basil Stuart Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia, UBC Library

Finalist, 2013 City of Vancouver Book Awards, City of Vancouver

Winner, 2014 CLIO Prize for British Columbia, Canadian Historial Association

In the early hours of 15 December 2006, a windstorm of a ferocity not known for more than forty years ripped through Vancouver. In the crisp light of dawn, the city’s residents awoke to discover that Stanley Park, their city’s most treasured park, had been transformed into a tangle of splintered and uprooted trees. In the weeks that followed, people toured Stanley Park by car and by foot like a procession of mourners at a funeral. Their anguish revealed more than just an attachment to the memory of a park -- it marked the end of a romanticized vision of timeless natural space.

In Inventing Stanley Park, environmental historian Sean Kheraj examines how this tension between popular expectations of idealized wilderness and the volatility of complex ecosystems helped shape one of the world’s most famous urban parks. Drawing on a wealth of illustrations and the insights of environmental history, Kheraj not only describes and depicts the natural and cultural forces that shaped the park’s landscape, he also reveals the roots of our complex relationship with nature.

Released to coincide with Stanley Park’s 125th anniversary, this book offers a revealing meditation on the interrelationship between nature, culture, parks policy, and public memory.

Visit the author's website at

Also be sure to tune into a podcast interview with the author on the environmental history of Stanley Park on the NiCHE - Network in Canadian History & Environment website.

About the Author(s)

Sean Kheraj is an assistant professor in the Department of History at York University.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Between Art and Nature / Graeme Wynn

Introduction: Knowing Nature through History

1 Before Stanley Park

2 Making the Park Public

3 Improving Nature

4 The City in the Park

5 Restoring Nature

Conclusion: Reconciliation with Disturbance





"This alluring and magnificently illustrated work adds to and revises established interpretations of the processes of urban park creation in North America."
-- from the Foreword by Graeme Wynn

"The world’s great parks are bigger than any of us. Viewed historically as landscapes in need of a helping hand, they are living entities that are just as likely to withstand natural and human interventions as succumb to them. For those of us who see parks as more than visual treats, this book is a must-read."
-- Jean Barman, Department of Educational Studies, UBC

"A fascinating history of Vancouver’s iconic park that places nature squarely at the centre. Kheraj shows how foresters and engineers struggled with the disruptive power of windstorms, insect infestations, and erosion to maintain the illusion of a primeval forest in the heart of a city. We have too few histories of city parks -- this one sets a high standard."
-- Joanna Dean, Department of History, Carleton University

Sample Chapter

Sample Chapter [PDF]

Related Topics

History > Other
Environmental Studies
Urban Studies
History > Canada

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Inventing Stanley Park from UTP Distribution at:

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Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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