Boundless Optimism
428 pages, 6 x 9
19 cartoons, 17 b&w photos, 1 map
Release Date:01 Jul 2013
Release Date:01 Nov 2012
Release Date:01 Nov 2012

Boundless Optimism

Richard McBride's British Columbia

UBC Press

The first decade and a half of the twentieth century was mostly a time of unprecedented prosperity and growth in British Columbia. Although its colonial history was still etched in the public psyche, BC was coming into its own as a province of Canada and starting to realize the untapped economic potential of its natural resources. Born just months before British Columbia ceased to be a British colony, Richard McBride juggled his imperial, national, and provincial identities while developing one of the most important political careers the province has ever seen.

McBride built a reputation as a charismatic and optimistic leader who was dedicated to a vision of a modern, industrialized, wealthy province. Truly a product of his time, McBride firmly opposed Asian immigration and promoted industrial development at the expense of First Nations interests. But he also had great forward vision: he introduced party lines to stabilize the BC legislature; he vigorously supported provincial causes in Ottawa; and, above all, he encouraged the building of railways in many regions of the province. Boundless Optimism puts McBride’s political career into historical context, chronicling his passions, his many accomplishments, the downsides of his optimism, and his role in making British Columbia the province it is today.

Boundless Optimism will appeal not only to historians and political scientists, but also to fans of political biographies and anyone interested in British Columbia’s formative years.


  • 2013, Winner - Patricia E. Roy is the recipient of the Canadian Historical Association's Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013
Boundless Optimism sheds new light on important aspects of British Columbia’s past. In telling the story of Richard McBride, a compelling personality and one of the longest-serving premiers, it offers valuable new insights into British Columbia’s history and into the origins of party politics in the province. David J. Mitchell, President and CEO, Canada’s Public Policy Forum
Patricia E. Roy, professor emerita of history at the University of Victoria, is the author of many books on the history of British Columbia, including The Triumph of Citizenship: The Japanese and Chinese in Canada, 1941-67; The Oriental Question: Consolidating a White Man's Province, 1914-41; and A White Man's Province: British Columbia Politicians and Chinese and Japanese Immigrants, 1858-1914.


1 A Young British Columbian in a Young British Columbia

2 “Dewdney Dick”: In a Chaotic Legislature, 1898-1903

3 Establishing a Government, 1903-07

4 Toward a Wider Stage, 1907-09

5 Boundless Optimism, 1909-12

6 The Beginning of the End, 1912-14

7 Optimism Challenged, 1914-15

8 Respite in London




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