The Notorious Georges: Crime and Community in British Columbia's Northern Interior, 1905-25
Published by: UBC Press
Imprint: UBC Press
Sales Date: 2023-10-15
Published: October 2023
278 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.80 in, 7 figures (4 tables, 3 graphs) and 22 illustrations (21 b&w photos, 1 map)
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Boozy and boisterous. The Georges – the communities of South Fort George and Fort George that ultimately became Prince George – acquired a seedy reputation for a century, at times branded the dubious title of Canada’s “most dangerous city.” Is Prince George really such a bad lad?
The Notorious Georges explores how the pursuit of respectability collided with caricatures of a riotous settlement frontier in its early years. Anxious about being marginalized by the provincial government and venture capitalists, municipal leaders blamed Indigenous and mixed-heritage people, non-preferred immigrants, and transient labourers for local crime. Jonathan Swainger combs through police and legal records, government publications, and media commentary to demonstrate that the disorder was not so different from the rest of the province – and “respectable” white residents were often to blame.
This lively account tells us about more than a particular community’s identity. It also sheds light on small-town disaffection in modern Canada.
Introduction: Anxious at the Very Gates of Hell
1 Establishing the Georges and the Birth of a Bad Reputation
2 The British Columbia Provincial Police, Regulatory Policing, and Keeping the Peace
3 City Governance and the Prince George City Police
4 Holding Court in the Georges
5 Sensations, Front-Page Crime, and Community Identity
Epilogue: That Prince George Business
Notes; Bibliography; Index