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SPILSBURY'S COAST

Produced by Alan Twigg and Harry Kellas; directed by Harry Kellas; written by Alan Twigg
A.R.T. Bookworld Productions, 1992. VHS cassette, 28:00 min., $69.95. Distributed by New Vision Media, 150-12140 Horseshoe Way, Richmond, B.C. V7A 4V5.


Grades 6 and up/Ages 11 and up

Reviewed by Patricia Miller

Volume 21 Number 2
1993 March


Spilsbury's Coast documents the life and times of Jim Spilsbury, the spirited entrepreneur who pioneered radio communication and air transportation along the coast of British Columbia.

Spilsbury became hooked on the enormous possibilities of radio communication as a boy growing up on Savary Island in the early part of the century. He built his first wireless from a kit he ordered from a newspaper. Not long after that, he started to get orders for radios from the local populace
and a career was launched.

As a young man, Spilsbury was to spend over eight years virtually living on the boat that took him up and down the coast visiting logging and fishing communities where he sold and repaired radio equipment. His eldest son spent the first year of his life on that same boat.

Then the rationing of boat fuel during World War II forced Spilsbury to discover an alternate means of carrying on his business. That alternative was air travel, the result of which became Queen Charlotte Airlines, or (as Spilsbury refers to it in one of his books about his life) "the accidental airline." That "accidental" airline grew to become the third largest in Canada by 1949.

There is a wonderfully intimate quality about this film. That quality is largely created by Spilsbury himself, now in his mid-eighties, as he shares his stories and experiences with the viewer. Combine this with wonderful period film footage and you have an absorbing tribute to a remarkable man and a remarkable chapter in the history of British Columbia and Canada.

Highly recommended for school and public libraries.


Patricia Miller is Coordinator of Children's Services with Surrey Public Library in Surrey, British Columbia
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