Boom & Bust

The Resilient Women of Historic Telegraph Cove

By (author): Jennifer L. Butler
ISBN 9781771512985
Softcover | Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Book Dimensions: 8 in. x 10 in.
288 Pages

About the Book

Received Honourable Mention for the 2019 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing

A century of life in Telegraph Cove as told by the resourceful and resilient women who turned this isolated coastal village into a tight-knit community.

Telegraph Cove, one of Vancouver Island’s most visited tourist destinations, has humble origins as a one-shack telegraph station, established a century ago. The community grew, first with a salmon saltery and sawmill, then with new industries developed by the ingenuity of the Cove’s inhabitants. From the 1920s, Irish, Chinese, Japanese, German, Danish, Italian, and English community members, along with other old and new Canadians, were neighbours in a place accessible only by boat.

In this book, more than 25 women tell their own stories and memories of life in the Cove. They faced down the impacts of isolation, hazardous terrain, war, occupation, immigration, internment, social change, economic development, community decline, and environmental degradation—remarkable, given that Telegraph Cove’s population peaked at 60. From these lives come stories of resilience, resourcefulness, heartbreak, humour, and triumph. Boom & Bust draws the reader in for an intimate view, accompanied by never-before-published archival photographs.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer L. Butler is the great-granddaughter of Mame and Duke Wastell, who bought and named Telegraph Cove in 1912. She has been a sound engineer, school teacher, swing dancer, theatre buff, caterer, and wordsmith on many platforms, including technical writing for the Canadian academic research community and blogging her travel adventures. She lives in Vancouver surrounded by an overgrown collection of plants and books, plotting her next escape.


“The impact of women on resource-based communities is often overlooked. Boom & Bust seeks to balance the scales by including stories of over twenty-five women who lived in the Cove during the last one hundred years. Their contributions to Telegraph Cove resulted in a distinct sense of community and reveal much about the experience of living in an isolated area . . . . Jennifer Butler assembled the history of Telegraph Cove by situating women in leading roles, highlighting their resilience, anguish, and joy. These women and their families dealt with isolation and community decline but were not beyond the reach of economic depression and the effects of war. Boom & Bust honestly and authentically chronicled the history of Telegraph Cove.” —BC History

“Undeniably a wonderful read, and the photographs are outstanding.” —The Ormsby Review