Anvil Press

Contemporary Canadian Literature with a Distinctly Urban Twist

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Cover for Sensational Vancouver

Sensational Vancouver

By Eve Lazarus


History books typically show Vancouver as a pioneer city built on forestry, fisheries, and tourism, but behind the snow-capped mountains and rain forests, the Vancouver of the first half of the 20th century was a hotbed of civic corruption. The top job at the Vancouver Police Department was a revolving door with the average tenure for a police chief of just four years.

In those early years Detective Joe Ricci’s beat was the opium dens and gambling joints of Chinatown, while Lurancy Harris—the first female cop in Canada—patrolled the high-end brothels of Alexander Street. Later, proceeds from rum running produced some of the city’s most iconic buildings, cops became robbers, and the city reeled from a series of unsolved murders.

But Vancouver is more than bookies, brothels, and bootleggers—the city also produced legendary women, world-class entertainers, and ground-breaking architecture.

Sensational Vancouver is a fully illustrated popular history book about Vancouver’s famous and infamous, the ordinary and the extraordinary, filtered through the houses in which they lived.

Sensational Vancouver covers legendary women including Elsie MacGill, Phyllis Munday, Nellie Yip Quong and Joy Kogawa; high-end brothels, unsolved murders, and the homes and buildings of artists, architects and entertainers including Frederick Varley, Arthur Erickson, Bryan Adams, and Michael Bublé.

Includes a Walking Tour map of historic Strathcona and Chinatown.


“Lazarus is an enthusiastic researcher, a quirky writer of prose, and an energetic amateur historian in somewhat the same manner as the late Chuck Davis. Her book jumps around like an antipodean marsupial but it’s great fun—particularly when it deals with dope peddlers, hardworking bootleggers, disgraced mayors, and corrupt chief constables.”

ISBN 978-1-927380-98-7
7.5 x 9.5 | 160 pp
$24 CAN / $24 US
Rights available:  World

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Canadian Customers
CDN $24

US Customers
US $24

Rest of the World Customers
US $24