Contemporary Canadian Literature with a Distinctly Urban Twist

Anvil Press

Fool's Gold: The Life and Legacy of Vancouver's Official Town Fool

Fool's Gold: The Life and Legacy of Vancouver's Official Town Fool

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On April 1, 1968, a tall, bespectacled, thirty-five-year-old former social worker named Joachim Foikis received $3,500 from the Canada Council for the Arts in order to finance a unique, self-imposed mission unseen since Elizabethan England: reinvent the vanished tradition of “Town Fool.”

Foikis, who held two university degrees (one in economics from the University of Berlin, and the other in literature from the University of British Columbia), was already well known throughout the city for his off-kilter antics. His aim, according to interviews with The Sun and The Province, was “to spread joy and confusion” while at the same time “mock the four pillars of society: money, status, respectability, and conformity.”

Foikis died in 2007 at the age of seventy-two, in a sad but fitting end, after he fell from a wall while dancing to a band in Victoria’s inner harbour.

Fool’s Gold: The Life and Legacy of Vancouver’s Official Town Fool is the second release in Jesse Donaldson’s 49.2: Tales from the Off Beat, an ongoing series dedicated to celebrating the eccentric and unusual aspects of Vancouver.


“a lively, colourful, illuminating, and sometimes heartbreaking tale about one of Vancouver most peculiar residents.”
— Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight

  • Publication: December 2020
  • ISBN: 978-1-77214-146-7
  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Size: 4.75 x 6.5 inches

Jesse Donaldson is an author and journalist whose work has appeared in VICE, The Tyee, The Calgary Herald, the WestEnder, the Vancouver Courier, and many other places. His first book, This Day In Vancouver, was a finalist for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award (BC Book Prizes). He currently lives near Mount Pleasant with Abbey, the world’s best dog.

Books by Jesse Donaldson