Author Archives: Bruce

Rejection Slips

Most writers I meet these days haven’t even seen a real rejection slip. That always strikes me as odd, because rejection slips are how I learned to write. I was surprised to find this little collection of 1970s rejection slips. I didn’t know I still had these last few. They must have been misfiled someplace, and [...]
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A Personal Anniversary

This month marks eight years since I left the media and joined Tourism Prince Rupert, and 35 years since I published my first US magazine story. I barely remember the beginning – especially since I started out writing under pseudonyms, and didn’t keep copies of anything until the late 1980s. I can remember only that the [...]
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Hearing the Owl

So begins one of my favourite stories… The doctor said to the Bishop, “So you see, my lord, your young ordinand can live no more than three years and doesn’t know it. Will you tell him, and what will you do with him?” The Bishop said to the doctor, “Yes, I’ll tell him, but not yet. If [...]
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True Stories and Tall Tales

For a place with so many stories, the Northwest Coast has surprisingly few good old-fashioned tall tales. In my newspaper days I always had to dig pretty deep to find a ghost story for the Hallowe’en edition. Our version of the tall tale is instead usually an undercurrent of myth, urban legend blended with fact, [...]
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The British warship H.M.S. Virago was steaming northward through the Pacific Ocean near the southern boundary of Alaska. The steady throb of the ship’s engines was the only sound that broke the stillness of the beautiful mountainous islands among which the vessel was wending its way. It was the year 1853, and several days had passed [...]
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I still remember the first time I saw Edac, down at the Prince Rupert Rowing & Yacht Club in about 1995. At that time Rob Morris was editor of Westcoast Mariner, and he and I used to talk about her quite often. We both have a real soft spot for classic pleasure boats, and, having been [...]
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No more saving lives

Canadians haven’t been vocal enough in speaking up about our country’s ability to save lives at sea. Perhaps it’s an easy thing to ignore, back in Ottawa. It’s impossible to forget here in Prince Rupert. Here our families and neighbours venture out day after day to take their living from the North Pacific. Sometimes lives [...]
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The Prince Rupert Ships

I’ve been thinking lately of ships named for the City of Prince Rupert. Before the city was established it wasn’t uncommon for ships to be named for our namesake, Prince Rupert of the Rhine. The Dominion Atlantic Steamship Service operated the sidewheeler Prince Rupert (1894) on the Digby – St. John run at the beginning [...]
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The Weather God

Twenty years ago, and for many years before and after that, CKX radio and television was a powerhouse in southern Manitoba. The AM station, on the air since 1928 and booming out 50,000 watts to small towns and farms as far as northern Manitoba, eastern Saskatchewan, and North Dakota, was a common link between us [...]
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Ken came home from war

First published in This Week, November 10, 1996. I know a man, the father of a friend. I grew up knowing this man, but over many years my memory may have become distorted. I may get the story a little wrong, but its essence remains the same. Ken came from the southern tip of Lake Manitoba, where [...]
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The prairie home

Since there was a plentiful supply of poplar trees on all the homesteads the natural building material was logs, and they were used in all the houses. Some were built as lean-to’s [sic], and others had gable ends where the logs were trimmed and pinned together with wooden pegs. At first there were no shingles [...]
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The $3 poem

But critical praise was of little use to the fatherless little family in Brantford where Pauline, approaching thirty, was desperately conscious of the fact that, so far from being a help to her mother, she was as dependent as her mother was on the generosity of the other members of the family. Mr. Charlesworth once [...]
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The red maple

(Photos by Lonnie Wishart) I loved this tree. It was my first favourite thing about this house on the coast. It was a screen of colour between me and the world. In a way it connected this home with my first home. I didn’t grow up here—I grew up on the prairies, in a century-old stone house [...]
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First steamboat built in Manitoba

My father, Captain Peter McArthur, came to Fort Garry in 1869. In the following year he was taking out logs at Broken Head River. He told me he supplied the flagstaff for Upper Fort Garry – 14 inches at the butt and 4 inches at the top. I forget the height. He built the Prince Rupert [...]
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Wreck of the Florizel

The sailors were washed about the deck, frantically clawing at anything that came to hand to keep from going overboard. Some were taken over the side. Aft of the smokestack on the port side, the steel lifeboat, still in its chocks, was torn from the deck, carried over the smokestack, and dropped athwart the deck between [...]
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Bruce Wishart
Whimsies. Sometimes about writing.
Sometimes about folklore. Sometimes
about the sea, or life on the coast.
And sometimes not.