Fernie at War

1914 - 1919

Fernie, a small community located in BC’s Kootenay region, entered the First World War in 1914 with optimism and a sense of national pride—it emerged five years later having experienced staggering losses and multiple controversies that threatened to tear their community apart. 

As a resource-based economy with unusually large and varied immigrant populations, and exceptionally high recruitment levels, Fernie was profoundly affected by conflicting impulses of labour, loyalty and ethnicity. Demands for internment of enemy aliens, resistance to prohibition and moral reform, the consequences of natural and man-made disasters, the unprecedented banning of recruitment, and the western labour revolt were all issues that contributed to a war-time experience for Fernie that was more dramatic and more revealing of underlying tensions than that of any other Canadian community.

In his new book, Fernie at War, historian and author Wayne Norton explores what it meant to live in Fernie during those confusing and divisive years.

Wayne Norton


Wayne Norton is a writer, publisher and historical consultant who, for many years, was a teacher in Fort Rupert, Kamloops and England. He has written extensively on a variety of topics including music of the First World War, historic women’s ice hockey, prairie settlement, public health, and the local histories of Kamloops and Fernie. He was a research consultant for the Indian Residential School Process and has published articles in British Columbia History, The Globe and Mail, BC Studies and The Vancouver Sun. Norton has also published eight books, most recently Women on Ice: The Early Years of Women’s Hockey in Western Canada with Ronsdale Press.

Marketing & Publicity
  • prolific and well-respected BC historian and published author (8th book)
  • only contemporary book focused on the city of Fernie, BC
  • rich in archival photography
  • mix of historical subjects including military, civic, socio-political, and personal narratives
  • regional interest that stretches along BC/Alberta border
  • well-suited for libraries, indie stores, and museums