Before We Lost the Lake

A Natural and Human History of Sumas Valley

By examining the brutal death of Sumas Lake, historian Chad Reimer revives aspects of Sto:lo culture and emboldens the cause for environmental conservation. 

In his new book, Before We Lost the Lake, Chad Reimer sets out to truly reclaim Sumas Lake, to restore it to its proper place in the history of the Fraser Valley, BC and the Northwest Coast. Drawing on extensive primary material, Reimer reconstructs the life history of Sumas Lake from the glacial age through the lake’s demise and after. Before We Lost the Lake examines the lake's natural history and ecology, its occupation and use by the Sema:th and other First Nations, its colonization by White immigrants, the environmental changes brought about by introduced plants and animals, and the campaign to drain it. Drainage proponents had their way and gradually the promised benefits were realized. But these benefits came at a heavy cost to the environment and for the Sema:th, whose traditional way of life was irretrievably lost. 

Chad Reimer

Chad Reimer has a BA Honours in History from the University of British Columbia and an MA and PhD in History from York University. He wrote Chilliwack's Chinatowns for the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC and Writing British Columbia History with UBC Press. Reimer has also been published in BC History and Pacific Northwest Quarterly. He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he spent his first fourteen winters before moving to the gentler climate of Abbotsford, BC, teaching for some years at the University of Fraser Valley.

Marketing & Publicity
  • Ongoing partnerships with heritage associations & rotary clubs
  • Media (Niche/Regional): CBC, Canada's History, BC History, The Vancouver Sun, Cottage Country, BC Bookworld
  • Book Tour: Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Chilliwack
  • Blurbs by Chief Dalton Silver (Sumas), Eileen Delehanty Pearkes
  • Includes archival photography, detailed research, and stories
  • History of Sumas highly reported upon given Sto:lo lawsuit