Jan Peterson is all too familiar with the history of Port Alberni; in fact she’s written five books about the mill town.
The Nanaimo-based author and former journalist is gearing up for the launch of her newest book, Port Alberni: More Than Just a Mill Town, which documents the best and worst of Port Alberni during the 1980s and ’90s.
“Port Alberni went through quite a change in structure,” Peterson said. “The main employer, MacMillan Bloedel was sold off. The industry changed, forest practices changed and so I thought there was another story there.”
On June 26, Peterson will be reading and signing books at the Nanaimo Museum as part of the official book launch for Port Alberni. The event is also a “re-launch” of one of Peterson’s older books, A Place In Time: Nanaimo Chronicles.
“We’re inviting the public to a coffee party at the museum in Nanaimo. They’re also re-launching a book that I actually donated to the museum when the museum opened,” Peterson said. “I never had a launch for that book, so we are combining both.”
In addition to the dual book launch, Peterson will be talking about her research and experiences writing her latest book
Peterson, who has written 10 other books, is no stranger to meticulous research, having worked as reporter with the Alberni Valley Times during the ’70s and ’80s. While at the paper she received the Jack Wasserman Award for investigative journalism.
“I have always been really keen on research, that was one thing I really found out that I enjoyed as a journalist,” Peterson said.“I loved doing that part.”
She was born in Scotland and moved to Kingston, Ont., in 1957 and then eventually moved to Port Alberni in 1972, where she resided for decades.
Although Peterson has written four other books on the history of Port Alberni, she decided to write a fifth after realizing that there wasn’t a lot of written history on the town during the ’80s and ’90s.
“It’s kind of a personal journey,” Peterson said. “I had previously written four other books about Port Alberni but they went up to the period of amalgamation, which was 1967.”
Jan Peterson will be at the Nanaimo Museum on June 26 from 3-5 p.m. For more information about Port Alberni: More Than Just a Mill Town visit bit.ly/MoreThanJustAMillTown.