Nautical Nights Speaker Series: John MacFarlane - November
Nautical Nights Speaker Series: John MacFarlane - November

Nautical Nights Speaker Series: John MacFarlane - November

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Our Nautical Nights Speaker Series programs are delivered in a hybrid model: a live screening event at our 744 Douglas St. location, and a simultaneous Zoom Meeting. After purchasing a Zoom program ticket, you will receive a link for the Zoom Meeting three days prior to the event,

Via a Live Screening or by Zoom, enjoy the Maritime Museum of BC's Nautical Nights Speaker Series. This series focuses on discussion about our unique maritime heritage, culture, and environment! Each month features a new speaker and topic.

John MacFarlane, Nautical Nights header ad.


When Rivers Were Roads: Paddle Steamers of Western North America

Before there were railroads one of the chief ways that people and goods were transported was by river and lake. Magnificent sidewheelers and sternwheelers that seemed to float on a skim of water penetrated throughout the western half of the continent. John MacFarlane has tracked down 2,200 of them and captured a snapshot of their individual histories. From the Mexican border to the Yukon these vessels predominated for about 70 years before being made obsolete by railroads and eventually by roads. Although now largely forgotten there were about 400 Canadian vessels in this group and even today there are a handful still operating. John MacFarlane will give a peek into the stories that are romantic, tragic and just plain amazing.

About the speaker:

John MacFarlane portrait, white background, red shirt.

John MacFarlane is a fifth generation Vancouver Islander whose family came
there from California in 1859 for the Fraser River Gold Rush. He has worked
to protect and interpret Canada's natural and historical heritage since 1969
when he joined the Canadian National Parks Service. He has been the Curator
Emeritus of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia in Victoria BC for more
than 30 years. The author of 14 books, he was the co-recipient of the
prestigious 2020 John Lyman Book Prize of the North American Society of
Oceanic History for his best-selling book 'Around the World in a Dugout
Canoe'. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (London) and a
recipient of the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers. He lives on the central
east coast of Vancouver Island. His almost full-time avocation is The
Nauticapedia, an online nautical history resource, which is accessed on the
internet more than 4 million times yearly.

Check out The Nauticapedia here:


The in-person portion of this event is a live screening at 744 Douglas Street; John will be joining us remotely by Zoom. 

As the live-screening is an indoor event, as of September 13th the provincial government has mandated that the Maritime Museum of BC will require proof of vaccination. 

By September 13, you must be partially vaccinated.
You're partially vaccinated with 1 dose.

By October 24, you must be fully vaccinated.
You're fully vaccinated 7 days after dose 2. 

We ask those unable to provide this information to join us on Zoom.

Please note: Registration for Zoom programs must occur at least 2 hours before the scheduled program and provide an e-mail, or we can not guarantee that you will receive the link to participate. We will contact you before the program, and are available for Zoom troubleshooting aid up to 2 hours before the program start time.

The Maritime Museum of BC does not want to cause additional financial hardship at this time to any who would like to participate in our programs and lack the ability to pay. Free attendance at these programs is available. please email us at to request your free Virtual Program discount code.