McLaren, (R.) Keith 1949-

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McLaren, (R.) Keith 1949-

PERSONAL: Born September 15, 1949, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; married; children: two. Education: Attended Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; holds a master's certificate.

ADDRESSES: Office—B.C. Ferry Corporation, 1112 Fort St., Victoria, British Columbia V8V 4V2, Canada.

CAREER: Sailor on more than thirty vessels on Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Beaufort Sea, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Great Lakes, beginning 1969; sailor on Bluenose II (historical sailing vessel), Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, for two years; B.C. Ferry Corporation, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, ship captain.


Bluenose and Bluenose II, Hounslow Press (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1981.

Light on the Water: Early Photography of Coastal British Columbia, Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1998.

SIDELIGHTS: Canadian sailor and author Keith McLaren is a captain for the B.C. Ferry Corporation and makes his home on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. McLaren's first book, Bluenose and Bluenose II, concerns a famous racing sloop from the 1930s and its 1963 reproduction. McLaren himself sailed on the Bluenose II for two years.

During the 1990s McLaren set out to document, through period photographs, the maritime history of coastal British Columbia. He spent years researching the work, scouring through more than 250,000 archival photos and negatives. The result of his efforts is Light on the Water: Early Photography of Coastal British Columbia.

A seaman since 1969, McLaren brings both his love of the ocean and his training in photography at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design to Light on the Water. Using the most advanced technology possible, McLaren took great care to reproduce the photos that appear in the work. The 120 black-and-white reproductions from the 1850s through the 1940s "give a comprehensive sense of a vanished time," according to Quill & Quire reviewer John Wilson.

Reviews of Light on the Water were generally positive, with several critics noting the beauty and clarity of the photos, some of which were taken by such well-known photographers as Leonard Frank and Philip Timms. Canadian Geographic contributor Daniel Francis praised the "stunning images" of the various vessels, which included sailing ships, luxury liners, tugs, fishing boats, whalers, and warships. However, according to Francis "the collection suffers for not having enough about people and the communities they founded." Phyllis Reeve, writing in Books in Canada, noted that McLaren provided only approximate dates for several photos, but she also stated that Light on the Water "remains a revelation in photography and coastal B.C. history, and a wonderful aesthetic experience."



Books in Canada, August, 1981, review of Bluenose and Bluenose II, p. 25; March, 1999, Phyllis Reeve, review of Light on the Water: Early Photography of Coastal British Columbia, pp. 29-30.

Canadian Book Review Annual, 1999, review of Light on the Water, p. 336.

Canadian Geographic, May-June, 1999, Daniel Francis, review of Light on the Water, p. 91.

Choice, E. H. Teague, September, 1999, review of Light on the Water, p. 130.

Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, July, 1999, review of Light on the Water, p. 523.

Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Faye M. Kert, summer, 2001, review of Light on the Water, p. 151.

Pacific Yachting, April, 1999, review of Light on the Water, p. 17.

Quill & Quire, December, 1998, John Wilson, review of Light on the Water, p. 30.

Vancouver Sun, January 9, 1999, John Mackie, "Picturing the Coastal History of B.C.," p. B1.


North Shore News Web site, (November 30, 1998), Layne Christensen, "Stories of the B.C. Seas."