The City of Rainbows

A Colourful History of Prince Rupert

By (author): Blair Mirau
ISBN 9781772034752
Softcover | Publication Date: May 28, 2024
Book Dimensions: 5.5 in. x 8.5 in.
256 Pages
$24.95 CAD
E-Book Price: $12.99 CAD

About the Book

A vivid and comprehensive history of the City of Prince Rupert, from its ancient roots as a rich, multicultural trading hub between different Indigenous Nations to its current state as an ethnically diverse community set against the stunning natural backdrop of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Since time immemorial, rain has defined life on Kaien Island, now known as the townsite of Prince Rupert. As the rainiest and cloudiest city in Canada, Prince Rupert is the perfect environment for rainbows—and the rainbow is an apt metaphor for the city: a symbol of diversity and inclusion, a supernatural gateway between worlds, and a universal sign of hope and calm after a storm.

From its original Ts’mysen inhabitants to the first European explorers and fur traders, the building of dozens of salmon canneries to the construction of the transcontinental railway, the global upheaval of two World Wars to decades of industrial boom and bust, Kaien Island, and Prince Rupert, has always been a rich, multicultural trading hub that has weathered countless storms.

By weaving together historical events illustrated by compelling archival photographs, The City of Rainbows strives to tell the story of Prince Rupert from a modern perspective, one that confronts the impact of colonization head-on and moves away from a romanticized account of the development of a “pioneer” town. Balancing the histories of Indigenous Peoples, European and Asian settlers, and recent immigrants, this book reveals powerful, intriguing, uncomfortable, and beautiful truths about an undoubtedly colourful city.

About the Author(s)

Blair Mirau is a born-and-raised Rupertite and former Prince Rupert city councillor. Since 2016, he has served as the chief executive officer of the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society, which has been recognized with the BC Indigenous Community-Owned Business of the Year Award. In 2018, Mirau was named one of BC’s Top 30 Under 30 by BC Business magazine. He holds a master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies and a graduate certificate in Sustainable Community Development from Royal Roads University, as well an undergraduate degree in International Development from the University of Winnipeg.


"Blair Mirau eloquently paints the story of Prince Rupert from a pre-colonial era to our current day history. This book is a detailed, no stone left unturned love letter to the culture and peoples of Kaien Island. A must read for anyone with a deep interest in this region."
—Lee Brain, former Mayor of Prince Rupert (2014–22)
“In his debut book, Blair Mirau skillfully weaves a narrative that spans generations, offering a profound exploration of the city's past and a hopeful vision for its future. A captivating blend of history and metaphor, this book is a testament to the enduring spirit of Prince Rupert, making it an essential read for locals and visitors alike."
—Ceilidh Marlow, former executive director, Tourism Prince Rupert
“No city in Canada can match the adventuresome, topsy-turvy, boom-bust history of Prince Rupert. And it’s all here in Blair Mirau’s thorough account of the City of Rainbows, from its rich Indigenous roots to the latest of its many bounce-backs from financial peril. Read it and be amazed. There’s no city like it.”
—Rod Mickleburgh, longtime journalist and prize-winning author of On the Line: A History of the British Columbia Labour Movement