Whale in the Door

A Community Unites to Protect BC's Howe Sound


               Reviews for Whale in the Door:

49th Shelf: Find Your Next Great Canadian Read

Shelf Talkers: Slap On the Sunscreen and Dive Into a Book

The Bookseller: Lee Trentadue, Galiano Island Books (Galiano Island, BC)

The Pick: Whale in the Door, by Pauline Le Bel

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Pauline Le Bel read from her book Whale In the Door on Galiano Island, and was delighted by her account of falling in love with a place and sharing her experiences of learning about the history of Howe Sound and the environmental damages wrought by industrial contamination and how a community comes together to begin to reverse these. A wonderful and important book for our time.


BC Booklook/Ormsby Review, Cherie Thiessen:

Howe Sound advice

The Province

Excerpt from Mark Abbott’s November 28 review:

Whale is well-researched and Le Bel is a delicate, respectful, passionate storyteller and a dedicated activist…“Reading Whale in the Door is a wonderful experience marking the ongoing efforts of the Squamish Nation and its allies to protect Howe Sound from once again being poisoned for profit…The additional importance lies not just in its history lesson but also within the scientific facts Le Bel weaves into the prose effortlessly without losing her narrative…Pauline Le Bel takes us on a journey – both hers and the Howe Sound itself – that is unforgettable and inspiring.
(link to full review below)

Pacific Yachting

Excerpt from the February issue:

“Le Bel’s filmmaking experience has clearly honed her ability to show and not tell, and to get what she wants from primary sources – the people concerned. Her extensive research is impressive.”

Focus on Victoria magazine

January/February excerpt from Amy Reiswig’s review:

“OUTSIDE PAULINE LE BEL’S FRONT WINDOW on Kwilákm/Bowen Island, the Coast Mountains become something new. In what maps call Mount Strachan, Le Bel sees the head of a Sleeping Woman whose pregnant belly carries much more than the mundane name of Saint Mark’s Peak. Sometimes blanketed in snow, sometimes clothed in cloud, the reclined giant faces the sky and silently tells a new story—one about seeing differently, seeing what could be, seeing with love.”

“Written under that view, Le Bel’s new book, Whale in the Door: A Community Unites to Protect BC’s Howe Sound (Caitlin Press), is all about making space for a new story to shape the way we see and approach the land… Though full of information even locals will likely not know, it’s not at all academic. While her previous book, Becoming Intimate with the Earth, took its energy from sadness and loss, this one, she tells me, is born out of gratitude and love… Le Bel’s care, not just as a writer but as a person, is what leads us into the book’s heart, and hers.”


Focus on Victoriahttp://www.focusonvictoria.ca/janfeb2018/whale-in-the-door-r5/

Vancouver Sun : Brett Grubisic

“A history, travelogue, grassroots activism log, and plea for sustainability, Le Bel’s book is a cautiously optimistic exploration of this regionally significant area.”

Q&A: Whale in the Door: Protecting Howe Sound author Pauline Le Bel

The National Observer:


The Tyee:


The Province:

Book review: Whale in the Door reveals the beauty of Howe Sound

The Undercurrent:

“Pauline has spent years talking to the people that are shaping that future and she lays out their insights throughout Whale in the Door.  What emerges is a picture of how we got to this point in our history and what our options are for the future. For us residents, Whale in the Door is a guidebook and a road map to the changes upon us and it contains a hopeful aspiration that we can live in balance with the land, with each other and with competing visions of what should happen.”
The Undercurrent


The Squamish Chief:



                        Praise for Whale in the Door:

“This is a story that was begging to be told, and Le Bel tells it in a unique voice that ranges from mystical through scientific to activist.” Dr. Julie Gardner, Adjunct Professor, School of Community and Regional Planning UBC

I’ve loved reading all of this. It is inspirational. I’ve learned so much […] Many thanks for the privilege of reading a draft of this amazing book. I loved it! I’m impressed with the extent of research you’ve done and your enthusiasm for the many people who are working together in the cause of Howe Sound.
—Robert J Ballantyne, Chair, Board of Directors BC Spaces for Nature

“Thanks for thinking of using our legend and my words to put it into a modern context.” Chris Lewis, Squamish Nation Councillor and Spokesperson

“Reminds me that amazing artists like Pauline Le Bel have so much to say about healing our precious earth.” Ramona de Graaaf, Marine Biologist

“As a settler, Pauline has done us all a service by teaching us how to ‘know our place’ in the cultural and natural history of the inlet.” Chris Corrigan, Co-Chair, Economic Development Committee, Bowen Island Municipality

“I am really enjoying the book. It is very well written and has lots of info and stories which are not just appealing, but which will be very helpful in the effort to protect Howe Sound… I will encourage those who live around Howe Sound to buy your book. It’s a good and important read.” Ric Careless, Board, BC Parks Foundation

“I’ve been reading your latest book and am loving it. I’m only two chapters in, and already feel so much more informed about the area I’ve lived my whole life in as well as the values of the First Nations people. I love your poetic and picturesque way of writing. I feel myself falling in love with the beautiful Howe Sound all over again – thank you 💖. Gini, Bowen Island

“I completed reading Whale In The Door last night. What a true and powerful gift you have given. I feel an honouring and new-found dedication to the land, sea, sky, animals, fish and the Squamish Nation of Howe Sound area. Blessed be.” Rabia, Ottawa

“I just read your blog post for Orca origami event – what a wonderful way to pull people together! And I listened to your song for Tahlequah – so very moving. You are doing wonderful things Pauline pulling together all of us on behalf of the Salish Sea and Howe Sound. Thank you. Bob Turner, Bowen Island
Dear Pauline, Your heart, compassion and respect for the orca shone/shines brightly for all to see.  Their protection means our protection! Just know your leadership and advocacy through your words and work has permeated through many deep waters around the world! We are grateful to have been a tiny part of the collective voice honouring these and all coastal creatures needing ultimate protection. We appreciated your blog, thank you… Blessings, Lillian and Rob
“Whale in the Door is such an eloquent, strong and timely book. Congratulations!”
Jim De Felice, actor, director, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta