Vancouver Region History

The first official Jane Austen Society meeting in Vancouver took place in May 1982

The Jane Austen Society of North America was founded in New York in 1979 by Austen collateral descendent Joan Austen-Leigh, Henry G. Burke, and J. David Grey. Today JASNA has 5,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. AGMs are held in October at one of our many regions.

In 1982, Ron and Eileen Sutherland opened their North Vancouver home to fellow admirers of Austen’s major novels, minor works and letters. On that occasion Eileen became the first JASNA Vancouver Regional Coordinator. Today we have grown into an enthusiastic literary society, a thriving, intellectually curious, and friendly group eager to celebrate Austen’s genius.   

In 1986, the Sutherlands oversaw the first Vancouver AGM at the Hotel Georgia which was centered on Austen’s unfinished novel “The Watsons.” JASNA Vancouver was on the map!

In 2007, it was again our turn to host an AGM. Over seven hundred guests were welcomed to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver for keynote addresses and break-out sessions. We offered a Regency concert and a private showing of the feature film The Jane Austen Book Club at a local theatre. Our members conducted walking tours and organized bus adventures around the city. Among the many highlights was our Regency Ball in the hotel’s magnificent Pacific Ballroom. It will never be forgotten!

JASNA Vancouver opens many doors!

Our meetings are truly varied. We discuss and debate Austen’s writing and characters and the English Regency period in which she lived. Guest speakers share their expertise on a vast array of topics – music, architecture, art, transportation, food, even the history of the British Navy which is of great interest as two of Austen’s brothers were sailors.

We are grateful to our members who volunteer their time and talents. Our Librarian oversees an extensive selection of Austen books, videos, and literary clippings available to borrow. Our Newsletter editor continues our long tradition of cataloguing meetings and events to remind us of the fun we’ve had. Some members discover a passion to learn Regency dancing while others hone their sewing skills to create stunning period fashions. The sky’s the limit!

Our post-meeting pot-luck lunches are a highlight. It’s when we sit down to a great meal while forging friendships with fellow Austen enthusiasts.

It doesn’t get better than that!

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