Crescent Beach, British Columbia, where the Dark Man trilogy is set, is at the south end of the west coast of Canada just north of the US border with Washington State. It’s situated on the Strait of Georgia that runs between the mainland and Vancouver Island. Crescent Beach was founded in 1871 when Walter Blackie (for whom Blackie Spit in the story is named) purchased 150 acres from the Royal Engineers for $50. Nothing much happened there before the railway came through in 1909. By 1912 there were a dozen houses, a church and some businesses there. Nowadays Crescent Beach is part of the municipality of Surrey and is more or less exactly as I’ve described in the story, except that there is no business called Conjure, and there really isn’t a Witch Mansion. I’ve spent many pleasant hours strolling in the Crescent Beach area, which isn’t too far from where I actually live. It’s a bit of a backwater in the affluent South Surrey area. Beecher Street is indeed the ‘main drag’ where most of the few businesses in this community are situated, so that’s where I put the fictional store Conjure. You can check out Crescent Beach on line at http://www.crescentbeach.bc.ca.
I’ve placed the building of the fictional Witch Mansion in 1912 to fit with the history there. The location where I have it in the story actually exists, in fact there was a building there at one time, although it wasn’t a Queen Anne mansion. The house that really did stand there at the entrance to Blackie Spit has recently been raised and the property returned to the parkland adjacent to it. I chose Queen Anne because that form of Victorian architecture (1840 – 1900) was common at that time. Queen Anne houses started to appear between 1880 – 1890 and that look fits the sort of place I figure the witches in this story would live. As a matter of interest there is a nice example of such a house up above Crescent Beach in Ocean Park. In the story Shelagh’s great grandmother bought the Witch Mansion in 1924 and renovated it in the 60s. Shelagh’s mother Lizzie inherited it in 1984 when Marianne died.
Below I’ve posted the family tree for Katherine’s family so that you can get a better idea of how everyone is related.
The Semiahmoo Trail mentioned in the story really exists, as does the Sunnyside Urban Forest. I go walking there all the time. The ersatz castle I described as being Brad’s Conry’s magickal HQ is entirely fictional. However there are at least 3 ‘fake castles’ in the South Surrey area, one on west beach in White Rock, one on the hills above it, and another further east near King George Blvd (which is what gave me the idea) and one interesting building on the east border of White Rock that has gargoyles leering down from the tops of the walls.
Nolan’s fictional restaurant, Jackson Square, is on restaurant row on White Rock’s west beach. White Rock is a small municipality tucked into the south end of Surrey and is a few miles southeast of Crescent Beach and is right next to the US border crossing at Blaine, Washington. This is the crossing where Kat and her son Arthur and later Kat’s ex Duncan enter Canada in my story. White Rock’s beaches are a popular destination, especially with young American tourists (since the drinking age in BC is lower than it is across the border in Washington State). There are two beaches, separated by a hill, east beach and west beach. White Rock on line at www.whiterockonline.com .
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is about 25 – 30 minutes north of Crescent Beach and is actually located in Richmond, the municipality next to Vancouver. It is a major international airport with flights all over the Pacific Rim.
Granville Island where the women go shopping is situated on False Creek across from the downtown core of Vancouver’s West End and is exactly as described and you can check it out at: http://www.granvilleisland.com/. There really is a hat store there like the one I described in the market called the Net Loft at Granville Island. It’s called Edie’s, and you can check it out at:
There is no such grimoire as the Keys to Darkness, but if you’d like to look at the sort of things that one can find in a real grimoire of Ceremonial Magic, check out the C.A.Ennis fantasy blog where I’ve put an occult lexicon with over 13,000 entries: http://caennis.wordpress.com/