British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 2004

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 British Columbia
Historical News
"Any country worthy of a future should be
interested in its past." W. Kaye Lamb, 1937
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation    I  Volume 37 No.3 Summer 2004   I    ISSN 1195-8294   I   $5.00
In this Issue:   Adventures up the coast | Yale, Victoria and Union Bay
Memories | Crowsnest Railway | Token History | Book Reviews British Columbia Historical News
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation   volume 37
No.3 Summer 2004
2 Upcoast Adventures
By Tom Fox "CvS^PH
8 Memories of Yale, Victoria,
and Union Bay
By Mildred Simpson
17        The Crows Nest Railway
By R.G. Harvey
23        Token History
By Denis Marshall
25 Book Reviews
32 Website Forays
33 Archives & Archivists
34 Reports from member societies
From the Editor:
I have, through the good
offices of Gord Millar the
Federation's recording secretary,
received a full set of British
Columbia Historical News. It's
fabulous fun to delve into issues
at random and find great writing
on all aspects of the province's
history. At random I pulled out
an issue (Winter 1987) and found
articles on Vivian Engineering
and on the history recorded at
Metrotown in Burnaby before the
malls - both will come in handy
for a book project I'm currently
working on.
It's also interesting to see
how much the publication has
changed and at the same time
how consistent it has been over
its long run.
I hope to occasionally
"mine" the back issues for the
odd article I think should see the
light of day again or might
complement a submission on
As always the submissions
continue to come in from far and
wide covering the spectrum of
The cover of this issue
comes from my personal
collection of photographs taken
by Michael Norbury in the 1940s
and 50s. He photographed much
of British Columbia and as I was
reading Tom Fox's Up Coast
Adventures I knew I had a
photograph   of   the   Union
Steamships vessel Cardena
somewhere. I found a number of
detail shots of her in my
collection of Norbury negatives.
The one chosen to illustrate
Tom's story and the cover,I
believe, is published here for the
first time.
Mm  i-    I ■ i i -in i
BCHF Prizes | Awards | Scholarships
W. KAYE LAMB Essay Scholarships
Deadline 15 May 2005
The British Columbia Historical
Federation awards two scholarships
annually for essays written by students
atBC colleges or universities on a topic
relating to British Columbia history.
One scholarship ($500) is for an essay
written by a student in a first-or
second-year course: the other ($750)
is for an essay written by a student in
a third-or fourth-year course.
To apply tor the scholarship,
candidates must submit (1)a letter of
application: (2) an essay of 1,500-3,
000 words on a topic relating to the
history of British Columbia: (3) a letter
of recommendation from the professor
for whom the essay was written.
Applications should be submitted
before 15 May 2005 to: Robert Griffin,
Chair BC Historical Federation
Scholarship Committee, PO Box 5254,
Station B, Victoria, BC V8R 6N4.
The winning essay submitted by a
third or fourth year student will be
published in BC Historical News. Other
submissions may be published at the
editor's discretion.
BC History Web Site Prize
The British Columbia Historical
Federation and David Mattison are
jointly sponsoring a yearly cash award
of $250 to recognize Web sites that
contribute to the understanding and
appreciation of British Columbia's
past. The award honours individual
initiative in writing and presentation.
Nominations for the BC History Web
Site Prize for 2004 must be made to
the British Columbia Historical
Federation, Web Site Prize
Committee, prior to 31 December
2004. Web site creators and authors
may nominate their own sites. Prize
rules and the on-line nomination form
can be found on The British Columbia
History Web site: http: 11
www. victoria, resources!
Best Article Award
A Certificate of Merit and fifty dollars
will be awarded annually to the
author of the article, published in BC
Historical News, that best enhances
knowledge ot British Columbia's
history and provides reading
enjoyment. Judging will be based on
subject development, writing skill,
freshness of material, and appeal to
a general readership interested in all
aspects of BC history.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 Up Coast Adventures
by Tom Fox
It was on one of those warm August mornings after
my grass cutting job at the neighbours was done
that I first started thinking about advancing my
employment level and hopefully encountering
some real adventure at the same time. As a twelve year
old in North Vancouver in the 1940s, I had no real
complaints about the availability of after school or
weekend sources of pocket money. It was just that I felt
that I was ready for something better. As I gratefully
sipped the cold lemonade that Mrs. L. Lauritzen always
offered when the job was done, she told me that she
had heard that morning from her husband who was
the manager of Good Hope salmon cannery located just
north and east of Alert Bay. It appeared that another
excellent salmon pack was expected, which meant long
hours of well paid work for the cannery crew.
The whole notion of an upcoast adventure began
to take shape in my mind. Surely there would be a job
that I could do in a cannery or aboard one of the boats,
for I knew a little bit about the sea and small boat
handling and felt that I was a good worker. The
problem would be to convince Mr. Lauritzen to hire
me - and to persuade my parents that I was mature
enough to manage on my own. In retrospect, the latter
was by far the greatest hurdle to overcome and one
that I truly understood years later when my own
daughter and sons reached the same age of confidence.
Over the next three months the Lauritzens' lawn
was transformed into a veritable gold green. As edges
were trimmed and weeds pulled, I worked on the next
phase of my strategy. How would I raise the question
with Mr. Lauritzen without appearing to be too pushy,
and how would I approach my parents with the idea?
The problem was solved for me when my boss returned
home from up north in late October. He telephoned
our house and talked to my Dad, telling him that I had
done a good job on his lawn. He went on to add that
his wife seemed quite certain that I was interested in
working for him at the cannery. My Dad told me all
this, then stated that they had both agreed that the idea
had merit but not until after my sixteenth birthday.
So much for strategy. And so much for travel and
adventure. I undertook several other summer and
weekend jobs over the next three years, but I still
persisted with that lawn until the question arose one
autumn day just before my most important birthday.
Mr Lauritzen actually asked me if I would like a
summer job up north! Remarkably, when I rushed
home to tell my parents, they said that I could go!
I thought of little else for the next few months. I
read whatever I could find about the BC Coast and its
communities, but nothing really prepared me for the
adventures that lay ahead. I told my friends about my
good fortune and one or two of their parents who knew
the coast told me of their experiences and impressions.
One of these was a ship's captain who was frequently
away at sea for long periods of time. I learned later
that Capt. F. Coe was a highly respected deep sea and
coastal skipper who had also sailed in Arctic waters.
Unbelievably, after hearing during a family visit of my
summer plans, he stated that he might need another
crew member for his ship carrying supplies up to
communities on the Arctic Sea and down the
Mackenzie River. Turning sixteen really did have its
As the end of May arrived, I had already started
packing my duffle bag. My Mother added a box of
laundry soap which got me thinking about some of
the other more domestic adventures that lay in store
for me. A letter arrived from Mr. Lauritzen supplying
a brief travel plan, a Union Steamship travel chit for a
one-way fare to Alert Bay and meal tickets. The
arrangement was that, upon reaching Alert Bay by ship,
I would stay overnight at a hotel (he recommended
the Bay View ) and next morning somebody from a
seine boat named the Porlier Pass would call by for
me and we would then travel on by seiner to Good
Hope cannery. Everything seemed to be quite straightforward, and improved even more when my Dad told
me that he had phoned the Bay View Hotel and
reserved a room for me. Then he handed me a twenty
dollar bill and said that it was to be used only if
absolutely necessary.
On the day of departure, we drove over to the
Union Steamships wharf at the foot of Carrall Street in
Vancouver. The waterfront was abustle with activity
as ships were taking on or discharging cargo of all
descriptions, but it was the aroma of coffee beans and
copra wafting through the dockyard air that I still
remember most vividly.
Crossing the railroad tracks to Union Steamship
property revealed an exciting close-up view of several
black hulled ships with white upper works and black
and red funnels, and long warehouses along the dock
piled high with cargo apparently destined for upcoast
settlements. Crewmen, dock workers, passengers and
onlookers milled about as fork lift vehicles carrying
pallet boards stacked with mixed cargo wove their way
amongst them. It was an exciting, vibrant, colourful
scene that added tremendously to the sense of
adventure that I was well caught up in.
We checked in at the office and I was handed a
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 ticket to board the T.S.S. Cardena, which the clerk
explained included a sleeping berth since mine was to
be an overnight journey. It was still an hour before
departure, so we took our time enjoying the hustle of
the wharf activities. I spotted the Cardena well down
the dock while ahead of her was berthed the much
smaller Lady Pom which often took day trippers to
Bowen Island. Several other Union vessels were also
being made ready.
I couldn't stand the suspense any longer so we
climbed the gangway and were met by the Purser who
directed us to my "cabin". As we walked the
passageway toward the after part of the ship where
the sleeping cabins were located, the nicely finished
mahogany panelling and wood grain doors with brass
door handles caught our attention but it was the
spacious lounge and dining area with attractively laid
tables and fine dinner service that caught my Mother's
eye. We reached my cabin door and stepped inside,
although the cabin floor was scarcely large enough for
the three of us to stand on. The design and furnishings
were very nice, and there was a porthole looking out
across the water. My parents were really impressed,
and I was glad. What a relief!
I left my duffle bag on the settee and we went
back out on deck and stood by the gangplank to watch
the cargo being lifted aboard. I was surprised at the
variety of goods which ranged from drums of oil to
sides of beef, boxes of vegetables, machinery parts and
boxes of grocery items stamped with the Woodwards
Stores logo. A post office truck pulled up and off-loaded
large canvas mail bags which were carefully checked
and carried on separately. Shortly after, another truck
arrived from the Capilano Brewery and dozens of cases
and barrels of beer were added to the Cardena's cargo.
While all this activity was going on, a fairly
steady stream of passengers had been ascending the
gangway carrying their bags and an assortment of
other items. House plants, cats in travel boxes,
children's toys and reading material were all in
evidence. There were several mothers with young
children returning to their up-coast homes for the
summer after attending school in Vancouver, as well
as teenagers close to my age who may also have been
returning home on their own. A few business travellers
conspicuous in their suits and ties also joined us aboard.
My parents decided that it was time for them
to leave the boat and, after lots of good advice and other
reminders, they said goodbye. As they walked away
up the dock, I noticed that the frenzy of loading activity
was slowing down but another interesting show was
beginning. One by one a
number of taxis pulled up to the
ship and another group of
passengers began to weave their
way aboard. I learned later that
these men were mainly loggers
who had taken a break from
their hazardous jobs to visit the
city for a week or so and, after
spending a large amount of their
hard earned money relaxing in
a downtown hotel or two, were reluctantly heading
back to camp. The boisterous exchanges of
conversation and camaraderie were fascinating for me
to watch and I was certain that I was appreciating it
much more than my parents would have if they had
stayed a little longer. Sometimes timing is everything,
I was beginning to learn. The cab drivers appeared to
know many of the men and entered into the spirit of
the whole scene, helping them out of their cars and
assisting them in carrying their packs and cases on
board. It looked like some generous tips were given.
Some of the loggers had been accompanied in the cabs
by ladies, and there were many tender partings and
shouted promises to return.
Soon there were warnings that all passengers
should be aboard and visitors must go ashore. The
engine had been running for a while and now the
whistle sounded as the deck crew pulled in the
gangway and the dock crew progressively dropped our
lines over the side to be hauled on deck by the ship's
winches. We slowly moved astern and cleared the dock;
then when the bow was pointed at the North Shore we
began moving ahead toward the harbour entrance. It
was great to be finally underway. Looking back at the
busy docks and warehouses, I never would have
dreamed that in fifty years time the waterfront area at
the foot of Carrall Street would have been turned into
a large park with a helipad and a cruise ship terminal
The Cardena proceeded to cruise out through the
narrows under the Lions Gate Bridge and past the West
Vancouver shoreline while I began my own exploration
of the ship. Many passengers were leaning over the
railings watching the last glimpses of the city slip away,
their minds probably filled with private thoughts of
family and friends left behind and the changes in
lifestyle that lay ahead. My own feelings were more of
the excitement of the voyage and the unknown
adventures that awaited me. It wasn't until many
weeks later that I began to appreciate the totally
Prince Rupert 1949 with
fishing buddies Norm
Bender, Pete Harvey, Alvin
McRay, and the author.
TSS Cardena leaving
Vancouver harbour in the
late 1940s, (opposite)
Michael Norbury photo
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004        3 different environment that I now lived in nor did I
understand the effect that it would have on how I
viewed many things in the years ahead.
The upper deck offered the best views and walks,
but there was a small horseshoe deck at the stern one
level down an iron stairway that was also interesting.
It was close to my cabin and seemed to be a popular
place for many of the loggers to congregate. On my
first pass through I was too shy to stay and listen to
their conversations, so I went inside to my cabin where
a real surprise awaited. My duffle bag was still on what
I had taken to be a small settee, while a large suitcase
lay on the bed and a pair of logger's cork boots rested
on the floor ! I now realized that the cabin was meant
to be shared by two people and that I had kindly left
the bed for somebody else. This was a lesson that stood
me in good stead when I later came to live in a bunk
I had signed up for the first sitting at dinner, but
still had some time before five to check things out up
on deck. The seas were comparatively calm as we
passed close to the south end of Bowen Island and the
cluster of smaller islands to the west heading for Gower
Point and the Sunshine Coast. I settled into one of the
small canvas and wood deck chairs that Union
Steamships thoughtfully provided, put my feet up on
the railing and, feeling like a world traveller, watched
the coast slip by. There were a number of small craft
bobbing off Gower Point. The occupants were fishing
and as I watched I could see a salmon being brought
in. One of the boats was heading toward us and just as
we cruised past, I saw two squarish shapes glide down
from our stern to land in the ship's wake. I quickly
jumped up to look more closely and, to my surprise,
saw the small boat's crew pick two deck chairs out of
the water. Talk about team work, and it happened so
quickly that I couldn't determine who aboard had
thrown those chairs. Shortly after, the call for dinner
was heard but I was still wondering at the workings of
some people's minds. Patio furniture courtesy of the
Union Steamships!
After washing up for dinner, I went into the
dining room and was shown to a table where a couple
with their two children were already seated. They were
on their way to a logging camp where he was to start
work as bookkeeper, so their excitement was a match
for mine. Together we marvelled at the menu selections
for the tasty dinner that followed. The stewards were
very attentive and I tried to remember which utensils
were meant to be used with each course, all the while
attempting to act as grown up as I could. It was hard
work, but my companions were understanding and
good fun. We agreed to meet for breakfast the next
Returning to the upper deck, I continued
strolling about enjoying the evening and thinking that
it was nice that I now knew some fellow passengers
that I could talk to. I also realized that I had been feeling
a little lonely. The evening was becoming cool so I
returned to the cabin to get my sweater, passing
through the group of loggers on the horseshoe deck
who had become even more animated in their
conversations. Most of them had coffee mugs in hand,
and were obviously enjoying the camaraderie. Maybe
one of them was my cabin mate! As none of them
appeared to take any notice of me, I lingered in the
stairwell and began to listen to their banter. It seemed
that one particularly burly fellow named Hal was
trying to convince another that his strength stemmed
from the fact that he ate nothing but the rarest of meat.
His skill at arm wrestling was demonstrated several
times over and appeared pretty convincing to me, but
one of the group countered that he hadn't ever seen
Hal eat rare meat. After some further discussion, it was
agreed that Hal would demonstrate the validity of his
boast by devouring a raw steak, but since he had just
enjoyed a hearty meal, a little time must pass and a
small wager should be placed to compensate him for
the inconvenience.
This was getting interesting, but just how much
so suddenly struck home when one of the challengers
turned my way and called me into the huddle. After
asking my name and where I was going, it was decreed
that I would hold the wager money and use some of it
to purchase a "piece of raw meat" from the galley. What
could I do ? Some time later, after negotiating with the
bemused kitchen staff, I returned with a huge slab of
raw steak on a platter and several intrigued crew
members. I was still holding close to a hundred dollars.
Everybody had another mug or two of what I
now began to suspect was more than just coffee because
the level of conversation was certainly beginning to
drop to ever lower depths of comprehension. Finally
Hal stepped forward, took the meat from my hands,
and examined it with care. I thought that I detected
just a hint of revulsion in his eyes, but then I hadn't
had any coffee. After exclaiming again about what a
benefit he was soon to realize, and asking me to count
the wager money, he slowly began to bite into the meat.
With his eyes closed and blood running down his chin
he progressively bit, chewed, and swallowed. Hal was
good, but I really wondered if he could finish it because
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 he now began to gag and so did I. With one last swallow
the meat was gone, Hal took his money and I ran for
the rail.
It was now quite dark and I returned to the upper
deck to see the lights of a small community ahead. As
we approached, the ship's whistle sounded and I could
make out a floodlit dock and the figures of a small
crowd of people standing about in front of a shed.
Shouts of greeting were exchanged as the skipper
nudged us in closer to the wharf. One wag on the dock
called up to the skipper by name suggesting that he
should toss out a ball of string and they would pull in
the ship by hand, but that offer was declined with some
fervour. It was obvious that the arrival of the Cardena
was likely the social occasion of the week, no matter
that our arrival was close to the middle of the night.
Once the mooring lines were made fast, the
gangway was lowered and a few of our passengers
disembarked. Several were fondly greeted while it was
obvious that one or two were strangers. They were all
soon taken in tow and, with their suitcases in hand,
led down the wharf to a pair of yellow painted trucks
that appeared to be crew carriers. Meanwhile, several
mail bags were carted to the shed and they seemed to
attract more interest than did the off-loaded boxes of
groceries and machine parts. Once the unloading was
completed, a call for all aboard was given, the gangway
was hauled back on board and we began to move astern
as men on the dock tossed our lines over for the crew
to retrieve. Looking back as we slowly swung about to
resume our voyage, I could see the people on the dock
begin to move away in small groups back toward their
community, many carrying letters, parcels, and other
papers and chatting animatedly about their interests.
It was then that I began to realize what an important
link with the outside world these coastal ships
For some reason I had become very hungry, so I
returned to the dining room where I had been told a
"night lunch" would be served. I couldn't believe the
elaborate array of food that had been placed out, buffet
style, for those passengers who were still up and about.
It was another feast, and I happily loaded my plate
with salads, cheeses, and apple pie while carefully
ignoring the serving plates heaped with cold meats.
My dinner companions were there without their
children who were doubtless asleep below, and they
listened with some amusement to my narration of the
evening's events. I did leave out the part about my own
speedy exit.
The excitement of the day finally started to take
effect so I excused
myself and returned
to   the   cabin   ,
carefully avoiding
the horseshoe deck
where the
discussions    and
laughter were even
more animated than
formerly. Still no
sign of my cabin
mate, so I turned in,
exhausted      but
exhilarated, only to
find that the motion
of the ship and the
throbbing of the engine made sleep difficult. Several
times in the night I heard the ship's whistle and the
now recognizable sounds of docking, unloading and
getting back underway. As dawn was breaking I got
up, tripped over the loggers boots, and then got ready
for the day. I still had the cabin to myself.
Reaching the upper deck, I was surprised to see
the shoreline so close on either side and to note that
we seemed to be running against a very strong current.
Leaning over the forword rail were several passengers,
one of whom informed us that we were approaching
the infamous Ripple Rock which lay in the centre of
Seymour Narrows. Another knowledgeable fellow
added that the passageway through should only be
tackled at high slack tide when the flow was the least
dangerous. He went on to say that about twenty years
earlier the Canadian National vessel S.S.Prince Rupert
had struck the rock and become impaled with a full
compliment of passengers and crew aboard.
Fortunately, another vessel was nearby and came to
the rescue in a daring manoeuvre which resulted in
the Prince Rupert being moved to safety without any
casualties. That rescue ship was none other than the
Cardena, skippered by Capt. Andrew Johnstone.
As we drew closer to Ripple Rock, the left hand
shoreline turned toward the north as did the right hand
coast of Quadra Island, creating in between the
appearance of a small lake. There in the centre, amidst
whirlpools and white-water rapids , appeared the
ominous dark shape of Ripple Rock. We could now
hear the roar of the water as the ship turned sharply to
the right, heeling over abruptly as it did so before
righting itself and making for the impossibly narrow
strip of sea between the rock and the nearby shore. If
this was high slack, I remember thinking, what a sight
TSS Cardena outbound
under the Lions Gate
(Vancouver Maritime Museum)
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004        5 .
Southeast section of the
Alert Bay waterfront.
author photo
r -^ ^".-r
TSS Cardena leaving
Vancouver harbour in the
late 1940s, (opposite)
Michael Norbury photo
this narrows would have been at low water! You could
feel the currents tugging at the ship and fighting against
our momentum, attempting to tug us into the centre
of the maelstrom. With obviously superb seamanship
we were guided northward toward calmer waters and
safety. A cheer of appreciation rose from all our throats
as we looked back and thought about the experience
of other less fortunate ships at this same location. A
few years later I watched a television set in fascination
as Ripple Rock had its top blown off in one of the largest
and most dramatic underwater explosions ever
executed, and learned that the explosives had been set
into the heart of the rock which had been accessed by
submarine tunnels from Quadra Island under the very
route that we had travelled. Although The Rock is now
greatly diminished in size, it and the surrounding
currents are still an extreme navigational hazard that
sailors afford their utmost respect.
After a wholesome breakfast, the day passed
quickly. We dropped into a succession of small bays
announced by the now-familiar whistle, and at each
were met by local inhabitants. In some cases they
rushed quickly aboard as cargo was unloaded to
purchase a paper or candy from the commissary, and
returned ashore as the gangway was being pulled back.
At one such isolated community during midday when
the tide was low we could only approach the string of
floats that served as a dock, thereby requiring a small
tug to come out and heave to alongside while mail and
goods were off-loaded onto its stern, followed by a
couple of passengers the burliest of whom I recognized.
As we proceeded in a northwesterly direction
up Johnstone Strait toward the north end of Vancouver
Island the sea became quite rough. The dining room
that evening wasn't nearly as crowded as it had been
the night before, although the dinner was equally good.
I said goodbye to my new friends for our next stop
was Alert Bay and they were
proceeding beyond. I returned to
my cabin to collect my things and,
to my surprise, found a note and a
one dollar bill next to my duffle
bag. The note just said "Thanks,
kid.". Although there was no name
attached, I had the strangest feeling
that my no-show cabin-mate had
been Carnivore Hal.
With my duffle bag over my
shoulder I stood by the gangway
and watched the shadows deepen
over Alert Bay as we approached.
The view was of a long, crescent shaped shoreline with
low hills in behind, for unlike most of the other coastal
communities on our route, this one was on a small
island rather than at the foot of a steep mountain. At
one end of the shore stood a large two storey brick
building which I learned was the Indian Residential
School. Between it and the wharf that we were headed
toward was a series of small wharves and buildings. I
was soon to know many of these well. Despite some
reluctance I went ashore, then looked back at the
Cardena with its now familiar comforts and sounds.
What next?
I asked somebody for directions to the Bay View
Hotel and headed off the wharf to the right. There were
only a few cars and trucks to be seen along the narrow
waterfront road, and several small buildings. Within a
few hundred feet I spotted a two storey wood framed
building with bold letters painted on the front
proclaiming that it was the Bay View Hotel and below,
to my surprise, another sign announced that it was also
a legally Licensed Premises. Would I be allowed to go
in? Glancing back, I saw that the Cardena was already
beginning to glide away. I had to go forward, so
pushing through the front door into a small lobby, went
quickly to the front desk. It appeared to be in an alcove
of the main drinking room of the beer parlour . That
room was crowded and very noisy, but I was
immediately spotted by a waiter who asked me what I
wanted. When I told him that I had a room reserved
he promptly gave me a key labelled with a large seven
and pointed to a set of side stairs leading up to the top
floor, then asked me for twelve dollars in advance
which I promptly paid with my Dad's twenty dollar
bill. Glancing at the change, I was relieved that I only
needed to stay one night.
I found the room quickly. The door was unlocked
and, with some relief, I entered. The lone narrow
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 window looked out at the front street and the
darkening sky. A single iron framed bed, dresser and
chair stood on the bare fir floorboards. The sounds and
smells of the beer parlour filled the room and I was a
little troubled when I also noticed that there was no
door locking device. This problem was solved by
sliding the dresser across in front of the door and, for
good measure, I found my pocket knife and put it
under the pillow. It was late, I was tired and I again
slept fitfully but this time with the sounds and smells
of Licensed Premises all around me.
Next morning the sun streaming in the uncurtained window awakened me and I eagerly jumped
out of bed, found the community washroom and
cleaned myself up. There was nobody about when I
went downstairs and out into the street in search of a
place to get breakfast, and only a few early risers were
to be seen as I worked my way along the waterfront
taking in the sights of this interesting little town. Before
long, I had found a cafe and after a good breakfast,
returned to the hotel to wait for a crewman from the
Porlier Pass. The new desk clerk assured me that he
would let me know when somebody came for me but
that I had to leave my room by noon. At lunch time I
was sitting on the front steps with my bag watching
the world go by. I was there all afternoon. After buying
breakfast and lunch I had enough money left for dinner,
with a small reserve which included Hal's dollar, but
where could I sleep? Leaving a note addressed to the
Porlier Pass at the hotel desk, I indicated that I would
be back later that evening, then first thing in the
morning. Heading down the road with my bag, I did
think about phoning home but decided that I should
handle this myself, so I hid my duffle under the main
wharf and went off in search of supper.
After a good dinner in another cafe I washed up
and returned to the hotel for messages, but there was
no word. While walking through town I had passed a
long, low building with a sign outside advertising a
western movie for twenty five cents so I decided to
take it in. The seating was on stacking chairs and if the
screen hadn't been attached high on the front wall I
would have had trouble seeing from my back seat.
The room soon darkened but not before I noticed
that I was almost the only white person in the theatre.
Most were native people and many were young
children. The movie was typically western and
included many scenes of mounted American troopers
firing on the native horsemen who skilfully returned
fire accompanied by a roomful of youthful voices
adding their bang-bang-bangs to every exchange, arms
extended to point at the troopers every time! It was
perfectly clear who the "good guys" were and it has
always been for me one of the most exciting and
thought-provoking movies that I have ever attended!
When the movie ended I returned to where I had
stashed my bag and decided that it was probably as
comfortable a place as any that I could now afford so
there I stayed. By the following morning I realized that
it wasn't, thanks to a night of innumerable
interruptions by four legged creatures and traffic over
my head. I arose stiff, scruffy and a little dejected. While
washing up at the water's edge I heard somebody
calling out and turned to see a lady waving me over
from a neighbouring dock. I had noticed this dock the
day before as it had a large sign on it advertising Queen
Charlotte Airlines, and I had enjoyed watching the float
planes come and go.
As I approached, she asked me who I was and
what I was doing. As my sad tale unfolded, she listened
closely then told me to bring over my things. When I
returned, she told me that her husband would help
locate the missing boat but meanwhile I was to come
over to their house for a shower and some breakfast.
What a relief, and after a cleanup and a good breakfast
I felt like a different person, although I was still virtually
broke and was still missing the link with the cannery.
When her husband arrived, he instantly offered
to help and started by phoning the hotel. There was no
satisfaction there, so he said that he had an idea and
would be back shortly. True to his word, he reappeared
an hour later with the welcome news that he had found
the Porlier Pass and that it would pull into the Q.C.A.
dock by noon. It did so, and he never did tell me where
he had located it. After heartfelt thanks to the generous
couple I tossed my bag aboard and I was on my way.
On entering the wheelhouse, the skipper informed me
that our destination wasn't Good Hope Cannery but
rather Glendale Cove up near the head of Knight Inlet.
Same company, different manager. He then asked me
if I had ever handled a boat before and when I replied
that I knew how to run a small one he immediately
turned over the wheel to me and, pointing across to
the mountains on the far shore of Johnstone Strait said
"Steer for the point."
As he left me alone in the wheelhouse and joined
the rest of the native crew who were drinking coffee in
the galley, I sensed that my adventures were really just
beginning. •
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 Memories of Yale, Victoria and Union Bay
by Mildred Simpson
Sarah (Horne) Brown at
age sixteen (above).
Brown family at Yale ,
September 1885. Fred and
Sarah in the front on the
steps (right).
All photographs from the
collection of the author.
My grandfather (Fred Brown) travelled
along way to reach what he always
called "God's Country", Vancouver
Island. He truly loved the island, and
had no desire to travel farther.
Fred was born in St. Eleanor, P.E.I, on August
13, 1860, the eleventh child of Nicholas James and
Anne Metcalf Brown. Growing up in such a large
family must have been interesting and full
of adventure. His father, Nicholas James
Brown was a tinsmith, farmer, storekeeper,
boat builder, and for a number of years, a
Justice of the Peace and member of the
Board of Health in St. Eleanor.
When Fred was about seven years
old, Nicholas' ship building business fell
into debt. He was building sailing ships at
a time when the age of steam was
beginning. Nicholas had invested heavily
in buildings, wharves, tools and raw
material to build nine ships that were to be
sold in England. The shipyard failed after
the sale of four ships, and Nicholas was
facing debtor's prison. He paid off as many
debts as he could, and loaded his family
(as many who would go with him) and
many of his possessions aboard one of his ships and
sailed away.
On June 17,1868, Nicholas Brown became what
was known as an "Absconding Debtor". The children
ranged in age from two years to eighteen years. The
older children who stayed behind were either married
or about to be married. The younger children must
have thought it a great
adventure, sailing away,
catching fish, helping to sail
the ship and exploring new
ports as they stopped for
In time they sailed
into the Strait of Canso, and
eventually into that great
inland salt water body,
BrasD'or Lake. At that time,
a canal, the St. Peters, was
sufficiently constructed to
allow their small craft to
pass through into the lake.
Nicholas was anxious to
settle and get on with his
life. While looking for some
land, he spotted an outcropping of what appeared to
be limestone. Closer inspection showed it to be very
fine marble.
Here is where the family bought land, settled,
and where young Fred grew up. They named it
Marble Mountain. Soon they had built a home and a
store, plus had the marble quarry working. Some of
the older children came and also built houses there.
After some years, Nicholas sold the quarry and moved
to a home and store in Port Hastings, Cape Breton.
All the family worked. One of young Fred's jobs was
to go in very early and get the fire going in the store
so that it would be warm when the workers arrived
to open up. One morning, he must have been late and
didn't have the fire going when his father arrived. In
a fit of temper, Nicholas grabbed a horsewhip that
was hanging on the wall. Fred had witnessesed the
old man taking his temper out on the older boys, so
without giving it a second thought, he grabbed a brick
that was near the stove and threw it, saying, "You
won't hit me with that you son of a bitch!" Well, the
brick missed Nicholas' head and hit a shelf that was
laden with glass jars. As Fred ran out the door, he
remembered seeing an awful mess. He kept running
and ran aboard a ship that was about to sail. Some of
his older siblings had married and were living in
Maine, so Fred made his way there. He stayed awhile
before deciding to move on. He figured sooner or later
his father would show up there and he didn't want
to see him.
While living in Port Hastings, Fred learned the
Morse Code and how to operate the telegraph key.
There were several telegraph offices, and Fred
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 probably picked this up from workers that he had
befriended. As he travelled, he found employment at
the odd telegraph office and probably came across
workers that he'd met over the years. Sometimes he
earned a few dollars by working around the offices;
cleaning the chimneys of the oil lamps, sweeping
floors, chopping wood and so on. He was often
allowed to sleep in the offices. He told a few stories
of those travels, mostly of people being kind to him.
One story he loved to tell was while travelling
on a cold snowy day he needed a place to stay.
Someone took him to the home of a local Catholic
priest. The old priest gave him supper and made him
a bed on the sofa. He then locked the door, put the
key in his pocket and went upstairs. In the night Fred
had to go to the bathroom but couldn't get out to go
to the outhouse, so Fred peed in the priests gumboots
and went back to sleep. Next morning, Fred left in a
hurry before the old man could put on his boots.
Another fellow, who Fred worked with for awhile,
let him stay at his home. The morning that Fred was
leaving, he left a thank you note and a dead mouse in
the man's shoe.
It took about four years, but eventually Fred
arrived inVictoria BC. working for the Telegraph and
Signal Service of Canada. I think he was about
seventeen or maybe eighteen years old by the time
he arrived in Victoria. It took him about five years,
mostly hitching rides with the people who were
installing the telegraph lines at first, then hitching
rides with the railway when it was built. He never
was too clear about it all. I guess it's just something
he didn't talk about much.
Fred was a dapper young man who enjoyed his
job and enjoyed meeting and making friends around
Victoria. After a couple of years, he was transferred
to the Nanaimo office. There were a few white families
established there and a number of businesses, mostly
connected to the mines. While he was in Nanaimo,
his assistance was asked by a group of businessmen
who had decided to try out a new gadget, called a
telephone. Lines were run from a nearby minehead
to Departure Bay. They were delighted to find that
they could hear each other's voices from that great
Fred soon became friends with people in
Nanaimo, and one day a storekeeper named Adam
Horne invited him to his home for Sunday dinner.
Adam had in mind that Fred would be a fine suitor
for his eldest daughter Annie. He got along fine with
all the Horne family and became a frequent visitor.
However,   it   wasn't
Annie that he had his eye
on, but the teen age
Sarah. At first Sarah
would take her little
brother George for a
walk to the park, and
meet Fred there during
his lunch hour. When
Fred   finally   got  up
enough courage to ask
for permission to court
Sarah,    her    mother
Elizabeth became upset,
because she felt it only
proper that Annie should
marry first, since she was
already an old maid. She
was in her twenties.
Adam, however gave
permission, and on July
8, 1885, Sarah and Fred
were married in her parents' home on Wallace Street,
in Nanaimo. (The house is still standing, but used as
an office at this time). At the time, Fred was about
twenty-six, while Sarah was seventeen.
Fred had accepted a posting in Yale BC, where
he became Postmaster and telegrapher in 1885,
working for The Telegraph and Signal Service of
Canada. This was their first home. Their first child,
Maude, was born in Yale on May 27, 1886 and
christened in the little church that still stands there.
While the Brown family was living in Yale they
witnessed the arrival of the first trans-continental train
to arrive there in November 1885. Fred told the story
of the last spike being driven at Craigellachie. After
the rail lines were joined and the last spike driven,
Mr. Van Horne was given a small piece of left over
rail to use as a paperweight. When the ceremonies
were over, the many dignitaries returned to Yale
where there was a great celebration planned. Fred
wasn't invited to the celebrations, but instead had to
return to work. When Mr. Van Horne went to the
celebrations, he left the paperweight in Fred's office
to be collected later. Fred went out to the rail yard
behind the office and found an old rusty piece of rail,
cleaned it up and left it for Mr. Van Horne. The official
piece of rail was a doorstop in our house for many
years. One time when I was about four or five years
old, Fred tripped over the doorstop, and of course
swore at it. Grandmother glanced up and said "serves
Sarah and Fred Brown
taken in Victoria on
November 3, 1897
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 Victoria West (left to
right): Russell, Maude,
Alva, Sarah, Greta, Fred
jr., Fred sr.
you right - you stole that". Now I just knew that my
beloved Papa wouldn't steal anything, and said so.
That's when he told me the story of the last spike and
the piece of rail.
The Browns had many friends in Yale, and
when Fred accepted a transfer and promotion, the
town's people presented the family with gifts and a
letter of appreciation. I still have a little silver elephant
shaped pincushion with the initials FB. on the side.
Of course, at that time straight pins were used the
way we use staples today. The little family travelled
from Yale to Victoria aboard the paddlewheel steamer
(a side wheeler) named the LOISE.
The family settled in a fine house in Victoria
West, and soon added to the family: Ababy girl, Annie
Evelyn was born, and died in infancy. Frederick Grant,
born June 10,1889; Russell Robert, born Oct. 13,1890;
Greta Muirhead, born in Sept. 1893; Alva Mildred,
born March 2,1895; Caroline Porter on Aug. 11,1898;
Baden Powell, in 1900; Herbert Dunsmuir in Dec.
1903; Edythe Emily on June 11,1905; Douglas McLeod
on May 11,1907; Laura Kathleen, on April 16,1909 at
Union Bay.
Children were mostly named after someone
Fred and Sarah admired and of course they, being so
proud of their children, considered it to be a great
honour. Greta always told me that she was named
after a friend, Mr. Muirhead, who had a lot of money,
but when he died and didn't leave her a cent, she
changed her name to Greta Marie. The day Baden
Powell visited Victoria, Sarah gave birth to a baby boy
and named him after the great man. I don't think he
ever knew. At any rate, little Baden Powell Brown was
killed in an accident when he was five years old.
When Fred's sister wrote and said she'd like
to come for a visit, he was thrilled. He hadn't seen
any of his family for many years, although he kept in
touch. She and her two daughters were coming on
the train, and Fred found out what train they'd be on.
He travelled on one of the trains, probably to Yale
and got on her train. When he saw Caroline, he sat
beside her, flirting and teasing her. She didn't
recognize him of course, as he had grown a large
moustache and had changed over the years. Finally
Caroline's daughter became upset, and Fred had to
admit who he was and they had a happy reunion.
When they all arrived in Victoria West, they found
that Sarah had gone into labour. When the baby
arrived, they named her "Caroline Porter Brown".
The years in Victoria West were happy times,
Sarah had a hired girl to help look after the children,
and a Chinese houseboy to help look after the garden,
do laundry and milk the cow that Fred had brought
home. Someone had borrowed money from Fred and
couldn't repay him so gave him a cow. This sort of
thing happened often. He must have been a soft touch
for a loan. It wasn't unusual for him to arrive home
with only half his pay because he "met some poor
s.o.b. who needed a loan". Their house had a long
driveway that went through the orchard beside the
house. The children always watched for him coming
home after work to see what he would be bringing.
One evening it was the cow, once it was a hand carved
walking stick, another time a talking parrot in a cage,
and one time a pet monkey. Other times he brought a
goat, and a puppy that they named Mickey. Quite
often it would be some stranger that he'd met who
needed a good meal. The most unusual though, was
the day he came home leading a black bear on a rope.
It had belonged to a circus and they were mistreating
it, so he bought it. Sarah often remarked that he
brought home everything except money.
However, the family seemed to prosper.
Whenever a famous artist, opera singer, band or circus
came to town, they all went to see it. The girls in their
white dresses and the boys in suits and white shirts.
Grandma (Edythe) told me about the time the great
John Phillip Sousa came with his band and the family
had lovely seats in the front row. As the band was
playing, young Greta kept standing up and dancing
10 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 around to the music. Sousa stopped the band, turned
around and said "Little girl - SIT DOWN" then turned
and continued to conduct the band.
Fred must have been known as a bit of a
character about town, but must have been greatly
admired as well. At one time he was asked to run for
the legislature. He'd have nothing to do with that, or
anything else that took him away from his family.
From Pat Becker: "Mom (Carrie) used to tell
me about this large house in Victoria West, and when
Bud and I were little (I was about ten), we were
visiting with Alene in Victoria and mom heard that
they were going to tear down the old house. She
suggested that Bud and I go over and see it. We looked
in the windows, and Bud hoisted me on his shoulder
to see some of it. I remember most the bathroom. It
had an old large claw bathtub with a wooden rim.
The main tub was painted purple. Mom said they
were one of the first people in the neighbourhood to
get a bathtub; that Grandpa was always interested in
new inventions and developments. As a kid, I thought
the house seemed small. It had a glass entry porch
that Granny kept all her plants in. The yard had maybe
two acres with it, and mom said they had a cow out
in the back portion. The rooms all seemed small, with
an okay sized kitchen and dining room. I remember
Uncle Fred and Mom laughing about a horse and
buggy that Fred and Russell had got. Fred hooked
him up in the little barn. He went flying out the
driveway with Fred unable to stop him. Russ opened
the gate in a big hurry and down the street they went.
Bab, Greta, and Mom went to the parochial
school, all dressed in starched uniforms. One day
Greta & Mom fooled around and were late getting
the bus. (Mom was only about six). They were in
Dutch for it and when Bab got home from school, she
flounced up the side walk with her nose in the air
(Ha! Ha! You got in to trouble but I was the good
one...A message they were always getting from her).
Greta and Mom grabbed the hose from the Chinaman
who was watering the flowers and turned it on her
full force, getting all her finery drenched. I'm sure they
got in Dutch for that, too but it was worth it. And one
time, when Gram got a new sewing machine, Mom
and Greta thought it would look nicer with scalloped
edges around the door of the cabinet, and sawed
pieces off with the kitchen knife. Bab once told me,"
Yes, they always said I never got into any trouble, but
for Heaven's Sake, I didn't do such awful things."
They played with little paper or hand-made dolls, and
called their favourite, Malta-Vita, because that was
their favourite cereal and it was such a beautiful
Fred's job as telegraph agent was very
confining and demanding. He was expected to be on
duty every day, twenty-three hours a day. He kept a
telegraph key, not only at his side at meal time, but at
his bedside during the night. He had a special code
that he was expected to respond to day or night. The
coal mines were working full out, producing what
was considered the best coal in the world, and Robert
Dunsmuir had become a millionaire. Dunsmuir had
been in touch with representatives in England, asking
for permission and funding to build a railway on
Vancouver Island to better transport coal. Because of
the time difference, when the reply came it arrived in
the middle of the night. Upon taking the message,
Fred decided it must be of great importance, so got
dressed. After typing the message on the official
telegraph paper, he walked across town to the
Dunsmuir home to deliver it. He knocked and woke
up one of the servants, but wouldn't leave the message
with anyone but Dunsmuir. When he finally came to
the door and read the message, Dunsmuir said, "You
are a very conscientious worker, I'd like to have you
work for me."
In the summer of 1892 there was a cholera
epidemic in Victoria. It seemed to be especially bad
on the native reserve, and many children were dying.
Fred walked through the reserve every day to and
from work, and was worried that his children would
contract the disease. One of the "surprises" Fred came
home with at that time was the message that the whole
family was going to pack up and go camping for the
summer, along with the family of one of his trainmen friends, and of course the hired girls and a few
other friends. Next day they headed up to Haslam
Creek where they stayed for the summer, until the
epidemic was over.
In Victoria West the children as well as the
family kept growing. The eldest daughter, Maude had
married a handsome Englishman and was living in
Victoria. One day, Maude came for a visit and
announced that she was expecting a baby. Sarah
laughed and said, "Away with you lass, so am I".
Thus, my mother, Edythe Emily Brown was born on
June 11, 1905., and Maude's daughter Alfreda
Shuttleworth arrived in July, 1905. My mother's
nickname was forever "Auntie".
Two years later, when Maude once again
announced she was expecting a baby, her mother said
the same thing. Maude's daughter Gertrude
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004
11 Shuttleworth arrived within weeks of the arrival of
Douglas McLeod Brown.
Sarah's sister Emily lived in Nanaimo and was
married with a small child. Her husband was killed
in a mine explosion when her little boy was about
three. A couple of years later, when Sarah heard that
her sister Emily had died, she travelled to Nanaimo
to the funeral, and returned home with five year old
Gerald Berry to join the Brown family.
Fred eventually went to work for Dunsmuir's
coal company, where he was appointed Wharf
foreman and telegrapher at Union Bay. The job came
with a big house to rent, so the family packed up and
went with children, dog, and furniture to find the
house wasn't finished being built. In addition, when
Fred decided to take on the job, they had to pack up
and move in a hurry. Maude's husband, Alf
Shuttleworth offered to get all their furniture packed
up and shipped to them, so they wouldn't have to
worry about it. Their furniture never did arrive as Alf
sold it.
There they were with all the kids and no
furniture, and had to start from scratch. The next door
neighbours, the Haggarts, invited them to stay with
them till the house was finished. They stayed several
weeks, and were best friends the rest of their lives,
and even into the next generation. It would seem that
Fred Brown was about the only person on Vancouver
Island who thought that Robert Dunsmuir was a "nice
fella", certainly the history books don't speak kindly
of him. However, Fred seemed to like everyone.
The book, History ofthe E&N Railway, includes
the following comments: Fred Brown was the one and
only train dispatcher for the E & N Railway during
the Dunsmuir regime from 1886 to 1905. Among the
old Dunsmuir railway records (now located in the
CPR archives in Winnipeg) from Victoria were found
Brown's yearly dispatcher's diary books,
commencing on January 1, 1887. In this diary he
recorded the movements of trains, names of crews,
and other items, including a weather commentary. He
could be bluntly specific when the weather was bad
and when it was good his superlatives would charm
the hearts of the Chamber of Commerce. Besides
weather reports, Brown would often enter, usually
very tersely, the news of the day and deaths of
prominent people. He also recorded the deaths of
some E&N employees. The following are examples
of his recordings:
Feb. 19, 1890 - First tram car (electric) ran today. Left
powerhouse at 9:10, returning at 9:40, returning from E &
N Station. (The first powerhouse was located at the north
end of Store St. The first official runs were made Feb. 20,
1890.) Feb. 21, 1891 - Hiyou snow. Snowed two feet here
last night. 1 foot at Nanaimo, 1 feet at Wellington. Aug.
17, 1898 - First train of coal from Union this morning, Loco
and 20 cars went through bridge, killing Al Walker,
Nightingale, Milano, N. Work, and two japs. Injured H. Grant,
Miss Horne, and Miss Grieves. (The bridge the train went
through was between Union (Cumberland) and Union Bay,
the trestle at Trent River.) July 21, 1897 - Great excitement
over the new gold fields discovered at Klondyke, on the
Yukon River. Many hundreds going north. July 29, 1897 - SS
Islander and Tees left Victoria at 1 p.m. for Dyea with full
load of miners. Great excitement. Lismore, Jas. Nixon, Bob
Lawson, and George Crocker on board. Awful crowd at wharf.
More steamers sail next week. Feb. 27, 1898 - Conductor
Turner Tounsend brought the south bound passenger train
into Victoria today. Tounsend leaves this company. This trip
is his last. Going to Klondyke. (Tounsend probably didn't
find gold in the north. In Laura Berton's book, "I Married
the Klondyke", she mentions that the janitor of the school
where she taught was named Turner Tounsend). Feb. 22,
1903 - Fine night. Frogs singing - first this year. Bright spring
like morning. Warm breeze of N.E. wind, glorious day. This
is the finest day of the year.
Union Bay was a typical company town, people
were friendly and the family settled in; the children
attending the Little Red School House, and attending
the little church that still stands there. When the school
was built, the mining company had donated the land
for it to be built on, also the paint, which was the red
oxide paint used to paint the coal cars. It was fine for
school, but I heard stories from some of the miners
how they could only manage to steal that red paint,
and some of them had every room in their house that
horrible red. One little lady arrived from Scotland and
upon walking into her company house and seeing all
the walls bright red, just sat down and cried. She was
one of the lucky ones though. Her husband was one
of the painters, and had access to some of the other
colours of paint. In Union Bay the red was called "Coal
Car red" and it was always a joke that practically
every home had something painted that colour.
Friends from Victoria often called to visit the
Browns. When the Dunsmuir Family came to Union
Bay on their yacht, Sarah was sometimes invited
aboard for tea. Fred invited the officers and sailors to
his home for tea when he met them. Some interesting
visitors were a large native named Qualicum Tom and
his wife Annie. They liked to visit Sarah because she
made tea and they visited in Chinook. She had learned
the dialect growing up on the Comox reserve, where
her father was Hudson's Bay Factor. She occasionally
had other native people call in and visited in Chinook.
One old native called in one day selling clams. He
recognized her, and lifted his hair to show her scars
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 on his head. Sarah's father had sewed his scalp on
many years before, after the man had been in a
drunken fight and someone had tried to scalp him.
While the Browns were living in the Company
house, Maude came for a visit with her two girls and
announced that she was expecting another baby. Once
again, Sarah said, "So am I". In April 1909, Laura
Kathleen Brown arrived, and in August, Maude's 3rd
daughter, Doris Kathleen Shuttleworth arrived in
Victoria. That same summer, the neighbour Mrs.
Haggart had a daughter, also named Kathleen.
Needless to say - the popular song of the day was
"I'll take you home again Kathleen".
On February 10,1912 the Canadian Collieries
Co. dam on Langley Lake collapsed. A solid wall of
water about ten feet high swept through Union Bay,
rushing to the sea. The dam was situated 2 miles back
in the mountains and the reservoir contained more
than a million gallons of water. An unusually heavy
rainfall caused the water to flush over the top, and
soon washed out the underpinnings. It began with a
loud roar in the distance, and as it got louder, everyone
went running to see what was going on. Fred had a
close call. He was in his telegraph office next to the
wharf and heard the noise so went out and ran up
the hill. Next day, they found what was left of his office
washed up on Denman Island. The Brown boys' boat
and boat house were smashed to pieces. Most of the
shacks in Chinatown were destroyed. Sarah was in
her garden when the flood happened, and she fainted.
Some of her children dragged her up the hill to safety.
Those were the days of the big steamers calling
in at Nanaimo and Union Bay for coal, and many
friendships were formed. Fred brought everyone
home to meet his family. One evening, Fred was out
for his evening walk and came across a young fellow
running along the wooden side walk as fast as he
could. Fred stopped him and asked what was wrong.
The boy told him there was a huge wild animal after
him. Fred laughed and said, "It's alright kid, its a cow,
but you'd better come home with me for a cup of tea".
The young fellow was a boy sailor, away from home
for the first time and probably homesick for his native
England. He enjoyed the visit, sat and drank tea with
three year old Edythe sitting beside him. After that, he
made for the Brown home as soon as they landed in
town. He stayed with the P & O ships and eventually
became a Captain, still calling at the Bay for coal.
During the war when food was rationed, he used to
come to our home for tea, and usually sneaked a pound
of butter out from under his coat. His name was John
Parks, and he eventually
retired to Vancouver and
became one of the best
pilots on the coast.
The large steamers
usually called in after
being in New Zealand
or Australia. The ship's
captains often gave
Fred fresh coconuts or a
stalk of bananas. He'd
come home carrying the
large stalk of very green
bananas over his
shoulder and hang them
on a hook in the attic to
ripen. The attic was
reached by means of a ladder that was inside one of
the clothes closets and a trap door in the roof. The older
children wouldn't go in there, but used to send Edythe,
and she'd climb up and throw the greenbananas down.
When Sarah thought they'd be ripe and ready to make
a nice dessert for the family, all she'd find would be a
bare stalk. She used to say they never were allowed to
Union Bay was a fun place to grow up. In
summer the children fished and swam and enjoyed
their many friends. They'd go to the beach to spend
the day and one of them would go to the house for a
huge platter of sandwiches at lunchtime. Those
sandwiches would be gone in a flash, and it was
always Edythe who was sent back with the empty
plate to say, "we'd like more". Poor Sarah had to bake
bread, using a coal and wood stove in all that heat,
but she'd set to and make more. Maude's three girls
always spent summers and holidays with their
grandparents, and when Maude's husband left her,
Doris stayed with her Grandparents. Maude's
husband was an alcoholic who didn't seem to work
very much, so Maude took a job in a ladies wear store.
One day Alf disappeared, and it was a few years
before she learned that he had joined the army as a
single man. One day one of the train men who knew
the family, mentioned to Fred that he'd seen Maude
in Victoria and she didn't look well. Fred sent her a
letter - no letter inside, just train tickets to Union Bay.
When Carrie married and moved to Seattle, Maude
and the two oldest girls moved to Seattle as well.
In the meantime Fred became tired of the things
that were going on in the coal mining business; much
cheating, bribery and stealing. He decided to move
Victoria West: Sarah in
window (probably
pregnant with Carrie),
Maude on the porch,
Greta and Alva in the
wagon, Fred Jr. and
Russell, Fred, Mikey the
dog by the tree.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004        13 Haslam Creek where
family camped to avoid a
cholera epidemic in
Victoria, 1892.
on, and asked for his old job back. The family moved
to Russells Station, near Victoria. Once again they
packed up kids and dog and moved. A year later, the
Federal government announced that they were going
to build two identical Post Offices: One in Comox and
one in Union Bay. The citizens of Union Bay took a
petition asking for Fred Brown to be made postmaster
of the new building. On a cold snowy day in January
1914, Fred and Sarah and 8 of the children, the ones
still living at home, arrived on the steamer Charmer
and settled into the Post Office building. When they
arrived, the main floor wasn't finished, so Fred soon
had it made ready, with mail boxes, counters and
tables, desks and his telegraph key and typewriter.
The office had to be shared with the Customs Office.
When they moved back to Union Bay, they didn't
think an upstairs apartment was a good place for old
Mickey, so they gave him to a neighbour at Russells
Station. Several weeks later, the old dog showed up in
Union Bay, half starved and his feet bleeding. The trainmen had spotted him the odd time, running beside the
tracks. So Mickey was allowed to live out his life with
his family after all. He shows up in most of the family
photos that Fred loved to have taken.
As the children grew up, Fred made sure they
all learned a trade, and as the girls grew up, he taught
them to work in the Post Office with him. The girls
took music lessons, and there was often a sing-along
around the piano. Fred Jr. became a Pharmacist,
married Eileen and they had three sons. They lived
in Vancouver. Russell became a telegraph lineman,
lived and worked in Alaska. He married Inez and they
had three children. Sadly, he was returning from the
area where he was working, to Juneau where his
family was, when the boat he was on lost its power
and everyone onboard froze to death. A heartbreaking
blow to the whole family.
Carrie met a young man
who was working in the
Royal Bank in Union Bay,
his name was Jack Doney
They married and moved
to Seattle to live. They had
three children. Alva
married a man named Jim
Kerr, when he came back
from the war and they
lived in Union Bay for
many years. Greta married
Seymour Abrams, and
they had three children.
They lived three doors down from the Post Office.
Seymour's father had been a good friend of Fred's,
and named his son Seymour, Fred's second name.
Edythe married a R.N.WM.P constable that
was stationed in Cumberland. His name was Russell
Hicks. He used to patrol the area on his horse. The
horse got into the habit of walking into the back yard
of the Post Office, whether he was supposed to or not.
They had one child, (me) Nephew Gerald went to
work in a men's haberdashery in Nanaimo, married
Kathleen and had two children. Bertie worked on the
trains, and married a girl from Cumberland, Lillian,
and they had four daughters. Laura married Victor
Uppgard, and they had two daughters. Children and
grandchildren visited often and kept in close touch
when they couldn't visit.
Once a year, one of the daughters would take
over the Post Office and someone would come in for
two weeks to look after the telegraph end. Sarah and
Fred would go off on a vacation, visiting the children
or Fred's sister Caroline and family, who were now
living in Victoria.
Important news came to Union Bay through
telegrams. On August 4,1914 when Fred received a
telegram telling of the declaration of war, he
immediately phoned the Coal office, and they had the
train engineers blow all the train whistles. There was
a battalion of soldiers stationed at Union Bay,
guarding the shipping facilities and watching for
sabotage in connection with the strike in Cumberland.
The officers lived in a Company house. In front of it,
on the bank, some white painted rocks spelled out
"72nd Seaforth Highlanders". The men lived in tents
on the green (ball park) and the basement of the Post
Office was used as a cook house. Next door, the
reading room of the church was used as headquarters
and officers mess. The mining company donated
lumber and put up some lights, and an outdoor dance
floor was made. The young ladies of the town had a
wonderful time dancing with all the young soldiers.
Music was supplied by the local folk. Many of the
Union Bay families had young men fighting overseas
and the fastest means of communication was by
telegraph. It wasn't unusual for Fred to sit all night at
the telegraph key, taking messages about how the
fighting was going, and relaying it to whoever was
there. The people who had boys overseas took to
coming to the Post Office and sitting on the stairs most
of the night, to hear the news. When a telegram
arrived with bad news, Fred closed the Post Office
and walked to the home of the recipient and hand
14 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 delivered the message.
Grandfather was a practical joker and went to
great lengths to "pull a fast one" on his pals. When
Russell Hicks joined the clan, he and Fred kept
everyone entertained with their many jokes on each
other. I'm not quite sure if they entertained the rest or
drove them crazy. However, they had a lot of laughs
about it in later years. Fred was a creature of habit, he
was up in the morning at seven am. and into a cool
bath. He always filled the tub before he went to bed.
If anyone else wanted a bath in the evening they were
out of luck. He went to bed at nine on the dot. Anyone
coming to visit would be left sitting there, he'd just
say "good night" and go off to bed. It was a family
joke that if the King came to visit, he'd just go to bed
and leave him sitting there. Right after his noon meal,
Fred went for a walk, rain or shine. He usually went
to the store and bought a cigar, and smoked it on the
way home. The only time he ever smoked.
On one of the visits to Fred Jr. and his family in
Vancouver, Fred went for a walk and got lost. The
whole family went rushing around the
neighbourhood looking for him, and finally found
him, a fair distance from home, sitting on a bag of
sugar behind the Rogers Sugar refinery. He knew if
he sat there long enough, someone would come and
find him. Fred Jr.'s home was in a block or two of
identical houses, and they discouraged him from
going out at all, figuring he'd get lost again. However,
much to the entertainment of the neighbours, he had
it all figured out. When he went out the gate, he took
out his big white handkerchief and tied it on to the
fence. When he came back, carefully took the
handkerchief and folded it back into his pocket. Good
thing Russell Hicks wasn't there, he'd have moved
the handkerchief.
In the basement of the Post Office they had a
bit of a problem with mice getting in, and Fred
wouldn't let anyone set traps to kill them. He found
some live traps, and when he caught the mice, he
carefully carried them up into the bush and let them
go. It was a standard joke that the mice were usually
back in the building before Fred was.
Every summer the married children came to
spend time at Union Bay, bringing THEIR children
and a great many picnics were held. Every Sunday
they went somewhere with the whole gang. Fred
usually took along a few bottles of beer and hid them
in a cool spot to have later. Whenever he'd go to get
one of them, there would be nothing but empty
bottles. Russell always found them, drank them, and
carefully put them back.
Even when the
Brown kids married and
moved away, they still
returned "home" to the
Post Office as often as
possible, the families ever
increasing. Alva lived just
up the street, but walked
down for a visit almost
every day. She told me
about the day she walked
in and heard Laura and
Edythe crying upstairs.
They were ironing and
folding clothes carefully
into a suitcase and
weeping loudly. When
Alva asked what was
going on, both girls said
between sobs, "Doodie's
leaving home." (Doodie
being the name they called Douglas.) He had started
work in the Royal bank, and could have been sent
anywhere. When Alva asked where he was being sent,
the two girls wailed sadly, "to Courtenay !"
Douglas was a real whiz at math, and it was
the school teacher who suggested he be placed in the
bank. In those days the banks gave very good training.
On leaving school, Douglas got his first pair of long
pants, probably from Eaton's catalogue. At the bank
they had to get him a stool to stand on so he could
see above the counter.
Edythe and Russell married and moved to
Alberni where Russell became a town constable.
When Russell died, she returned to the Post Office.
The government gave her a Widow's pension for one
month, then sent her a letter saying that she was
capable of working, and cut off the pension. Fred told
her she could do the caretaker's job. It paid $15.00 a
month. Then Fred just had to do the other two jobs,
telegrapher and Postmaster. He was almost semi-
With Edythe doing the caretaker's job, it gave
Fred a little more time off. Over the years street lights
had been installed along the wooden side walks of
the town. The switch to turn the street lights on and
off had been put in the Post Office and that became
another job for Fred. A non-paying one of course, but
he took it very seriously. As soon as it got a bit dark
out, the lights had to be turned on. If he was a bit late
Post Office at Union Bay,
with family on porch.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004
15 Fred and Sarah in 1932.
turning them on, someone was
sure to tell him about it. As soon
as the sun came up in the
morning they had to be turned
off, and that sometimes meant
getting up early and him going
down two flights of stairs in his
night shirt. Well, Fred figured
there had to be an easier way, and
he rigged a very long string that
was tied to the switch, went
through the ceiling and into the
upstairs room, up the wall and
through that ceiling and into the
bedroom on the third floor, and
was tied to a nail beside his bed.
All he had to do was reach out
and pull the string to turn them
off. He still set the alarm to ring
when he figured it would be
daylight though.
Laura was still going to school and helping out
in the Post Office at that time, so Fred was sort of semi-
retired. At least it seemed that way to him. The
caretaker's job was to light the furnace in the morning,
carry firewood up two flights of stairs to the kitchen,
take out the ashes from the furnace and the kitchen
stove, every evening sweep out the Post Office and
the Customs office, empty waste baskets, and at 7:30
every evening, lock up the lobby of the Post Office.
Oh yes, and the flag in front of the building had to be
raised in the morning and lowered at night. It didn't
leave a lot of time for a social life.
Laura and Edythe bought a car and both
learned to drive. They managed to get to dances and
some of the shows. There was a theatre in
Cumberland, called the Ilo-Ilo. My earliest memories
are of seeing some great old musicals, and some
Laurel and Hardy comedies. When Laura married
Victor Uppgard and moved to Nanaimo, the house
was feeling pretty empty. In the early 30s the telegraph
was shut down in favour of the telephone. There were
still telegrams phoned in that had to be delivered, but
it was still one less pay cheque coming in. Things must
have been pretty difficult at that time, but I don't
remember anyone complaining.
About that time, Fred Jr. sent his Dad a radio. It
was a big box of a thing with many dials and knobs,
and as soon as supper was over every evening we
had to gather around the radio while Fred got the
evening news. No one was allowed to touch it except
Fred, and no one was allowed to speak while it was
on. Some nights we would get shows like Amos &
Andy, and on occasion a hockey game. It ran on
batteries that sat under the table, so wasn't on any
longer than "Pa" thought necessary.
Sometimes on a Sunday we'd pile into the car
and just go for a drive, a rare treat, and Fred and Sarah
felt very important. Alva and Jim had a Chrysler Royal.
When the folks got into that, they really felt important.
Edythe and Laura's car was a model T - not nearly so
classy. If we passed another car on the road, Fred
usually remarked, "What in Hell are they doing out
driving today."
When the children and grandchildren came
vacationing, it would be very exciting. Sometimes we'd
be shoved into bed, five or six to a bed. The dining
table had about five leaves and extended to seat around
twenty. The best gathering was New Year's day,
because it was Sarah's birthday. She'd make a big goose
dinner and loads of other food. The ones who couldn't
get there would phone. Sarah would sit at the head of
the table in her best dress feeling very pleased. It's
about the only time she'd take a glass of wine.
Over the years, Fred could sit in his office or at
the kitchen table, and hear a "toot toot" on the water,
and could tell what tug it was, or what boat was out
there. They all sounded alike to me, but he knew each
sound. In years to come my Mother could do the same.
As Fred's health began to deteriorate, Edythe
took over more and more of the work, and eventually
was doing it all. When Fred passed away, Edythe
applied for and was given the job as postmistress. Sarah
lived out her life in the Post Office as well. When she
became ill, they wanted her to go to the hospital, but
she wanted to die at home. Her daughters came and
looked after her till the end. Edythe stayed working in
the Post Office until her retirement in the late 60s.
Edythe was one of the younger of the children.
She always told people that her father never raised his
voice to any ofthe kids. Grandmother would contradict
her, saying, "He did once." Apparently one time when
they were living in Victoria West, and had the cow in a
fenced off area of the orchard, the two oldest boys,
Freddy and Russell were coming home and took a short
cut through the yard. Fred shouted at them "Shut that
gate, boys." They were fairly big boys by that time,
but they both burst into tears. They came into the house
very upset, saying that, "Pa yelled at us." That was the
one and only time. He had too many memories of his
own father's temper and felt terrible that he'd upset
his boys. •
16 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 The Crows Nest Railway
by R.G. Harvey
In the last thirteen years of the nineteenth-century
in the south east corner of British Columbia an
event took place which gave one of the most
energising boosts to the economy of an area ever
experienced anywhere. Quite simply it was the
discovery of minerals - which were seemingly there in
huge amounts. Whilst gold and copper were included
marginally, the precious metals found in quantity were
silver, lead and zinc, and there was a second
underground payoff, less valued in small quantity, but
treasured by the trainload, which was coal.
It started in 1887 when a rich mineral find led
to the creation of the Silver King Mine near to Nelson.
This was followed in 1890 by a similar one at
Ainsworth on the west shore of Kootenay Lake a few
miles south of Kaslo. Then in 1891 more underground
bounty was found on Red Mountain near to present-
day Rossland with the Le Roi Mine, and then again
at a place called Sandon, fifteen miles west and north
of Kaslo, where the Payne Mine came into being, an
operation which was to become the best dividend
producer in B.C for many years.
As if this was not enough, within the next two
years huge deposits of ore were found a few miles
further east near to the present-day town of
Kimberley, where two large mines, the North Star and
the Sullivan came into being, and a very rich mine
called St Eugene was created from ore found at Moyie
Lake - and these were only the major mining
developments! Finally, in 1895, coal was found in great
quantity in the area immediately west of Crowsnest
Pass near to the present-day town of Fernie. Coal was
also found just as liberally in Alberta on the other side
of the pass.
Even the very poor economy of North America
in the early 1890s did not dampen the miners' and
the promoters' enthusiasm with all of this, nor did
the even more thrilling news of the Klondike late in
the decade. Southern British Columbia was on its way,
and the key to its economic success was
Unfortunately the transportation situation was
not good if you were a British Columbian hoping that
all the results of this beneficence of nature would
remain in Canada. The great trans-continental line put
in by the Canadian Pacific Railway ten years earlier
was away to the north, and the only way to move
anything, other than by pack train, was to move it
south, and into the United States. In that direction
the rivers Columbia and Kootenay offered the
cheapest means of transport, tug and barge, mostly
downstream, and if the denial of that way of
movement in freezing conditions was not acceptable,
there was the alternative of building railways
alongside these rivers, and the Americans were
putting these in, just as fast as they could get charters
from the Canadians to do so.
This railway intrusion started in 1889, when
an American named D.C.Corbin opened a line which
ran from Spokane to the foot of navigation on the
Columbia River, a place called Little Dalles in
Washington State near to Trail. He named it the
Spokane Falls and Northern Railway, and he
immediately started negotiations to extend this
railroad north and east to Nelson in British Columbia.
By 1893 the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway was
running, connecting to the S.F. & N, and terminating
at a lakeshore point five miles outside of Nelson city
limits. This out of town terminal was an imposition
in appeasement to the residents of Nelson who
opposed the Americans by the British Columbia
premier of the time. He would not let the Yankee
railroaders into town. Inside city limits was the only
area of authority the provincial government had
regarding an interprovincial railway in these years,
elsewhere all was approved by Ottawa. Corbin also
built a branch line from Northport, Washington, to
Rossland. The ore from the Silver King Mine, and from
many other mines within the Kootenay and the
Columbia watersheds, started flowing south.
But the transportation of the riches of BC
southwards was not all by Mr. Corbin and the S. F. &
N, because another player got into the act, and he
was a man worth some study. James Jerome Hill was
a Canadian who was part-owner of a railway in
Minnesota, and of river boats on the Red River. When
the CPR came into being he became an enthusiastic
supporter of it, and not just from nostalgia for his
homeland. His dedication was not without personal
motive because he ardently wished that the new
railway be partly located south of the border to assist
his operation, and to avoid the Canadian Pre-
Cambrian Shield, a landscape of ancient rock most
difficult to build anything in. He also brought capital
investment from New York State to the railway, and
for that he became a director.
When the decision was made to keep it all in
Canada he stormed out of the boardroom, taking all
his capital with him, and he swore to harass and delay
this new railway thereafter to the best of his ability.
This was in 1883, and ten years later he started a
campaign against the CPR out west, one which he
R.G Harvey is an
author, engineer and
former provincial
Deputy Minister of
He has written on
British Columbia's
history in a number
of books.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004        17 Railways of the West
Kootenay, Slocan and
Arrow Lakes Areas 1916
South Fork Trestle from
the Coolee on February
22, 1898 (below far right)
BC Archives 964.3489.8ab
Summerland contributor Diane
Durick enclosed the following
with a recent
seemed appropriate to use it
here with R.G. Harvey's
Calgary Daily Herald,
April 5,1918.
Editor, The Herald: As Mr. James
White,... a member ofthe
Geographic Board of Canada, has
published a book, Place-names in
Southern Rockies,...! feel that it is
my duty as one who has lived 56
years near the mouth of the Crows
Nest Pass, and who has always
been much interested in place-
names, publish an emphatic
denial of Mr. White's account of
the origin of "Crows Nest".
Mr. White states that "Crows
Nest" was from the nesting of
crows near the base of the peak
now called "Crows Nest"
mountain,...Now, firstly, crows
are rarely seen in the mountains
here....Secondly, it is not the
nature of a crow to nest as high
up as the base of that mountain;
thirdly, a crow near the base of
that peak could not be seen from
the old trail.
Mr. White's informant, I
understand, was a man called
Phillipps, who lived in BC on Elk
River near the U.S. boundary,
and had very little connection
with the Crows Nest Pass. He
died about two years ago and I
wish..."to say nothing but what
is good about the dead" but to
mention any statement of his to
any old-timer who knew him,
always raised a smile, if not a
strong expression, as he was
utterly unreliable except in so
far as that the opposite might be
taken as probably correct....As
Mark Twain Twain said, he was
"loaded up with misinformation".
;^  LlnipurviiH
enthusiastically pursued along
the southern boundary of British
Columbia for many years.
Inl893 Hill's eastern
American      railway
opened its extension
westwards to Tacoma,
Washington, becoming a
transcontinental line,
and   in   the   process
changing its name. It
became    the    Great
Northern Railway, and
James J. Hill was its
president, and one of its
major targets to draw freight
and passenger traffic from in
the west was the Canadian
Pacific Railway.
The GN first
leased boats and barges
in Canada, then built
them there. They
moved people and
goods southwards on
Kootenay Lake from
Kaslo, including ore from
the Slocan region. They
took ore, freight and
passengers to the southern end of the lake and then
up the Kootenay (or Kootenai River in the USA) to
Bonners Ferry, Idaho, which fortunately for them was
a point on the GN mainline. In pursuance of this Hill
then built a narrow gauge railway from Nakusp to
Kaslo by which he hauled ore from the Payne Mine
and others in the Slocan area to Kootenay Lake.
Of course a very interested spectator to all of
this was William Cornelius Van Horne the chief
operating officer of the Canadian Pacific Railway, who
was the face on the dragon in J.J. Hill's mind, and
when Hill got going in the west Van Horne knew he
had to act. His first move was to build a rail line from
Nelson to Robson, opened in 1892, a distance of less
than twenty miles, thus linking the Kootenay and the
Columbia river and lake transportation systems by
the iron rail. Their plan was to move ore from the
Kootenay Lake mines by barge to Nelson and from
there by rail to the Columbia, and then up that river
and its lakes by tug and barge to the main CPR line at
Revelstoke. The object was to handle all these riches
of nature in Canada, and keep them away from the
Americans. Unfortunately the force of the
current of the mighty river soon rendered this
operation greatly difficult and grossly
unprofitable, and they had to abandon it.
Something else had to be done to thwart
the Yankees.
On top of this, as Van Horne
learned more and more about the
plans of Jim Hill he became even more
apprehensive. One stunner was that
Hill planned to build a spur line from
a place called Rexford, up to the
Canadian border at a point where the
Kootenay River enters the United
States, and from there north and
upstream to pick up the ore from
North Star Mine by rail. Another
disturbing discovery was that Hill
was planning to build another line
further east up to the Crowsnest
Pass area to haul out Canadian
coal from there. Less imminent,
but just as threatening, was an
intention to build a line from
Bonners   Ferry   north   to
P   Kootenay Lake. This would
replace the onerous upstream
tug and barge haul to Bonners
Ferry with a riverside railway. Jim
Hill did in fact build all of these lines.
Van Home's retaliation came late in 1897 with
the start of a line from Lethbridge, Alberta, through
into BC and on to Kuskanook, a small landing at the
south end of Kootenay Lake. This was a part of an
already submitted charter proposal from the pass to
the coast which had been taken out by a man who
later became the member of the BC legislature for the
East Kootenays, a prominent early settler by the name
of Colonel J. Baker, about whom more will be said
This proposal would involve two of BC's
major belts of mountains, first a full crossing of the
Rocky Mountains, half of which were in Alberta, and
then a climb through the first range of the Columbia
Mountains, the Purcell Range within BC In the 1880s
the CPR had built a line south from Calgary to Fort
Macleod. The reason they did not build on from Fort
Macleod to Lethbridge was because of the coulee of
the Oldman River, a gash in the prairie over a mile
wide and three hundred feet deep. When the decision
was made to go westward from Fort Macleod they
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 added construction eastwards from Fort Macleod to
Lethbridge. Their overall estimate of the total distance
to be covered was 330 miles.
They also intended to continue the line up the
west side of Kootenay Lake at the far end of the
project, to Proctor, and along the south shore of the
West Arm of Kootenay Lake to Nelson, and further
west eventually. The West Arm section was built in
good time, but the lakeshore building on the main
lake did not happen right away.
To handle the very great cost of these proposals
they decided to visit the Dominion Government, not
totally as a supplicant, as most railway builders in
Canada did then, but also as a bargainer. The bargain
that was agreed to in this case became known as the
Crowsnest Pass Agreement, and it was concluded in
September of 1897. It had repercussions far beyond
the building of this line, and it became one of the most
controversial railway agreements in Canada's history.
In short it involved a government subsidy of $11,000
for each of the 330 miles from Lethbridge to
Kuskanook, to a total of $3,630,000, in exchange for
the CPR's undertaking to reduce rates on grain
shipped to Thunder Bay, and, by inference, to
maintain the new rates in perpetuity, thus infuriating
all other shippers in western Canada who were not
so favoured. The subsidy came through.
Before this happened, and as soon as they were
sure of their money, they started on the railway at the
eastern end in July of 1897. They balked at bridging
right across the Oldman Gorge initially, and they
located the track down the steep side slopes to the
bottom, bridged across at that low level, and came
back up in the same manner, involving seven miles
of track instead of one. They put up with this steeper
grade, which must have been close to two per cent,
for only twelve years, replacing it with a trestle bridge
right across the gorge in 1909. The Oldman railway
trestle is one of the largest in Canada, at 5328 feet in
length, and 314 feet in height.
When they suspended work in the winter of
1897 they had laid track to a point twelve miles east
of the pass. In their hurry most of the initial track-
laying was on bare ground in order to rush supplies
and equipment through, so it is likely that proper
ballasting had still to be done. But the stage was set
for commencement at the earliest date in the new year,
when winter's grasp was broken at that 4400 feet
elevation, and then they would be on their 194 mile
way up to the pass and on to Kootenay Lake.
Given that they did much preparatory work
before this, and assuming that they probably could
not really start work in the field before March at the
earliest, for them to build rail grade and lay track in
1898 for 194 miles to Kuskanook between March and
October, a period of eight months, was an
achievement almost beyond belief, and the credit for
it goes primarily to one man, Michael J. Haney,
otherwise known as Big Mike, or the Irish Prince. This
was the same man who bulldozed the railway through
the Fraser Canyon and
eastwards for Andrew
Onderdonk the
contractor for the CPR
main line in the 1880s.
After that, Haney plied
his trade further east,
until W.C. Van Horne
grabbed him for this
work, which was to be the
fastest of them all.
Their headquarters for the operation
was Fort Macleod, and it
was there that Haney
organized his specialty,
the pre-fabrication of
timber bridge and trestle
parts, a strong point of his
Fraser Canyon work.
Their first move was to
W.S. Lee, an old neighbour of
mine in the early days,...once
promised to take me to the site
of the massacre of Crow Indians
by the Blackfeet Indians and I
always intended to go with him,
to look for skeletons and
arrowheads, but put it off and it
is now covered by the Frank
rockslide. Hence the name
"Crows Nest" where the
Blackfeet got the Crow Indians in
their nest, or perhaps, as we
should say, "cornered them".
I will now quote from a letter
from Rev. V.R. Haynes, Church of
England missionary to the Peigan
Indians, whose address is
Brocket, Alberta... He writes "In
reply to your letter re the Crows
Nest, the idea of the bird crow is
entirely absurd; when I the old men who
actually took part in the
massacre of the Crow Indians,
and told them the yarn of the
bird, they laughed at such an
absurd idea. I got it personally
from the late chief Crowfoot,
head chief of the Blackfeet,
Gleichen, and from the chief Red
Crow, late head chief of the
Bloods, from Big Swan and Cross
Chief, who are still living in this
reserve and over 90 years of age.
These men actually took part in
this battle, and were among the
men to give the mountain pass
the name."
I think I have now given enough
to prove the facts... F.W. Godsal
Calgary Daily Herald,
April 20th, 1918.
Editor, The Herald: In your issue
of April 5rd my highly-esteemed
friend, F.W. Godsal takes
exception to the derivation of
the name -Crows Nest",
contained in my 'Place-names in
the southern Rockies".
Inasmuch as I have collected
data respecting over 16,000
Canadian place-names covering
Canada from Sydney to Victoria
and from the international
boundary to our northernmost
Arctic island, I claim considerable
experience in weighing variant
and conflicting testimony.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004
19 Mr. Godsal contends that Crows
Nest is the place "where the
Blackfeet got the Crow Indians in
their nest,..."
First, I have heard of Indians
being driven into a "corner" or
into a "cul de sac" but driving
them into a nest is a novel
phraseology, the word "nest"
used in this sense would be used
in a slangy way. and one
naturally inquires, when did
Indians commence to translate
English slang and translate it
Second. In November, 1909, the
late Rev. John McDougall, the
well-known missionary to the
Stoneys, Morley, Alta, wrote me as
follows: "The Indians have always
spoken of the Crows Nest Pass
because on the trail through the
mountains there was a nest which
was occupied annually by crows.
Third. The famous explorer, the
late Dr. Geo. M. Dawson assistant
director, geological survey, made
topographical surveys in the
Rockies in 1883 and1884. In his
report Dr. Dawson states that the
Cree name of Crows Nest
Mountain is "Kah-ka-loo-wut-
tshis-tuh" which signifies the
'nest of the crow'. In 18841 was
Dr. Dawson's assistant and was
told by our packer, a Scotch
halfbreed named Salter, that it
referred to some crows that
nested year after year
somewhere near tne trail or peak.
In conclusion, I have never
considered a comprehensive
paper respecting the derivation
of place names as anything but
the best possible interpretation
of the vast mass of conflicting
evidence available and, even
with all the evidence set forth in
the foregoing, I only contend
that much the greater weight of
evidence respecting Crow's Nest
is on my side. For Mr. Godsal's
evidence I claim a Scotch verdict
of "Not proven". James White
put through a tote road for the 70 miles from
Crowsnest Pass to Wardner, a port on the upper
Kootenay. West of Wardner there were already trails
in existence, including the Dewdney Trail. These they
widened to take wagons and cattle when useful to
them, and soon there was a stagecoach run on part of
this network. Wardner was served by river craft from
Jennings, Montana. On the other side of the Purcells
lay Creston, also on the Kootenay River after it had
returned to British Columbia from its loop
southwards. Creston was then called Fisher, and it
was kept supplied by vessels plying the Kootenay
northwards from Bonners Ferry, Idaho. In addition
they received supplies by the Summit Creek Trail over
the mountains from Salmo.
There were more ancient trails in the area, the
premier one the old Walla Walla Trail from lower
down on the Columbia up through Spokane and
Bonners Ferry to the Moyie River and up that stream
to the upper Kootenay. This last part of it from Bonners
Ferry was travelled by David Thompson on one of
his trips. It was an international connection that was
much used when gold was found on Wild Horse
Creek in 1863. Fort Steele is located where Wild Horse
Creek joins the Kootenay. A very rugged stagecoach
operation existed from Fort Steele to Golden in the
A hundred and ninety-four miles in eight
months - obviously they could not start at one end
and progressively build it, to do that they would have
to produce twenty-four miles a month from one work
site. The answer was multiple operations, each with
a camp, and the camps spread out along the way, each
with a makeable mileage ahead of them, and
leapfrogging ahead as the work progressed. This of
course was why they built the tote road first. It was
probably located on a cleared trail left there along their
line by the surveyors.
Haney did not hesitate, he immediately
brought in 4000 men and 1000 teams of horses to the
job. With one thousand men for general work and
bridges, this would leave three thousand men for
grade building and track laying, spread out in
multiple crews along the way, with, say, 150 men and
50 teams per camp. This is speculation of course, but
it is supported in part by recollections collected from
men who worked on it and retired in Creston, and
were interviewed in the 1940s and 1950s. A record of
this is available.
The logistics of this were formidable, taking
into consideration the conditions they faced. How do
you feed so many men and horses? A man by the name
of Clem Payette gives some of the answers.
Assembling the cattle at Cowley, a small Alberta
settlement 30 miles east of Crowsnest, crews of five
cowboys drove up to sixty steers at a time over the
one hundred miles of rough trail through to Wardner
with several crews leaving each week, providing fresh
meat to each camp every two or three days - they had
no cold storage, so they ate it right away! He said their
food was of the plainest sort. They actually consumed
up to three hundred beeves per month. They also
baked bread in field ovens.
Ernest Hoskins, another retiree at Creston,
who left the North West Mounted Police to work on
the railway early in 1898, tells us that he drove a four
horse wagon through to Wardner and back
continually throughout that season, along with others
doing the same thing. They delivered oats and hay
for the horses, powder for blasting, camp supplies,
you name it, several times a week. They also picked
up supplies at Wardner and carried them forward,
and of course they were accompanied by horse teams
hauling in bridge parts, and rails and ties. As soon as
possible track was laid, with the ties on bare ground,
they used the unfinished track to start up a work train
supply service from the east, and also to bring in steam
shovels and pile drivers, about the only mechanical
equipment that they had. Other than this the railway
was described by many of these old timers as a
manpower and a horsepower creation.
But before going further into their equipment
and methods it is necessary to describe the challenge
which faced them. They were building through the
Rocky Mountains, albeit by a generally unconstricted
pass, one of the lowest at 4450 feet A.S.L. (Pine Pass
and Yellowhead Pass are lower). Their route then
descended the western slope of the Rockies by way
of a steep mountain river valley for thirty miles, that
of the Elk River (very rocky in places with one
canyon), and they finally bridged that river. After that
they crossed the Rocky Mountain Trench, here
consisting of the wide valley of the Upper Kootenay,
bridging the river channel in the course of their work.
The Purcell Range followed, in this latitude of
much gentler and lower mountains than further north.
Here they went through a very low pass called
Goatfell leading to the Goat River valley. They bridged
the Goat at Kitchener, and on from there to the
Kootenay valley and lake. In addition to a lot of hard
rock in the Elk valley, and rock work encountered
intermittently from there on, they had to cope with
10 2piWl£5
'!o~o    fo  rt> 33kw(.
difficult clay and silt subsoils, stretching for miles on
either side of Cranbrook. These materials in wet
conditions led to the notorious gumbo slides
experienced on the project, injuring, and at times
burying, the men working below the cut slopes. It was
all heavily timbered virgin country with heavy rock
cuttings in some sections, requiring several tunnels,
and very numerous bridges and trestles
To describe their work practices no better
account can be found than that of Henry Raglin who
retired to Creston after 41 years of railway work. He
tells of one camp where an army of 150 men attacked
the project every day with short handled shovels,
loading long trains with gravel, at a wage of $1.00
per day. There would be large numbers of hard
sweating men and horses with slush scrapers, wheel
scrapers, and fresnos (a rolling drum scraper to both
scrape and then carry the soil, named after the place
it was first made). They also let small contracts to
excavate and move dirt by hand shovel and
Another well experienced railwayman, James
Compton, who worked on bridges, says that when
they reached Wardner in August of 1898 the men
worked up to their waists in water as they rushed the
steel bridge spans across as soon as the water level
started dropping. Steel arrived in Fernie in July. Their
accident rate was far from acceptable to modern
standards. Twenty-three men were killed when a
bridge collapsed in a sudden vicious windstorm near
Lethbridge, and three men died when they were
blown off a structure in Crowsnest Pass. Other
mishaps occurred because they worked very long
hours, sometimes days through, only stopping for
Their work on rock was extremely primitive
in comparison to today's methods - all rock drilling
was done by hand. In the pass the wind often blew so
hard that drilling could not be done, because they
could not risk an unbalanced miss-stroke by the man
wielding the sledge hammer. The men on these rock
operations were almost all from Sweden, brought out
by the immigration programme of that time. The East
Kootenay population reflects this to this day.
Their method of making the temporary camps
was interesting. They generally scorned tents,
preferring temporary log buildings with wood shake
roofing and siding. Compton was very critical of the
In May of 1948 this author was
posted by the BC Department of
Public Works to a crew
supervising road construction on
the Southern Trans-Provincial
Highway eastwards from Wardner,
BC With the contracting company
there were several rock drillers
and blasters who were veterans
from the Crows Nest Railway
construction. Emigrating from
Scandinavia to this work in their
early twenties they were still
hard at it in their early seventies
in 1948, fifty years later - they
did not believe in retirement!
These were the ones who stayed
with it, differing from the great
majority of that force of four
thousand men who went on to
other things, mainly farming on
the prairie, or in the East
Kootenays, and raising families in
the process. These hard rock men
were single, and they were
characters, men you meet and do
not forget, and at that late date
their English was still not that
good! And what changes they
saw! - horses and frescos
replaced by huge diesel driven
motor scrapers, and compressed
air driving steel bits into rock ten
times as fast and ten times as far
as hand work.
Their most entertaining tale was
of the difficulty of getting
enough to eat on that long train
trip out from Montreal to Calgary.
Not only could they not read the
menus, they could not converse
with the stewards, and in any
case they had very little money.
The Hon. Clifford Sifton's
immigration programme put them
on the train, and apparently that
was it.
A man named William Stuart
Cameron interviewed many old
timers in the Creston area, and
he recorded their stories in a
booklet entitled Some We Have
Met and Stories They Have Told.
He used the pen name Will
Stuart, and the Creston Review
Ltd. published it as a centennial
project. An extraordinary number
of these Creston retirees were
veterans of the railway, and the
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004
21 sanitary arrangements in these camps saying that the
temporary hospital at Goat River crossing (now
Kitchener) and the fine St Eugene Hospital at
Cranbrook had more railway workers in them from
disease than from accidents. He says the hospital at
Goat River lacked one thing - nurses! At St. Eugene
the very competent and very well known Dr. R.F.
Green did his best, but typhoid was rampant, along
with other maladies.
Here something must be said which is
uncomplimentary to Haney. He drove his men too
hard, housed them too poorly, and paid them too little.
Unlike the Fraser Canyon work, the majority of the
labourers were not Chinese. This railway was built in
the midst of the Canadian government's huge
immigration drive under Interior Minister Clifford
Sifton. Asians were not included in this, and the
majority of the immigrants who worked on the railway
came from eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and Britain.
Eventually the outcry forced Sifton to carry
out an investigation of the treatment of labourers on
this work. The finding was extremely critical, citing
poor accommodation, bad sanitary conditions and
poor wages. They were actually paying lower wages
than Andrew Onderdonk paid fifteen years before,
as low as a dollar a day, and never more than $1.75.
Bridge workers got $2.75 a day.
When the railway came into the Fort Steele
area an intriguing series of negotiations took place
for land for the major railway depot planned for there.
A man called John Galbraith and his wife had arrived
there in 1869, and his brother Robert in 1870. To serve
the Wild Horse gold rush they started a ferry service
across the Kootenay River and the settlement which
came into being was soon called Galbraiths' Ferry.
Robert Galbraith finally owned most of Fort Steele,
the town which succeeded it, and he also pre-empted
most of a prime area of flat land across the river called
Joseph's Prairie.
The CPR liked the look of Joseph's Prairie, but
they were willing to locate at Fort Steele provided they
would get the free handout of land which they always
demanded of a town or settlement which they
favoured with their presence. Galbraith wanted Fort
Steele but demanded payment for the land, and he
would not consider giving up anything at Joseph's
Prairie. Both parties dug in their heels and waited out
the other. Robert Galbraith finally succumbed to an
offer for Joseph's Prairie from Col. Baker, who
promptly gave half of it to the CPR, set up a general
store and prospered thereafter, as the CPR built their
divisional point at what became the city of Cranbrook.
Fort Steele died on the vine. Baker eventually became
a BC cabinet minister.
So there they were, the job complete, and one
year left to the end of the century. In all the old timers'
stories they talk of ending up the line at Kuskanook,
but the CPR did not finally end their grand project
there. A few miles south of Kuskanook the construction
was extended across the partially submerged area
south of the lake to a point on the west side suitable
for a landing, which they named Kootenay Landing.
This involved four and a quarter miles of trestle and a
swing bridge over the main channel.
They also built the twenty miles from Proctor
to Nelson along the south shore of the West Arm of
Kootenay Lake shortly after that time, and they built
on from there in later years as far west as Midway,
BC The section up the west side of Kootenay Lake
from Kootenay Landing to Proctor did not come as
quickly as they intended. Among other things the 1914
-1918 war intervened, and it was hard and expensive
going. It was finished in 1930. Until then the
sternwheeler S.S.Nasookin and various tugs and train
barges sufficed. In 1899 two spur lines were built, one
to the North Star mine, and one to Fort Steele. These
were built by "what few of us were left", according
to Jim Compton.
The name for the railway has varied. The first
charter in BC was for The Crow's Nest and Kootenay
Lake Railway, as taken out by Col. Baker. The charter
was then given to the CPR as The British Columbia
Southern Line and they used that name, but they also
referred to it as the Crow's Nest Pass line. As the
Crows Nest Railway was the name used by the men
working on the job, it is used for our title.
Although there was still much work to be
done, including completing the makeshift bridges
which they called called skeleton structures, M. J.
Haney was not around after 1898. It is unfortunate
that he has not achieved the great credit that this
railway project should have brought him. Certainly
the Crows Nest Railway did not have the national
importance of the Fraser Canyon line, but for
ramming through 194 miles of track in eight months
it need take no second place. And what other railway
work had sixty cattle driven for a hundred miles
through the length of the work two and three times a
week, and had a total work force which ate up three
hundred steers a month? •
names of a few appear in this
text. Will Stuart's accounts have
been of the greatest value to this
Even if they spent a working
lifetime on the prairie, these
men and women remembered
the East Kootenay area, and the
lovely mountain views and the
climate - one that lacked the
searing summers and the driving
blizzards of the flat lands. In
retirement many came to the
Creston valley. After all, if they
wanted to go back to the prairies
and visit, or maybe bring their
friends over, it was only an
overnight train trip.
Some We Have Met and Stories
They Have Told, by W.S.
Cameron (under pen name Will
Stuart), The Creston Review
Ltd., Creston, BC, 1958.
Carving the Western Path By
River, Rail, and Road Through
BC's Southern Mountains, by
R.G. Harvey, Heritage House
Publishing Co. Ltd., Surrey, BC
1998, pp. 110-115.
McCulloch's Wonder, by Barrie
Sanford, Whitecap Books Ltd.,
West Vancouver, BC 1977, pp. 32
Tales of the Kootenays by Fred J.
Smith, Douglas & Mclntyre,
Vancouver, BC 1977, pp. 53-57,
64, 69, 70, 85-93.
History of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, by W. Kaye Lamb,
MacMillan Publishing Co. Ltd.,
New York, 1977, pp. 195-213.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 Token History
R. W. Holliday, Salmon Arm's civic-minded dairyman By Denis Marshall
Encroaching commercial development
threatens to shorten the life of a pioneer farm
on the western fringe of Salmon Arm, where
the present owner only recently unearthed
a 90-year-old token bearing witness to R W Holliday's
Maple Leaf Dairy.
"Billy" Holliday was born in 1869 at Deptford,
England, but grew up in Wimbledon and carried the
speech and trappings of a Londoner until his final days.
He was yet a teenager when the urge came to see what
Canada had to offer and is believed to have arrived in
the Shuswap Lake district as early as 1888, which
would place him among the area's first white settlers.
Lacking the means to become a landowner, he
found employment in the fledgling local lumber
industry, progressively acquiring the skills of a sawyer.
In 1892, twelve-year-old Anna Justine Laitinen,
experienced her first glimpse of Salmon Arm upon
stepping down from a transcontinental CPR passenger
train after a bewildering journey from her native
Finland with two siblings to join their widowed father,
Gust Laitinen.
Gust and his wife, Catherine Olander, had
previously emigrated to Woodstock, Ontario, but
Catherine found life in Canada too rough to bear and
begged to be taken with her children back to Finland.
Her husband complied then returned to Canada,
subsequently settling at Salmon Arm as a railway
section foreman, hoping his wife would change her
mind. It so happened Catherine was
pregnant at the time of separation and
died giving birth in her homeland.
Gust Laitinen married again and
became a much-respected citizen of
Salmon Arm for championing the
unfranchised and downtrodden.
Sharing by nature, his favourite gift to
hard-up farmers was a 100-pound sack
of flour.
"Annie" Laitinen and Billy
Holliday eloped to Vernon May 24,
1898, breaking the news of their
marriage to family and friends in
Salmon Arm by telegram. They took up
residence at Kualt on Tappen Bay,
Shuswap Lake, where the groom was
holding down the sawyer's job at
Joseph Genelle's sawmill. It was here
the following year that the first of their
six children was born.
After Genelle sold to Columbia River Lumber
Company in 1899, Billy Holliday next plied his trade
at Revelstoke, with the express intent of returning to
Salmon Arm when circumstances permitted.
Around 1905 the Hollidays purchased 30 acres
of partly-cleared land on "Rotton Row" from C. B.
Harris, one of Salmon Arm's earliest fruit producers,
and proceeded to acquire a dairy herd. Whether they
established the first door-to-door milk route in the
community is open to question. That distinction may
belong to H. S. Sheriff, whose advertisements appear in
the local journal soon after its debut in the fall of 1907.
There is no evidence, however, that the two dairymen
were competitors after the Maple Leaf got going.
R. W Holliday was responsible for nostalgically
naming the road fronting his property, and is also
believed to have christened a nearby thoroughfare
Piccadilly Road, as well as choosing the name
Montebello Hotel for the significant 1908 addition to
Salmon Arm's business centre.
By 1908 Maple Leaf Dairy was soliciting
customers for regular milk delivery and announcing
its intention to have ice cream available. Merrily caught
up in the province-wide pre-war boom, Salmon Arm's
burgeoning population welcomed the new service,
whereupon in 1911 it was decided to build a retail store
on Front Street, featuring Maple Leaf products and
other food staples. Soon after the hostile European guns
of August 1914 began firing, the Hollidays temporarily
Billy and "Annie "
Holliday (above).
Maudie, outside
Holliday's Confectionery
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004
23 Two generic eight-sided
aluminum tokens issued
by Maple Leaf Dairy
have come to light, both
Good for 1 Quart Milk.
One carries the raised
printing R. W. Holliday,
while the most recent
find shows the
incorrectly spelled
inscription, "R. W.
opened an ice-cream parlour beside Vernon Army
Camp, to the delight of thousands of trainees receiving
their first taste of military discipline under a searing
Okanagan sun.
It was also at this time that Holliday told the
Salmon Arm Observer he would supply milk free to
Salmon Arm families of married men on active duty.
Out of the blue two years later he informed his wife
and children he was joining the Canadian Forestry
Corps and hoped to go overseas—in a non-combative
role. Nevertheless, it was a foolhardy decision for a
47-year-old, matched only by his brother-in-law, Sam
McGuire, three years his senior, who also thought he
was needed for the war effort. "Aid. R W Holliday,
having beaten all comers at Vernon for ice cream ...
has decided to retire for the rest of his natural life and
returned home to Salmon Arm on Saturday, bringing
all his paraphenalia with him," reported the local editor
October 5, 1916, apparently in the dark about
Holliday's plan to join the forestry battalion.
And so, daughter Maudie, going on seventeen,
was left to run Holliday's Confectionery, while her
mother, not much taller than a cream separator, had to
tend a dozen milking cows and oversee the dairy
operation. Aileen Holliday Vanderbrug, who was seven
when her father enlisted, recalled lightheartedly in the
year 2000 how the family managed the dual
responsibility, "while Father was off fighting the war."
"Mum made the ice cream on the farm. It was
made with eggs and cream and tasted so rich and good.
My brothers, Bob and Dick, ran the little gasoline
engine that churned the five-gallon tubs." The boys
made sure they locked the milkhouse during the
churning process, but after the engine was turned off
Aileen and her younger sister, Myrtle, would appear
behind the door clutching bowls, only to be rebuffed
by a chorus of "non-producers!, non-producers!"
R W Holliday, Sam McGuire and two other local
men received special treatment on their return to
Salmon Arm three months after peace was declared,
when the town fathers urged the whole populace to
rise in the wee hours to meet the homebound train.
The Observer summed up the occasion with this brief
mention: "Rounding Engineer's Point at four a.m.
February 1,1919, en route to a boisterous homecoming,
Corporals Holliday, Metcalf, McGuire and Private A.
H. F. Martin were greeted by the lights of the town, the
electric generating plant having been fired up at such
an early hour on orders of Mayor F. W Clingan."
It wasn't long before the decision was made to
close Maple Leaf Dairy, but Holliday's Confectionery
lasted well into the 1920s.
In Billy Holliday's heyday, Salmon Arm was
little different from other towns, inasmuch as a
pronounced British flavour permeated all levels of
society. He chose to remain a true blue Conservative
and was something of a factotum at the local level with
a say in how patronage was doled out when his party
was in power. He was a staunch supporter and friend
of the undefeated legislative member and B. C. cabinet
minister R. W Bruhn, likely smoothing the way for
Bruhn's first job as a provincial road foreman.
Grandchildren remember that Holliday liked to
put on airs and once presented a departing bank
manager with a gold-headed cane. There were also
occasions when a libation or two encouraged him to
contact loftier persons, including attempts to telephone
the Prince of Wales.
But there was no mistaking Holliday's patriotic
side and willingness to serve his community. He was
elected to the rural school board and held a similar
position with the City of Salmon Arm when it
incorporated in 1912, then became a one-term
alderman the following year. He was also a director of
the B. C. Dairymen's Association in 1911. He played
the flute in the civic band, was a favourite caller at
dances and never failed to march in an Orange Day
After giving up his businesses, and perhaps
before, Holliday turned back to the lumber industry
to supplement income. During the sawyer days he
developed an acuity for remedying wonky high-speed
circular mill saws, a specialized expertise that later put
him in demand throughout the province.
Essentially the task called for the right amount
of pounding on the stressed steel with a set of stainless
steel convex hammers until the blade ran true. A
grandson remembers Holliday "charging off to get
saws sorted out" on short notice and being away up
to two weeks. He kept his tools at the ready in a leather
satchel and when the call came he would generally
leave on the next passenger train.
Barely into his 60s, Holliday was hit by a
debilitating stroke and spent the rest of his days in
poor health, which required intermittent periods of
institutional care. Luckily, during this period he was
still able to enjoy a long-standing ritual of listening to
the weekly Metropolitan Opera broadcast. Billy
Holliday died in 1959 in Shaughnessy Military
Hospital, having outlived his wife by three years. •
24 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 Book Reviews
Terrace; incorporated in 1927; 75 Years
of Growth.
Terrace Regional Historical Society. [P.O. Box 246, Terrace,
BC V8G 4A6], 2003. 73 pages, illus. $10 paperback.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of
Terrace's incorporation, members of the
Terrace Regional Historical Society
compiled this scrapbook of clippings, most
from local newspapers.
Their selection bespeaks obvious
pride in the town's progress and
development. But the clippings need a brief
running commentary connecting the stories
and a short historical introduction. What
happened before 1927? What brought
Terrace to the point of incorporation?
Why devote a full page to the 1969
moon walk, but not a line to the end of World
War II? Some clippings are pasted too close
to the edge of the page so the text is cut in
mid-word. Still, this compilation will be a
useful resource for historians of the area and
the era.
Phyllis Reeve. Phyllis Reeve is a bookseller and resort
operator on Gabriola Island.
Discovery by Design: the Department of
Mechanical Engineering of the University of
British Columbia, Origins and History, 1907-2001.
Eric Darner. Vancouver, Ronsdale Press, 2002. 220 p., illus.
$29.95 hard cover.
Congratulations to the Department
for commissioning this history, which is a
welcome addition to the very few nontechnical publications on engineering in this
province. Yet mechanical engineering
pervades our everyday modern life: the
essential automobile, the aeroplane that
eases national and international travel, and
such mundane objects as the can opener and
a child's scooter.
Surprisingly, the Department has
allocated the writing task not to a faculty
member, not an engineering alumnus, but
to an educationalist. Author Eric Darner is
somewhat apologetic about his role as an
"outsider". Yet he does a commendable job
in chronicling the nearly century-long
history, within the limits of the available
Books for review and book reviews should be sent to:
Anne Yandle, Book Review Editor BC Historical News,
3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver BC V6S 1E4
archival and biographical materials.
Perhaps an "insider" could have included
more interesting lore of the Department and
its pioneer, often colourful, professors.
What is remarkable is that mechanical
engineering studies (as an offshoot of
McGill) were instituted by a few farseeing
men as early as 1907 at a time that the
province was still a far western outpost of
industrial society, except for its relatively
small-scale lumbering, mining, and fish-
canning industries. This was eight years
before the official establishment of the
University of British Columbia and thirteen
years ahead of the accreditation of a
professional engineer licensing body in the
However, in the early years, due to
restricted government and industry
funding, the Department could hardly be
considered state-of-the-art. As well, in the
first decades of the twentieth century, the
faculty and student body was a preserve of
upper-class Anglo gentlemen. Although
there were no overt bans at UBC (McGill did
bar females), ethnics and women were
neither recruited nor welcomed.
All of this changed after World War
Two. Rapid industrialization of the province
with large scale power plants, pulp and
paper mills, sawmills, open-pit mining
operations, metal smelters, and oil refineries,
necessitated highly-trained university
graduates to design, build, and operate these
massive projects. Economically buoyant
times brought large grants to the
engineering faculty for plant, equipment,
and research facilities, funded from both
government and private industry. Canada
would become a multinational nation,
bringing in new skills from around the
world. The female half of society was
actively recruited to fill chronic technical job
vacancies. (So far only a small, but
significant, number of women have taken
advantage of the opportunity.) The result
has been the evolvement of a first-class
engineering facility.
This book, and its appendices of
departmental statistics, will be of special
appeal to engineering faculty, alumni, and
students. However, it also should be
required reading for any serious student of
the development of the province. The story
is a clearly written narrative, without
technical jargon, and would be of interest to
an educated public.
Cyril E. Leonoff, P. £nj.
"Whispers from the Shedrows"; a history of
thoroughbred racing in Richmond. A collection
of memoirs and writings,
by Gerry Gilker, Jack Lowe, Geraldine (Dody) Wray. City of
Richmond Archives, 2001. 106 p., illus. $25 paperback.
City of Richmond Archives, 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond,
BC V6Y 1R9.
Those interested in thoroughbred
racing will find Whispers from the Shedrows
an interesting read. This collection of
memoirs and writings describes the sport in
Richmond s two historic racing ovals:
Brighouse/Minoru Park (1909-1941), which
once boasted one of the best racing surfaces
in North America ; and, Lansdowne Park
(1924-1973), which had a grandstand that
seated 4500.
Stories from, or reminiscences about,
the people and horses capture the characters
of the individuals involved with horse
racing and the lure of the track. While lists
of names sometimes become tiresome, the
tales of those involved with the sport (from
jockeys, trainers, owners and breeders, to
veterinarians, exercise boys and ticket
takers) are captivating. Also intriguing are
discussions of such inventions as the locally
developed Puett Automatic Starting Gate,
the installment and use of an electric tote
board (the first in Western Canada), and the
Richmond businesses that depended on the
track. On a more somber note, the dangers
of horse racing are recounted in the sad tales
of some of the deaths of horses and jockeys.
Three individuals who grew up on
Lulu Island recorded this brief history of The
Sport of Kings. Having had interests in
thoroughbred racing, they did not want this
facet of Richmond's history to be lost. From
the numerous black-and-white photographs
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004        25 to the variety of recollections, they have
succeeded in preserving some of the
colourful aspects of thoroughbred racing in
Sheryl Salloum Sheryl Salloum is a Vancouver writer and
member of the Vancouver Historical Society
Ols Stones; the biography of a family.
A.S. Penne. Victoria: Touch Wood Editions, 2002. 230
pages. $19.95 paperback.
A.S. Penne's biography of her family
tells an appealing story, if scarcely unique:
of the wounded Canadian airman bringing
home his British war bride, and of their
daughter the author growing up in 1950/
60s Vancouver. Penne writes an engrossing
enough narrative when she forgets to be
embarrassed. Through most of the book she
is wincing because her mother's family is
British upper-class, or her father's family is
Canadian working-class, or her own given
name "Anthea" is too exotic, or her father's
surname "Brown" is too common.
She reports no scandals or posttraumatic revelations, but the reader gets
the impression that she does not really like
her relatives, and no one seems to have had
much fun.
One sympathizes with her mother's
question: "Why do you want to say things
like that about your family?"
Phyllis Reeve Phyllis Reeve, at her desk on Gabriola
Island, winces her way through her own family biography.
Lost world: rewriting prehistory ■ how new
science is tracing America's ice age mariners.
Tom Koppel. Atria Books, New York, Toronto, 2003. 300
p., illus., map. $41 hardcover. Atria Books, 1230 Ave. of
the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
One of the most interesting issues in
prehistory is the question of how the
continents of North and South America were
peopled. The classic explanation, "Clovis
First", has nomadic big game hunters
crossing the land bridge between Siberia and
Alaska and travelling south down a corridor
between the Cordilleran and Laurentian ice
sheets along the eastern side of the Rocky
Mountains. After arriving on the central
American plains about 12,000 years ago, the
nomads begin to spread out throughout
North and South America. Recent
archaeological discoveries, however, have
begun to challenge this theory.
In his recent book, BC journalist Tom
Koppel, outlines the evidence supporting
the alternate theory that the first peoples into
the Americas came along the Pacific coast
by sea. This theory proposes that about
15000 years ago, nomads from the Pacific
coast of Asia began to move along the coast
from Asia to Alaska, British Columbia and
then to more southern locales along the
Pacific coast of the Americas. These nomads
already had a maritime culture and used
rafts or skin boats to move from one ice free
refuge along the coast to another as needed.
These migrations may have gone as far as
south Chile and perhaps across the Panama
isthmus and then along the Caribbean and
Atlantic coasts to Brazil.
Koppel presents this evidence as
stories about the recent investigations of
archaeologists and geologists who are trying
to sort out the paleohistory of the northwest
coast of North America. He visited many
of the research sites and discussed these
discoveries with the scientists and most of
the book reflects his delight and enthusiasm
about the new information being uncovered
in archaeological digs or dredged from a
shoreline submerged for 10000 years.
The book is both entertaining and
informative, but, regrettably, lacks footnotes
or a bibliography for the use of those
readers, who, like me, would like to read
further about these discoveries.
Gordon Miller Gordon Miller works at the Pacific
Biological Station, Nanaimo.
Children, Teachers and Schools in the History
ofBritish Columbia (2nd edition).
Jean Barman and Mona Gleason, eds. Calgary, Detselig
Enterprises Ltd. 438 p. illus., paperback. $37.95
This is the second edition of Children,
Teachers and Schools in the History of British
Columbia. University of British Columbia
educational professors Jean Barman and
Mona Gleason have edited a brilliant
collection of scholarly writings that
examines an array of issues in the history of
BC education. The anthology can be read on
a number of different levels and will appeal
to a variety of audiences. As the editors
alluded, there are multiple purposes for this
collection. Readers will find content that is
suitable for pleasure, useful for scholarly
pursuits, or valuable for educational
Outlined in each article are
phenomena that shaped the province's
educational system. Discussed are how
people's beliefs, either right or wrong,
affected schools and programmes. Implicit
in the articles are explanations of how
political and ideological views assisted with
defining society in terms of policy and
guided educational decision makers in their
actions. Researchers and students in the field
of education will find the collection's
scholarly dimensions useful. Educators at
various levels of schooling will find certain
pieces captivating and enlightening. Policy
and decision makers will benefit from the
lessons outlined from the past when they are
in the process of examining current
educational events. Individuals linked to
education, such as health care workers,
social workers, parents, and guardians, can
also benefit from the book's content.
Topics related to class, gender, race,
and sexuality are discussed under sections
entitled Childhood and Pupilhood,
Becoming and Being a Teacher, Organizing
and Reorganizing Schools, and From There
to Here. This last section is a compilation of
contemporary topics that revolves around
a reminder that the present never forgets.
Readers who spend their time
exploring different regions of BC will be
attracted to specific articles because of their
geographic references. Highlighted are areas
in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver
Island, as are other parts of the province
including Williams Lake, All Hallows, the
Okanagan, and numerous coastal villages.
Those interested in Aboriginal culture or
immigration will have more than enough
information to enrich their existing
knowledge. Profiled is an array of well-
known BC pioneers and their contributions
to BC education. Lesser-known pioneers are
26 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 mentioned to illustrate their importance in
establishing education throughout the
If you feel you are part of this book's
audience, take the time to view its insightful
Kirk Salloum
Scandal!! 130 Years of Damnable Deeds in
Canada's Lotus Land.
William Rayner. Surrey, BC, Heritage House, 2001. 288 p.,
illus., $19.95paperback.
William Rayner has compiled thirty-
nine vignettes from BC history using his
conceptualization of scandal. The collection
spans 130 years, with the majority of
incidents occurring in the last two decades.
Rayner, now retired from newspaper
life, reports each incident with a journalistic
flavour and captures the facts of the events.
Rayner often includes the opinions of the
day as they pertain to the ways an event
unfolded in different public forums for
example, in courtrooms, in the legislature,
or the media. To supplement the text,
pictures are interspersed throughout the
book. To enhance many of the vignettes,
follow-up information is highlighted.
Each vignette is best read on its own
and can be read in any order. Many of the
names and events, especially from the last
twenty years, will be familiar to people that
have kept abreast of current events in BC.
The vignettes are easy to follow, and
Rayner's commentary can be entertaining.
Unfortunately, Rayner falls short in
providing an in-depth discussion of the
events in the scope of BC history. He states,
The essence of a scandal is its shock value.
The more public and lasting the shock, the
deeper the scandal. This concept of scandal
is restrictive. Selecting incidents using this
framework is subjective in nature. This
becomes apparent as Rayner editorializes.
Little is said about the future consequences
or implications associated with a particular
Some incidents in the collection are
clearly disgraceful and offensive to the
moral sensibilities of society. With others, the
reader will wonder if a specific event was
indeed a scandal or, rather, a systemic
political or governmental predicament
waiting to happen. Little meaningful
discussion takes place regarding the moral
and ethical dilemmas associated with
particular players and events in a historical
context. In the Afterword, Rayner continues
to mishandle a much-needed objective
examination of the incidents.
Rayner concludes the book by
suggesting that... when temptation raises
its seductive head, the best way to avoid
scandal and recriminations is to replace
greed, lust and political expediency with
simple probity. Such a lesson is also
appropriate for writing about BC history.
When the attraction arose to compile this
book, Rayner should have realized that
editorializing has limits and interpreting BC
history deserves probity.
Kirk Salloum Dr. Kirk Salloum is an educational consultant
living in Vancouver, BC
An Apostle of the North; memoirs of the Right
Reverend William Carpenter Bompas.
H.A. Cody. Introduction by William R. Morrison and
Kenneth S.Coates. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press,
2002. 391 + Ixxxiiip. $29.95paperback.
H.A. Cody wrote An Apostle of the
North in 1908, when a missionary could still
be a hero, and Cody had no doubt that
Bishop Bompas was heroic. The editors of
this edition, two history professors of
scrupulous academic detachment, come
close to wondering if he might have been
right. So does the reader, faced with both
Cody's original story and Morrison and
Coates' account of their research around it.
William Carpenter Bompas arrived in
northwestern Canada in 1865 with the fur
traders. He stayed throughout the early
mining days and the turbulence of the great
gold rush. By 1906, the year of his death, he
had been in the Yukon longer than any other
non-aboriginal person.
William R Morrison, of the University
of Northern British Columbia, and Kenneth
Coates, of the University of Saskatchewan,
intended to write a new biography of
Bompas, but found nothing to warrant such
an undertaking - no hidden letters or secret
diaries, no breath of scandal, only the same
evidence which Cody had culled, of a man
whose public persona was the same as his
private. They recognized the existing
biography as an important historical
document in its own right, and decided to
reprint it, accompanied by a comprehensive
introduction from their modern
perspectives. Their choice to conceptualise,
and not to rewrite, results in a multi-level
work which re-introduces not only Bompas,
but his Boswell as well.
As a young priest, the Rev. Hiram A.
Cody (1872-1948) served in the Yukon (one
of his parish sidesmen was Robert Service)
and knew Bompas personally for the last
two years of the Bishop's life. He left the
Yukon in 1909 to serve a parish in his native
New Brunswick. After Apostle to the North,
he wrote twenty-five successful novels with
titles such as Rod ofthe Lone Patrol and Glen
of the High North, as well as numerous
magazine articles. By 1920 his sales in the
United States exceeded 100,000 books, and
in 1921 his fellow authors, such as Bliss
Carman, elected him vice-president for New
Brunswick of the Canadian Authors'
Association at its founding convention in
Montreal. Cody's stories of "honest, fearless
men battling the perils of the frontier, often
in a spirit of muscular Christianity", were
fictional parallels to his biography of
So Cody could tell a story, and here
was a good one: the devout Englishman,
already in his early thirties and neither
handsome nor charismatic, answering the
call of the Church Missionary Society for
"one of its most unattractive mission fields
- the northwest of British North America"
where the people he was to serve were
constantly on the move, without settled
communities, and such government as there
was depended on the Hudson's Bay
Company. Drawing on unsuspected
physical strength and stamina, Bompas set
out on the first of his astonishing journeys,
arriving at Fort Simpson on Christmas Day,
months   before   he    was    expected.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004        27 Subsequently he travelled great distances
under difficult circumstances, often on foot.
He did not keep a detailed journal, and the
editors lament: "several of his trips,had they
been better recorded, would stand as major
feats of Arctic exploration and travel." But
Cody's narrative and descriptive talents,
with his own knowledge of the terrain, do
much to convey the excitement of the north,
and if part of that excitement is spiritual,
well, that's the way it was.
At the end of a day, Bompas would
retreat to his study to translate scriptures
into Aboriginal languages, to study ancient
texts, and to write papers relating modern
science and Biblical details to northern
reality. Cody reproduces several of these
papers in his chapter "Northern Lights on
the Bible".
In 1874, Bompas was consecrated
Bishop of Athabasca. Despite his dismay at
the title and ceremony thrust upon him, he
determined to fulfil his duties. One
immediate change demanded of him as an
Anglican prelate was to take a wife, and he
married his cousin Selina Cox. Theirs was
no wildly romantic courtship, and Morrison
and Coates judge it a "marriage of
convenience". Maybe so, but Cody's
evidence suggests that from the beginning
Selina understood Bompas's calling and did
her utmost to make it her own. The vastness
of his diocese and its inhospitable climate
separated them often and for extended
periods; one travel stop- over stranded her
at Fort Yukon for eight months. More often,
it was the Bishop who was travelling, while
she held the fort in exemplary fashion
among Native people and miners who
saluted her as the "first white lady who has
wintered amongst us". A bishop's flock
includes his clergy, and Selina's duties
included the comfort of bewildered young
clergy wives newly arrived in the barren
land. Of one such she wrote, "I fixed a few
flowers and a verse on her tent pole to cheer
her up."
Bompas dealt as necessary with
episcopal administrative duties, synods, and
even a diplomatic [and unsuccessful]
mission to William Duncan, maverick
missionary of Metlakatla. In 1891 the diocese
was divided, Bompas choosing the more
isolated section, the Diocese of Selkirk (later
of Yukon). He used his position to lobby on
behalf of the Aboriginal people, citing the
damage wrought on their lives by the arrival
of miners and appealing for compensation
for those shifted from their lands. The Gold
Rush of 1898 was his worst nightmare, but
his bullying of the federal government put
law and order, in the persons of the NorthWest Mounted Police, on the scene to greet
the Klondikers. Secular authorities found him
too concerned with the welfare of the First
Nations people. Morrison and Coates ask us
to read Cody's account of the founding of
residential schools and Bompas's Christian
approach to Aboriginal spirituality, with a
realization of the complexities involved.
They wonder that the churches themselves
no longer make any effort to emphasize the
positive aspects of the missionary era.
Ironically, in their introduction they mention
the roles of Matthew Coon Cone and Remi
de Roo, two complex and contradictory
figures already, since the time of writing,
perhaps passed into history, their fates
exemplifying the changeability of our own
The editors plead, "The kind of writing
that portrays indigenous people as simple
victims of newcomers ignores the important
factor of 'agency', specifically that First
Nations people had a certain measure of
control and influence over the newcomers;
the power did not flow only in one direction."
Certainly the power flowed towards the
Bishop, described by a contemporary
American journalist as escaping back from
civilization to bury "himself once more in the
frozen north, that no other man loves but for
the sake of its gold."
Bompas was not the only one of our
early bishops to inspire a Boswell; I wish
Morrison and Coates, or someone very like
them,would turn their attention to Rev.
Herbert H. Gowen's 1899 biography of Acton
Windeyer Sillitoe, first bishop of New
Westminster. I have made extensive and
grateful use of a battered copy in the UBC
Library. It deserves reviving in a framework
such as the editors have given Apostle ofthe
Phyllis Reeve Phyllis Reeve wrote a history of St. James',
Vancouver's oldest Anglican parish.
The First Russian Voyage Around the World:
The Journal of Hermann Ludwig von
Lowenstern (1803-1806),
trans. Victoria Joan Moessner. Fairbanks: University of
Alaska Press, 2003. 464 p., illus. $35.95 US hard cover.
The Estonian German author of this
uncensored, personal diary, Hermann
Ludwig von Lowenstern (1771-1836), was
at the time of the 1803 Russian naval
expedition the fourth officer and
cartographer of the lead ship, the British-
built "Nadazhda," under command of
Captain Adam Johann von Krusenstern.
The expedition sailed from Kronstadt,
now Kronshlot, in the Baltic. After stops at
Copenhagen, Falmouth and Tenerife they
sailed to the Brazilian coast, thence round
Cape Horn. Krusenstern took his vessel to
the Marquesas, where he traded with the
natives of Nuku Hiva and saw secret funeral
rights at a moraie. Then it was north to the
Hawaiian Islands and then Kamchatka. From
there they sailed to Japan, where the
reestablishing of relations with the Japanese
court was the objective. There was a Russian
ambassador there at the time, Nicolai
Petrovich Resanoff. Relations with the
Japanese were not enhanced, but Krusenstern
charted sections of the Japanese coast and
islands, especially Yeso, present-day
Hokkaido. They sailed to Maraoi, later in
1805, and returned to Russia by sailing west.
Their voyage consumed three years and
almost twelve months. Krusenstern helped
strengthen Russian links in the North Pacific
world, links already established by Russian
traders from Kamchatka. Krusenstern
published an account of his voyage, and
several years later, in 1815, he made an
unsuccessful attempt to find a northwest
The diarist was a humane and wise
individual, well travelled and far seeing. He
had sailed in an English East India Company
ship, but got no farther than English sea ports.
28 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 Of the ship that he served in, on this service,
he wrote that "wrangling, strife, envy, hate,
deceit, cheating, egotism, uncharitableness,
lies and laziness: those are the driving forces
that belong to the order of the day on our
ship." He served under a coarse and
thoughtless lout of a captain, and was
relieved to find himself in Russian naval
service. He sailed widely, to the
Mediterranean, travelled to Constantinople
and Paris (and to desolate Versailles, then
stripped of its finery), and then found himself
joining the Krusenstern voyage round the
world, the first for Imperial Russia.
The text is a wonderful window on
several worlds, more especially those of
Japan and China. The Russians found the
Japanese difficult to deal with, and surely it
was the same in reverse. The giving of gifts
was problematic, for there were rules of the
game, and the Japanese proved to be more
demanding and exacting than the rough
Russians ever imagined. In China the
problem related to the necessary patience for
trade. "They make capricious demands and
change their prices hourly. They sell
everything by the pound, the best way to
cheat." (p. 380) The vessel never got to Sitka,
or any part of Alaska, confined as it was to
the survey of east Asian waters, especially
Japan and Sakhalin. But at Canton much was
learned about Russian trade on the
Northwest Coast of America, this gleaned
from sailors of the Neva, Captain Lisianski.
The Neva had sailed from the Baltic with the
Nadezhada and they were separated for a time,
effecting a rendezvous at Canton. It seems
that Lisianski deliberately falsified recorded
longitudes and latitudes in order, says
Lowenstern, so that no one else could make
use of the discoveries he was making for the
Russian America Company. We learn
additional details: that Baranov received high
praise from Lisianski for the nature of his
trade in Alaska but that Baranov's underlings
were very dissatisfied with him; that 30,000
pelts of beaver, sea otter, river otter, fox and
sable were damaged and then thrown
overboard after the Neva was thrown around
by a typhoon (a huge loss, the numbers of
which are staggering, if doubtful), and that
the Chinese women were brought off to the
Russian vessels at night: "As strictly as it is
forbidden by Chinese laws for a Chinese
woman to consort with Europeans, greed for
money also overcomes these laws here. At
night, a mandarin always goes up and down
the river in Wampoa as patronuille, and
nevertheless "fresh meat" [sic] (girls) are
brought to the ships in the dark. The Boats
have six rowers and the girls lie like anchovy
in them so that the mandarin cannot see them
If a patronuille approaches they flee at the
speed of an arrow." (p. 391) This diary is full
of wonderful details.
When the Russian ships reached home
the sailors had to clear customs, and there
would have been a lot to declare. Fortunately
the Emperor was so benevolent, says the
diarist, that he had given an order that all our
things and baggage should be let in free of
customs. "To prevent misuse of the order,
customs, with very sour faces, put a custom's
stamp on all of our things." (p. 437) Each of
the officers got a life pension and those who
wanted a discharge seem to have got it.
Lowenstern travelled for a time, resumed his
career in the Russian Navy, sailed in the Baltic
and Black seas. But he missed Reval and
Estonia, and so in later years he became an
estates owner in Estonia during the years that
serfdom was finally abolished there. He was
a good watercolour artist and was good at
line drawings. This edition contains a lovely
collection of his art work. We find in this
book, too, an excellent bibliography and
thorough index. The translation and
notations have been done with immense
scholarly care and are a credit to the translator
and press alike. The book adds immensely
to our knowledge of the North Pacific world
in the first decade of the nineteenth century.
Barry Gouj/i Waterloo Ontario
Uncle Ted Remembers; 26 short stories
describing the history of the Lakes District of
North Central British Columbia. Dawson Creek,
The Author, 2003. 128 p., illus., $18 paperback. Available
from Wayne Mould, 1605, 116 Ave., Dawson Creek, BC
V1G 4P8
Let's begin this review by broadening
the definition of a "pioneer". The Canadian
Oxford Dictionary defines pioneer as a
"settler in a previously unsettled land". But
what do you call people who settled in a
country that hadn't changed much in the
1930s and 40s, from what the earlier folk
found when they arrived a generation or
two earlier?
One might say that the country
between Burns Lake and Topley in north
central British Columbia (sometimes
referred to as the lake district) was a country
that time forgot. During the period that
Wayne Mould's UncleTed lived in the
wilderness area, horse drawn transportation
was the mode of the day. Shanks's pony was
another mode of travel. And people thought
nothing of walking for miles to visit a
neighbour, or take in a social function. Even
the building of the Grand Trunk Railway
didn't bring the changes that other railroads,
like the CPR and the CNR did in the late
ninteenth and early twentieth centuries. The
land remained pristine long after the
territory further south had been
resoundingly altered for ever.
North central BC teemed with game.
Its rivers and streams were filled with fish.
It is no wonder that some desperate souls
seeking to survive in hard times, were
attracted to the big empty land. Uncle Ted
remembers that the economy of the area was
simply, "living off the land." Some fellows
made a buck or two providing railroad ties
to the Grand Trunk. But cash was as rare as
work, if you didn't count the labour of sheer
survival to keep the wolf from the door.
Uncle Ted Remembers does give a pretty
clear picture of life before logging, lumber,
and pulp mills. Before tourism, heli-skiing,
and all the tacky romanticism of recreating
what we now call pioneer settlements,
complete with street drama, costumes and
But Uncle Ted must have been a
pretty terse communicator. The result is not
so much what I'd term a collection of
'stories', as it is a collection of sketchy
reminiscences, filled out somewhat by
Wayne Mould's own commentary.
Some of the incidents and events, like
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004        29 the first chapter's description of a wedding
and the subsequent horse race that
imperilled life and limb of the wedding
party, do tell a story. In a way. But the
fleshingout of the event might have made
for a more colourful narrative. Descriptions
of the guests, for example, as they advanced
in inebriation - how the horses looked after
being raced for miles over the roughest of
trails through the bush, would have helped
to make the event's telling less cut and dried.
Still, the result of Wayne Mould's
putting together Uncle Ted's experiences
does offer some humour, and a pretty good
idea of the rustic pleasures and inter-
dependencies of a very isolated life. The one-
roomed school house, the box social, the
outhouse, the harvest trains, the mining at
Wells, BC, which eventually provided
UncleTed with a job, and finally, the good
uncle's service in the military during the
Second World War, are all part of the lexicon
of pioneer existence.
But one gets the impression that the
book, like some parts of the Old Testament
in the Bible, were written up long after the
telling. Uncle Ted Remembers seems a
collection of fragments, notes and memories
of conversations, some of which probably
blew away in one of those unpredictable lake
country tempests.
There's nothing new in Uncle Ted
Remembers. Still, it's a book you can curl up
with at bed-time on a cold winter's night.
And it's a book you can probably finish before
you nod off.
Esther Darlington Esther Darlington lives in Cache Creek
Lost Orchards: Vanishing Fruit Farms of the
West Kootenay
Joan Lang. Ward Creek Press, 11124 McQuarrie Ave.,
Nelson, BC V1L 1B2 , 2003. 135p., illus., $17paperback.
Joan Lang's Lost Orchards is a reworked version of her 1996 Master's thesis
for the University of Victoria's History
Department. As such it has evolved into an
informative, interesting and comparatively
well-written book of about 130 pages,
justifiably deserving of a wider audience
than the shelves of a university archives.
While retaining the integrity of
academic scholarship in her footnotes,
appendices, bibliography and index - solid
platforms for others to build upon - she
captures events, facts and figures attractive
to a general readership. Appendix II, for
example, is composed of two original and
somewhat lengthy letters from 1908 British
immigrant, Edith Attree, describing in her
Dickensian prose her family's trip from
England across Canada to the West
Kootenays. Appendix l's interest is found in
its list of names of "Some Early Pre-Emptors
in the Kootenay Lake Area" while Appendix
III displays five Tables of statistics for the
increases and decreases in fruit production
- tree and ground - from the early to the mid-
1900's. A couple of maps, a plan for the
preferred layout for fruit trees and more
than fifty illustrations, many as full-colour
plates, grace the pages throughout.
In her Introduction Lang cautions that
the success of the West Kootenay orchards
may have been "doomed from the start."
"Why," she asks, "did this industry join the
casualty list of other fruit-growing
endeavours in British Columbia?" Her
answers follow in the four concise, fact-filled
chapters and conclusion of her book.
In Chapter One she notes the physical
barriers in the region that mitigated from the
outset against the continuing success of the
West Kootenay's orchard industry. She refers
to the layout of the land with its valley and
benches, to the problematic access to the
region prior to the railroads, and to the
predominant early interests in gold mining
and its connections to the United States.
Logging and coal mining are also mentioned
and their workers are noted as markets for
the evolving fruit industry. As the industry
prospered the real estate business boomed
bringing with it attendant problems of certain
unethical practices and promoters, inflated
land prices and poorly planned settlements.
Once in the West Kootenay's, however, the
pioneering orchardists determined to make
the best of what they had.
The pioneers' efforts paid off as Lang
describes in Chapter Two. She writes of how
various settlers inched into the industry,
how others overcame the loss of loved ones,
how railway and steamship lines arose, how
the benches were cleared, tilled and
irrigated, how the Women's Institutes were
formed and the Farmers' Institutes
strengthened, what legislation was
produced, what formal associations were
founded, and what the effects were for the
arrival of the Doukhobors in the region.
Success outweighed failures and adversities
were overcome so that by 1914 almost
400,000 acres of orchards were under
cultivation by 523 independent operators in
34 communities.
In her third and fourth chapters Lang
delves into the details of the expansion of
the industry and its marketing efforts
between World War I and World War II. She
expounds upon the increasing changes in
planting,storing, pesticide use and
marketing. She notes that research increased
with assistance from the Farmers' and
Women's Institutes, the provincial
government and universities world-wide.
The difficulties of reclaiming ever more land
are recounted as are the problems arising
from too much clear-cutting, forest fires,
ravaging bears, irrigation schemes gone
awry, and the inability to find pickers and
planters, especially during wartime, or to
pay them, especially during the Great
Depression. In the better days ancillary
industries sprang up such as factories for
producing packing and shipping materials
or for making jam. Distribution and
marketing systems took on a major focus
and government legislation, price controls,
production targets, and co-operatives
played their roles. And whereas the Great
Depression dampened the industry down,
the Second World War gave it a new life,
however briefly.
In the final analysis, though, as Lang
concludes, the industry declined after World
War Two as the victim of several forces -
market problems that "returned with a
vengeance, compounded by fundamental
changes in transportation, climatic problems
and the devestation of orchards by diseases
and pests". Then too, as the pioneering
orchardists aged, their children left the area,
30 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 unwilling to work for the hardscrabbling
pittances paid to their fathers. Land prices
dipped and risk-taking growers
disappeared, victimized by low to no
returns on their products often eaten away
by packing and shipping costs. The
Doukhobor community fell on hard times,
symbolized by its burned out jam factory
and neglected orchards. Other symbols of
the general decay remain to this day where,
Lang says, "old wharf pilings still stand at
the unused steamer landings, their
important function reduced to supporting
osprey nests."
Of the 400, 000 acres of orchards
in 1914, Lang notes, only 200 remained in
1955. The industry was dead. Still, as she
writes, "The decline and collapse of this
industry is a story of courage, struggle,
endurance, success and failure." It is one she
has told well and for which she deserves our
applause for bringing it to the centre stage
of British Columbia's history.
(This book was awarded second prize
by the BC Historical Federation for historical
writing, runner-up for the Lieutenant-
Governor's Medal. Ed.)
M. Wayne Cunningham M. Wayne Cunningham writes a
weekly book review column for The Kamloops Daily News.
Noteworthy Books
Bloody Practice; doctoring in the Cariboo and
around the world.
Sterling Haynes. Prince George, Caitlin Press, 2003.
Boards, Boxes, and Bins; Stanley M. Simpson
and the Okanagan lumber industry.
Sharron J. Simpson. Kelowna, Manhattan Beach Publishing,
2003. $30
Camp Vernon: a century of Canadian military
Hugh Rayment and Patrick Sherlock. Vernon, Kettle Valley
Publishing, 2003. $49.95.
Country Post; rural postal service in Canada,
Chantal Amyot and John Willis. Gatineau, Canadian
Museum of Civilization, 2003. $39.95.
Gold Rush Orphan.
Sandy Frances Duncan. Vancouver, Ronsdale Press, 2004.
Maria Mahoi of the Islands.
Jean Barman. Vancouver, New Star Books, 2004. $16
No Ordinary Mike; Michael Smith, Nobel Laureate.
Eric Darner and Caroline Astell. Vancouver, Ronsdale Press,
2004. $24.95
Rivers of Change; trailing the waterways of
Lewis & Clark.
TomMulllen. Malibu, Calif., RoundwoodPress, 2004.
$25.95 US
Sawdust Caesars and Family Ties in the
Southern Interior Forests.
Denis Marshall. Okanagan Historical Society, Salmon Arm
Branch, 2003. $22.95
Songhees Pictorial; a history of the Songhees
people as seen by outsiders, 1790-1912.
Victoria, Royal BC Museum, 2003. $39.95.
A World Apart; the Crowsnest communities of
Alberta and British Columbia.
Ed. Wayne Norton and Tom Langford. Kamloops, Plateau
Press, 2002. $23.95
Unsettled Boundaries: Fraser gold and the
British-American Northwest.
Robert E. Ficken. Pullman, Wash., Washington State
University Press, 2003. $195 US
WEBSITE: Establishing Professional Social
Work in Vancouver and at the University of
British Columbia.
Beverley Scott. 2004. toby.library.ubc.calwebpagel
webpage.cfmlid=97. Also available as a pamphlet.
In Vol.37 No. 1 BCHN published photographs of Winifred
Dawson Thomas of Duncan BC collecting scrap during
World War Two and asked if there were other
interesting photographs out there. Denis Marshall
contribitued this image from Salmon Arm where
Department of Public Works Cat and roller are mashing
aluminum pots and pans.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004        31 WebSlte Forays
Historical Web Site Competition
Christopher Garrish
Among the many highlights of the
recent BCHF Conference in
Nanaimo was the annual awards
banquet held on the Saturday
night. It is at this closing event of the
Conference that the honours are presented
to those individuals who have made an
outstanding con tribution to the researching
and writing of BC history from the past year.
While the best of the traditional print media
are recognized, there is also an award for
the best of the web. This year marked the
fifth anniversary of the annual Historical
Web Site Competition, a prize that was
originally established by the Federation in
conjunction with David Mattison for the
purpose of recognizing those internet sites
that are judged to best contribute to an
understanding and appreciation of Bri tish
Columbia's past on the internet.
Over the years the award has gone to
a surprisingly diverse range of sites. The
inaugural winner in 1999; the Prince George
Oral History Group, represented an attempt
to create a web portal that would make
available those recorded memories and
studies that the group had been able to
assemble of Prince George residents that had
"lived the history" of the area. In 2002, the
award went to the Samson V Maritime
Museum, which is seeking to create a virtual
in-sight into the history of the paddlewheelers that were once such a common
sight on the Fraser River.
The quality of the nominations this
year was no different, as entries were
received for sites covering subjects as varied
as: the creation of a "virtual community" by
form er residents of a northern BC company
town; the important work of numerous local
genealogical societies; to the creation of an
on-line catalogue of foreign language
materials. In the end, the Web Site
Competition Committee came to the
consensus that, of all the nominees, the site
which best represented individual initiative
in the writing & presentation, historical
content, layout, design, and ease of use was
the BC History of Nursing Group located at preservation of
nursing history in British Columbia. The site
was originally created in 1997 and has
continued to grow ever since, coming to play
an important role in allowing the Group to
communicate electronically with members
of the Registered Nurses Association of
British Columbia (RNABC), as well as a
much broader audience beyond the
RNABC. The Group is able to achieve this
goal by encouraging its core audience of
nurses to network through the si te, and by
presenting casual visitors of the site with
resources and material in the form of
nursing biographies, oral histories, a
newsletter, a fairly extensive (and growing)
archival list of nursing related literature, and
an "upcoming events" page. The Group also
actively collaborates with nursing
educational institutions and alumnae
associations to encourage the preservation
of nursing history.
In managing the site, the how the
initial focus was simply on the posting of
information from the quarterly newsletter.
Over the years, however, pages have been
added and features included on a number
of interesting topics. One of these, as
mentioned above, are the features on nurses
who have made outstanding contributions
to health care in BC and beyond. One nurse
that has been profiled on the site is Clara
(Kwan) Lim who, in 1939, became only the
third student of Chinese descent to enter the
Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) School
of Nursing. Graduating in 1941 at the head
of her class, she began general-duty nursing
at VGH shortly thereafter. As Clara
progressed at VGH, she became a supervisor
before sitting on the committee that was then
planning the Centennial Pavilion addition.
When the Pavilion was opened, Clara
assumed responsibility for Medical-Surgical
and Emergency Nursing at the Pavilion. She
was also instrumental in the opening of the
Intensive Care and the Coronary Care units
at the hospital - the first ones in BC. Through
her work at the hospital, Clara touched the
lives of many people, and in 1979 was
honoured as a Member of the Order of
The most recent addition to the
nursing site has been a page detailing the
public monuments that exist throughout
Vancouver that honour nurses. To date, the
Group has been able to identify and
document eight public memorials to nurses,
these include: three stained glass windows;
three statues; a frieze; and a hospital
building, all of which have been
photographed and presented on the site.
For those of you familiar with the
urban renewal of Vancouver, the case of the
former Medical Dental Building (MDB) at
the corner of Georgia and Howe Street
speaks to this work done by the History of
Nursing Group.
When built in 1929, the building was
designed in the Art Deco style popular at
that time. As the story goes, the architect of
the building, John Young McCarter, was a
navy veteran who credited his survival in
the Great War to the care he received from a
nursing sister. In honour of this nurse, and
her profession, the MDB was fitted with
three, ornamental, eleven foot high, terra
cotta, "Sisters of Mercy" nurses dressed in
First World War uniforms. When the
Medical Dental Building was brought down
in 1989, these nurses were salvaged and
mounted on a building out at UBC (while
fibreglass replicas were placed on the new
building at Georgia and Howe Street). In the
interim, the history of these statues has been
documented and presented on the History
of Nursing Group's site. At the present time
the History Group is temporarily housing
its growing collection in a small office at the
UBC School of Nursing. A fund raising
initiative and search for a permanent home
for the collection is actively in progress.
Many nursing artifacts are fragile and
irreplaceable such as nursing uniforms,
syringes, and breast pumps. The History
Group plans to photograph and display
these items on the site as part of an on-line
virtual museum.
Please take the time to visit the
Nursing Group's site and if you think you
know of an equally deserving web site that
should be recognized by the Federation at
next year's Conference please do not hesitate
to nominate that site (even if it is your own).
Remember, there are still almost six months
before the deadline passes
(December 31, 2004) for nominations to be
received. For more details, please visit the
Federation's web site at •
32 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 Archives 6t Archivists
Northern BC Archives Expands its Facility
Librarian & Archivist, Norma Marion Alloway Library,
Trinity Western University
The University of Northern British
Columbia has recently opened an
expanded archival facility located
at the Geoffrey R. Weiler Library
at its main campus in Prince George. The
Archives had outgrown its previous location
in the Library that provided storage for an
estimated thirty percent of its holdings while
the majority of records remained off-site. The
Northern British Columbia Archives &
Special Collections unit, now located on the
fourth floor of the Library Building, has
increased in size from 158 sq metres to 400
sq metres.
Ramona Rose, Head of Archives &
Special Collections notes "We are thrilled
with the new facility. Not only has it allowed
us to transfer all of the off-site holdings to
the main campus, but also the space was
redesigned to function as an archival facility
that ensures long-term preservation of the
collections and increases public research
access." Renovations included the
construction of environmentally-controlled
spaces with a dedicated HVAC system,
installation of high-density mobile storage,
increased security controls, and dedicated
rooms for collections processing,
photographic media storage, and isolation
for incoming acquisitions. The enlarged
Research Room can accommodate the needs
of individual researchers and is suitable for
class presentations.
The new Archives was officially
opened November 20,2003 during Archives
Week in BC. Dr. Charles Jago, President of
UNBC, led the ceremonies and over 100
guests enjoyed a reception and tour of the
new facility. Murray Sadler, Q.C, founding
President of the Interior University Society,
performed the ribbon cutting accompanied
by Ernie Kaesmodel, of the Friends of the
Archives, and Jason Plank, Senior Accounts
Manager, representing the Royal Bank
Financial Group/Foundation one of our
corporate donors.
Although in existence for only four
years, discussions began twelve years ago
to establish an archive that would preserve
the history of the creation of UNBC. A
committee was struck and an Archives Plan
was established which expanded on this
original mandate, recognizing the need also
to preserve and provide access to public and
private records that focus on the history of
Northern British Columbia. Hence, the
Northern BC Archives was created in 2000.
The Archives houses UNBC's administrative
and historic records; in essence, acting as its
"memory-bank". In addition, the Archives
acquires, preserves and provides access to
materials of permanent value related to the
history, development and culture of
Northern British Columbia. The role of the
Archives is beneficial to both UNBC in its
teaching and research role and to the wider
community, functioning as part of the
University's general initiative to integrate
itself with communities in Northern British
Columbia. The Archives serves research and
scholarship by making its holdings available
to the university community and the general
public. There is no admission charge.
The Northern BC Archives holdings
comprise over 950 metres of textual records,
over 18,000 photographic items, 250 sound
recordings, 175 moving image recordings
and over 200 cartographic items. Holdings
include: organizational records of the
Interior University Society, the grass-roots
organization which lobbied for a university
to be built in the North; administrative
records of the Cassiar Asbestos Mining
Corporation and records of the town of
Cassiar, over 1700 record boxes of materials;
over 8000 photographic items from
North wood Pulp & Timber Ltd.; The "Flying
Mission" Genealogical Records of the
Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council; the Prince
George Railway & Forestry Museum
Archival Collections including early
surveying and photographic documentation
of the construction of the Grand Trunk
Pacific and Pacific Great Eastern Railways
in Northern BC; literary records of well-
known Northern writers Brian Fawcett and
Barry McKinnon; over 5500 landscape and
flora images by Mary Fallis, educator and
naturalist; and over 30 sound recordings
generated by the Prince George Oral History
Group. Special Collections houses over 5500
rare volumes of published works related to
the development of Northern BC and
Northern Canada with particular emphasis
on exploration of Northern BC and rare First
Nations ethnologies. The Archives also
houses the University's Artwork collections
and maintains the First Nations ceremonial
regalia used for University convocation
ceremonies. For more information contact
Ramona Rose at and
consult the archives website at http: / / •
Guests tour the permanent collections storage
during opening of the Northern BC Archives,
November 20, 2003
Photos: Rob van Adrichem, UNBC
(left to right) Dr. Charles Jago, President of
UNBC, Ernie Kaesmodel of the Friends of the
Archives, Murray Sadler, Q.C., founding
President of the Interior University Society
and Jason Plank, Senior Accounts Manager, of
the Royal Bank Financial Group/Foundation.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004        33 Writing       What's Happening In BC?
Member Society reports to British Columbia Historical
Federation 2004 Annual General Meeting
2003 Winners
Lieutenant Governor's Medal
Dr. Jean Barman for Sojourning
Sisters: The Lives and Letters of
Jessie and Annie McQueen.
University of Toronto Press.
2nd Prize
Joan Lang for Lost Orchards:
Vanishing Fruit Farms of the West
Kootenay. Ward Creek Press.
3rd Prize
Marie and Richard Weeden
(Eds.) for Edenbank: The
History of a Canadian
Pioneer Farm, by the late
Oliver N. Wells.  Harbour
Honourable Mention
Chief Earl Maquinna
George for Living on the
Edge: Nuu-Chah-Nulth
History from an Ahousat
Chief's Perspective.  Sono
Nis Press.
Honourable Mention
John R. Hinde for When
Coal was King: Ladysmith
and the Coal-Mining
Industry on Vancouver
Island.  UBC Press.
Special Recognition
The judging panel is
pleased to honour Howard
White of Harbour
Publishing with a special
recognition for having
published, over the past 32
years, 19 issues of the
Raincoast Chronicles. This
series constitutes a
significant contribution to
the written history of
British Columbia.
Alberni District Historical
Society report (Jane Hutton,
The volunteers and members
of the Alberni District Historical
Society have enjoyed a productive
year. The archives volunteers
continue to answer an increasing
number of requests both from local
residents and more distant clients.
Set fees, rather than the usual
donations, now reflect the value of
volunteers' efforts on behalf of a
growing number of professional
researchers seeking information on
local properties.
Our public meetings have
proven popular in the community.
Local television programming and
the Alberni Valley Museum's special
display and visitor activities led up
to the ADHS programme about the
1964 Tsunami. An especially large
audience heard a presentation by
members of the local media. They
especially enjoyed listening to old
radio interviews with tsunami
survivors and sharing their own
personal memories of the event.
We reserve the AGM
programme for activities among the
membership. A couple of years ago
we mapped former businesses in
the downtown core and last year
we listed our favourite places in the
Alberni Valley. This year we will
draw personalized maps that
illustrate our experiences in our
neighbourhoods, favourite haunts,
or heritage sites.
Arrow Lakes Historical Society
report (Rosemarie Parent)
Last year 2003, we printed the
fifth volume of our Centennial Series
of five books, Bugles on Broadway,
which is about Nakusp from 1923 until
the late 1960s. This was a project
covering many years of work and we
are delighted to be finished with the
printing of the series. This year we
reprinted the third volume, Silent
Shores and Sunken Ships, which is
about the Beaton Arm area, with the
prominent towns of Arrowhead,
Galena Bay, Beaton, Comaplix and
The books are selling well and
when we have sufficient funds, a small
soft cover book about the history of
Halcyon Hot Springs is ready to go to
the printers. There are several full
colour photos included, with many
black and whites.
Assistance continues from the
BC Gaming Commission, which helps
us to pay insurance, lease, and other
expenses at our building that we lease
from BC Hydro. With all costs
increasing, especially insurance, we
are thankful for this help with our
day-to- day costs. The Village of
Nakusp continues to exempt our
taxes, which is also a big help!
More people than ever have
been in to use our archives, the
most interesting was a technician
from Knowledge Network who was
preparing a BC Moments TV
presentation of some of the hot
springs in the area. We saw it for
the first time on the 18th of April.
He needed information and photos
of Nakusp and Halcyon Hot Springs,
which we prepared for him and he
will give us recognition for our help
on the BC Moments' show credits
which they did. He took a flight by
helicopter of the area and sent us
copies of the video for our archives.
Several large estate
donations are being accessioned at
the moment and luckily, some of
the people from these estates kept
everything. We also transcribed
and copied the interview tapes,
which we used in the last book we
printed. Photograph work is still
being completed, the originals are
photocopied for people to peruse
in looseleafs and the originals are
then kept in acid-free sleeves in
metal filing cabinets.
Boundary Historical Society
report (Delia Mallette, Secretary)
The Boundary Historical
Society was pleased to start the
year 2003 off with our 52nd
anniversary luncheon in January.
The luncheon is an opportunity for
good food, entertainment and is
also a chance to socialize.
One of our most popular
events of the year is our annual
picnic: last year we met at the home
of Fred Marshall, which is the old
Bauer Creek Ranch. Plans are
currently under way for this year's
picnic at Rhone, an interesting stop
on the Trans-Canada trail. A new idea
this year is to rent a transit bus, often
these picnics are some distance away
and we think this will be a convenient
and popular service.
Our third full-membership
event of the year is the annual
general meeting. Held in Greenwood
last year, the meeting featured a light
lunch. Our guest speaker was a
representative of an ad-hoc
committee that has been working
toward purchase of the Mountain
View Doukhobor Museum and its
artifacts. A museum of historical and
tourism significance, we donated
$500 to the purchase.
One of our society's projects
is the Phoenix Cemetery; work is
ongoing to repair and set up pickets,
and to keep the grounds neat and
tidy. Last year, because of the dry
summer and outdoor recreation ban,
we weren't able to do as much work
at the cemetery as usual; however,
this year a work party has already
been to the cemetery with the aim
of beating what is likely going to be
another hot, dry summer.
Our publications committee is
hard at work at our 15th report. Its
focus is agriculture. Our membership
now numbers in the 70s and we look
forward to another good year.
Chemainus Valley Historical
Society report (Linda Tucker,
2003 was a very successful
& rewarding year for our Society.
Our new office equipment has
provided us with the means to do
some in-house publishing such as a
brochure and information sheets for
our visitors. We are now able to
provide more options for
information and research requests.
The efforts of our Museum
Stitchers have helped us to stay in
the black. They made two quilts
that were raffled plus numerous
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 other items that we sold in our gift
shop and at a Christmas craft sale.
Their efforts are an important part
of our fund raising.
Our last remaining charter
member (age 95) has given our
archives a welcome gift of books
and papers, much of the
information pertains to her life on
Kuper Island.
We joined the local Chamber
of Commerce in 2003 as part of our
goal is to be more involved in our
community. Our board has been
reviewing various ways to create
public awareness of the Society and
its museum. One of those ways was
to encourage more school tours of
our museum. We created a
colouring book depicting local
history and each child receives one
as a gift after the tour.
Another avenue opened to us
when we joined the Canadian
Historical Information Network (CHIN).
We hope to become more involved in
their Virtual Museum Program
The rights to the publication
Chemainus Then and Now were
turned over to us in 2003. We had
many copies printed and offered for
sale in our gift shop. We hope to
make some editing changes and
then have the 2nd edition published.
We have taken steps to
increase our personal security as
well as building security. Our
building is monitored for after
hours security breaches and we
have added video cameras and a
security mirror upstairs. We are
presently installing more Plexiglas
around displays for added security.
Our building suffered a
minor flood and from that we
acquired a new volunteer with
many skills. She has taken over the
artifacts and in the last year all our
artifacts have been recatalogued
and put on a database. Our budget
has focused on bringing the
artifacts and archives up to
standard regarding storage security
and cataloguing.
We participated as an
exhibitor in the "Age of Steam" at
the Duncan Forest Museum. Our
Chemainus Hospital Auxiliary display
of 100 Years of Service was featured
in an issue of BC Historical News
Cowichan Historical Society
report (PrisciUa Lowe Curator/
Manager, Cowichan Valley
The Cowichan Historical
Society's face to the Cowichan
Valley is its museum, The Cowichan
Valley Museum, now in its 15th year
in the Duncan Railway Station. The
society is in its 30th year. The
Cowichan Historical Society hired
a full time Curator/Manager and an
assistant as well as a summer
student. On account of the
Assistant Curator, more fun events
for families as well as exhibit
openings are held throughout the
year. These included a Summer
Festival Fun Event in July, a
Halloween Spooktacular in October
and Christmas Family Fun.
School programming brought
in 30 classes in 2003, now featuring
the option of a pioneer session or a
First Nation's session. In this way,
the museum and archives become a
place that more people of a greater
age spread, enter and remember.
Speakers are arranged by a
member of the Board of Directors
for monthly evening meetings. Many
authors have made presentations
relating to recent publications as
well as a field trip to a local church
cemetery for a tour.
Each Mother's Day in May, the
Historical Society joins with the
Cowichan Heritage Society to put on a
Heritage House Tour. The 2004 tour is
the 9th annual. This tour functions not
only as a fundraiser but gives an
awareness of the heritage and historic
buildings in the valley.
Exhibits are changed
regularly and in 2003 featured, a
private collection of leather objects
(Here we partner with a Collector's
Club), art and architecture (linking
with the artists in the Valley) and
First Nations art and artifacts,
featuring Simon Charlie carvings
donated in early 2003.
Funding for this museum is
still on the shoulders of the
Cowichan Historical Society and
will, in the near future, reach a
crisis situation. Gaming and not
local government is the financial
lifeblood of this museum - not a
safe situation, it does not allow for
future planning, as income is not
in any way consistent.
At this time, as funds
decline, the society seeks to
involve the region in our existence.
Space for exhibit or storage is
filled, leaving our function as a
preserver of the region's history,
very difficult to continue.
East Kootenay Historical
Association report
There were two well-
attended meetings both held in
Cranbrook as 3/4 our membership
live in Cranbrook. The guest speaker
at our Spring meeting was one of
the authors of Tidbits of Wasa.
The guest speaker at our fall
meeting was an accordionist who
performed at the Fort Steele
Heritage town. Outings: Heritage
homes of Cranbrook; Creston
Museum; Dedication of David
Thompson statue at Invermere
Our members include fewer
and fewer who drive their own
vehicles so planning attendance at
our meetings and to our outings
includes arranging rides for those
wanting to attend.
Galiano Museum Society report
(Alistair Ross. Past President)
2003 was a busy and a
successful year for the Galiano
Museum Society. We welcomed over
a thousand visitors. Many former
residents and their offspring
dropped by to revisit the past.
Among the exhibits we
mounted was one featuring
magazines from World War II.
Another display featured the daily
records of farmer Stanley Page,
who acted as Road foreman for a
number of years, and when we first
visited Galiano, operated the island
taxi service. By then he was in his
late eighties.
Our most successful exhibit
was researched and assembled by
our president Paul Leblond. It told
the story of the Pacific Coast Militia
Rangers, with a special emphasis
on our island's volunteers. The unit
was made up of residents from both
Galiano and Mayne Island. Also part
of the display was reference
material about the incendiary air
balloons, which the Japanese
floated across the Pacific using
intercontinental air currents. One
of the balloons was spotted over
Galiano and shot down over Georgia
Strait. The incident was witnessed
by one of our directors Clara
Stevens, a little girl living at
Retreat Cove with her family at the
time. We sponsored an evening
meeting here in mid November,
inviting members of the Gulf
Island's Historical Federation to
join us. Capt. Jim Miller ofVictoria,
current head of the BC Militia
Rangers was our guest speaker. We
are indebted to the Victoria
Foundation for financial help in
mounting the show and funding the
speaker's visit.
Early in 2003 ex-Prime
Minister Jean Chretien announced
the creation of a Museum to glorify
the successes of political leaders
over the years. It was to be built in
Ottawa at great expense and to be
open in three years, but has since
been put on the 'back burner' by
our current P.M. The Museum Society
decided it would get into the act as
well, and prepared an exhibit and
as much information as we could
gather about the Members of
Parliament who have represented
our area over the years. We had it
almost ready to mount when we got
word we would have to vacate our
rented quarters. We did so in late
February, and are presently
homeless - well almostl Our "M.P.
exhibit' is therefore on hold.
Several years ago we were
given a heritage beach sleeping
cottage - size 10' by 12'. It dates
from about 1923. Lacking a home
with display space, we decided to
use the building this summer so to
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004
35 keep a presence in the community.
We hope to mount small displays
there over the summer months,
changing them frequently. We feel
we must retain a presence in the
community while we wait for
Islands Trust and the Department
of Highways to grant us use of the
land we were given two summers
ago. We have been successful in
removing the land from the
Agricultural Reserve.
We were fortunate in having
the services of a student docent
during the summer of 2003, and
now have word we will be so
favoured again this summer.
Sadly I have to report the
death in early December of Edrie
Holloway. Some of you will
remember Edrie from your visit to
the outer islands for the BC
Historical Federation's A.G.M. in
1986. Edrie was the chief organizer
for that inter-island event and, we
think, a very good one. She died of
throat cancer after several years
of extremely poor health. Edrie was
a fighter, she was not one to give
up the fight!
Gray Creek Historical Society
report (Tom Lymbery, President)
We have completed a
successful year. Currently we have
59 members. A museum day at our
log community hall was more
successful than we expected. This
event is planned again, and will
feature the families, some of whose
members will travel from, for
instance, Victoria for this.
Our signage for the Gray
Creek tour are in place, and the
brochure is on sale. We find the bed
& breakfasts are pleased with this,
as it helps to retain customers.
One of our signs features
Henry Rose's cabin fireplace near
his 1894 mine. From Gray Creek he
moved to Pilot Bay where he ran a
floating red light business. After a
murder in Nakusp, he became, in
1902, the last man to be hanged at
the Nelson jail.
Gulf Islands Branch, British
Columbia Historical Federation
report (Andrew Loveridge,
The Gulf Islands Branch has
had a good year with many different
activities, The membership stands
at about 60 from Mayne, Galiano,
Pender and Saturna Islands. The
Officers are Andrew Loveridge,
President; Nina Thompson, Vice-
president; Elizabeth Campbell,
Acting Secretary; and Charles
Dodwell, Treasurer.
The Annual General Meeting
was held on Pender Island, and
featured a visit to the site of the
Grimmer homestead. The meeting
was held in the new Community
Hall, designed by Pender Islanders
and embellished by the work of
many artists.
Andrew Loveridge devoted
much of his energy to a project of
personal importance, arranging a
field trip by the Kuper Island
(Penelakut Band) School to visit
Galiano School, in order to promote
friendship between the two
communities and groups. He
presented a painting by the late
Gillian Allan to the visitors, who
themselves performed a drumming
session. This was a return visit for
one by Galiano to Kuper in 1995;
Galiano is scheduled to visit Kuper
on May 19.
Herbie Rochet gave a lecture
on the establishment and history of
the Hudson's Bay Company post at
Port Simpson, which preceded
Prince Rupert as the centre of the
North Coast. The post had to be
entirely self sufficient, with
blacksmiths and other trades, and
the employees had to go to
considerable trouble to keep the
furs from becoming infested during
their long stay in storage.
In March, Andrew Loveridge
described the life and adventures
of Captain Galiano, for the benefit
of new members not familiar with
this story. Andrew has made a
specialty of investigating the life
and times of this remarkable
Spaniard, who explored and
charted the Northwest Coast in
1792 and published a book about it
in 1803.
The Gulf Islands Branch has
endorsed the efforts by Galiano and
Pender Islands to start museums.
These are being undertaken by
separate societies on account of
the distance involved. Pender
already has space in a building at
the old Roesland Resort (which we
toured during our April meeting),
but it has to be fixed up before it
can be used. Galiano has received
a donation of a piece of land, but
it must be rezoned before it can
be built upon. Andrew Loveridge
also operates a museum of local art
as a private initiative.
The Gulf Island Branch has
been active for many years, and has
twice hosted the B.CH.F.
convention (1966 and 1985).
Lantzville Historical Society
The year 2003-4 has followed
a similar pattern to former years.
We have 9 meetings a year, usually
at Seaview School, on the last
Monday of the month. This year we
have had few speakers, but in May
2003, we had a most interesting
evening, with Ian MacAskie,
formerly of the Pacific Biological
Station. He showed us a video of a
cruise around Vancouver Island in
1989, with a team of scientists, to
observe sea mammals. And he
answered questions afterwards.
Reminiscences feature largely in our
meetings and cover a wide variety
of subjects. We usually have an
interesting collection of objects or
photos to identify at "Show and
Share", from 25<t sewing notions to
a Wrigley's Gum shingling hammer.
We have had some discussions about
the possibility of a museum in
Our two social events are
the Christmas lunch, held this year
at the Nanaimo Golf Club, and our
summer field trip. In July 2003, we
went to the CampbeU River
Museum, lunched well at Painters
Lodge and then visited the gardens
of the Roderick Haig Brown house.
Our president, Lynn Reeve,
has discovered some new
information about F.H. Lantz, the
coal mine owner after whom
LantzviUe is named. This will
eventuaUy be included in our
History of Lantzville.
Another project the society
has entered into this year arises
from the new status of Lantzville.
The community changed from an
Improvement District to a
municipality and is now the District
of Lantzville. To mark this historic
event, the Historical Society is
collecting photos of all the
Improvement District trustees from
November 1955 to June 2003.These
will be enlarged, framed and given
to the District of Lantzville to hang
in the District office.
We have few members in our
society, but one of them, Bennie
Negrin, believes he is the last
surviving miner from the small mine
on Harper Rd in Lantzville.
Little Prairie Heritage Museum
The artifacts and collections
reflect the local heritage of the
community (Chetwynd, BC) and
surrounding area, particularly in
regards to family life, farming,
railways, trapping, logging and
forestry. Much of the farm
machinery and other artifacts date
from the early 1900's.
The Museum includes several
buildings & displays. The main
building houses the family life
displays, general store and
schoolroom. Additional viewing
areas include the trappers cabin;
the BC Rail caboose; the machinery
sheds, and the china cabin.
The Main Building was built
in 1949 as a General Store and Post
Office. It was last used as a
restaurant until it was saved from
demolition by the Heritage Society
in 1982. The China Cabin originally
came from the Campbell ranch and
houses the majority of collections
of the 2500 piece Mary Trelenberg
Pitcher Collection. The balance of
the collection is in the general store.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 The Trapper's Cabin is home to
many artifacts that might be found
in a "trapper's cabin" such as
different types of animal traps etc.
The BC Rail Caboose was purchased
from the District of Chetwynd in
1994. It houses some railroad
artifacts and is of special interest
to children. The new Display
Building was built in 1997 by the
Northern Lights carpentry class.
There you will find Fernando's Rock
Collection, a 1950s living room,
antique typewriters and office
equipment and a watch repair set
from the 1940s. The Screened
Display Building contains: an
ironing mangle from a laundry, milk
separating machine, early washing
machines and dentistry equipment.
Of special interest among
the farm implements in the yard is
a threshing machine from the
Campbell ranch. A recent addition
is an antique fire truck formerly
used by the fire department at
Moberly Lake.
London Heritage Farm Society
The past year has been a
varied and interesting time at
London Heritage Farm. The
Heritage Hand Tool Museum was
revamped following filming of
'Stealing Christmas'. Donations of
artifacts to the house and hand tool
museum have been generous.
Our Annual Plant sale
featured apple trees grafted from
London Farm trees and the same
grafting session took cuttings from
London Farm's 1 00 year old pear
trees. The grafted pear trees will
be kept potted for another couple
of years and then planted on the
Farm to ensure a continuation of
these heritage fruit trees. Countless
hours are put in by the volunteers
to plant and maintain the Heritage
Gardens, which continue to draw
visitors to the site. School tours, Girl
Guides, seniors groups, Third Age
Learning at Kwantlen, Richmond
Museum, Rendezvous Canada,
Heritage Society Conference,
Tourism Vancouver, Media tour,
Tourism Richmond, and Steveston
Museum Tour have been among the
many groups to visit the Farm.
The Pond Restoration project
and the Outdoor Farm Machinery
Display are in the process of design
and working drawings. They will be
developed in partnership with the
City of Richmond. In January, the
City undertook a heritage refinishing
of the tea room and gift shop floors.
At the same time, the Society
designed and had a custom made
information centre and cash/display
cabinet with colors, wood and
finishes to match the existing 100
year old wainscoting and chair rail.
A $3000 grant from the Richmond
Foundation covered half the cost of
the project.
CBC filmed vignettes for their
"CBC Kids" TV series showcasing the
history of London Farm. The
Society's membership with Tourism
Richmond resulted in excellent
promotional advertising in over
150,000 pieces and London Heritage
Farm is now part of the Steveston
package from Gray Line Tours.
Nanaimo Historical Society
report (Pamela Mar, co-President)
June 2003 saw the 50th
anniversary of the Nanaimo Historical
Society, and we celebrated in fine
form with a visit to Merv Wilkinson's
Wildwood ecoforest which like the
Society is planned to grow on for
many years. In fact our membership
has remained fairly constant in the
mid-90s, with new members joining
after attending as guests. We have a
mix of Nanaimo-born members, long
timers, and Nanaimo newcomers.
Our monthly meetings are
well attended and always reported
on in the press. We have
entertained,, and been entertained
by, several authors, including
Margaret Cadwaladr, who wrote
Veronica's Garden, the story of
Milner Garden; Bill Proctor and
Yvonne Maximchuk, who read from
Full Moon, Flood Tide; as well as our
own Louise Wilson who read portions
of her Grandmother Eunice
Harrison's diary, recently published
as The Judge's Wife: Memoirs of a
British Columbia Pioneer.
Parker Williams was one of
those who started the 1940s
"Chocolate Bar War" in Ladysmith
protesting the increase in price from
5cents to 8cents. He provided
background commentary to the video
of the History Channel program about
it. Another of our members, Jim
Manley, discussed his researches into
the life of Melvin Swartout, a
Presbyterian missionary to the
Barclay Sound area from 1894-1904.
Helen Hunter described the
activities of her family in Nanaimo
during the time of the Bastion's
construction. It was a good tie in with
the 150th anniversary of the Bastion
in 2003, and the 150th anniversary
of the arrival of the Princess Royal
settlers this coming November. The
Society continues to organize and
host the annual Princess Royal Day,
and a series of articles on the families
who came in 1854 is being published
in the local papers. These are based
on the researches of Peggy Nicholls,
which we have published over a
number of years.
Our members' activities on our
behalf are recognized by the city, and
they can be found serving as directors
and volunteers for the Museum, the
Community Archives and other
community historical and heritage
organizations. We also have good ties
with Malaspina University College,
where the annual Ethel Barraclough
Scholarship was awarded to history
student Theresa Ratzlaff.
The Executive members for
the year 2003-2004 were President -
Shirley Bateman, Past President -
Terry Simpson, 1st Vice President -
Jim Pittendreigh, Treasurer - Barbara
Simpson, Secretary - Gordon Miller
and Members-at-Large - Judy
Burgess, Trudy Gilmour, Jan
Peterson, and Ray Peterson
Our Committees chairs were:
Program - Shirley Bateman,
Membership - Barbara Simpson,
Telephoning - Trudy Gilmour,
Publications - Helen Brown, Pamela
Mar, Daphne Paterson, Publicity -
Pamela Mar, Daphne Paterson,
Newsletter - Daphne Paterson,
Refreshment Coordinator - Trudy
Nelson & District Museum,
Archives, Art Gallery and
Historical Society report (Shawn
Lamb, Director, Nelson Museum)
In 2003 the Nelson Museum
had an "annus horribilis" out of
which some good things are
resulting. A devastating arson fire
of May 4, 2003 destroyed the M.V.
Amabilis II, the Forest Service Ship
which was under restoration, as
well as two smaller boats and other
artifacts and equipment and the
shed in which they were stored. We
came within 20 minutes of losing
the entire collection, as the fire
was in the roof when the fire
department arrived, and got it
under control.
Fortunately the building and
contents were covered by insurance
because smoke and some water had
poured into the museum and
damaged the walls and the roof,
electrical and ventilation systems,
and contaminated all the artifacts.
This resulted in the removal of most
of the artifacts and furniture, and
transport of them to another location
where they were professionally
cleaned and decontaminated by
Cromwell Restorations. The building
was then repaired, cleaned, sealed,
and repainted and the artifacts and
furnishings moved back into the
We had three student
employees in the summer of 2003;
all the students were terrific. With
their help, on August 17th we
opened a new exhibition on the
history of the museum in 1/3 of the
main floor W.A. Fetterley
exhibition room, as well as the
Mildred Erb Gallery, the Ladybird
Room, and most of the archives. In
addition we launched a prototype
for a new initiative, the Virtual
Museum of the Kootenays, planned
to be the joint effort of a number
of institutions in the Kootenay-
Columbia region. The remainder of
our artifacts remain in storage in
the remaining 2/3 ofthe main floor
gallery, and in the storage room,
cleaned and boxed, while we wait
for our upcoming move in 2005-
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004        37 2006 to the City Hall building at the
corner ofVernon and Ward Streets.
In April 2004, we were
notified that we would be receiving
$425,000 from the Western
Diversification Fund, a $100,000
grant from the BC Gaming
Commission and $40,000 from the
federal Museums Assistance
Program to assist in the relocation
of the museum, archives and
gallery to the old City Hall site.
In July, two advisors from the
Department of Canadian Heritage
were contracted by the board to
come and spend two very fruitful
days with us studying the City Hall
building and the programming which
could happen in it. We also
contracted with a local architect to
make conceptual drawings of the
building as a museum/gallery/
archives. In addition we conducted
two surveys in preparation for
operating the new facility. This year
we are continuing planning and
fund-raising and starting in May we
will go through our entire artifact
collection to test it against our
Collections Policy, update the
artifact documentation and storage
containers, and photograph and
evaluate each artifact for insurance
To give us much needed
space, in late 2001 we acquired a
used 400sq.ft. portable building and
have set it up on the museum
grounds. Lots of volunteer and
donated labour have gone into
refurbishing it, while the city
upgraded the electrical and heating
for the building. It is being used as a
workspace for the collections
documentation and storage upgrade.
With very little income
coming in while we were closed ,
we have been very fortunate that
a former Nelson resident, Dr.
Kenneth Morrow of Bellingham,
Washington, has written a memoir
'Boyhood in Nelson: Growing up
During the Depression" from which
he has donated the proceeds to the
Nelson Museum. As we are still
waiting for the insurance claim to
be settled, the money from the
book has been most gratefully
received and used.
At the end of 2002, we
invested $1,000 (a donation) in an
endowment fund with the local
Osprey Community Foundation.
Other donations have raised the
fund to $11,000. The annual interest
will be seed money for special
projects of the museum. This year
we have also received a bequest
from Kootenay historian E.L.
Affleck's estate consisting of his
papers, and $2000 to organize them.
We appreciate the work of
the BC Historical Federation in
bringing historical concerns before
the government and the citizens of
British Columbia, and are proud to
be members.
North Shore Historical Society
report (Roy J V Pallant, President)
We had 10 well-attended
monthly regular meetings and the
Annual General Meeting. Our
meetings are held at the North
Vancouver Museum & Archives,
North Vancouver on the second
Wednesday of the month, everyone
is welcome. No general meetings
are held during July and August.
We have continued to be
corporate members of the Friends
of the Museum and pay an annual
fee of $100 in support of Museum
requirements. A donation was given
to the North Vancouver Museum and
Archives, to go towards making
prints and slides from 150 negatives
that have been previously donated
to the archives.
We participated in the Sea to
Sky Heritage Fair to school students
held at the Museum in May, and
provided a book written by Doreen
Armitage as a prize for one of the
winning students. Doreen Armitage
was one of the volunteers at the fair.
Irene Alexander and John Stuart
prepared an excellent display table
for the Society, and Roy Pallant
attended the table on the day, and
answered the questions on local
We publish 10 monthly
Newsletters and have been most
fortunate this year to receive
donations from the membership to
help cover the costs of the
Newsletter and postage, allowing
us to keep membership fees at a
reasonable level. In the past year
we have undertaken several
community heritage walks, and
given many slide/talk presentations
to community groups.
Our total membership is 66
voting members, and two honorary,
and I corporate. The average
attendance for the ten meetings
was 35 with the highest attendance
of 45 members.
Speakers for the General
Meetings. January to December 2003
January (Roy J V Pallant),
Show & TeU - February (John
Stuart), Trophies in the collection
of the North Vancouver Museum &
Archives - March (Roy J V Pallant),
Annual General Meeting, Heritage
surrounds Mollie Nye House - April
(Dr. Francis Mansbridge). Launching
History/ The Saga of Burrard Dry
Dock - May (Barbara Bate), A Visual
History of Mollie Nye House and
Family - June (Murray Dykeman),
Some Bitter Pills from our Past,
Reminiscing from the Past Practices
of North Shore Pharmacists -
September (John Stuart), Reading
the Artifacts - October (Dr. Francis
Mansbridge). Presentation House,
100 Years of North Shore History -
November (Doreen Armitage), From
the Wheelhouse: Tugboaters Tell
Their own Stories - December (Terry
Tobin), An Evening of Show & Tell,
The Firth River - Serengeti of the
North, an illustrated presentation
North Shuswap Historical Society
report (Loretta Greenough)
In July we had a tea for the
opening of a new private museum
in Scotch Creek - "T & L Reflections
- A Little Museum". We have been
busy collecting new photographs,
approximately 800 this year. We are
also working on organizing the
present archives. The proudest
moment was the publication of
Shuswap Chronicles # 7. We are now
diligently working on Chronicle #
8. The North Shuswap Historical
Society is a small group who enjoy
reminiscing together and look
forward to the next year.
Old Cemeteries Society of
Meetings and Events:
Members' meetings with talks on
veterans' gravesites and the
production of the Knowledge
Network's "BC Moments" were held
in November and March and
attended by about 60 members. Bus
excursions for members took place
in May to Cougar Annie's Garden at
Boat Basin and in June to the
Cowichan Valley and Ladysmith.
The annual Volunteer Appreciation
Dinner to honour active volunteers
was held in November. The Annual
General Meeting was held on June
4, 2003. The Old Cemeteries
Society became a member of the
BCHF in July 2003.
Projects and activities: The
society's tour program included
Sunday afternoon tours at Ross Bay
Cemetery as well as other Greater
Victoria historic cemeteries; tours
for Women's History Month in
October; the Annual Halloween
Ghost Walk at Ross Bay Cemetery;
and 10 Ghost Bus-tours at the end
of October attended by about 500
people. Society tour guides also
delivered 105 tours to 3000 persons,
mainly school groups. These tours
were on various themes, such as
Ghost Walks, Remembrance Day,
and BC history. Evening Lantern
Tours were given nightly during July
and August at the Old Quadra Street
Burying Ground.
The bimonthly newsletter
"Stone Cuttings" is now sent out
electronically to members with
Internet access and is posted on the
society's website. Winter 2003 and
Spring 2004 issues of the journal
"Stories in Stone" featured
veterans' memorials and included
articles about Calgary cemeteries
and churches in Windermere and
the Cowichan Valley.
The Research Committee
continued its work on the Ross Bay
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004 Cemetery burial database and
gathered material used for the
Sunday tour program. Researchers
attended a number of family
history fairs and responded to many
requests from descendants for
information on gravesites and
family history.
Volunteer recorders
inventoried and photographed over
100 Ross Bay Cemetery monuments
while 75 monuments received
cleaning during the year. The
society assisted the City of Victoria
in identifying over 100 empty plots
in Ross Bay Cemetery which over
the next few years will be made
available for purchase through a
number of draws. The funds raised
will go into a long-term program for
enhancing the security of the
cemetery in combination with the
installation of columbaria of
innovative design. Office
volunteers organized the
photograph collection, biography
files and obituaries.
Membership continues to
grow and is now at 370.
Parksville and District
Historical Society report
(Marilyn Dingsdale, President)
We have had a major
upheaval this year. Starting in early
January the Englishman River
Building was made ready for
renovations. A new reception area
has been created with a window to
the grounds. An archive room was
created largely out of the shop with
two windows looking into the
grounds. The shop has been
downsized. We started putting
things back in April.
We have a co-operative and
helping membership which I am
very grateful for, as we are mostly
a volunteer effort. We have hired
a museum manager and hopefully
we will have him until October.
I invite you all to come visit
us at Craig Heritage Park, next to
the tourist bureau in Parksville.
Turn off the free way at 46.
Salt Spring Island Historical
Society (R. McWhirter, President)
The Historical Society has 79
active members this year. We meet
monthly at Central Hall on Salt
Spring Island. This year the
executive developed three focus
areas for the Society. We:
- identified heritage buildings
on Salt Spring Island and are placing
plaques on them to briefly outline
important facts about these sites.
We also are exploring with the
Islands Trust the establishment of a
preservation policy for historical
sites and buildings.
- developed regular programs
using themes around our pioneer
families and our ethnic diversity.
Programs were presented by family
members and were followed by a
question and answer period. We also
audio and videotaped the programs
for our archives. The local cable
vision company replays these tapes
on special weekend programs,
- created a web site for our
archives [].
We were able to digitize our picture
collections and audio programs. We
were fortunate to receive a grant
from the British Columbia Museums
Association to assist in this program.
Our picture collections give us a
pictorial history of Pioneer Days on
Salt Spring Island. We also help out
with the Bittancourt Museum.
The many volunteers of the
Society run all of these programs
and without their efforts our
programs would not exist.
A special highlight program
this year was a presentation by Bob
Harwood, who lives near Camborne
in Cornwall, England and is a
member of the H.M.S. Ganges
Association. His talk was on HMS
Ganges and her historical
significance to Salt Spring Island.
Our Annual General Meeting
will be held on May 12, 2004 and
our new Executive will plan our
program for 2004-05.
Silvery Slocan Historical Society
(Webb Cummings, President)
2003   was   a   year   of
development of the Museum
without any major projects. Bill
Hughes continued the "Lancet"
project. Work on history and
funding. The interpretation signs
were received. The ownership of the
Valley of the Ghosts web site was
transferred to Dave Good, who
developed it in the first place.
An application for funding for
digitizing the photograph collection
was made to BC Museums Association
and Arts Council of BC. The project
started in September and 2500
images have now been digitized. We
were able to hire Megan Von Krogh
as summer attendant for 12 weeks,
for earlier opening. The Info Centre
in the museum was an added
attraction. 1325 admissions were
recorded and with some volunteer
help - the museum was open seven
days a week in July and August. We
lost a knowledgeable, hard working
director with the passing of Bill
Hughes, who worked on accessioning
and the "Lancet" project.
Plans were made for more
shelving in the Archive Room, and a
ramp at the doorway to the
washroom-annex area. Nelson
hosted the gathering of West
Kootenay Historical Societies at
Kokanee Park in September.
Insurance coverage has been
renewed on liability and museum
display and furnishing. Artifacts are
not insured - except the Winchester
rifle. The Village covers the building,
and has applied to have it considered
as a National Heritage Site.
Two watercolour paintings of
New Denver in 1998 were donated by
Mr. & Mrs. Dahlie (a former teacher
in the early 1950's) of Calgary. They
will be special exhibits at the open
house to be held June 1st.
Surrey Historical Society
Our membership is growing
slowly. In such a large city with so
many new residents, advertising
helps. We put notices about our
meetings in three local newspapers
and distribute brochures where we
can. During the past year we have
had some interesting speakers at
our meetings talking about Surrey's
railways, heritage gardening, and
preserving family records.
We lost two of our long time
members recently. Millie Plecas and
Frank McKinnon were staunch
supporters of our society and we
miss them.
All copies of Surrey Story and
of Rivers Roads and Railways have
sold, and there are less than 50
copies of Looking Back at Surrey in
our inventory. We are considering
publishing a new book or reprinting
one of the others.
On May 1, we invited the
Friends of Surrey Museum and
Archives Society and Surrey's
Heritage Advisory Commission to a
meeting at the Stewart Heritage
Farm Site. In June we have planned
a bus tour of some of the heritage
sites in North Surrey.
A groundbreaking ceremony
for Surrey's new Learning and
Discovery Centre will take place in
June. It will be located on #10
Highway and 176 A Street and will
include a new Museum building, the
1912 Municipal Hall renovated to
become the Archives building, and
an addition to the Cloverdale
Genealogy Library on the same site.
November 2005 is the expected
opening date.
Vancouver Historical Society
report (Paul Flucke, President)
The 2003-2004 year has been
a good one for the Vancouver
Historical Society with regard both to
ongoing programs and new initiatives
undertaken during the year.
Our core activity continues
to be the Public Lecture Series held
every 4th Thursday evening,
September through November and
January through May at the
Vancouver Museum. This year's
programs have drawn appreciative
crowds averaging about sixty VHS
members and visitors. Our February
program, featuring John Atkin on
the history of Kitsilano, drew a
record-breaking 130!
On April 4 we held our
traditional celebration of
Vancouver's Incorporation Day. Our
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004
39 Miscellany
speaker and recipient of the VHS
2004 Award of Historical Merit was
Dr. WaUace B. Chung. He is a
Vancouver native of Chinese
parentage, whose lifelong passion
has been 'collecting history" in the
form of texts, documents and
artifacts relating to early
explorations of Pacific Canada, the
Canadian Pacific Railway, and the
contribution of the Chinese to the
building of the province and city.
He has now given his 25,000-item
collection to UBC.
Last summer we sponsored
guided field trips for VHS members
and friends to Fraser River Park in
Vancouver and Clayburn Village and
Brickworks near Abbotsford. Three
tours are currently being planned
for the coming summer.
A major initiative this year
has been the establishment of the
VHS Research and Publication Fund,
which has begun making strategic
grants to individuals and groups for
the writing and publication of new
works of local history. The Fund's
income (about $4,000 per year)
comes from a Vancouver
Foundation endowment which
previously supported work on the
now completed Vancouver
Centennial Bibliography.
A new priority this year has
been to encourage and support
Vancouver school pupils and their
teachers in exploring local history.
This has lead us to partner with the
Vancouver Museum in sponsoring
the Museum's 'Historica Fair,'
scheduled for May 7-8, at which
some 80 students will present
projects they have been working on
for many weeks.
VHS membership has
remained stable this year with
about 160 individual and family
memberships plus 20 institutions.
All paid memberships include a
subscription to the BC Historical
News. A 'gift membership'
promotion in December produced
several new members. Also, as a
goodwill gesture we have begun
sending complimentary copies of
our monthly newsletter to 17 other
Lower Mainland historical societies.
Our Annual General Meeting
is scheduled for May 27. We will
elect two new Executive members.
AU other officers, Executive
members, and key volunteers have
agreed to continue in their
positions for another year.
Victoria Historical Society report
(Arnold Ranneris, President)
We continue to be an active
association with membership in the
115-120 range. We are one of
several organizations in the Capital
Region with an interest and concern
for the history and heritage of
Greater Victoria. We meet once a
month September - May for regular
public meetings with 50-60 in
attendance, often including
visitors. Part of our enrichment
comes from association with the BC
Historical Federation, including
subscriptions (part of our
membership dues) to the British
Columbia Historical News.
A dedicated executive
(council) has ably attended to the
many details of operation of the
Society, sharing the tasks and fun
of doing these, enabling the
president to enjoy just being a
member. We cherish our members
and attempt to show friendship and
interest in one another; records of
membership have been ably
maintained by Joyce Mackie. Our
newsletter editor Philip Judd has
produced interesting quarterly
newsletters with many personally
researched articles of interest. We
continue to provide a $500
scholarship to a University of
Victoria student annuaUy.
Interesting speakers at our monthly
meetings, arranged for by
Programme Chair Pam Odgers have
included: Dr. Patricia Roy, on
Canadians of Chinese descent in
"Unwanted Soldiers" - Terry
Hunter, Genealogist, on the
brideship "Tynemouth" - Peter
Grant, author of book Wish You
Were Here (postcards ofVancouver
Island) - Bill Gallaher, author and
folksinger, on his book The Journey
■ Sister Margaret Cantwell, of
Sisters of St. Ann, on their history
in BC Interior - Mark Zuhelke- author
of Scoundrels Dreamers Et Second
Sons (remittancemen) - Katherine
Gordon, author of The Curious World
of Peggy Abhazi - Gary Mitchell,
Provincial Archivist, on the Role of
Archives in the 21st Century - Michael
Layland, VHS vice-president, on an
early map of Victoria
We rejoice in several
personal and institutional
achievements & anniversaries
including the 100th birthday of
Gerry Andrews, (a past honorary
president of the BCHF); 100 years
of higher education at the now-
named University of Victoria; and
the restoration of the Pemberton
Chapel at the Royal Jubilee Hospital
by the Alumnae of RJH School of
Nursing. We had speakers on the
latter two at our monthly meetings.
We have felt led to support
two operations threatened by
Government cutbacks, directly or
indirectly, including the Land Titles
Office in Victoria (which contains
historic land records for all of
Vancouver Island), and the BC
Maritime Museum located in
Bastion Square. We are pleased
that as a result of community
pressure these closures did not
proceed. We are making a start at
organizing our own archival
records; Victoria was one of the
founding groups of the British
Columbia Historical Society in 1922.
Marpole Memories
The Marpole Historical
Society in Vancouver is hoping
to produce a small book caleed
Marpole Memories telling both
the history of the community
and the stories of seniors who
remember its early days.
Volunteers are seeking to
connect with individuals who
have memories or early photos.
Stories will be told in the first
person, interspersed with
factual historical notes and
photos. Contact either Sandy
McCormick on 604.733.0615 or or
Karen Ramstedt on 604.322.5521
or •
2005 Calendar Launched
The Gulf of Georgia
Cannery and artist Jo Scott B
have teamed up to produce the
Historic Steveston Calendar
2005 featuring watercolour
paintings of the heritage of
historic Steveston. To order a
copy contact the Gulf and
Georgia Cannery or the artist at
Conference Announced
The Alliance of British
Columbia National Historic
Sites of Canada are holding their
annual conference in Nanaimo
Wednesday October 13, 2004 at
the Coast Bastion Inn.
For more information
contact either Dale Mumford at
250.478.6481, or Gerry Borden at
604.513.4783. •
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 3 | SUMMER 2004


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