British Columbia History

British Columbia History 2005

Item Metadata


JSON: bch-1.0190654.json
JSON-LD: bch-1.0190654-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bch-1.0190654-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bch-1.0190654-rdf.json
Turtle: bch-1.0190654-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bch-1.0190654-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bch-1.0190654-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Journal ofthe British Columbia Historical Federation | Vol.38 No.3 2005 | $5.00
This Issue: Chinatown Hero | Art Gallery Pioneer | Up the Coast Again | Books | Tokens | And more... British Columbia History
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation
Published four times a year.
ISSN: print 1710-7881 online 1710-792X
British Columbia History welcomes stories, studies,
and news items dealing with any aspect of the
history of British Columbia, and British Columbians.
Please submit manuscripts for publication to the Editor,
British Columbia History,
John Atkin,
921 Princess Avenue,
Vancouver BC V6A 3E8
Book reviews for British Columbia History,,
3450 West 20th Avenue,
Vancouver BCV6S1E4,
Subscription & subscription information:
Alice Marwood
#311 -45520 Knight Road
ChiUiwack, B. C.   V2R 3Z2
phone 604-824-1570
Subscriptions: $18.00 per year
For addresses outside Canada add $10.00
Single copies of recent issues are for sale at:
- Arrow Lakes Historical Society, Nakusp BC
- Book Warehouse, Granville St.  Vancouver BC
- Books and Company, Prince George BC
- Gibson Coast Books, Gibsons BC
- Galiano Museum
- Gray Creek Store, Gray Creek BC
- Royal Museum Shop, Victoria BC
This publication is indexed in the Canadian
Magazine Index, published by Micromedia.
ISSN: 1710-7881
Production Mail Registration Number 1245716
Publications Mail Registration No. 09835
Member of the British Columbia Association of
Magazine Publishers
While copyright in the journal as a whole is
vested in the British Columbia Historical
Federation, copyright in the individual articles
belongs to their respective authors, and
articles may be reproduced for personal use
only. For reproduction for other purposes
permission in writing of both author and
publisher is required.
British Columbia Historical Federation
A charitable society under the Income Tax Act Organized 31 October 1922
PO Box 5254, Station B., Victoria BC V8R 6N4
Under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Honour
The Honourable lona Campagnolo. PC, CM, OBC
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia
Honourary President
Melva Dwyer
Jacqueline Gresko
5931 Sandpiper Court, Richmond, BC, V7E 3P8
Phone 604.274.4383
First Vice President
Patricia Roy
602-139 Clarence St., Victoria, B.C., V8V2J1
Second Vice President
Bob Mukai
4100 Lancelot Dr., Richmond, BC   V7C 4S3
Phone 604-274-6449
Ron Hyde
#20 12880 Railway Ave., Richmond, BC, V7E6G2
Phone: 604.277.2627 Fax 604.277.2657
Recording Secretary
Gordon Miller
1126 Morrell Circle, Nanaimo, BC, V9R 6K6
Ron Greene
POBox 1351, Victoria, BC, V8W2W7
Phone 250. 598.1835 Fax 250.598.5539
Past President
Wayne Desrochers
13346 57th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V3X 2W8
Phone 604. 599.4206 Fax. 604.507.4202
Members at Large
Alice Marwood
#311 45520 Knight Road, Chilliwack, BC, V2R3Z2
Tony Cox
Box 571, Lions Bay BC   VON 2E0
Phone 604-921-9496
Historical Trails and Markers
John Spittle
1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, BC, V7R 1R9
Phone 604.988.4565
W. Kaye Lamb Essay Scholarships Committee
Robert Griffin
107 Regina Avenue, Victoria, BC, V8Z 1J4
Phone 250.475.0418
Writing Competition - Lieutenant-Governor's Award
Bob Mukai
4100 Lancelot Dr., Richmond, BC   V7C 4S3
Phone 604-274-6449 the Federation's web site is hosted by Selkirk College in Castlegar, BC British Columbia Historical Federation Members
Abbotsford Genealogical Society
PO Box 672, Abbotsford, BC V2S 6R7
Alberni District Historical Society
PO Box 284, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 7M7
Anderson Lake Historical Society
PO Box 40, D'Arcy, BC VON 1L0
Arrow Lakes Historical Society
PO Box 819, Nakusp, BC VOG 1R0
Atlin Historical Society
PO Box 111, Atlin, BC VOWIAO
Barriere a District Heritage Society
Box 228, Barriere, BC VOE 1E0
Bella Coola Valley Museum Society
Box 726, Bella Coola, BC VOT 1C0
Boundary Historical Society
PO Box 1687, Grand Forks, BC VOH 1H0
Bowen Island Historians
PO Box 97. Bowen Island, BC VON 1G0
Bulkley Valley Historical 6 Museum Society
Box 2615, Smithers, BC VOJ 2N0
Burnaby Historical Society
6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, BC V5G 3T6
B.C. History of Nursing Group
c/o Beth Fitzpatrick Box 444 Brackendaie BC VON 1 HO
Chemainus Valley Historical Society
PO Box 172, Chemainus, BC VOR 1 KO
Chinese Canadian Historical Society of B.C.
c/o David Lam Centre - SFU Harboour Centre Room
2600, 515 W. Hastings St, Vancouver BC V6B 5K3
Cherryville and Area Historical Society
22 Dunlevy Road, Cherryville, BC VOE 2G3
Coquitlam Heritage Society
1116 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam, BC V3K 1G3
Cowichan Historical Society
PO Box 1014, Duncan, BC V9L 3Y2
Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum
Society 1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria, BC V8S 3L5
Dixon Entrance Maritime Museum Society
PO Box 183, Masset, BC VOT 1M0
East Kootenay Historical Association
PO Box 74, Cranbrook, BC V1C 4H6
Finn Slough Heritage a Wetland Society
9480 Dyke Road, Richmond BC V7A 2L5
Forest History Assn. of BC
c/o 5686 Keith Rd West Vancouver, BC V7W 2N5
Fort Nelson Historical Society
Box 716, Fort Nelson, BC VOC 1R0
Fraser-Fort George Museum Society
PO Box 1779 Pr. George BC V2L 4V7
Gabriola Historical a Museum Society
Box 213, Gabriola, BC, VOR 1X0
Galiano Museum Society
S13 - C19 - RR1, Galiano Island, B C VON 1P0
Gray Creek Historical Society
Box 4, Gray Creek, B.C. VOB 150
Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society
12138 Fourth Avenue Richmond, B.C. V7E 3J1
Gulf Islands Branch BCHF
c/o S-22, C-11, RR U 1, Galiano Island, BC VON 1P0
Hallmark Society
c/o 810 Linden Ave, Victoria, BC V8V4G9
Hedley Heritage Society
PO Box 218, Hedley, BC VOX 1K0
Horsefly Historical Society
Box 11, Horsefly, BC V0L1L0
Hudson's Hope Historical Society
Box 98, Hudson's Hope, BC VOC 1C0
Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia
206-950 West 41st Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2N7
Kamloops Heritage Railway Society
6-510 Lome St, Kamloops, BC V2C 1W3
Kamloops Museum Association
207 Seymour Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 2E7
Kimberley District Heritage Society
Box 144 Kimberley BC V1A 2Y5
Kitimat Centennial Museum Association
293 City Centre, Kitimat BC   V8C 1T6
Koksilah School Historical Society
5213 Trans Canada Highway, Koksilah, BC VOR 2C0
Kootenay Doukhobor Historical Society
112 Heritage Way, Castlegar, BC V1N 4M5
Kootenay Lake Historical Society
PO Box 537, Kaslo, BC VOG 1M0
Ladysmith a District Historical Society
c/o 781 Colonia Drive Ladysmith, BC V9G 1N2
Langley Heritage Society
Box 982, Fort Langley, BC V1W 2S3
Lantzville Historical Society
c/o PO Box 274, Lantzville, BC VOR 2H0
Lions Bay Historical Society
Bopx 571 Lions Bay, BC   VON 2E0
Little Prairie Heritage Society
Box 1777, Chetwynd BC   VOC 1J0
London Heritage Farm Society
6511 Dyke Road, Richmond, BC V7E 3R3
Maple Ridge Historical Society
22520 116th Avenue, Maple Ridge, BC V2X 0S4
Marpole Museum a Historical Society
8743 SW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6P 6A5
Metchosin School Museum Society
4475 Happy Valley Road Victoria, BC V9C 3Z3
Michel-Natal-Sparwood Heritage Society
PO Box 1675, Sparwood BC VOB 2G0
Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society
PBC Box 611 Kelowna BC    V1Y 7P2
Nakusp 6 District Museum Society
PO Box 584, Nakusp, BC VOG 1R0
Nanaimo a District Museum Society
100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, BC V9R 2X1
Nanaimo Historical Society
PO Box 933, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5N2
Nelson Museum a Historical Society
402 Anderson Street, Nelson, BC V1L 3Y3
Nicola Valley Museum Archives Association
PO Box 1262, Merritt BC  V1K 1B8
North Shore Historical Society
c/o 1541 Mertynn Cres., North Vancouver, BC V7J 2X9
North Shuswap Historical Society
PO Box 57, Celista, BC VOE 1L0
North Vancouver Museum and Archives
209 West 4th St North Vancouver BC V7M 1H8
Okanagan Historical Society
PO Box 313, Vernon, BC V1T 6M3
Old Cemeteries Society ofVictoria
Box 5004, #15-1594 Fairfield Rd, Victoria BC V8S 5L8
Parksville a District Historical Society
PO Box 1452, Parksville, BC   V9P 2H4
Pemberton Museum a Archives
PO Box 267, Pemberton, BC, VON 2L0
Powell River Historical Museum a Archives Assn.
PO Box 42, Powell River   BC   V8A 4Z5
Prince Rupert City a Regional Archives
PO Box 1093, Prince Rupert BC V8J 4H6
Princeton a District Museum a Archives
Box 281, Princeton, BC VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical Society
587 Beach Road, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 1K7
Revelstoke a District Historical Association
Box 1908, Revelstoke BC VOE 2S0
Revelstoke Heritage Railway Society
PO Box 3018, Revelstoke, BC   VOE 2S0
Richmond Heritage Railroad Society
c/o Suite 200, 8211 Ackroyd Rd., Richmond, BC V6X 3K8
Richmond Museum Society
#180 - 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond, BC V6Y 1R8
103 member societies representing 10,113 members throughout British Columbia.
Welcome new membersi
The Riondel a Area Historical Society
Box 201, Riondel, BC VOB 2B0
Roedde House Preservation Society
1415 Barclay St, Vancouver BC V6G 1J6
Royal Agricultural a Industrial Society of BC
(Samson V Maritime Museum) PO Box 42516 -
#105 - 1005 Columbia St New Westminster
BC   V3M6H5
Saanich Historical Artifacts Society
7321 Lochside Dr., Saanichton, BC   V8M 1W4
Salt Spring Island Historical Society
129 McPhillips Ave, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2T6
Sandon Historical Society
Box 52, New Denver, BC VOG 1S0
Sea Island Heritage Society
4191 Ferguson Road, Richmond, BC V7B 1P3
Sicamous District Museum a Historical Society
Box 944, Sicamous, BC VOE 2V0
Silvery Slocan Historical Society
Box 301, New Denver, BC VOG 1S0
South Peace Historical Society
c/o 900 Alaska Avenue, Dawson Creek, BC V1G 4T6
Steveston Historical Society
3811 Moncton St., Richmond, BC V7E 3A0
Sullivan Mine a Railway Historical Society
PO Box 94, Kimberley BC   V1A2Y5
Surrey Historical Society
Box 34003, 17790 #10 Highway, Surrey, BC V3S 8C4
Terrace Regional Historical Society
PO Box 246, Terrace, BC V8G 4A6
Trail Historical Society
PO Box 405, Trail, BC V1R4L7
Union Bay Historical Society
Box 448, Union Bay, BC VOR 3B0
Vancouver Historical Society
PO Box 3071, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society
PO Box 43035, Victoria North, Victoria, BC V8X 3G2
White Rock Museum a Archives Society
14970 Marine Drive, White Rock, BC V4B 1C4
http: / /whiterock. museum, be. ca
Whistler Museum and Archives Society
Box 1122, 4329 Main Street, Whistler, BC   VON 1B0
Williams Lake Museum and Historical
113 - 4th Ave North, Williams Lake, BC V2G 2C8
Yale a District historical Society
Box 74, Yale, BC VOK 2S0
Yellowhead Museum
Box 1778, RR# 1, Clearwater, BC VOE 1N0
Affiliated Groups
Archives Association of British Columbia
PO Box 78530 University PO, Vancouver BC V6T
Hope Museum
PO Box 26, Hope BC   VOX 1L0
Kelowna Museum Association
470 Queensway Avenue, Kelowna, B. C. V1Y 6S7
Langley Centennial Museum
PO Box 800, Fort Langley BC   V1M 2S2
Northern BC Archives - UNBC
3333 University Way, Prince George BC   V2N 4Z9
North Pacific Historic Fishing Villiage
PO Box 1109, Port Edward BC   VOV 1G0
North Vancouver Museum and Archives
209 - West 4th Street North Vancouver BC
Quesnel a District Museum and Archives
410 KinchantSt Quesnel BC V2J 7J5
Women's History Network of BC
402 - 9603 Manchester Dr., Burnaby BC   V3N 4Y7
The Electrical Heritage Society of B.C.
6522 Wellington PL  West Vancouver V7W 2J1
Gallatley Nut Farm Society
Suite 702 - 22 - 2475 Dobbin Rd
Westbank BC V4T 2E9
Historical Map Society of BC
4450 Portland St   Burnaby BC V5J 2N7
Pitt Meadows Heritage a Museum Society
12294 Harris Rd, Pitt Meadows BC V3Y 2E9
Royal Engineers Living History Society
c/o1225 Purmal Ave, Quesnel  BC V2J 4T4
Saanich Pioneer Society
7910 East Saanich Rd, Saanichton BC   V8M 1T4
The British Columbia Historical
Federation is an umbrella
organization embracing regional
entitled to become Member Societies
of the BC Historical Federation. All
members of these local historical
societies shall by that very fact be
members of the Federation.
AFFIUATED GROUPS are organizations
with specialized interests or objects
of a historical nature.
MEMBERSHIP FEES for both classes of
membership are one dollar per
member of a Member Society or
Affiliated Group with a minimum
membership fee of $25 and a
maximum of $75.
Question regarding membership
should be sent to:
Ron Hyde, Secretary
#20 12880 Railway Ave.,
Richmond BC V7E 6G2
Phone 604.277.2627 Fax
604.277.2657  BCHF Prizes | Awards | Scholarships
"Any country worthy of a future should
be interested in its past"
W. Kaye Lamb, 1937
W. KAYE LAMB Essay Scholarships
Deadline 15 May 2006
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 2006 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 must be made to the British
Columbia Historical Federation, Web
Site Prize Committee, prior to 31
December 2005. 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:
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.
The Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation | Volume 38 Number 3  2005
Vancouver's Pioneer Art Gallery & Early Art Associations
Frances Welwood 2
The Life and Times of Foon Sien
Larry Wong 6
Up Coast Adventures Continue
Tom Fox 9
Gray Creek Hall
Tom Lymbery 13
Lost Nanaimo—taking back our past
Jean Barman 16
The Sullivan Diamond Drill of Coal Creek
Dirk Septer 23
Chala-oo-chick Revisited
Kent Sedgwick 26
Token History:
Ronald Greene  27
The Moti Prize
Local History Writng Competion for Elementary Students 29
Book Reviews 30
Archives and Archivists 38
Miscellany 40
From the Editor
In this issue we've got a great collection of articles for
you. It's always a challenge (albeit a delightful one) sitting down
with the next issue and having a lot of blank pages in front of you,
but in the end it all comes together because of the fascinating
material submitted by our authors.
Speaking of authors, I need help on two articles that I
inherited when I took on the editor's job. One is a nice piece
about the Vancouver Poetry Society, unfortunately my version is
missing the author's name, references and images. If the author
could contact me I'd appreciate it. My second one is a piece on
the 1907 Vancouver Chinatown Riot. All I have discovered in the
files for this are extensive footnotes - but no article. Again, I'd
love to hear from the author.
You might have noticed that the back page is
getting crowded with all of the BCHF member societies
(due in part to Ron Hyde's hard work) well before the
type gets any smaller it's been decided to change how
we list our members. Starting with issue 39.1 we'll be
publishing an annual Members Directory which will
feature full contact information, web addresses and
a 25 word description of each society's activities.
Details should be arriving now from the Membership
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 Vancouver's Pioneer Art Gallery ft Early Art Associations
Frances Welwood
Frances Welwood
previously wrote
about the town of
Canford in issue 37.2
Vancouver's first art
gallery, the Pioneer Art
Gallery 522 Cordova
c. 1889. For a brief time
Hardiman's brother-in-law
George Hallam added a
musical component to the
shop's wide appeal.
Courtesy Barbara Hardiman
Pope, Lansley BC
April 1882, Theophilus Richard and Mary
Theresa (nee Hallam) Hardiman left the
busy Bournemouth Hampshire
neighbourhood of Holdenhurst for
Winnipeg, Canada. Thirty year old Theophilus was
of a literary and artistic inclination and not given to
taking over his father Richard's long-established
coach-building business. Surely Canada's Gateway
City offered business and personal opportunities not
available in Bournemouth but within the next few
years, the younger Hardimans must have deeply
regretted their decision to emigrate. Two Hardiman
children and the coach-building Hardiman
grandfather, who had followed the family to Canada,
succumbed to Red River fever
(typhoid). Another little boy, born in
Winnipeg lived two months. In
addition, TRH set up his business just
as the economic boom that Winnipeg
enjoyed had collapsed. Winnipeg was
crowded, cold and did not meet
Hardiman's standards of civility. As
an 'artist', stationer and bookseller, he
was marginally successful. It was time
to move. The next move, however,
was more rewarding. The family grew
and Hardiman established a
successful art gallery, played a major
role in Vancouver's cultural life, and
then, following the mood of the times
and his entrepreneurial instincts,
edited a mining magazine.
In May 1887, the family (Maude
8, Percy 4, and Mabel "Queenie" 7
months and parents) boarded the
Canadian Pacific Railway to Port Moody, BC,
detraining less than two weeks prior to the arrival of
the first trans-continental train in Vancouver.
Vancouver was a city of less than 8,000 and there is
no record of how the family fared that first year. In
April 1889, an infant son (the ninth child born to Mary
Theresa) had lived only one week. However, the birth
of Lionel Theodore (the last Hardiman child) in 1891
signaled a measure of prosperity and optimism for
the family. They posed in an idyllic, sylvan setting,
for the photography company, Trueman & Caple.
Finally in 1892 (or 1893) the family moved from
apartment rooms above the Gallery to a new home
atl414 Alberni Street, in the growing residential area
known as The West End. Family documents offer clues
that the Hardimans were part of the city's growing
commercial middle class. Edmund Spillman who
operated a decorating and wall papering
establishment at various city center locations; Henry
T. Shelton, furniture dealer, and Customs Clerk, W.
H Warburton and family, were neighbours and family
Yet, it became quickly evident to Hardiman that
an 'Art' or literary atmosphere existed in the newly
incorporated City. Mrs. Annie Webster had an Art
School on West Hastings Street where monthly art
discussions were held. Mrs. Susanna Mellon (recently
of Winnipeg and wife of a Dominion Steamship
Captain) was a leading force in a cultural community
of educated and culturally aware residents who
wished to provide opportunities for the public to view
Art and to preserve the historical works and artifacts
discovered in the native and growing Canadian
culture. As early as September 1887, Mrs. S. G. Mellon
forwarded a letter from her cousin, Hyde Clarke, a
noted antiquarian and editor of The Economist, to the
Daily News Advertiser offering advice to Vancouver
readers on how they might preserve their culture. This
was followed by a supportive editorial — Vancouver
was on its way to formalizing an enthusiasm for the
visual and historical arts! That year too, William Van
Horne and the Canadian Pacific Railway sponsored
four outstanding landscape artists — Lucius O'Brien,
T. Mower Martin, Marmaduke Matthews and F.M.
Bell-Smith — whose glorious canvasses of the Rocky
Mountains stimulated an appreciation for the rugged
western landscape throughout North American and
With renewed vigour, Hardiman quickly
established himself in an exciting business venture.
Commencing in 1889, his confident advertisements
and entries in newspapers, directories and brochures
promoted the Pioneer Art Gallery. Hardiman believed
in blanket advertising and in giving potential
customers a full description of his offerings. Banner
ads (no doubt expensive) graced every eighth page
in Williams'1890 B.C Directory. The gallery was located
at 522 Cordova Street. Cordova, the city's main
commercial thoroughfare, was rapidly developing in
a western direction where it connected with the CPR
station (merely a waterfront shed). As the city grew,
in 1891 it renumbered the streets so, without moving,
the growing Pioneer Gallery got a new address, 622-
624 Cordova.
Vancouver's primary art dealer advertised his
highly visible location as "opposite the CPR Station;"
indeed, in 1889 the Pioneer Art Gallery was
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 Vancouver's first recorded "Art Gallery." The narrow
high-windowed shop, positioned between Granville
and Seymour Streets, extended onto the wooden
sidewalk and was crammed with etchings, paint pots
and sample mouldings. In addition, Hardiman
endeavored to turn a measure of artistic talent
(Victorian painted landscape and seascape genre) into
a profitable business venture. He advertised himself
and his gallery as "carver, gilder and manufacturer
of mouldings and picture frames— wholesale and
retail artists requisites" and, of course, "art dealer"
and teacher of painting. In 1890, he added to his
business an agency for Geo. Rowney and Co. of
London (respected manufacturer of "artists' colours")
and more significantly — the British Columbia
representative for the Art Union of London England,
[also known as the London Art Union]. While
Hardiman was earnestly involved in developing a
prosperous business, he was also keen to promote the
aesthetic and uplifting benefits that art brought to the
average citizen. Vancouverites, especially those of
British heritage, would have been familiar with the
Art Union. The AUL Society (incorporated in 1846)
published an attractive, forward-thinking and
respected magazine, The Art Journal. Art Unions were
a very popular type of Tottery', introduced in Britain
in 1836. By 1857 the craze had traveled to Canada
where there were five agents. AUL draws were so
popular that the winners of a draw held in Toronto
were announced in the Winnipeg Daily Times on June
The Art Unions' goals, reflecting the 19* century
ethical theory of Utilitarianism, were to extend the
love of Art and Design, as well as to educate the
populace throughout the British Empire in matters
of artistic taste. Its founders believed that anyone was
capable of being ennobled by art! It encouraged artists
and rewarded them financially by popularizing their
works. That was important at the time because
traditional patrons of the Arts (clergy, aristocracy and
military) were less inclined to support individual
artists. By subscribing to or taking out a membership
in an Art Union for the annual fee of one guinea, each
subscriber had the chance to claim a prize — a work
of art most frequently a painting highly-valued and
created by a noted artist. Over the years, several
methods of selecting or drawing names of winners
(sometimes a large number) evolved. In larger cities,
the contested objets A'art were viewed in special
exhibition halls. In current jargon, in 'the Bonus Draw/
every subscriber received a fine engraving depicting
a popular theme by a
noted    artist.    The
proprietor    of    the
Pioneer Art Gallery
would certainly have
been most pleased to
offer a wide selection of
mouldings and frames
to set off the engraving
accepted by every AUL
subscriber! The Art
Union strategy proved
so popular that Mr.
Henry Josiah de Forest,
the most prominent
artist in Vancouver at
the time, formed his own art union ".. .for the purpose
of disposing of his paintings. There will be 17
members in it [the art union] and they will pay $15
each. ...[The] prizes are 16 paintings valued at $45
each and one large painting worth $350." Despite the
competition, Hardiman continued, no doubt
successfully, as agent for the Art Union of London
until 1896.
In addition to his commercial interests in art,
Hardiman was active in Vancouver's Art Association.
On January 17, 1889 the Daily News Advertiser
announced "a meeting of local artists for the purpose
of forming an Art Association" to be held at Capt.
Webster's office at 217 Hastings. Mrs. Webster (whose
Art School was at the same location), the Mellons and
artist William Ferris attended along with other
similarly interested Vancouverites. The Art
Association, with 40 members, commenced
operations with a loan exhibition of art works,
antiquities and curiosities at the Van Horne Block on
Granville Street. Lieutenant-Governor Hugh Nelson
and Mayor David Oppenheimer presided at the
Opening on June 28,1889. Surely the exhibition was
a triumph. — eclipsed only by the more ambitious
First Annual Exhibition of the Vancouver Art
Association, October 6-11,1890, at the Lefevre Block
at Hastings and Seymour. This 1890 Exhibition
featured over 338 paintings. Eighty-two were the
works of local art students and were part of a
competitive showing, while the rest were on loan from
private collections. Hardiman shared four paintings
from his collection.
A brilliant eleven page Program described the
associated events — a Grand Ball, Catalogue of
paintings, Committee members, Association members
Theophilus Richard
Hardiman and family
arrived from Winnipeg in
1887. In 1889 the
Hardimans lived above the
Pioneer Art Gallery on
Cordova and posed for the
Cambie St. photographer
Trueman and Caple.  (L to
R.) Mary Theresa Hallam
Hardiman, "Queenie",
Theophilus, Maude, Percy.
Courtesy Barbara Hardiman
Pope, Langley BC
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 , f MSP.'8, $>QJtuiH.A~-
Pioneer Art Gallery, 522 Cordova Street
Jfc/nmMnM. for Brililk C»l,„„bL, ifAn f*kk$'1*+*. Palro*: Her Majrsly Qm,n Victoria.
PrtddtHi: Rig&t Ihft. Earl of Derby, K. G.
Vte-Prtstesttts: Right Hon. Mieeartt Hardtngt;   Right H«H. Lord Butty,
Pioneer Art Gallery
sponsored a large ad in an
Art Exhibition Progamme.
The Exhibition of over 300
paintings was held in
October 1890.
Vancouver City Archives Add MSS
154  Box 512-E-8 file 1
(including Hardiman) and contributors, a Soiree
Musicale, a Dramatic Performance and the Grand
Opening — once again under the patronage of Mayor
Oppenheimer and Lieutenant-Governor Nelson.
Exhibition committee members had solicited detailed
and descriptive advertisements to augment and
finance the Program. Layfields' Staple and Fancy Dry
Goods, Mrs. Braggin's instructions in Decorative
Needlework, Bailey and Neeland's Art and Stationery
Store and, of course, T.R. Hardiman's Pioneer Art
Gallery gave commercial support. Upon seeing this
Catalogue forty-nine years (!) later, Charles Hope
commented to Vancouver City Archivist Major
Matthews " She [Mrs. Webster] was the whole 'works'
of that association and exhibition; I was the 'hanging
committee' of
one...I climbed
up the ladders,
did the hanging
of the pictures
and then
climbed down."
the Exhibition
must have taken
its toll for little
was heard of the
Vancouver Art
Association in
the following
h year and a half
apart from
mention of a
futile attempt in February 1892 to revive it with a
'vision statement' now expanded to include literature
and history. No progress was made in establishing a
permanent collection or location. However, an
undated, unidentified newspaper clipping in the
Vancouver Art Association Scrapbook (1905-1927)
hints of controversy (or explanation?) and casts some
light (albeit unfavourable) on the organization: "A
resolution had been passed in this organization
[Vancouver Art Association] that no lady should have
a voice in the management of the affairs and as a
consequence, shortly [it] faded into oblivion." What
should one make of such a commentary?
No matter the cause of the disappearance of the
VAA, on April 17, 1894 an abruptly called meeting
was held in O'Brien Hall for the purpose of forming
a new organization. None other than T. R. Hardiman
moved and Mrs. Mellon seconded the motion "that a
-'.*■'       '   lliui! US ExilBITIOX .<T  TBS  icOVB UALLSRY SHOHTLY.
The Tiro desaiW flie'ieOT "■ VV«an£iMr Abbey says; " A noble pielu.e, aronnrl
ami above wherever the eye turns, a r«D^r.dcet Len thousand, deatHied it may be 10 a n-coi-d no
]«»-■ enduring   in the world>,Winals Shan.that of the army of Xeeophon. ,
' ■>?>.»
Society to be formed under the Constitution as so
described." In addition to the art concentration of
previous efforts, it would include a literary and
historical mandate with a special regard to the
preservation of native Indian relics. The new
organization's Minute Book recorded that "all
previous organizations had ceased to exist."
Therefore, Hardiman, along with members of
the City's cultural and artistic elite, became an active,
founding member of the aptly named Vancouver Art,
Historical and Scientific Association — the
predecessor to the Vancouver Museums and
Planetarium Association. With the exception of
Captain and Mrs. Webster, Mrs. Mellon and T. R.
Hardiman, none of the officers and General
Committee of the VAHSA had been involved in the
earlier Art Association. Twenty-one Honorary Vice-
Presidents drawn from the clergy, politics and
professions served under the Honorary President,
Lieutenant Governor Edgar Dewdney. One thousand
copies of the Constitution were printed and
distributed to Vancouver worthies. In order to
facilitate a smooth transition, the Secretary of the new
Association was instructed to make a "personal
intimation" [sic] to the former Society for the transfer
of funds remaining with the Art Association. The
Treasurer, career artist, Lee Rogers, had his studio at
the Pioneer Art Gallery and collected the $1 annual
membership fee.
Concerns focused on finding a permanent
address for meetings and the collection as the VAHSA
hop-scotched between five or six city center addresses
between 1894 and 1896. Undeterred by this instability,
the VAHSA staged an ambitious Loan Exhibition
November 1-7,1894 in Dunn Hall at Granville near
Hastings. The undertaking, complete with the usual
musical performances and lectures, was under the
tutelage of Prof. Chas. Hill-Tout, noted anthropologist
and William Ferris, landscape artist and future
Curator of the Vancouver Museum (1912-1925). Its
importance can be gauged by the fact that the
Governor General of Canada, Lord Aberdeen and his
gracious and popular Lady Marjorie Gordon
Aberdeen attended the opening. Lord Aberdeen
pronounced, "the beauty of these regions renders it
specially incumbent upon all to do their best to
promote a love of nature and a true admiration of the
wondrous works of the Creator, and to develop any
facilities we may possess for the cultivation of Art in
its fullest sense."
Although the Exhibition of 1894 was not a
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 financial success, it a great boon for the
VAHSA. Membership increased, a code of
By-laws was adopted and social events for
members were organized. Hardiman
remained a member of the General
Committee in 1895, but his attendance
flagged somewhat. In 1896. Mrs. Mellon,
Mrs. Webster, Mr. Hill-Tout, and artists de
Forest, Rogers and Ferris were joined by
the formidable Mrs. Sara McLagan, who
was to become publisher of the Vancouver
World newspaper. Serious lobbying with
City Council over matters of collection
ownership, annual grants and especially
a permanent location, took place. After
several years of storing artifacts and files
in the basement of City Hall, the Museum
was installed in commodious premises in
the brand-new Carnegie Library at Main
and Hastings Streets in 1903.
By the end of the decade, Hardiman
was experiencing a successful, satisfying
and promising career. He was immersed
in the cultural life of an energetic and increasingly
sophisticated city. However — abruptly — in 1897, a
nearby Cordova address (612), boasted two entirely
new enterprises: "B.C. Mining Prospectors' Exchange
Co. Ltd." and "London and B.C. Gold Venture
Syndicate" ofVancouver and London. Their secretary
was Theophilus Hardiman who began a personal
campaign to secure certification as a Notary. He
courted mining developers and read up on
prospecting, assaying, mining promotion and
overseas markets. By 1898 Hardiman (accompanied
by the ever-faithful Mary Theresa and young Lionel)
was in England. He was agent for Associated Gold
Mines of British Columbia and his pursuit of art was
reflected only in the journalistic reports of mining
ventures that he scribed as editor of the British
Columbia Prospectors' Guide and Miner's Exchange
Had proximity to the furious traffic in Burrard
Inlet inspired by the beginning of the Klondike gold
rush turned his head? Or had the downturn in the
Art Union market, caused by easy availability of art
prints and photography, accompanied by intense
regulation of lotteries in Britain and in Canada, taken
the shine off the art-related business world? Or had
personalities in the organization of the Art, Historical
and Scientific Association become just too much?
When the gala opening of the museum at the Carnegie
Building finally came about on April 19, 1905
Theophilus Richard Hardiman had moved on to a
world very far removed from the art and culture scene
of 20* century Vancouver.
Shortly before his death in 1928, Hardiman shared
his recollections ofVancouver's early artistic community
via a Letter to the Editor ofthe Vancouver Daily Province.
He cited a July 15, 1928 article about Vancouver's Art
Gallery (or lack thereof) with "reviving old and pleasant
memories reminiscent ofthe young city's early struggle to
develop and support artistic talent at that stage of our
history.... The writer's place [Pioneer Art Gallery] was
the rendezvous for artists, Messrs. Mower Martin, Bell-
Smith, De Forest, Ferris, Lee Rogers,...whose pictures of
British Columbia are known throughout the Empire." As
we have seen Rogers, Ferris and de Forest were part of Art
Associations stories that intersected with T.R.Hardiman's
involvement in Vancouver's art scene. Their works are now
viewed with interest and reverence in Calgary's Glenbow
Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Centennial
Museum and other noted galleries and collections. •
In 1889, the north side of
Cordova St. between
Seymour (left) and
Granville (right) anchored
by the White Swan Hotel,
overlooked the CPR
station and Burrard Inlet.
Vancouver Public Library photo
collection #13234
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 The Life and Times of Foon Sien
By Larry Wong
Larry Wong is the
President of the
Chinese Canadian
Historical Society of
B.C. and has been
always been
interested in the
history of Vancouver's
Largely forgotten since his death in 1971,
Wong Foon Sien was perhaps the most
influential person in Vancouver's
Chinatown, if not in Canada, in the
campaign to ease the restrictions of the immigration
laws. In the late 1940s, the Chinese in Canada could
only bring in from China their spouses, unmarried
children under 21, and father over 65 years of age and
mother over 60. For eleven years, Foon Sien made
annual visits to Ottawa seeking fair treatment in
immigration policy. His success coincided with the
introduction of the 1967 Immigration Act based on a
universal point system of assessing prospective
immigrants and, by correcting the unbalanced ratio
of Chinese men to Chinese women, ended the
'bachelor society' of Chinatown.
We know that Foon Sien was born in China and,
in a 1960 interview, he assured me that his birthday
was July 7. The year of his birth, however, is uncertain.
One account has the year 1899; others have either 1901
or 1902. His Chinese name was Wong Mun Poo.
His parents migrated to Cumberland, B.C.
where his father ran a successful general /herbal store
called the Kwong Mee Lung. As a 10-year old, Foon
studied the Four Books and the Five Canons of
Chinese learning after public school. Like most
Chinese parents of the time, his parents had
envisioned sending him to China for a proper
education and a later career in Imperial China. Their
plans turned askew when the young Chinese
revolutionary, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen visited Cumberland in
1911 on a fund raising mission to overthrow the Qing
Dynasty. That visit inspired the young Foon Sien to
study law. He finished high school and moved to
Vancouver where he became one of the first five
Chinese to attend the University of British Columbia.
However, after a year he secured a job from Attorney-
General A.M. Manson, as an official court interpreter.
One of his early cases was the trial of Wong Foon Sing,
the houseboy accused of the 1924 killing of Janet Smith.
As a Chinese person, Foon Sien, could not vote.
In 1874, the provincial legislature added a clause to
the Elections Act: "Chinamen of the Province ofBritish
Columbia may not make application to have their
names inserted in any list of voters and are
disqualified from voting at any elections." Not until
the 1949 did the Chinese in British Columbia finally
cast their votes in provincial and federal elections.
Because the professional societies regulating such
profession as law, pharmacy, and accounting required
members to be on the voters' lists, even if trained,
Chinese could not practice those professions.
Moreover, it was difficult for the Chinese to
become naturalized. The Chinese government in the
early part of the twentieth century deemed all Chinese
born outside of the mother country to be Chinese
Nationals. Thus, if a Chinese person born in Canada
wished to become a Canadian, he had to write for
permission from the Chinese government and once,
granted that permission, apply to the local courts for
citizenship which, in most cases, denied it.
Hardship blanketed the Chinese communities
when the federal government introduced the 1923
Chinese Immigration Act, commonly known as the
Chinese Exclusion Act. In spite of the head tax
imposed on Chinese immigrants since the completion
of the Canadian Pacific Railway, starting at a fee of
$50 and rising to a maximum of $500 in 1903, Chinese
immigrants had continued to enter Canada.
The 1923 Immigration Act, the only Canadian
immigration legislation specifically aimed at a
particular race, shut the door to any further Chinese
immigrants with the exceptions of students, clergy,
and diplomats. Chinese who had been born in Canada
or who had certificates proving that they had paid
the head tax and had previously entered could,
however, return to Canada. The effect of the Act was
disastrous on the Chinese communities. Without new
immigration, men already in Canada were isolated
from their families in China. With the Depression of
the 1930s, some took desperate action. Some left
Canada for China, some lost their jobs and homes,
some accepted their fate to wither in Chinatown, and
some committed suicide.
Foon Sien became prominent in 1937 when he
was appointed publicity agent for the Chinese
Benevolent Association's Aid-to-China program that
began during the Sino-Japanese War. He was part of
the successful campaign to stop the export of scrap
metal to Japan and was known as "Japan's No. 1
enemy in North America." He also founded several
associations, the most important being the Chinese
Trade Workers' Association in 1942.
During the war, the federal government's
Department of National War Services recruited him
as a censor of mail and telegrams.
After the war , he worked for a year on the
editorial staff of the New Republic Chinese Daily, a
newspaper published in Victoria Along with other
Chinese leaders and veterans, he succeeded in gaining
the right of the franchise for Chinese in Canada. This
in turn led to other rights of citizenship. For his efforts
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 the Chinese Canadian Citizens
Association recognized him
with an award.
In a peculiar way,
Canada was a nation without
citizens before 1947. A
"Canadian" was simply a
British subject living in
Canada. For a country that
emerged from the Second
World War with a strong sense
of nationhood, it was
embarrassing. After a Liberal
cabinet minister toured the
military cemetery at Dieppe,
the site where thousands of
Canadians fought and died in
the name of their country, he
was inspired to create the
Canadian Citizenship Act. On
January 1,1947, the Canadian
Citizenship Act came into
effect and Canadians finally
became "Canadian citizens."
The name of the minister was
Paul Martin Sr.
Although the government removed the
exclusionary clauses of the Chinese Immigration Act
on May 14, 1947, there were still severe restrictions
on Chinese immigration and it was this very issue
that Foon Sien took it as his cause. In 1948, he became
the president of the Chinese Benevolent Association
and for the next eleven years, he lobbied the federal
government in Ottawa for the relaxation of the
qualifications of Chinese families.
In an article that appeared in the June 3,1955
issue of Chinatown News, Foon Sien wrote that "our
people are still suffering reverses in our fight for equal
immigration rights. In 1951,1 pleaded with Mr. Harris,
the then Minister of Immigration, to allow entry for
unmarried children of Chinese Canadians between
the ages of 21 and 25 on compassionate grounds. This
was allowed at the time but was stopped by a new
ruling dated March 12,1955.
These reverses in our struggle have
handicapped us seriously in our struggle for equal
immigration rights."
Foon Sien observed that "it would be a great
boon to aging Chinese Canadians if they could bring
youngsters to Canada to give them the advantages of
the better standard of living and way of life here. Not
Wong Foon Sien with some
of the many awards he
received over the years.
This photo appeared in
the August 3, 1971 issue
of Chinatown News
shortly after Wong Foon
Sein died
only would this make up in part for the sacrifice these
men have made in being separated from their families
so long, but it would provide Canada with a fine new
type of Chinese citizens who would rapidly assimilate
the culture and traditions of this country." In 1957, he
was instrumental in changing the imbalance of
Chinese men to women by convincing the
government to allow Chinese men who had lived in
Canada for two years to post a $1,000 cash bond for
the fiancees that they brought over from China.
In the course of his life, he became a staunch
supporter of the Liberal Party but in 1957 he gave his
support to the Progressive Conservatives when
Douglas Jung, a young war veteran and lawyer, ran
for that party in Vancouver Centre and won by a
landslide to become the first Chinese Canadian
Member of Parliament.
Regardless of what political party was in power,
Foon Sien continued his annual treks to Ottawa.
During this time, newspapers reported that
illegal Chinese immigrants were coming into the
country. The Chinese community denied this
accusation but on Sunday morning, May 24, 1960,
rude awakenings shocked the Chinese communities
across Canada.
Anderson, Kay. Vancouver's
Chinatown, Racial Discourse in
Canada, 1870 -1980. Montreal
and Kingston: McGill-Queen's
University Press 199).
"An Era Comes to an End."
Chinatown News, 3 February
Davis, Chuck. "The History of
Metropolitan Vancouver - Hall of
Foon Sien, "Around Chinatown,"
Chinatown News, 3 June 1955.
Foon Sien Wong fonds, 1907-
1971, UBC Library, Special
Hazelwood, Jim. "The Mayor of
Chinatown," The Vancouver Sun,
Magazine Supplement, 28
October 21958
Knowles, Valerie. Forging Our
Legacy: Canadian Citizenship and
Immigration, 1900-1977. Ottawa:
Citizenship and Immigration
Canada, 2000.
McDonald, Ian -and Betty 0'
Keefe. Canadian Holy War, A
Story of Class, Tongs, Murder
and Bigotry.Sumy, BC: Heritage
House, 2000.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 Wong Foon Sien writing at
his desk.
Photo courtesy of Vivian Wons
Ng, Wing Chung. The Chinese in
Vancouver, 1945-80. Vancouver:
UBCPress, 1999.
Chapter 5 Towards the Canadian
Citizenship Act, Chapter 6, Trail-
Blazing Initiatives
"Time Magazine Lauds
CBA, "Chinatown News, March 3,
Wickberg, Edgar, ed. From China
to Canada. Toronto: McClelland
and Stewart, 1982.
The RCMP, accompanied
by members of the Hong Kong
police force, simultaneously
raided the selected offices and
homes of Chinatowns from
Victoria to Trois-Rivieres,
Quebec, including those of
Foon Sien. The national police
seized correspondences,
records and other documents in
search of illegal immigrants.
Shock and dismay led to
outrage as Foon Sien declared,
"They (the police) are checking
every man, woman and child.
In my mind, I think it is
destruction of human rights
and dignity and, to us, a loss of
civil liberty."
A month later, twenty-two
delegates from the Chinese
communities met separately
with Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, Justice Minister
Davie Fulton and Immigration Mnister Ellen Fairclough
to find out the outcome of the raids. They were assured
that no Chinese who helped with the illegal entry of
family members would be persecuted or deported. In
the end, twenty-four Chinese were prosecuted, five of
whom were never brought to trial, and two acquitted,
two on probation and the rest fined or imprisoned or
Eventually, the Chinese Adjustment Statement
Program, an amnesty policy, was implemented from
1960 to 1972 when over 12,000 Chinese had their status
In that time, Foon Sien retired but continued his
interest in international affairs, Chinese customs, social
and political problems faced by the Chinese Canadians
and life in Chinatown. He was, to many people, a
person to seek for help or advice. In his own backyard
of Chinatown he helped settle disputes and loaned
money out of his own pocket to those in need.
He was an active member of not only the Chinese
Benevolent Association but of the Wong Kung Har
Society, the Chinese Canadian Citizens Association, the
Chinese Trade Workers Association and the Liberal
Party, Vancouver Centre branch. He was a founder and
board member of the Vancouver Civic Association, the
forerunner of the B.C. Human Rights Council. He was
a member of the Canadian Council of Christians and
Jews and the Vancouver Citizenship Council where he
served as a Chinese community representative on the
B.C. Ethnic Sub-Committee. Newspaper columnists
called him the "unofficial Mayor of Chinatown." He
was also termed "Champion of Chinese Rights" but
the "mayor" label stuck and indicated that Foon Sien
spoke with a single voice for Chinatown.
When he finally retired from the Chinese
Benevolent Association in 1960, he was satisfied that
the government had finally relaxed the immigration
policy. He said, "Our idea was to ask the government
to put a more humane concept into its immigration
laws to allow Chinese to enter Canada on almost the
same terms as European immigrants. This is not the
same as asking for complete equality. We do however;
feel that relatives of Chinese Canadians such as direct
descendants should be allowed into the country
irrespective of age."
Shortly after Foon Sien's death on 31 July 1961
Bill Kan, a columnist of the Chinatown News gave
credit to Foon Sien for: "the following tangible results:
1) the restoration of the Canadian citizenship rights to
Chinese Canadian females who lost those privileges
through marriage 2) readmission to Canada for all
those belonging to this category together with their
husbands and children under 21 3) permission of
parents of Chinese Canadians over 65 to take up
residence in Canada, and 4) entry of mail order brides.
Through this improved legislation, thousands of
Chinese Canadians were able to join their families and
take up residence in Canada today, thanks to a
tenacious fighter named Foon Sien."
Foon Sien's constant lobbying kept the
government in check and reminded them that the
immigration policy did not treat Chinese immigrants
equally and fairly. The number of Chinese immigrants
dropped after he retired in 1960 but his persistence
laid the groundwork for the Immigration Act of 1967.
The new Act ended the explicitly racist
immigration policy and with its point system, ranked
independent immigrants according to age, education,
labour skills, language skills and resources in a fair
and equitable manner much as Foon Sien had wanted.
In his lifetime he was a recipient of many awards. His
funeral, a final tribute, was one of the largest seen in
Chinatown. •
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 Up Coast Adventures Continue
By Tom Fox
As a sixteen year old greenhorn at the
wheel of a seine boat, I was nervous and
excited when the skipper told me to
"steer for the point" on the far side of
Johnstone Strait from Alert Bay. The brisk westerly
wind whistling down the Strait from the open Pacific
was causing a build up of mid-day choppy seas to
crash against our port side, making for a rough
crossing. I found myself at the bottom end of a steep
learning curve as I listened to the plethora of
comments and observations made by the coffee
drinking crew sitting uncomfortably in the galley
behind me. Gradually I realized that I had to judge
the moment of impact of each wave and adjust the
wheel and speed carefully (not wildly) just before it
struck to reduce the blow. I also had to stay on course!
Was it just three days earlier that my Mum and Dad
had driven me over to the Union Steamships dock in
Vancouver to begin my trip up the coast to the
summer cannery job?
As the far shoreline became closer, I nervously
viewed the waves breaking on a series of rocky islands
and reefs lying dead ahead. Fortunately for us all, the
skipper took over the wheel at this point and told me
to go down to the galley and wash up the dishes. What
an unusual way to win relief! He proceeded to
skillfully helm the Porlier Pass through to the slightly
calmer waters at the mouth of Knight Inlet which
loomed ahead as a long, narrow passageway between
increasingly higher conifer forested mountain slopes.
After a brief stop at Minstrel Island "for needed
provisions" we proceeded up the inlet toward our
destination at Glendale Cove. A pod of killer whales
crossed our bow and I watched in awe as they
alternatively surfaced and dove off toward the far
shore. We clearly heard the air being expelled through
their blow holes and their odd whistle-like
communications. Although the occasional eagle or
gull circled overhead, no other living creatures were
to be seen. We proceeded almost due east for about
thirty five miles through beautiful blue-green glacial
water which was liberally flecked with white foam
from the choppy seas that followed us inland. Huge
cedars and firs grew in abundance on the
mountainsides. Few if any anchorages were apparent
until we rounded Macdonald Point and I had my first
sight of Glendale Cove and the cannery which would
be my summer home for the next three years.
It was just turning dusk and the clusters of
lights here and there around the large U-shaped cove
were a welcome sight. To the right, a large logging
camp with a dock and a
network of roads leading off
it dominated the central west
shore. Across at the end of the
bay a string of lights just
above sea level illuminated
the Bordman's floating
logging camp while directly
ahead the ABC Glendale
Cove Cannery had the appearance of a small town.
Typically, the large cannery buildings, net lofts
and some housing stood on piles over tidewater while
the bunk houses and family accommodations
occupied the lower hillside, spilling over a little on
either side of the main plant. As we approached the
numerous inter-connected floats radiating from
several docks, one of our crew inflated a white balloon
and attached it to the rigging. (I later learned that such
balloons were also called condoms). As the skipper
blew a couple of blasts on the horn, a small festive
crowd gathered to greet us and help tie up. They all
trooped off carrying the bottled Minstrel Island
"provisions" skillfully wrapped (to prevent damage,
I presumed.) .1 followed them up the ramp to the dock,
carrying my duffle over my shoulder.
A few people were about and I was directed to
the manager's house which stood just behind the
company store. All the buildings were painted white
and around the store and office, someone had planted
boxes of flowering plants. In the background, a diesel
generator was providing the power and background
noise that I would soon become accustomed to
hearing - day and night! Mr. Norm Corker answered
my knock and invited me in to meet his wife and
young daughters who regularly spent their summers
with him at Glendale. I was soon spirited off to my
shared room in a long building behind the main
bunkhouse which I learned was occupied by the most
junior crew members. I was also informed that there
were strict rules of behaviour which would be rigidly
enforced and these were then outlined in some detail,
as were the mess hall and working hour times. Wow!
Then next morning, as promised, I was
awakened by the 6:15 am whistle and I had to hustle
through the shared wash up routines to reach the mess
hall before the 7:00am breakfast gong rang. As the
outer door was opened, the gathering crew surged in
and quickly occupied their accustomed places at the
three long tables, leaving me to find an empty place
setting. Wedged in between two denim clad strangers,
I stared at the array of breakfast foods that had been
Glen Dale bunkhouse
Tom Fox photo
Tom Fox wrote part
one of his adventure
for issue 37.3.
Because of the many
requests for more,
Tom has once again
put pen to paper for
readers of BC History
with part two.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 The unloading dock at
Tom Fox photo
set out and, as I wondered
where and how to start,
the activity around me
quickly evolved into a
well-practiced series of
pokes, jabs, chews and
swallows that I had
never experienced before
but quickly learned to
emulate. Despite the
constant serving plate refills by the agile bull-cook,
the feeding frenzy quickly ended and the crew filed
out to get ready for work. I was soon to learn that a
good cook and staff were considered to be essential
in all coastal camps and that in any disagreement
between general crew and the kitchen crew the latter
always had the management's support.
At eight I reported to Mr. Mickey Ross, the
foreman, who looked me over and finally asked me
if I knew how to paint. Canning wouldn't begin until
after fishing opened in two or three weeks time, so
most of the crew were busy doing maintenance work
and I realized that I had few skills to offer - and so
did he! My affirmative response seemed to help him
place me, a little hesitantly, with a large brush and a
bucket of Cuperenol under a barge that had been
pulled up on the ways for antifouling. I was told to
get coveralls, a hat, gloves and goggles and start
painting. Two days and multi buckets of Cuperenol
later I had become a full-time member of the painting
crew and ready to tackle my next assignment, the
boiler room smoke stack. No cramped neck for me
this time! I was hoisted up in a bosun's chair dangling
from a rope over a pulley at the top of the eighty-five
foot stack. Starting at the top with brush in hand and
a large bucket of black tarry paint dangling beside
me, I used my legs to wiggle the chair around the
stack and back again, gradually lowering myself back
to roof-top level. Mission accomplished in just over a
day. My last (and almost final) painting job of the preseason was the corrugated iron roof of the net loft. It
stood two and a half stories above the dock and was
almost one hundred and fifty feet long. The aluminum
paint was in large buckets, the brushes were long
handled " scrubbers" and the painter was secured by
a heavy, new rope around his waist and over the rooftop then tied off around one of the dock pilings below
on the opposite side. With so much freedom to
pendulum back and forth, the job was going quickly
when I was stopped by a shout from below. "Keep still!
Do not move!" I froze. Another rope was tossed over
to me and I was told to tie it on then come back down
the ladder. Once I was down, I was shown that my
original rope had worn nearly through as I dragged it
back and forth against the sharp ends of the steel
roofing pieces. The rest of the job proceeded more
As my proficiency with a paint brush improved,
I also developed new mess hall skills that enabled me
to keep up with my table mates. Fresh pies were
placed on the lunch and dinner table at the same time
as the main course and the educated diner always
started by spearing a slice or two of pie and putting
these on his bread plate before getting into the meat
and potatoes. While eating with one hand, it was best,
especially with some table companions, to keep the
other hand as a hovering guard over the selected
dessert. I also acquired the courage to become
involved in the banter at the table as I came to know
my co-workers and they me. Although I had done
my best to wash off the accumulation of the various
paint products that I had been using, hand laundering
my clothes, and scrubbing my exposed extremities
hadn't been entirely successful. One evening at dinner
my companions strongly recommended that I visit
the boiler room after work the next day for a steam
bath and shower, even suggesting that I wear my
clothes in the shower as well. The engineer promised
to show me how the system worked.
Most of the canning machinery was powered
by steam, as were the huge retort ovens that cooked
the tray loads of canned salmon that were stacked
and wheeled inside them. Steam and water lines ran
everywhere. Adjoining the boiler room was a large
shower facility composed of an outer changing room
and the inner wet room with its row of showerheads
and pairs of valves. Bathers could turn on a straight
steam or a water valve, or a combination of water and
steam valves which produced very hot water. Either
usage resulted in the whole complex being turned into
a steam filled sweat box which I was urged to attend.
The very next day, fully clothed in my working gear, I
entered and soon managed to fill the large shower area
with dense steam and was busily scrubbing when I
became aware of a lot of laughing and giggling coming
from the change room. I had been told that usually
nobody else showered right after work, so I was
shocked when ten or twelve native ladies rushed in,
overpowered me, and then proceed to give my clothes
and then me the scrubbing of my life! Once they
released me, I quickly exited the facility with my wet
clothes under my arm to the hoots and hollers of the
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 crew of the seine boat and most of my dinner table
mates who had gathered outside to enjoy the show!
Over the next few days several other younger
employees arrived and I was able to make some strong
new friendships. Our little group enjoyed weekend
hikes along the game trail to the river estuary at the
end of the cove where we could watch the bears
catching spawning salmon. We would often carry on
up to Tom Browne Lake for swimming and fishing.
On occasional Sundays we had the use of a small fish
packer, the Lady Christine, and we would travel up to
the head of the inlet to visit Laurette and Jim Stanton
who lived a life of complete isolation in a log home
that they had built during the early 1930's. Two rivers,
the Franklin and the Klinaklini, emptied into the inlet
on either side of their homestead and they eked out a
poor but happy livelihood fishing, trapping and
logging in the area. A book written by Beth D ay entitled
Grizzlies In Their Backyard best portrays their frontier
life style. Most welcoming of visitors, they continually
amazed us with their stories of life in one of the most
remote areas of our coast.
One hot day my friend Don Stewart and I,
accompanied by his cocker spaniel, decided to leave
the rest of our companions talking with the Stantons
and go for a walk up the dusty trail that bordered the
Franklin River. As we hiked upstream, we noticed the
occasional string of tin cans hanging from the lower
branches of trees and shortly after each set we would
come upon large bathtub shaped depressions in the
trail. The dog, a natural explorer, was staying
remarkably close to us. As the heat increased, we
decided a swim was in order and, leaving our clothes
in a heap on a sandbar, waded into the river. The dog
stayed with our clothes and soon began to bark
furiously. Wondering what the commotion was all
about, I looked back to see an enormous grizzly bear
pawing through our clothing and one little spaniel
trying to chase it away. The bear was getting annoyed
and we were getting so cold as we slunk down in the
water in an effort to be inconspicuous that I was sure
my testicles had moved up into my throat. Finally the
bear left to go back the same way that we had come!
After getting dressed and waiting a short time, we
returned to the Stanton's and sat in the sun on their
doorstep. Jim and our friends came out to join us and
Jim, without blinking an eye, proceeded to tell us of
how dangerous a startled grizzly can be and that he
had tied cans from trees every so often along his trails
which he would rattle as he went by to warn any bears
who were nearby. He explained that the hollows in the
trail were dust baths that
the bears enjoyed and that,
like humans, they didn't
like to be disturbed while
bathing. We certainly
appreciated this lesson
and his low key delivery.
After graduating
from the painting crew, I
was put to work in the top story of the cannery building
and taught how to make wooden and cardboard boxes.
These were stockpiled before canning started. Other
jobs involved helping repair the dam and water lines
high up the hill behind the cannery along with
numerous carpentry projects.
By the big day in early July when the first loads
of fish started to arrive, our cannery crew had grown
considerably. Forty or fifty Chinese workers now filled
their bunkhouse while the native Indian fishermen
with their wives and children now numbered close to
one hundred as they occupied their housing areas. We
had become a village!
Just before the first fish packer arrived with its
holds brimming with salmon, I was equipped with
high rubber boats, oilskin pants and jacket and a long
pole with a sharp, slightly curved steel spike attached
to one end of it called a fish fork. My job was to stand
among the fish, sort them by species if needed, then
spear each just ahead of the gills and flip it into a large,
round steel-rimmed purse net called a brail which,
when full, was hoisted up onto the dock where some
of the Chinese crew began the processing. I had to be
careful not to damage the body of the salmon and fast
enough to stay ahead of all the inside workers! It was
tiring work but I learned to use my knee as a fulcrum
and soon became speedy, accurate, and a bit of a fish-
pitching showman.
Once cleaned, the sorted fish travelled by
conveyor belt through the cannery. They were sliced
to fit the size of can being processed (either quarter,
half, or one pound) and swiftly packed into cans by
long rows of white overall clad women. A pinch of salt
and a little water were automatically added just before
weighing, then the lids were sealed on. Down the line,
another crew spread these cans tightly across large steel
trays piled high on one another atop mini rail cars.
These were rolled into the retorts for cooking. Later,
the cooled cans had labels applied and were packed
into shipping boxes. Pallet loads of these boxes were
then sorted by fork lift trucks and stored in the large
warehouse for shipment to market. It was an assembly
Mickey Fisher and Tom Fox
enjoy a paddle
Tom Fox photo
11 Back:Tom Fox, Mickey
Fisher, Shirley Fisher, and
Don Stewart,
Front: unknown and Bill
Tom Fox photo
line totally
on      team
effort   and
and it usually
ran well into
the      night
during    the
height of the
Sunday evening in late August after dinner, Norm
Bender and I decided to go cutthroat trout fishing in
the canoe off the mouth of the Glendale River. The
fishing was excellent and we headed back with our
catch as darkness fell. Unfortunately, the seas had
become rough and the usual half hour paddle turned
into quite an ordeal. Life jackets were uncommon at
that time and we certainly should have had them on
as we struggled back to the cannery through
increasingly angry seas. It was the lights from the
cannery that guided us back to the float upon which
the canoe was to be secured. With great relief we pulled
our little vessel up onto the heavy plank decking ,
unloaded our gear, and lashed the canoe down.
Although these floats were supported by large cedar
logs that were chained together, they were being tossed
up and down quite violently by the rough seas making
it difficult to stand. Norm led the way carrying the
fishing rods and our catch, while I followed with the
paddles. The gap between the floats was normally
about three feet across but now the distance extended
and retracted swiftly as the abutting ends of the two
floats rose and fell. With a well timed leap, Norm flew
across the gap to land safely on the other side. Seconds
later, I followed but in mid jump everything suddenly
went dark. I was aware of a sharp pain in my lower rib
cage and I was unable to move although I knew that I
was now in the water between the logs.
I remember clearly thinking about many things
including my parents, sister, relatives and friends and
that I seemed to be floating in the dark. Gradually, I
became aware of pressure on my back, voices, bright
lights and a choking feeling as I coughed out sea water.
I learned later that just as I jumped the gap the diesel
electrical generating plant was shut down as it
normally did at 10:00 p.m. on non-canning nights. In
the instant pitch darkness I went feet first into the gap
between the floats, striking the end of a log with my
chest as I plunged into the water. Norm had heard a
splash and, getting no answer from me, deduced that I
had fallen between the floats. He quickly called for help
and for the generator to be restarted, then started
blindly feeling down in the water between the logs until
he touched my arm and was able to drag me back up
onto the float. Fortunately for me, he knew how to
resuscitate and soon had me breathing normally again
despite a rib that I had broken in the fall. By this time,
the lights had been restored and several of the crew
had come down to help Norm get me up to the medical
room where I passed the night and most of the next
day. I am eternally grateful to Norm. I should also
mention that I was born with a caul or membrane over
my face which, according to mariner lore, is a good
omen and protects that person from drowning. I have
kept my caul to this day, and it just might have helped
me on one or two other occasions as well.
I returned to Glendale for the next two fishing
seasons and enjoyed a number of different jobs and
adventures, including driving the fork lift, crewing on
some fishing trips, participating in a United Fishermen
and Allied Workers Union strike and a resulting stint
as a crewman on a west coast freighter. After the third
year, the cannery closed. Some seasonal employees like
me opted to transfer north the next year to Sunnyside
Cannery on the Skeena River. For many, the closure
was quite devastating both economically and socially
as the cannery season had been a big part of their
families' lives for two or three generations. Travelling
up north to the distant Skeena was out of the question
for them. Over the next year, most of the cannery
buildings were razed. On one of my last trips back,
only the boiler and some tumble-down houses
remained. I recently saw our former bunk house in
Alert Bay where it had been put to use as a detox facility
while the Chinese bunk house has been barged down
to Steveston where it is hopefully undergoing
restoration at the old Britannia Shipyard site.
If you visit Glendale Cove today, you'll find a
very comfortable Lodge on the old cannery location.
It features nature treks and grizzly bear watching! To
think that I had all that, along with the opportunity
to earn and save a fair sum of money to invest in my
future, as well as total immersion in a small multicultural community that helped shape and guide me
at no extra charge! I consider myself to have been very
fortunate. •
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 Gray Creek Hall
Tom Lymbery
In 1911-12 the small community of Gray Creek
on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake was
growing, and there were enough children to
apply for a school. Fruit growing had replaced
the earlier mining boom. All along the lake, land had
been subdivided into 10 acre lots, the size that was
thought adequate to provide a family income.
Although most of the early fruit growers were
bachelors they were keen to have a school and willing
to help construct it. There was a shortage of eligible
women in the community and the chances were that
the teachers would be female. Moreover, the school
could also serve as a community hall.
Under the school law of the time, if the
community provided a building, the provincial
government would assist in paying the teacher's
salary. Much discussion followed, if a hall was
constructed to qualify for a school, where could it be
placed? Everyone wanted it near his home, but none
would consider contributing land that could possibly
support apple or cherry trees - the staff of life.
Eventually, it was discovered that south of the mouth
of Gray Creek was a road right of way that had
probably been drawn on a map in an office, without
the knowledge that this was a rocky foreshore, so that
the actual road had been placed further back. Where
better for the new building? Lake frontage was not
seen as valuable and once some stones were removed,
the hall had its own swimming beach.1
Contributed cedar logs were horse skidded to
the chosen place, and work bees soon had the
structure rising, log by log. Craftsman, Sam Birkbeck
supervised, and did most of the mitered corners, after
broad axes had flattened the sides. The logs were set
on large stones, of which there was no shortage.
Roofing was hand split shingles, as there was no
shortage of good cedar, and the door was, naturally
hand made. Many years later, when cement was more
available, and plumbing and wiring could be
installed, we wished the builders had left some space.
"Cedar doesn't rot" was the word in 1912. Perchance
not, for about 40 years, given air movement and lack
of moisture, but who looks that far ahead.
While local land owners donated cedar logs, the
community required cash to pay for lumber to frame
and cover the roof, for the floor, windows, and nails.
Possibly there was a Provincial grant, but it certainly
did not cover all the costs so the community had to
raise some funds. The date of the opening dance is
not recorded but it is known that for music, Granny
Oliver's piano was loaded on a stone boat and pulled
by a horse to the new hall. There was lots of lifting on
and off, and stabilizing the load during that bumpy
trip behind the horse.
Once the building was ready, negotiations
started for an actual school teacher. In September
1914,"Verle Moore, who had travelled from Wardner
to Nelson by train, and SS Nasookin, boarded a much
smaller boat which journeyed down Kootenay Lake,
stopping at every ranch where there was a landing.
Her destination was Gray Creek, such a tiny place
she had never heard of it." During the Great War, the
population of Grey Creek declined and in 1916 the
school closed because, despite enrolling a mentally
challenged boy, it did not have sufficient students.
By 1920 there were more children and in 1929, the
arrival of George and Mary Oliver and their growing
family, ensured that the class size was sufficient for
many years.
Teachers rarely stayed more than two years,
leaving either to be married, or to move to a
community with better pay. However, Gray Creek
with sternwheeler S.S.Nasookin bringing a Greyhound
with daily mail and vehicle traffic and its regular hoot
as she left the dock at 10.30 am, and 1.30 and 4.30 pm.
was a far cry from very isolated Chezacut, in the
Chilcotin for Miss Stoddart who was here in 1934-37.
In 1937-8
Jim Burge
ran a school
from La
France, and
swelled to
After grade
eight, some students stayed on to take grade nine by
correspondence - a tough task, but made easier with
a teacher. One room school education was an
interesting challenge - students listened to the grade
above them, as much as to their own, almost taking
two years at once.
Although the 1930s brought depression, the
arrival of the Trans Provincial Highway in 1931,
replaced the twice weekly CPR steamer calls. Better
access brought a few more residents, such as Tom
Peters, an English sugar planter, retiring from
His second daughter, Toby attended the school,
while the elder, Topsy formed the Hopalong Trio.
Fund-raising for the building was a frequent
activity. With Barbara and Gwen Burge, Topsy Peters
purchased a player piano in Nelson, on the
installment plan. The player piano, with its rolls of
music activated by pedal power, belonged to the hall;
the school was allowed to use the piano but not its
rolls. Fund raising dances, might only bring in $7.00,
but over about eight years the piano was fully paid
for. What a great asset - for the school, for
Tom Lymbery lives
in Gray Creek and
operates Kootenay
Lake's oldest
general store - Gray
Creek Store - which
opened in 1913.
Gray Creek Hall painting
by Will Bayliss
1 This lot was purchased from
Schoolteacher Miss Stoddart and
Jim Burge, who purchased lot 1
of District Lot 1489 when they
were engaged. However, they
broke the engagement and Jim
married the next year's teacher,
Miss McLaren. The resulting rift
left the jointly owned property
in limbo for nearly 50 years, until
Stoddart and Burge finally agreed
to sell the lot!
Front row left to right:
Alice Oliver, Roy Miller,
Brennen Drew, Barry
2nd row I to r: Beth
Oliver, Roland Treneman,
Fred Simpson, Evelyn
Adams, Ruth Miller, Tom
Back row left to right:
Jack Miller, Mary Miller,
Ruth Burge, Violet Adams
entertainment of all sorts, and for hymns when the
hall was used for wedding, funeral, or monthly church
services. The Nickel Swindle Club, a card playing
evening for a five cent charge - probably labeled by
Fred Smith, the community pessimist, was another
fund raiser. Provincial and federal elections provided
an occasional influx of funds as the hall charged a $5
rent for its use as a polling station.
Fund raising was necessary because in
exchange for the Gray Creek School Board buying the
firewood, the Hall Board maintained the building and
improved it. As built in 1912 the log structure had
only one door. The original plans included a kitchen
and a stage but they had not been built. In the 1920s a
kitchen was a priority, how could this be done'? There
were still matching cedar logs on site but interlocking
them with the existing structure could be difficult.
Kathleen Lymbery, the hall secretary who advertised
for tenders for the kitchen., incurred the wrath of Gray
Creek builder, Tom Oliver -the successful bidder was
Lawson Hepher - from BOSWELL! An out of town
Boswell is 10
miles south and
because it had
no road
then, Lawson
had to bring his
tools on the
Nasookin to
Procter, then
change boats to
arrive at Gray
Creek where he
stayed to
complete the
project. He attached the logs with nails, put shakes
on the roof, and made the entrance through the
kitchen. Cutting a new door through the logs required
stabilizing the side walls with one inch steel rods, still
visible in the ceiling area. This also made it easier to
bring in wood for the heater, as the new doorway was
closer to the woodshed. In addition, the kitchen
needed a wood cookstove, so a new brick on bracket
chimney served both stoves, replacing the original
unsafe stovepipe. In 1930, a small cloakroom was
added at the north east corner to provide space for
coats, a water bucket and wash basin. Sir John
Eardley-Wilmot contributed $25 for quality fir
flooring, and this is still giving good service in 2005.
The main wood stove was stationed almost in
the middle of the hall, with a long horizontal stove
pipe connection to the chimney. This could be moved
for dances, while the desks were screwed onto two
by fours in sections, so they also, were moved aside.
As Christmas neared an eight foot stage would be
assembled, making a small hall even shorter. This
used the same material each year, so the floor planking
was not solidly nailed down, making it somewhat
noisy underfoot. Practices for the Christmas Concert
kept the teacher planning in September, with practices
running daily in November on. Teachers, who were
not musical or did not have a musical student, had
problems. In 1941 Miss Pennington compensated with
a wind up gramophone — her weekly music class
consisted of two 78 rpm records, "Rock of Ages" and
"Danny Boy."
Large windows on the lakeside meant that the
school, even in the dark days of winter, had sufficient
natural light. But for nighttime events, with no
electricity, the hall used oil lamps and then graduated
to two Coleman pressure units, burning white gas
with hand pumped air pressure, these gave much
better light. Power arrived in 1952, when the
Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company
(Cominco) constructed the longest power line in the
world, across the lake.
Since it was situated on a road right of way, it
was impossible to secure title for the building. In 1937
about one quarter of an acre was purchased from the
lot to the north for$25.00 plus $10.45 transfer fees. With
that purchase, that part of the property was registered
in the name of the Trustees of Gray Creek Community
Hall. In the 1980's consternation was aroused when
an adjoining campground owner applied for a
foreshore lease of the hall lake frontage - since we
didn't own all the property, could we lose it?
Committee member, Ross Oliver contacted the
Ministry of Highways, which agreed to the transfer
if the hall would pay for an expensive survey. This
was done, and in 1989, just under one acre was
registered in the name of the hall.
By then, the hall had long since ceased to serve
as a school. The population of children had fallen and
in 1945 the Gray Creek School closed and the
remaining children were bussed to Crawford Bay. The
desks were taken away but the teacher's desk, clock,
piano, and blackboards, remained, since they
belonged to the Hall. A new two room elementary
school built above the highway in Gray Creek in 1953
was in use until 1974. It had no connection with the
Hall. Population growth in the 1950s, because of the
re-opening of the Bluebell Mine in Riondel, and Gray
Forest Products logging and sawmill operation, meant
greater use of our Hall. The Porcupine Club (the ladies
were usually knitting during their meetings) changed
its name to the Gray Creek Ladies Club - apparently
translated into German porcupine becomes "prickly
pig", as a good many of the new residents were of
German origin.
One of the popular entertainments in the hall
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 were movies. The first ones shown were those of
Reverend Kinney who took his camera in The
Broadcaster, a boat provided by his church for his visits
to construction camps on the CPR west shore rail line
and the highway construction on our side of the lake.
I remember seeing sister Alice and myself, ages 6 and
4 in one of Kinney's films. Between 1931 and 1942 the
BC Forestry Association sent a representative to rural
communities to show films each summer. These films
encouraged sensible forest practices, featured fire
safety, but no tree planting. At each stop, a teenage
boy was selected and given a bright red shirt (the
colour became pink after several washdays) marking
him as a Junior Forest Warden. After the war, a goodly
crowd attended the monthly showings that the
National Film Board provided through the fall and
winter. "The Loon's Necklace" was an especially
memorable film but every showing included one on
pulp and paper, always with the THUMP of trees
falling. During the second season of these shows, I
began training to run the program, as the NFB was
spending heavily on this program. The Nelson-
Creston freight truck would drop off the generator
and projector and I would wheelbarrow or sleigh
them to the hall. Would the engine start, would there
be a working soundtrack? Once no effort would
produce any sound - I wished that someone from
Lister, West Creston, Sirdar, or Boswell had put in a
note that a tube had burned out!
By the 1970, there were many homes high above
the power line but even those with power could only
receive CBC TV. David Zaiss formed the Gray Creek
Film Club and a capacity crowd enjoyed feature films.
David organized voting on possible coming choices,
as well as who would bring popcorn. 'Sometimes a
Great Notion', 'Catch 22' are among the great
memories. To confine the projector noises to the
kitchen, Brian Denault crafted a cedar door with a
porthole. Log buildings have excellent acoustics, thus
Gray Creek has been a popular stop for dance
orchestras and singers, even though you would expect
that the space was too small to be considered. Valdy
and Long John Baldry are among those performers.
The Centennial Years - 1958, 1967, and 1971
were a boost to our community, as the grant programs
encouraged improvements and celebrations. A
Centennial committee decided to re-foot the
foundations of the 1912 structure and add the stage
at the south end. The original builders had left cross
cut saw slots in the logs for the addition of the stage,
but by 1958 the chainsaw made these unnecessary.
Committee secretary, Kathleen Lymbery, sent
postcards inviting all earlier residents for the official
dedication, and many came. Catherine and Len Clark,
Enid, daughter of 1929-31 teacher Mrs. Hodnett, the
Smiths, Burges, Olivers, Drews, and many more.
Member of Parliament for Kootenay West, Bert
Herridge did the honours at the opening.
Fortunate indeed that new cement pillars
supported the lakeside hall - for in 1961 Kootenay Lake
reached its highest ever level, and washed right under
the building. In 1912 the creek had passed to the south,
but a flood in the 1920s had changed its course, to 400
feet north of the hall. The first flood, along with the
danger of waves at high lake water, had seen a cribbing
put between the building and the lake - this all
disappeared in 1961. Construction of an upstream
Kootenay River dam at Libby, Montana in 1970 has
prevented the lake from rising so much again.
This encouraged beach improvement so Jim
Burge was hired to move boulders with his D6
Caterpillar bulldozer. These had been rolled down the
creek in springtime runoff so were rounded, and
difficult to pile as breakwaters. Since the mouth of
the creek is to the north, unfortunately, the beach
improvement is unable to catch any of the sand the
tumbling water brings to the lake as the prevailing
south wind moves it to the north, away from the hall.
In 1968 a
grassed   ^-TH^M^FE V^S?J50
area was
on the
by the
that Fred
in 1947.
The Gray Creek Hall is still in regular use and
is still being improved. In 2003, Longest resident and
most consistent supporter, John Oliver made a
generous cash contribution to a new project which
provided a terrace behind stone walls at the same level
as the building and with railings and wooden
benches. Future plans include converting a window
to a door to connect the terrace to the main hall.
Despite these changes, the Heritage Hall remains the
only pre 1914-18 war log community hall still well
maintained and used, left in Canada. •
Gray Creek Hall ledger 1912-60.
Gray Creek School Board minute
book and ledger.
"Floating Schools and Frozen
Inkwells" by Joan Adams and
Becky Thomas.
Sketch of the hall by
unknown artist showing
added kitchen at left and
stage at right.
15 Lost Nanaimo—taking back our past
by Dr.Jean Barman
This is an adapted
version of a talk
presented to the BC
Historical Federation
Annual Conference in
Nanaimo in May 2004
hosted by the
Nanaimo Historical
This version was first
published in the
Gabriola Historical
and Museum
Society's journal
SHALE and is
reproduced with
their permission.
PO Box 213, Gabriola, BC
In my general history of British Columbia,
written over ten years ago now, I noted briefly
the Hudson's Bay Company's (HBC's)
relocation of their coal mining operations from
Fort Rupert at the north end of Vancouver Island to
Nanaimo in November 1852.1 I then went on to
populate Nanaimo with the miners remaining from
the failed Fort Rupert enterprise, and with "some two
dozen others and their families brought out from
England" two years later on the Princess Royal.
There are twenty or so subsequent references
to Nanaimo in my book, all of which relate to the
mining economy, and to the coalminers' struggle for
better working conditions. This is of course a topic
that is very pertinent to the labour relations and
political climate in British Columbia today. What I had
done was to construct Nanaimo's history from a
modern perspective.
What I have since come to realize, and what I
want to explore here, is that the danger in this
approach is that we may lose some aspects of the past,
simply because they do not accord with our present-
day interests. I am increasingly convinced that we
need to take back the past as it was, not as we would
have it be. We need to learn to drive in two directions.
Most often we use our present-day understandings
as our vehicle for moving back in time. Far less often
do we head in the other direction by taking the past
on its own terms. When we do so, we are likely to
encounter a lot of diversions and perhaps some dead
ends. In other words, while the present leads rather
easily into the past, or rather into the particular past
toward which we choose to head, going from the
"actual" past to the present is a far more difficult
When we dare to take back the past on its own
terms, we may well discover, in the much repeated
opening lines of British writer Lesley P. Hartley's
novel The Go-Between, published in 1953, that "the past
is a foreign country, they do things differently [there]."
The history of Nanaimo, or for that matter of
any other community in British Columbia, is, I
suspect, not so neat and tidy as we would like, once
we examine it as it was rather than as we would have
it be. Looked at in this light, there are, I think, two
important aspects of Nanaimo's early history that may
have faded from view—an excess of tradition and the
erasure of diversity.
By an excess of tradition, I mean that the societal
values the Princess Royal families brought with them
from England were so firmly held that they became,
over time, more of a hindrance than a help to their
making their way in the new world. By erasure of
diversity, I mean that difference, particularly racial
difference, was much more present in Nanaimo than
the blip at the beginning it is usually made out to be.
Each of these two propositions—an excess of
tradition and the erasure of diversity—may sound
contentious, but please bear with me as I try to make
my case.
Early Nanaimo
Early Nanaimo is usually conceived, as I
summarized in The West beyond the West, as having
two stages. First the HBC; then the Princess Royal. As
Richard Mackie reminds us in his book, Trading beyond
the Mountains, by the middle of the century the HBC
had long since diversified away from furs—they were
"beyond the mere traffic in peltries."2
The HBC began mining coal at Fort Rupert in
1849 to supply Royal Navy ships plying the Pacific
coast. Three years later, mining operations were
moved to Nanaimo for a variety of reasons including
the higher quality of coal to be found there; disputes
with the northern Natives over who actually owned
the coal; and the HBC's inexperienced and inept
management of their first coal mining venture.
It is generally accepted that the people of
Nanaimo were from many different backgrounds up
until the arrival of the miners and their families on
the Princess Royal in November 1854. Aboriginal
people played a role in both the discovery of the coal
and its extraction in the early days. The first school
teacher, young Charles Bayley, recorded how, on his
arrival in 1853, "the population of Nanaimo or
Colville Town as it was named by the H.B.Co. was
about one hundred and twenty-five composed of
Whites, French Canadians, Iroquois, Kanakas
[Hawaiians], and half Breeds, a motley crowd."3
In this view of the past, written as we perhaps
would like to see it unfold from the perspective of
the present day, the Nanaimo Bayley evoked was
already giving way to another way of life on the model
we associate with settler societies. The only element
of diversity generally recognized as continuing was
Chinese miners. Discriminatory attitudes toward
them are well known, as is their material legacy in
Nanaimo's Chinatowns.
What was celebrated from Nanaimo's first
years, as is still proclaimed on the Nanaimo Museum
website, was the "birth of the first white girl,
Margaret" to the McGregors on March 16,1853, and then "the first white boy born in Nanaimo," Alexander
Dunsmuir, shortly after on June 2.4 These first white
children came from among the families who had
arrived on earlier vessels bringing white women, as
well as men, to this distant corner of North America.
The excess of tradition
The seminal moment for early Nanaimo is most
often considered to be the arrival in November 1854
of the Princess Royal. It was part of the agreement
made in 1849 between the HBC and the British
government that, in return for proprietorial rights to
Vancouver Island, the HBC would undertake to
establish a settlement of resident colonists. It was also
in the interests of the company to promote long-term
stability. Accordingly, the HBC recruited intact mining
families in Britain. Twenty-three men, twenty of them
with wives and over half with children, came on the
Princess Royal in 1854 to become, in the words of early
British Columbia's leading chroniclers G.P.V. and
Helen B. Akrigg, "the true founders of Nanaimo".5
While some of the arrivals briefly chased other
opportunities, in particular the riches to be had from
gold, none of them returned home. As one early
resident enthused, "not one of the passengers who
came out on the Princess Royal, and who were entitled
to a return passage, in terms of their engagement,
embraced the opportunity to go back."6
Rather, the Princess Royal contingent put their
backs to the task. Faced with Charles Bayley's "motley
crowd," they had to scramble for authority, and
perhaps for that reason may have scrambled doubly
hard to assert a way of life that was familiar to them
from their lives in England. As John Belshaw argues
in his recent book on Vancouver Island coalfields, "the
miners' identity as miners went beyond the business
of work and was something that the miners
themselves were engaged in fashioning."7 The priority
given to recruiting mining families of good character
almost ensured that they would seek to retain familiar
ways. They followed these ways so fully in their new
setting that tradition became a trap.
An excess of tradition had very real
consequences for the second and subsequent
generations. Thanks to Peggy Nicholls' meticulous
research on the Princess Royal families, it is possible
to get a fairly good sense of their priorities for their
offspring.8 It was assumed daughters would marry
young, and that sons would go to work even younger.
The forty-two daughters of the first generation
who can be followed into marriage in the Nanaimo
* 'f&
£*& x *
area wed between 12 and 27 years of age. Some of the
latter were held back by virtue of having, as said about
one of them, "to sew and to help care for the seven
babies that followed her".9 Even so, seven out of every
ten daughters were wed by the time they were 18
years old.
Sons followed their fathers into the pits. While
I do not have overall data, Peggy Nicholls' examples
argue that they did so at an early age, much as they
would have in England had they stayed there. The
Ganner family arrived with two sons, to quote from
the correspondence prior to their departure, "aged
respectively abt. 13 and 11 [who] have worked in the
mines for some two or three years".10 Similarly 10-
year-old John Hawkes went to work underground in
1863, coupling coal cars to be hauled by mules to the
sorting bins.11 His friend, John Meakin, was given the
same task a year later on reaching the age of ll,12 as
was George Sage in 1865 at the age of 10.13
Sam Thompson, who went to work in 1868, may
have begun at the even younger age of 9 because his
first job was to load coal cars for his father. Unlike the
others, who earned 75$ for an eight-hour day, Sam
recalled receiving only board and pocket money14
Because another Princess Royal son, George
Bevilockway, was considered a particularly good
student, his entry into the mines was delayed until
the age of 14 in 1871. He confirmed the worth of his
additional schooling by soon becoming an assistant
If sons went to work young, they did not
Nanaimo's Bastion
BC Archives photo B-02463 1 Jean Barman, The West beyond
the West: A History of British
Columbia, rev. ed., (Toronto:
University ofToronto Press, 1995)
2 Vancouver: University of British
Columbia (UBC) Press, 1997.
Chapter 9.
3 Charles Bayley, Early Life on
Vancouver Island, 6-7, typescript
in BC Archives (BCA), E/B/B34.2.
5 G.P.V. Akrigg and Helen B.
Akrigg, British Columbia
Chronicle 1847-1871, vol. 2,
p.78, (Vancouver: Discovery
Press, 1977) p.78.1 am grateful
to Barrie Humphrey for alerting
me to this reference.
6 Mark Bate, Closing Chapters of
History of Nanaimo, Nanaimo
Free Press (NFP), 18 May 1907.
7 John Belshaw, Colonization and
Community: The Vancouver
Island Coalfield and the Making
of the British Columbian Working
Class, (Montreal and kingston:
McGill-Queen's University Press,
2002), p.212.
8 Peggy Nicholls, From the Black
Country to Nanaimo 1854, 5
volumes, Nanaimo Historical
Society, 1991-95.
9 Amanda Meakin in Nicholls,
From the Black Country..., 5,1995.
10 Ganner family in Nicholls,
From the Black Country..., 4,
11 John Hawkes in Nicholls, From
the Black Country..., 3,1993.
12 John Meakin in Nicholls, From
the Black Country..., 5,1995.
13 George Sage in Nicholls, From
the Black Country..., 4,1994.
14 Samuel Thompson in Pearl C.
Reynolds, 60-Year-Old
Photograph Awakens Memories
of Early Nanaimo, Vancouver
Sun, 25, Magazine, March 25
necessarily immediately follow their sisters into
marriage. They tended to wait awhile. The twenty-
five sons who can be traced from the Princess Royal
contingent wed between 20 and 37 years of age. Only
half of them were married by their mid-20s.
Once ingrained, the force of tradition was hard
to break in Nanaimo. Attitudes toward schooling
make the case. The new province of British Columbia
created in 1871 was determined to give children
equality of opportunity by making education free and
non-denominational. Viewed from the perspective of
the present day, it seems almost taken for granted that
families would make use of the opportunity. When
we take the past seriously, on its own terms, we
quickly discover that this was not the case, certainly
not in a community like Nanaimo bound to the
traditions whence families came. The trap that
tradition became precluded Nanaimo offspring from
taking advantage of a public good intended to serve
all young British Columbians.
Nanaimo families' attitudes were evident from
early on. The first head of education in the province,
John Robson, noted how on the day he visited the
Nanaimo school in 1872, just 11 boys and 16 giris were
present whereas the community likely contained
about 175 children of school age. Numbers gradually
rose, but twice as fast for girls, and Robson noted
somewhat wryly two years later how "there are
probably as many boys as girls in the town."16
The adherence to tradition gave Nanaimo
children little motivation either to go to school or to
behave while there. Robson's report from the mid-
18708 read: "When the school was visited, the senior
classes in both departments were little advanced in
their studies. The boys were noisy and disorderly"17
Robson was well aware of the reason. "A disposition
on the part of many parents to send their children
into 'the pit' at an early age is exercising a prejudicial
influence on the rising generation by depriving them
of the advantages of free school education."18
Cases of "truancy" were especially high in
Nanaimo. In 1880-81, for example, 23 cases were
reported in the provincial capital of Victoria among
310 enrolled boys, whereas Nanaimo recorded 70
cases among 148 boys.19 The relative proportions were
one for every sixteen boys in Victoria; one for every
two boys in Nanaimo.
In 1876, written examinations were held for
admission into the new public high school established
in Victoria, the first in the province. Whereas 54 out
of 70 Victoria students who took the exam passed,
not one of the 26 who sat for it in Nanaimo did so.
The average score was 277 in Victoria, 139 in the other
principal city of New Westminster, just 53 in
Nanaimo.20 A year later no one from Nanaimo even
bothered to sit the high-school entrance examination.
The head of the provincial system again
despaired: "It is a difficult matter to raise and maintain
a high standard of attainment in the senior division
[of the elementary school in Nanaimo] in consequence
of pupils being withdrawn from school at a much
earlier age than they ought to be. Parents should not
under any consideration send their children into the
mines, or give them employment above ground, till
the before mentioned examination has been creditably
passed.21 Over time, some Nanaimo boys did sit for
the exam, but very rarely did the few who passed then
bother to go on to high school.22
In 1886, a high school finally opened in
Nanaimo itself. Attitudes toward it demonstrate the
full extent to which the traditions put in place by the
first generation still held firm. Just twelve pupils
enrolled. The problem lay, school authorities
explained, in many being "engaged in pursuits by
which they were enabled to support themselves or
assist their parents."23 In the late 1880s, growing
racism led to Chinese miners being prohibited from
working underground. The school inspector lamented
the consequence. "Owing to the exclusion of Chinese
from the mines, a great many of our boys left school
to fill their places, and consequently deprived us of
some of our best material."24 The high school by this
time contained 9 boys and 16 girls, whereas
Nanaimo's elementary schools enrolled 430 children.
The only change came from the outside in the
form of provincial regulations raising the entry age
for mining. The earliest restricted boys under 14 from
working underground except with special ministerial
permission. Only after the turn of the century were
boys under 14 completely banned from the pits. Even
then they could still do clerical work above ground.
A school official admonished Nanaimo parents at
length in 1893: "The great inducements held out to
boys of thirteen to fifteen years of age to work in the
coal mines naturally draws a large number from the
school every year, and place the senior divisions at a
great disadvantage. You will notice, by the list of
pupils, quite a number of the boys of the age above
mentioned have gone to work, thus carrying off the
material that should go to the High School."25
This excess of tradition had unintended
consequences. By the time Nanaimo parents realized
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 the value of schooling, the damage was done from
the perspective of provincial authorities. Helen Brown
has written about the enormous efforts made in
Nanaimo during the 1890s to improve the quality of
schooling, but by then no one much was listening.26
Provincial officials had despaired, among the
consequences being large class sizes. Nanaimo's
growth in population exacerbated the situation.
Fifty, sixty, and more pupils were crammed into
a single classroom. The only solution, the board
decided in 1899, lay in having "one half of these
divisions attend school in the morning and one half
in the afternoon."27 Near the end of the year, sixty
elementary children were moved into the high school
building, which was still being underused.28 By this
time some secondary education had become the norm
in urban areas of British Columbia, but not in
Peggy Nicholls suggests, astutely, that one of
the factors eventually moderating the situation would
be local teachers from Nanaimo, who understood the
familial and job pressures being put on students.29
The erasure of diversity
Not only an excess of tradition, but the erasure
of diversity were fundamental aspects of early
Nanaimo's history.
Virtually all of the men and women who put
themselves in charge of settler society on Vancouver
Island and across British Columbia shared similar
attitudes toward diversity. Seeing themselves as
white, and on that basis inherently superior, they
looked down on persons with darker skin tones.
Aboriginal people were to be disparaged, all others
who were perceived as less white belittled. If not
physically removed, they were at the least to be erased
from view.
This perspective comes through loud and clear
in the recollections of one of Nanaimo's most
prominent early residents, Mark Bate, who arrived
in 1857 at the age of 20 on a subsequent voyage of the
Princess Royal. Within a dozen years Bate was manager
of the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company,
which in 1862 bought out the Hudson's Bay Company.
As well as running the company employing most
Nanaimo residents, Bate was mayor for much of the
time between 1876 and the end of the century. His
reminiscences, published in 1907, provide one of the
most graphic portraits to survive of early Nanaimo.
They give us unusual insight into how the dominant
view of its history was constructed by the men who
had put themselves in charge.
Mark Bate's perspective on diversity has two
components. The first is his determination to reduce
the perceived contribution of the HBC employees who
had built Nanaimo, quite literally, into something of
little consequence. Exemplary is his view of Narcisse
Montigny an HBC employee who arrived in Nanaimo
in 1854 or 1855. According to Bate, "Montigny was
an Axeman who supplied the Poles for House
building, etc. etc. He was an uncouth, gruff, customer,
who used to have lively times with the Iroquois, and
others of his Tillicums. He left Nanaimo in 1858 for
Fort Hope."30 Bate's very visible sigh of relief that such
persons departed and could thereby be erased from
Nanaimo's history is even more evident in his
description of three Iroquois he names as Lazaar
Oreasta, Tomo Sakiowatti, and Louis Oteekorie who,
in his words, "left Nanaimo prior to the termination
of the Hudson's Bay Company's regime."31 While
acknowledging the contribution of the trio, and also
of their fellow Iroquois Tomo Aumtony to city
building, just as he did with French Canadians, he
emphasizes how Sakiowatti, for instance, was "a
rather wild, quarrelsome fellow" who "was often
mixed up with drunken carousals and brawls."32
Mark Bate took great pride how, in the first
census taken in February 1857, all of the 132 persons
counted as living in Nanaimo were English, Scotch,
and Irish, "excepting" 5 Iroquois, 2 each French
Canadians and Hawaiians, and 1 Norwegian.33
The second linked component of Bate's erasure
of diversity relates to his attitude toward Aboriginal
people. Bate sharply differentiated between men and
women among the "250 S'nenymos"34 who, according
to his calculations, lived in Nanaimo in the 1850s.
Aboriginal women Bate considered useful to
city building, noting, for instance, how "a number of
Indian women were employed carrying clay" to build
the dam running the first sawmill.35 Bate was
especially laudatory in his description of early work
processes. "Coal was conveyed in canoes for
shipment.. .thrown into a lighter made fast alongside
a vessel, thence hoisted or shoveled on board. In this
work of conveyance, the Indian women, as well as
the men were engaged—the former, as a rule, earning
the most wages, or goods."36
But Bate's recognition of Indian women went
only so far. As with his need to erase the HBC link, he
was determined to hide from view another aspect of
Nanaimo's early history. A long time gender
imbalance in the newcomer population across British
15 George Bevilockway in
Nicholls, From the Black
Country..., 3,1993.
16 Department of Education
(DoEd.), Annual Report 1874:17.
17 DoEd., Annual Report 1876: 94.
18 DoEd., Annual Report 1876: 94.
19 DoEd., Annual Report 1881:
20 DoEd., Annual Report 1876:
21 DoEd., Annual Report 1877:19.
22 DoEd., Annual Report 1885:
23 DoEd., Annual Report 1886:
24 DoEd., Annual Report 1888:
25 DoEd., Annual Report 1893:
26 Helen Brown, "Binaries,
Boundaries, and Hierarchies: The
Special Relations of City Schooling
in Nanaimo, British Columbia",
unpublished Ph.D. dissertation,
27 Nanaimo School Board,
Minutes, meeting of 2 September
1899, also 2 December 1899,
Nanaimo Archives (NA).
28 Nanaimo School Board,
Minutes, meeting of 28 December
1899, NA.
29 Peggy Nicholls, conversation
with the author, 7 May 2004.
30 Mark Bate, The Men Who
Helped to Build Nanaimo, NFP, 26
March 1907.
31 Mark Bate, The Men Who..., 1907.
32 Mark Bate, The Men Who...,
1907. To be fair to Bate, many of
his observations echoed those of
HBC officials, as caught in their
correspondence and journals.
Bate had possession of the
Nanaimo journal at the time he
penned his reminiscence. See
Foreward to Nanaimo Journal,
19 August 1855-March 1857, BCA,
A/C/20.1/N15.2; and Nanaimo
Correspondence, 1852-53, BCA,
33 Mark Bate, Closing
Chapters..., 1907.
34 Mark Bate, Reminiscences of
Early Nanaimo Days, NFP, 9
February 1907.
35 Mark Bate, The Men Who...,
36 Mark Bate, Mr. M. Bate,
Continues His Nanaimo
Reminiscences, NFP, 16 February
37 Mark Bate, Closing
Chapters..., 1907.
38 G.P.V. and Helen B. Akrigg,
British Columbia Chronicle...,
39 Mark Bate, Sketch of Geo.
Baker And Other Pioneers, NFP, 6
April 1907; also The History of
the Early Nanaimo Settlers, NFP,
4 May 1907.
40 Mark Bate, More Sketches of
old Time Nanaimoites, NFP, 13
April 1907.
41 Mark Bate, Sketch of Geo....,
Thr Prrh:ur :::■! :.:■..■ ^ K:-:.;ru rtonalmo, tf.
a couple
43 Mark Bate, The Men Who....,
44 Mark Bate, How Chase River
Came by Its Name, NFP, 30 March
45 Mark Bate, Closing
Chapters..., 1907.
women    and
men. The 1857
census        of
counted     58
males,        21
females, and 54
children. There
were, in other
words, 2 men
in the
population for
woman.37 The situation did not much change. In 1870
there were 395 newcomer men compared to 206
women, or twice as many men as women.38 Through
the end of the nineteenth century British Columbia
as a whole counted two to three newcomer men for
every newcomer woman.
Mark Bate, like most of his contemporaries,
would have none of this. The unions which numerous
men, in Nanaimo as elsewhere, formed with
Aboriginal women simply did not exist, from his
perspective. In his published recollections, Bate gave
wives to all but one of the Princess Royal contingent
and to four other men who came out on earlier vessels.
These women he described in glowing terms. They
were "faithful,"39 "a good mother, a good house
manager"40 "a kind-hearted, generous woman who
delighted in 'doing a good turn'".41 They were all
white women.
In sharp contrast, at least three Englishmen,
three from the Orkneys in northern Scotland, a
Welshman, a couple of French Canadians, and a
couple of Iroquois who Bate mentions at length, were
described as if they were wifeless when in reality they
had Aboriginal wives.42 Bate could be enormously
flattering about these men. He characterizes
Englishman William Sampson as building up "a
valuable Estate" on Saltspring Island, but as if he did
so all by himself.43 With James Stove from the Orkneys,
who remained in Nanaimo, Bate described how he,
"with much steady, persevering labour, made himself
a home there which is today, with its alluringly
pleasant surroundings, as pretty a spot as one could
wish for."44 Bate erased Stove's Aboriginal wife, just
as he did with the others.
The only person to get an acknowledgment
from Bate as having a family by an Aboriginal woman
was for the purpose of ridicule. A Welsh miner named
Thomas Jones is described as "a run-away military
man from Uncle Sam's domain" who died in 1864 and
"was father, by the way, of Azariah Jones, known in
town as the 'Dummy'".45
Bate effectively erased Aboriginal women from
the history of Nanaimo. They could not, almost by
definition, be faithful wives, or indeed wives at all.
What is absolutely clear is that the Nanaimo Mark
Bate and others erased did not disappear. Diversity
was, rather, lost from view in the determination of
the Princess Royal contingent and others to construct
the Nanaimo of their aspirations.
An early glimpse of the diversity that marked
Nanaimo comes from February 1860, when a Victoria
newspaper reported that an Aboriginal girl aged 12,
who had supposedly "already been the victim of a
white man's passions under the guise of keeping
house for him," was found dead in the home of a
Nanaimo man named Weston.46 Not only was she
discovered there, the article claimed that Weston's
"Indian woman" had been feeding the dead girl liquor
in order to secure her "possession" by another man.47
Bate recalled William Weston, almost certainly the
same man, only as "the village Constable, Nanaimo's
first 'bobby'".48 Clearly, Bate kept in contact with
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 Weston, for he described his death a couple of years
before Bate wrote in 1907.
Another glimpse comes from a decade and a
half later, December 1876, when the British Columbia
Reserve Commission visited the Nanaimo area to
confirm Indian reserves. As Cole Harris documents
in Making Native Space, the commission's principal
goal was to free up as much of the province as possible
for newcomer settlement.49 Thus, not unexpectedly,
the three commissioners first consulted with Mark
Bate in his dual capacities as mayor and manager of
the town's principal employer, the Vancouver Coal
Company. The commissioners next met with local
Indian chiefs, when, to quote from the commission's
report, "the evils of concubinage of their young
women with the white men around were specifically
pointed out."50
The commissioners almost certainly
admonished the Indian chiefs at Bate's request, given
no similar lecture was given to chiefs anywhere else
on Vancouver Island or on the lower mainland. In
other words, Bate was well aware of the diversity he
was determined to erase and sought, via the
commission, to persuade Aboriginal men to stamp it
out through prohibiting their daughters from taking
newcomer husbands.
We can also glimpse the erasure of diversity
from the perspective of the men themselves. For all
of the attempts to ridicule and discourage such
relationships, they persisted. The gender differential
within the newcomer population virtually ensured
that only some of the men at work in the mines would
find marital partners of similar backgrounds to
themselves. The relatively older ages at which Princess
Royal sons married than did their sisters testify to the
paucity of marriageable young women. Giris as young
as 12 were routinely courted, and sometimes
persuaded into wedlock.
Numerous men working in Nanaimo opted for
Aboriginal women. Hawaiians and Iroquois did so
as a matter of course, but so did at least four dozen
English, Scots, French Canadian, and others who, in
the language of the time, were white. The records of
Nanaimo's St. Paul's Anglican Church, Ebenezer
Methodist Church, and St. Peter's Catholic Church
make it possible to trace marriages, as do colonial and
provincial records. Because of their survival, we gain
an appreciation of how men did not so much seek to
prostitute women for the short term, as with the
Weston incident, but sought them out as life partners
through church-sanctioned marriages.
Some men persevered in Nanaimo, likely
repeatedly made conscious of the way in which they
had diverged from the accepted life course. As just
one example, 16-year-old Orkney Islander James
Malcolm was among the first group of prospective
miners brought to Fort Rupert in 1851 then transferred
to Nanaimo in November 1852. Within the year he
was living with a local Native woman named Emma.
Their first child together was born at precisely the
same time as the Dunsmuir son hailed even today as
the first "white" boy. The HBC's head at Nanaimo
informed his superior, James Douglas in July 1853:
"Two births have occurred in this Establishment since
the Cadboro sailed in the cases of Mrs. Dunsmuir and
the native wife of John Malcolm, labourer."51 James
Malcolm married Emma in Ebenezer Methodist
Church in 1861. The Malcolms' eight children suffered
the consequences of diversity, as with the Nanaimo
school teacher's equation in 1880 of the Malcolm sons'
behaviour with their skin tones. "The Malcolms are
half-breeds and it is more difficult to deal with them
as they are not looked after at home and they take the
other boys away from school with them."52 Given the
high rates of truancy in Nanaimo, it seems likely that
the Malcolm sons were only participating in a general
Numerous men responded imaginatively by
erasing themselves. From 1859 it was possible to take
up land on Vancouver Island and the nearby Gulf
Islands by marking out up to 160 acres, registering
the claim, taking up residence, and then paying a
relatively small sum once the land was surveyed.
While Nanaimo was given over to coal mining, nearby
islands beckoned, including Gabriola Island, just three
miles (five kilometres) away.
The men who settled Gabriola were certainly
not all from Nanaimo, nor did they all have Aboriginal
wives. But, at the same time, as June Lewis-Harrison
describes in her book, The People of Gabriola,53 and as I
detailed a couple of years ago in the Gabriola history
journal SHALE, a preponderance of early settlers fit
both categories.54 The first pre-emptor was Nanaimo
carpenter Alexander McFarlane in January 1863. He
was followed two months later by two and likely three
Nanaimo miners, Richard Chappel, Thomas Degnan,
and Thomas Jones, and over the next several years
by at least a dozen men who, like their predecessors,
had families by Aboriginal women. Some of these men
lived on Gabriola prior to taking up land, and
numerous of them commuted to work in Nanaimo
mines as they attempted to make their Gabriola
46 Information from Bruce
Watson's biographical dictionary
in process, used with permission.
47 To the Editor, Victoria
Gazette, 22 February 1860.
48 Mark Bate, Interesting Early
Nanaimo History, NFP, 11 May
49 UBC Press, 2002.
50 Alex C Anderson and Archibald
McKinlay, Report of the
proceedings of the Joint
Commission for the settlement
of the Indian Reserves in the
Province of British Columbia,
Victoria, 21 March 1877, in
Department of Indian Affairs, RG
10, vol. 3645, file 7936, C10113.
51 Joseph William McKay to
James Douglas, Nanaimo, July
17,1853, in Nanaimo
52 John Mundell, teacher at
Nanaimo, to CC. McKenzie,
Superintendent of Education,
Nanaimo, 18 March 1880, in BC
Superintendent of Education,
Inward Correspondence, BCARS,
53 Friesen & Sons, 1982.
54 Jean Barman, bland
sanctuaries-Early mixed race
settlement on Gabriola and
nearby coastal islands, SHALE 2,
5-14, March 2001.
55 See Jean Barman, The
Remarkable Adventures of
Portuguese Joe Silvey, Raincoast
Monographs 1 Madeira Park:
Harbour, 2004.
56 Jessop Diary, BCA, GR 1468, 8
October 1874.
57 Jessop Diary, 8 October 1874.
58 Jessop Diary, 23 March 1874.
59 Jessop Diary, 11 February 1878.
60 See Jean Barman, Maria
Mahoi of the Islands, New Star,
21 holdings self-supporting.
Other men with Aboriginal wives took other
courses of action. Saltspring Island attracted a larger
group of men with families by Aboriginal women,
including onetime Nanaimo resident Henry Sampson.
Other men sought out an island of their own. Joe
Silvey pre-empted smaller Reid Island north of
Saltspring. Although Portuguese Joe, as he was
known, never lived in Nanaimo, for him, as for many
other islanders, it was their market town. For many
years, Joe sold there the oil from dogfish he caught
for use in miners' lamps.55
By losing themselves from view, families on
islands gained greater opportunities to manage their
children's upbringing. In the case of Gabriola, parents
repeatedly made clear the value they attached to the
school. In 1874, the provincial head, John Jessop,
described how there were "thirteen children in
attendance, all half-breeds."56 The designation was
not, however, nearly as judgmental as it might have
been in Nanaimo, for the superintendent found much
to praise. "Second class reading & spelling very
good—All in first Reader last spring—First Reading
Class making fair improvement.. .Children orderly &
well behaved & making good progress."57 Jessop
enthused how "Parents also (in great contrast with
other districts) are much interested in the school and
careful to keep up the attendance."58 Unlike Nanaimo,
parents took control of the school to the extent of
complaining bitterly a few years later, about a teacher
who did not meet their expectations. As to the reason,
the superintendent noted how he "Heard complaints
of parents respecting the non-improvement of their
children."59 Gabriola parents saw in the school the best
possibility for their children to acquire skills
permitting them to negotiate their diversity.
a foreign country.
All of these actions become comprehensible
once we take the past on its own terms. An excess of
tradition caused Nanaimo families to lose sight of the
opportunities formal education might offer their
children. Families marked by diversity were both
erased by others and erased themselves.
The direction in which families headed,
whether in Nanaimo or on islands like Gabriola, did
not necessarily lead down a straight road to the
present day. As Helen Brown has so well
demonstrated, Nanaimo families had to work very
hard during and after the 1890s to join the educational
mainstream from the divergent path they had chosen
for themselves in earlier years. In similar fashion, it
was only as negative attitudes toward race moderated
in the dominant society in the later twentieth century
that families who hid themselves away on islands,
whether it be Gabriola, the Saltspring and Russell
Islands of Maria Mahoi,60 or the Reid Island of
Portuguese Joe Silvey, could comfortably take pride
in their distinctive identities.
By treating history, not as a reflection of
ourselves, but as a foreign country, we acquire a
greater appreciation of why it is that individuals acted
as they did. We need to learn to drive in two directions.
By doing so, we can take back the past on its own
terms to discover that, yes, they did do things
differently there. •
Lessons learned
The very different attitude of Gabriola and
Nanaimo families toward the principal state
institution of the day, the public school, makes little
sense so long as we persist in viewing the past from
the perspective of the present day. It is very hard to
understand why parents would not take advantage
of the opportunity for free education. Staying in
school a year or two longer would not have lost
Nanaimo daughters a husband, or sons a job in the
mines. It is equally difficult to comprehend why
parents on Gabriola erased themselves from view
rather than fighting for their rights, in line with
today's priorities. It does appear that, yes, the past is
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 The Sullivan Diamond Drill of Coal Creek
By Dirk Septer
t is not too often that one finds an antique drill
rig complete with all the drill steel, pumps, hand
tools, etc. totally undisturbed in a location not
too far from "civilisation."
Historical Background
The steam-powered Sullivan diamond drill was
found on a coal claim in the bush near Smithers at the
headwaters of the Zymoetz (Copper) River. Local
Native people had known about the existence of coal
in the area for many years but not until 1908 did J.
Ashman stake claims to two small seams 69,120 acres
(27,648 ha) on Coal Creek. The owners of the Ashman
Coal Mines Ltd. did little work on the claims because
of difficulties of access before the completion of the
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.
Until that railway arrived in 1914, access to the
property was by coastal steamer from Vancouver to
Prince Rupert then to Hazelton by riverboat up the
Skeena for some 180 mi. (288 km). From Hazelton, a
stagecoach took travellers up the Bulkley Valley to
Telkwa and Aldermere, the original townsite above
present day Telkwa at the confluence of the Bulkley
and Telkwa rivers. From Telkwa, the property could
be reached via a good horse trail. Passing on the south
side of Pine Hill along Pine Creek, the trail skirted
Hudson Bay Mountain and continued along the north
side of the Copper River to Coal Creek, then called
Chettleburgh Creek. The greatest elevation attained on
the trail was 3,000 ft. (900 m) on Silver Creek Flats just
beyond Aldrich Lake.
Around 1910, the Copper River Coal Syndicate,
with Frank B. Chettleburgh as superintendent,
acquired the property. This syndicate was a subsidiary
of the North American Security Company, of which
the National Finance Company ofVancouver was the
fiscal agent. By then, the original group of claims had
been reduced to 75 sections of one square mile each or
a total of about 48,000 ac. (12,000 ha). The 75 claims
shown on a map of Copper River Coal Company's
property marked "Map 1" and signed by Chettleburgh,
Hazelton, 1911, however, turned to be more like quarter
sections than full sections and a map, dated December
27,1912, shows that the number actually surveyed by
Cartwright, Matheson & Company of Vancouver
amounted to a trifle less than 15 sections. Nevertheless,
between 26 September and 10 October, 1912 Edward
Dinan, a mining engineer of Seattle, had examined the
property and estimated that an "exceedingly large
tonnage" of coal underlay it.1 This confirmed the
findings made a year earlier by the English firm of
Foster, Brown, and Rees whose engineer estimated
"that 15 million tons of coal lie in the neighbourhood
of Coal Creek and that 12 million tons could be mined
from seams already opened up."2
After the preliminary surface work of exposing
the different seams, the company prospected by drift-
tunnels. By 1912, exploration work, as far as tunnels
were concerned, had practically reached its limit so
drilling was used to test the amount of coal and the
continuity of the seams. This led to the discovery of a
total of five seams, all close together. The provincial
department of mines reported in 1914 that the deposits
were of a bituminous coal of coking quality and an
engineer had advised that it was a good steaming and
domestic coal. By using a by-product
oven, the coal would produce a good
metallurgical and commercial coke of
highest grade, good density, structurally
strong and exceedingly low in sulphur.3
The coal was of such quality that in 1913
samples from the Coal Creek claims won
the special silver cup for the best exhibit
of commercial coal at the Prince Rupert
In the fall of 1913, a Mr. Rice of the
firm Messrs. Robert W. Hunt &
Company, Engineers of Pittsburgh and
Chicago, "a firm of such wide reputation
that this report is of more than usual
interest", examined the area.5 He
believed the property was:
an exceedingly promising one inasmuch as the quality of
the Coal is exceedingly good, the mining conditions are
excellent, the area of the probable coal bearing territory
is large, and there only remains the proving of the coal to
depth by Diamond Drilling in order to justify the
expenditure of building a transportation line into the
property   and   the   development   of   the   same.6
There was talk of constructing a branch line from
the recently completed Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
at Telkwa; in the meantime, a 40-mi. (64 km) long sleigh
road from Telkwa was built. During the winter of 1914-
15, 30 tons of diamond drilling equipment, including
a diamond drill outfit, a big steam boiler and other
machinery and oil were hauled in over the snow
covered rough road.7 However, all work stopped in
1914 when the National Finance Company, fiscal agent
for the North American Securities Company, went into
liquidation.8 The drill was never used. For several years
it remained at a place 0.75 mi. (1.2 km) northwest of
the workings on Coal Creek, the planned location for
the first drill hole.
By 1920, the property was downscaled to 20
Whenever the author
is not looking for
abandoned steam
drills, he writes
specialising in
aviation history.
Part of the collapsed
Sullivan drill, July
Author photo
23 1 Robert W. Hunt 6 Company,
Report on Copper River Coal
Property, October 29,1913;
2 Copper River Coal Company's
Property section description by
Foster, Brown, and Rees 1911.
3 British Columbia, Minister of
Mines, Annual Report,1914
(Victoria: King's Printer, 1915),
K207-13; Coal Areas of the
Headwaters of Zymoetz River,
Coal Creek 13(1)A p. 3; The
estimated amount of by-products
from the coal would be
approximately 18 pounds of
ammonia sulphate, 8 gallons of
coal tar and some 7,500 cubic
feet of gas per ton. (Report on
Copper River Coal by Robert W.
Hunt & Co. December 2,1913).
4 The Omineca Miner, 4 October
5 Coal Areas of the Headwaters
of the Zymoetz River, Coal Creek
13(1 )A p. 1; Minister of Mines,
Annual Report, 1914, K110.
6 Robert W. Hunt & Company,
Report on Copper River Coal
Property, October 29,1913.
7 Smithers Bulletin of Progress,
January 27,1914;Minister of
Mines, Annual Report, 1915,
8 Report on Copper River Coal by
Thos. Falcon. December 5,1914
for The Yorkshire Guarantee &
Securities Corp. Ltd.; Minister of
Mines, Annual Report, 1918,
F122. Falcon described the
Copper River coal property for
the liquidator.
9 Minister of Mines, Annual
Report,. 1923, N111-12.
10 Minister of Mines, Annual
Report, 1928. C185.
11 Until 1932 British Pacific
Industries Ltd. of London,
England with Mr. R. Hutton as
their Director held the property.
12 Will Tompson to W.H. McRae,
September 27,1997.
13BCDM, GEM, 1970. Geology,
Exploration, and Mining, 1970,530.
14 Apparently, in Sudbury, Ont.
the Inco mining company has a
similar drill restored.
sections, or 2,243 ac. (897.2 ha). At the end of 1920, A.C.
Garde obtained an option on the property from the
liquidators on condition that diamond drilling start in
the spring of 1921. The drill was found to be in good
order and the Robinson Diamond Drilling Company
Ltd. of Vancouver started drilling in the summer of
1922. Though the drill was fitted to go to a depth of
2,000 ft. (600 m), three holes were drilled only to a depth
of 832,863 and 823 ft. (250,259 and 247 m), respectively.
The results were satisfactory as in two of the holes, four
coal seams were found in much of the same relative
positions as indicated by the outcrops in Chettleburgh
(Coal) Creek. The third hole only showed one coal
seam, but this was probably because bad weather
necessitated stopping the drilling before it reached the
other seams.9
At this last location (drill hole #3) the drill,
steamboiler and other equipment were left abandoned.
According to the Reports of the Minister of Mines for
1926,1927, and 1928, Chettleburgh did some work on
the property but, for unknown reasons, no more
drilling was done after the summer of 1922. In 1928,
on behalf of British Pacific Industries, Ltd., a company
incorporated in England, Frank S. Taggart acquired an
option on the Zymoetz River coalfield from the
Yorkshire and Pacific Trust Company10 During the
summer of 1929, a forest fire swept through the area,
put the diamond drill out of commission, and burned
down the camp buildings at Camp Flats.11
Given that loss, the Depression, and the war little
was heard of this coal field. As late as 1946 Chettleburgh
was still trying to raise interest in it. That year, G.A.W
Hepburn of London, England made an unsuccessful
attempt to promote the property. Intermittent
exploration for coal continued. In 1956, Lloyd Gething,
who later operated the Bulkley Valley Collieries Ltd.
near Telkwa, hiked into the property, as the old road
had been washed out. He packed out some 80 pounds
(36 kg) of samples that turned out to be a relatively
good quality coking coal. Gething also took out some
coal powder to obtain some "fresh" coal but no
developments followed. Then, about 1966, coking coal
was in demand. After reading in the Minister of Mines
Annual Reports about Coal Creek, Smithers-based
geologist Will Tompson applied for the coal licences
there. A Victoria resident, Hugh Weydert, who read
that application in the B.C. Gazette, informed Tompson
that his friend Chettleburgh, now deceased, had given
him many of the original reports and data on the
deposits and work done on the property between 1914
and 1922. Tompson thus acquired all the files, reports
and maps for the Coal Creek property.
As the Ministry of Mines reports said that the
drill had not been taken out, Tompson and his
prospecting partner the late Glen Huck of Vanderhoof
went looking for it. Following a sort of a trail where
the trees had all been cut over a width of about 6 metres,
they walked right into the drill. They visited the site
two or three more times in 1968 and 1969, one time
with Huck's son Gene and at least once with Japanese
geologists from Marubeni and possibly another
company. Yet, when Tompson took Crows Nest
Resources' geologists there in the early to mid 1970s,
he had a "hell of a time" finding the place.12 After
forming a partnership with two other people,
Tompson's new company did some drilling.
Unfortunately, the driller put the holes in the wrong
spot, and drilled at the wrong angle.
Around 1970, Kaiser Resources Ltd. took an
option from its owner, Western Coal & Coke Ltd. and
worked the claims, now down to thirteen. The Kaiser
firm also did additional exploration including
geological mapping, and stripping, fourteen thousand
ft. (4.2 km) of trenching of the seams and the
construction of 6 mi. (9.6 km) of access road from Coal
Creek to McDonnell Lake. Only two of the seams were
considered economic. The lower one varied from 6 to
16 feet (1.8-4.8 m) thick, and the upper seam averaged
about 6 ft. (1.8 m) thick. The work indicated that the
seams might be continuous under an area 2,200 by 1,500
ft. (660 x 450 m), containing a possible reserve of some
1,492,000 tons. The area under which coal seams could
occur was now said to be not more than 2 square
miles.13 During the 1985 Zymoetz River exploration
program, Crows Nest drilled a few diamond drill holes
on the claim on which the old drill was found and an
adjacent claim. It also apparently bulldozed all the
original 1910-1914 vintage adits. Having walked the
full length of Coal Creek from its mouth to its
headwaters at Louise Lake, I have not found any trace
of the several old adits.
Recovery & Restoration
In 1987, Tompson pointed out the rough location
of the drill site. Following his instructions, in July 1987,
I located the drill rig at the edge of a small swamp,
totally overgrown by thick alder brush. Due to the fire,
the timbers on the drill set had burned and the drill
fell over on its side. Though collapsed, it was still in
fairly good condition. Due to its remote location, the
access road along the Copper River having been
washed out for many years, and being invisible from
the air, the site had virtually been undisturbed. Even
all the small hand tools, such as wrenches etc. were
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 still in place. Some small artefacts, including a peavey
wrench, pulley, coupling wrench and a pipe threader
were packed out along the narrow, washed out trail
along the Copper River.
A few days after locating the equipment, the site
was visited again, but this time by helicopter. Dave
Lefebure, then Regional Geologist with the provincial
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
and Rod Kirkham, a geologist with the Geological
Survey of Canada, were interested in visiting the site.
Kirkham especially wanted to see the old drill, as more
than 10 years earlier he had worked in the area without
seeing it. Even though I knew its exact location, it was
still hard to spot it from the air. After visiting the site,
we flew some heavier items, including a Canadian
Fairbanks water pump and a large size pulley back to
Smithers. A few months later, the site of the original
mining camp on Camp Flats along Coal Creek was
located and two sections of drill steel were recovered
and packed out. Other artefacts, including a four-
legged portable forge made by the Canadian Buffalo
Forge Company in Montreal, were sorted and piled.
In August 1987, as one of the Directors of the
Morice-Bulkley Heritage Museum Society of Houston,
I obtained the salvage rights to the drilling equipment
from Crows Nest Resources, who held the claims. The
plan was to bring out the complete drill unit and
rebuild it at the future site of the outdoor museum
planned in the Bulkley Valley. Plans to build a forestry
access road into the area and a bridge right at Camp
flats gave some urgency to the removal of the small
equipment. The next August, I hiked into the site at
Camp Flats to clear a small helipad on the flat narrow
bench along Coal Creek and packed out some more
artefacts from the site of drill hole No. 3. Due to time
and money restrictions, and the urgency to guarantee
the complete and safe removal of all equipment and
its subsequent restoration, the ownership of the
equipment was assigned to J.T. Thomas Diamond
Drilling of Smithers. This company agreed to pay the
estimated $10-15,000 cost of helicopter and ground
transportation and restoration and planned to display
the restored drill in front of its Smithers office where
the public could see it.14
In October 1988, the equipment from Camp Flats
was slung out, using a helicopter belonging to J.T.
Thomas. However, the drill and related equipment
remained in the bush even after a bridge was built over
Coal Creek and logging operations started in the
immediate area. A dispute had arisen about the
ownership of the drill equipment. Early in 1991, Lloyd
Gething, unaware that his museum society had signed
over the rights to the drill to J.T. Thomas, applied for
the drill on behalf of the Morice-Bulkley Heritage
Museum Society which planned to establish an outdoor
museum of large equipment used in mining,
railroading, forestry and agriculture in Houston. In the
early stages of constructing its site, however, the society
ran into trouble with the Workers' Compensation Board
and the resulting heavy fine put its future on indefinite
hold. Since the Morice-Bulkley Heritage Museum
Society had earlier signed over the ownership of the
drill to J.T. Thomas, the drilling company seemed to
own it. However, Crows Nest Resources did not know
that, despite having the coal leases, they never owned
the drill so could not have given the salvage rights to
the museum. In other words, the province of British
Columbia, through its Ministry of Energy, Mines and
Petroleum Resources, still owned the drill. In August
1991, the late W C. "Lefty" Gardiner, a long- time
Smithers resident and former guide outfitter in the Coal
Creek area, asked the Ministry if he could purchase
the drill for $50. Gardiner said that one of his hunters
found the drill in the early 1960s. In August 1992, based
on my 1987 letter to Crows Nest, B.H. Good, District
Inspector for the Mines Ministry assigned ownership
to the Bulkley Valley Historical and Museum Society
which, because of Tomson's donation in 1990, already
possessed the original files relating to Coal Creek and
many coal properties elsewhere in British Columbia.
With a logging road passing within 200-300 m
from the drill, it became urgent to move the drill and
the related artefacts. But, as often is the case with not
for profit societies, lack of
funding prevented the
Smithers museum from
moving the equipment.
Finally in the summer of
1994, the drill was
recovered from the bush
and put in safe storage
near Smithers. Dave
Chapman and Bob
Storey donated their
time and the use of a
low-bed and a skidder
with backhoe attachment to bring the heavy equipment
out. The next and bigger step will be restoring the drill
and finding a site to put it on public display. •
Portal No. 3 seam 210 ft.
photo courtesy Will Tompson
Pack train arriving at
Camp Flats, August 1922
photo courtesy Will Tompson
25 Chala-oo-chick Revisited
By Kent Sedgwick
I was pleased that Peter Trower managed to
utilize Yvonne Klan's notes to write a very
interesting story of the original Fort George
(British Columbia History 38.2). Yvonne contacted
me before the BCHF conference at Prince George in
2003 and I was able to guide her and Peter to the site
of Chala-oo-chick. I knew where I was going because
I had previously visited the mouth of the Chilako
(Mud) River where it enters the Nechako River,
looking for a Grand Trunk Pacific Railway station
called "Chilako " (demolished decades ago). Also at
the mouth of the Chilako is Indian Reserve #4 of the
Fort George band (Lheidli-T'enneh First Nation)
which encompasses the site of Chala-oo-chick.
The reserve was defined as a "fishing reserve"
in 1892 by Indian Reserve Commissioner Peter
O'Reilly and surveyed in 1894 by F.A. Devereux. The
reserve of 115 acres is on the east side of the Chilako
River where it enters the Nechako. The reserve
included a portion of the Stoney Creek trail which
connecting Fort George (Prince George) with the
Stoney Creek reserve south of Vanderhoof, and a ford
where the trail crossed the Chilako. The railway line
was constructed through the reserve in 1913 with a
major bridge over the Chilako River just above the
mouth. In 1914, a provincial Royal Commission on
Indian Affairs noted that there were two native
families living in tents at Chala-oo-chick because it
was chiefly a fishing station. They were also growing
potatoes and vegetables.
The term Chala-oo-chick seems to have been
short-lived. Daniel Harmon, a fur-trader based at Fort
St. James from 1810-19 refers to a number of locations
in his journal but not Chala-oo-chick, or Fort George
for that matter. William Connolly, travelling with the
Columbia brigade in 1826, refers only to the "rapids
of Chala-oo-chicks". No travellers on the Nechako
after Connolly use the name, nor was it noted on
Morice's map. By the time the reserve was surveyed
in 1894, the name Sa-la-quo was applied, the same
name appearing on some current topographic maps.
The reason why McDougall built at Chala-oo-
chick rather than at "the Forks" of the Nechako and
Fraser rivers, as instructed, is quite a puzzle. The
answer may be suggested by Yvonne's notes (she
provided me with a copy) on Chala-oo-chick. A single
sentence states that in September 1820 an employee
named Fleming was sent to Chala-oo-chick to meet
with some Iroquois trappers sent out by the Hudson's
Bay Co. Another source, quoting Colin Robertson's
Correspondence Book, states that in January 1820, Ignace
Giasson and six Iroquois were sent from the Peace
River country into New Caledonia "to open an
intercourse with the natives...". Possibly, even
probably, these were the Iroquois Fleming was to
contact. When McDougall was sent to build the post
in October 1820 at the Forks, perhaps he thought it
would be better to build at Chala-oo-chick to offset
the influence of these traders from the rival HBCo.
The final background to the Chala-oo-chick/
Fort George story begins when Yale finally completed
the new Fort George at the Forks in the first half of
1823. In August of that year, two of his men were
killed by natives while Yale was absent in Fort St.
James. After Yale returned and found the murders,
The Old HiiJ-.mii Riy Fori   Fort Gcor-r. H C.
he was moved on to another assignment and the post
(now HBCo after the merger with the NWCo) was
closed in 1824. It was re-opened in 1829 and there was
a HBCo presence in Fort George until 1915. That store
was again closed and only in 1948 did the company
build a large new store in Prince George, a business
which has continued until the present day. •
The "old Hudson's Bay
Fort George, B.C."
BC Archives photo B00337
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 Token History
Armour & Kennedy, of Cranbrook, B.C. /Armour, of Cranbrook, B.C.     By Ronald Greene
Cranbrook today is one of the leading cities
in the South East Kootenays, in British
Columbia. It was established in 1898 when
the railway decided not to run a line into
Fort Steele. Rather quickly it supplanted Fort Steele
as the centre of the region. The City of Cranbrook was
incorporated in 1905 and one hundred years later it
has a population of about 18,500 and services a region
of about 34,000 people.
John Egan Kennedy, who arrived on December
1,1897/ was one of the earliest residents, driving a
four-horse team during the railway construction
days.2 He was the son of Patrick Kennedy and Jane
Egan Kennedy, born in Chapeau, Quebec, August 26,
1874 and grew up in Mattawa, Ontario.3 He started
working in sawmills, but by the age of nineteen he
was railroading, an occupation he followed for some
fifteen years. In 1900 when he signed up for
Strathcona's Horse he was a brakeman. His unit went
to South Africa and fought in the Boer War.4 Kennedy
remained in South Africa until May 1901, receiving a
medal and four bars. Returning to civilian life
Kennedy resumed his railway work, but in 1902, while
yard foreman at Crookston, Minnesota, he lost a leg
in an accident. Unable to continue in his previous
occupation, he moved into the accounting department
of the Crow's Nest Pass division of the Canadian
Pacific Railway Company, residing at Cranbrook. In
1904 Kennedy married Mary Ethel Pearl Fanning.5 In
1909 Kennedy left the railway to work as a bookkeeper with P. Burns and Company in their
Lethbridge, Alberta office. He stayed with Burns for
fifteen months, then worked for six months with the
City Cartage Company, also in Lethbridge. At this
time he was the secretary of the Lethbridge Business
Men's Protective Association. He was also said to be
active in the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, and
was the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus.
In 1911, John E. Kennedy purchased the
Brunswick Bowling Alleys and Pool Room in
Cranbrook in partnership with John Armour.
Unfortunately there were no earlier mentions of this
establishment in the Cranbrook Herald so we know
neither when it was established, nor who ran it
previously. An August 1911 report states, "The large
billiard parlors, known as The Club, conducted by
Messrs Kennedy and Armour, have been found
inadequate to meet the requirements of their patrons.
This week the proprietors had the rooms enlarged
preparatory to installing two additional billiard
tables." 6
In July 1908 John Armour was mentioned,
running the Cranbrook Employment Agency.7 The
next month he took over the bill boards and business
of A. Grenier, the Cranbrook Bill Posting Company.
In 1909 Armour advertised as Real Estate and
Employment Agent. He sold the bill posting business
in April 1910, and in June of that year he placed an ad
for McKinstry & Armour, sole agents for B.C. for the
Automatic Vacuum Cleaner.8 Mr. Armour seems to
have been willing to put his hand to anything, which
in the time and place was typical of many as there
could be insufficient business in any one field to make
a living. The following quote provides a few more
details about Mr. Armour and his activities:
"On last Saturday morning the Cosmopolitan hotel
changed hands, Mr. A.D. Cameron disposing of his interests
to J.F. Campbell and John Armour. ...The new proprietors
are well known business men of the city, Mr. Campbell
just retiring from the firm of Campbell and Manning to
take the active management of the hotel. Mr. John Armour,
of the firm of Armour and Kennedy, has been in Cranbrook
for the past six years. He first started an employment
agency, later engaging in the pool room business, in which
he became associated with Mr. Kennedy. He continues in
this business and will devote much of his time to real
estate, in which he is heavily interested."'
The only hint of John Armour's life before he
arrived in Cranbrook at age 29 is the May 1913
mention that he received a cable from Berlin, Germany
announcing the sudden death of his sister. Does this
indicate that he came from Germany? Unfortunately
we won't know more until the 1911 Canada Census
is released.
John E. Kennedy was elected as a Cranbrook
alderman in January 1913. He was politically active,
a Liberal according to the Howay & Scholefield
biography, but he did not run for re-election in 1914.
In July 1913 he purchased the Brunswick Bowling
Alleys,10 an operation which had been opened in
February the previous year by T Horten Campbell
with four bowling alleys, a spacious billiard and pool
parlour and a cigar and tobacco stand.11 Subsequently
D.D. McLaws had become a partner, then the sole
In 1915 the partnership of Armour & Kennedy
added a fruit stand in their store at the corner of Van
Horne and Baker streets12 but the newspaper is
strangely silent about either partner or the business
for the next three years. This is frustrating because of
the lack of any comment regarding the termination
of the partnership. However, John Armour was
occasionally noted as travelling quite extensively in
1 Cranbrook Courier, September
16,1926, p. 12, "Old-Timers will
shortly organize..." Kennedy was
listed as the fourth in seniority by
arrival date, on December 1,1897.
2 Cranbrook Courier, September
27,1945, p. 1
3 Howay £t Scholefield, British
Columbia From the Earliest Times
to the Present, S.J. Clarke
Publishing, Vancouver, Winnipeg,
Montreal and Chicago, 1913-1914.
4 Volumes of which volumes III and
IV are biographical. Vol. IV, pp
1274-1275. gives a synopsis of
Kennedy's career to 1914.
4 Cranbrook Herald, February 8,
1900, p. 1
5 Register of Vital Events,
Marriage 1904-09-162685,
microfilm B11386, October 19,
6 Cranbrook Herald, August 3,
1911, p. 5
7 In the Cranbrook Herald, March
20,1913, p. 5 where he is
mentioned as taking over the
Cosmopolitan Hotel with J.F.
Campbell, it is stated that he had
been in Cranbrook for the past six
years. He was listed in the civic
voter's list for 1908 published in
the Cranbrook Herald January 2,
1908, p. 2, which is the earliest
reference we have found to him.
8 Cranbrook Herald, July 30,
1908, p. 1; August 6,1908, p. 5;
June 10,1909, p. 3; June 9,1910,
p. 6
4 Cranbrook Herald, March 20,
1913, p.2
5 Cranbrook Herald, July 10,
1913, p. 1
6 Cranbrook Herald, Feb. 22,
1912, p.4
7 Cranbrook Herald, July 1,1915,
p. 3 and July 15,1915, p. 3
8 Cranbrook Courier, August 19,
1926, p. 1
27 9 Register of Vital Events, Death
1945-09-669284, microfilm
B13188, September 26,1945
10 Cranbrook Herald, Sept. 16,
1920, p. 1
11 Cranbrook Herald, Dec. 9,
1920, p. 1 and Dec. 16,1920, p. 1
12 Cranbrook Herald, July 14,
1921, p. 1
13 Cranbrook Courier, August 19,
1926, p. 1
14 Register ofVital Events, Death
1945-09-669284, microfilm
B13188, September 26,1945
15 Cranbrook Herald, Sept. 16,
1920, p. 1
16 Cranbrook Herald, Dec. 9,
1920, p. 1 and Dec. 16,1920, p. 1
17 Cranbrook Herald, July 14,
1921, p. 1
18 Queens Park Cemetery, lot
110, block 16, section 16. His
dates are recorded as 1884 to
British Columbia and Alberta. The last
mention of the partnership of
Armour & Kennedy was January
20,1916 when, "John Armour of
the firm of Armour & Kennedy
spent Monday and Tuesday in
Wardner on business." The
Liberal party had swept to
provincial power in September
1916   after   a   decade   of
Conservative government and
may have made a clean sweep of
their appointments, which in those
days were patronage positions. By 1917
Kennedy had been appointed to the
position of homestead inspector.
He was promoted to the office
of the mining recorder in 1918
and was placed in charge of
the government
employment office in
1922. In 1926 he became
the Government Agent for
Cranbrook.13 John
Kennedy passed  away
September 26,1945 at the age
of 71.14 He was predeceased by
one son and survived by his
widow, two sons, Ernest and Patrick,
and a daughter, Pearl.
After his partnership with Kennedy ended,
John Armour continued to run the billiard and pool
parlour on his own. In 1919 between April and early
June a few advertisements appeared for the Willy-
Overland cars, J. Armour, Agent, or for John Armour,
Dealer, but this appears to have been less than
successful as there was no further mention of the
Overland car agency in Cranbrook. In September 1920
Armour's pool room was raided for gambling, but
he was away and had left the business in the hands
of Ernie Dalberg.15 Two months later armed men broke
into the pool room and relieved the card players of
some $60. One shot was fired in the incident. The
robbers, Pete Zalinski and Travers Roy Rath well, were
arrested later that day, pleaded guilty and were
sentenced within the week to seven years and five
years respectively16
In July 1921 a new hardware business opened,
"in the Lester Clapp store building formerly occupied
by Armour & Co.",17 which probably indicates that
the business had been closed. A couple of mentions
of a John Armour, Ltd. listed as "aerated waters and
liquor export" indicate that he might have gotten into
that field, except that there is no record of a John
Armour, Ltd., ever being registered in British
Columbia. After a trip of several months in early 1922
spent in Ireland, England and Europe, John Armour
appears to have become involved in the newest craze
- oil leases. By 1924 he was living in Lacombe, Alberta,
picking up oil leases. He subsequently moved to
Calgary where from 1926 until 1928 he was in
partnership with John Roberts, a former Cranbrook
policeman, as oil brokers. He continued on his own
as a broker for a number of years. He died in Calgary
in 1959 and is buried in Queens Park Cemetery18 In
his years in Calgary he lived in the Y.M.C.A. and
several different hotels, which would indicate that he
was a bachelor. There was no obituary published in
the Calgary Herald.
Both tokens are brass. The Armour token
measures 25 mm in diameter, while the Armour &
Kennedy token measures 21 mm in diameter.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 The Moti Prize
Local History Writng Competion for Elementary Students
History of Pride and
Abbotsford Sikh Temple National
Historic Site
Sikhs came to British Columbia between 1904 -
1914, the majority arriving during the 1906-1908
period. The first phase of settlement was one of great
difficulties for Sikh immigrants to British Columbia.
The immigrants faced many obstacles. The
government did not let the men bring their wives and
children over. Employers at sawmills sometimes
discriminated against Sikh workers. The Sikhs were
forced to live as single men in groups in bunk houses
provided by mill owners due to the fact that female
immigration was not permitted.
The Abbotsford Sikh Temple was constructed
in 1911. The one acre located on a famous peak outside
the village, was purchased by Sunder Singh who
donated it to the local branch of the Khalsa Diwan
Society. Hari Singh Malik, another worker in the
Abbotsford Timber and Trading Company Mill
donated $3600; the Abbotsford Lumber Company
donated lumber and Sikh employees carried it by
hand to the building site on South Fraser Way in
Abbotsford. They carried the lumber on their
shoulders and on their backs from the saw mill at Mill
Lake more than 90 years ago. As was traditional, the
temple was built on a high piece of ground
overlooking the community.
With an increasing success and removal of
immigration limits, the Sikh population has grown
rapidly during the past decade, which has been
reflected in the opening of a succession of temples in
new communities and replacement of existing ones
with larger buildings. As a result, all temples from
the initial period with the exception of the Abbotsford
building have been demolished and replaced.
Although it wasn't the first temple to be built,
the Abbotsford temple is the oldest standing temple
in North America. On July 31, 2002 the early
immigrants' struggles, tears, and hard work were
honoured as what they built with their own hands
was officially selected as a National Historic site by
Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
"The Abbotsford Sikh Temple is a simple
building. A humble building." he told the crowd,
"This is a gift from our Sikh pioneers; it is our duty to
care for it. It is our duty to learn its lessons."
Shelia Copps, the Heritage Minister and
Minister of Human Resources Herb Dhaliwal were
also in attendance.
The Abbotsford Sikh Temple National Historic
Museum will be governed by the Board of Directors,
of the Abbotsford Khalsa Diwan Society. They will
run it, repair it, fix it, and construct a museum and
run cultural programs. They are fundraising for the
The mission of the Abbotsford Sikh Temple
National Historic Museum will be to promote and
advance the knowledge and appreciation of the Sikh
faith and Punjabi culture. Also to celebrate its
contribution to British Columbia's and Canada's
multicultural mosaic.
The day was very emotional for the Sikhs as it
brought back memories of the racism they suffered
over the years. Until 1947, Sikhs were not allowed to
vote nor were they allowed to bring their wives and
children over, they suffered from painful and harmful
policies. The older age group experienced a lot of
racism. The walls they climbed are being chipped
away and today a big wall has come down. Many who
worked hard to build the temple are now dead and
are not here to see that the temple has become a
National Historic Site. It has come a long way.
This was also the first time in history that a Sikh
temple in Canada was designated a National
Historical Site. •
This article by Marina Sidhu, a Grade
5 student at Dasmesh Punjabi School
in Abbotsford, was the runner up in
our first competition.
Moti our mascot c. 1920s
Editor's collection
Our new annual
competition for
elementary students
writing on local
The rules are simple:
the competition is
open to elementary
school students in BC;
the submissions must
be on local history;
the editor of this
journal is the judge;
entries must be
submitted by May 1st
of each year; and the
winner may be
published in British
Columbia History.
The prize will be small
- $50 to the winner
and a subscription to
BC History for the
school library.
29 Book Reviews
Bowen Island Reflections.
Edythe Anstey Hanen. Bowen Island Historians, 2004. 160
p., illus., maps. $39.95. Available from Bowen Island
Historians, 1014 Millers Road, PO Box 97, Bowen Island,
Since their emergence in 1967, the
Bowen Island Historians have laboured
heroically under the conviction that there is
no detail of Bowen's past that anyone would
want to forget - and with the triumphant
publication of the new book Bowen Island
Reflections, they have made their most
compelling case yet.
The book is a treasure. Or, perhaps
more accurately, the historians recognized
that they were already sitting on a treasure
- hundreds of photographs that recorded all
that is wonderful in Bowen's black-and-
white past. Now, with this elegant coffee-
table publication, they have found a way to
share that treasure around.
Bowen Island Reflections can be
described as a 160-page, 12-by-9 inch picture
book, bolstered by a highly readable
accounting of Bowen's history between 1874
and 1958 - but that doesn't nearly do it
The book is a carefully constructed
love affair. The photos, painstakingly
preserved, have been even more carefully
presented. From the earliest visions of
sinewy loggers working in the dappled
sunlight to the Cecil B. DeMille scenes of
high-tone holidaymakers streaming off the
steamer Bowena, the book's designers
(Bowen's Allen de la Plante, with David
O'Malley and Jay Duprau) have crafted the
perfect settings. One particularly welcome
innovation is a map and guide setting out
the locations from which major photos were
shot. It sets the whole work into a perfectly
recognizable context.
The text is equally charming. Edythe
Anstey Hanen (Edie, surely), with help from
Barbara Murray and editing assistance from
Audrey Grescoe, sets out more than a dry
history. This is, quite literally, a warm
contemplation on the old neighbourhood
and the neighbours who have given it
colour. From the earliest European settlers,
through Bowen's halcyon days as a summer
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
resort, to the development of the distinct
neighbourhoods we recognize today, Edie
shares the news on the whole, still-intimate,
Broadcaster and raconteur Jim
Kearney provided a final touch with wry
and witty captions for most of the photos. A
nice example was, "Beauty bathed on
Bowen's beaches at the dawn of the 1920s."
You can imagine the photograph.
In the category of quibbles, the
historical account ends - with unexplained
suddenness - with the arrival of the car ferry
in 1958. Surely, there are more photos and
facts that can connect Bowen then and now.
Perhaps, though, there is something
innocent in these grainy black-and-whites
(mercifully unmolested by Photoshop
sharpening), something that would not fit
easily beside scenes more modern.
Regardless, the book is lovely, and you
should get many chances to see as much for
yourself, because every Bowen Islander, past
and present, and most of their family
members, should be proudly displaying
them by Christmas.
Richard Littlemore is: a freelance magazine, corporate
and speechwriter and an amateur historian.
Mountie in Mukluks: the Arctic adventures of
BiU White.
Patricia White. Madeira Park, BC, Harbour Publishing,
2004. 248 p., illus., maps. $34.95 hard cover.
Three quarters of a century ago, the
men who policed the Canadian Arctic were
rough and tough. They had to be. There was
no room for the niceties of life in that savage
environment. Unremitting cold and
primitive living conditions together with the
strangeness of the Inuit way of life could
defeat even the hardiest of men, and often
did. Bill White was one who persevered, and
we are the richer for it.
Follow Bill in his journey from
reckless teenager and scornful young police
recruit to blustering, swaggering crewman
aboard the famous R.C.M.P. Arctic patrol
vessel St. Roch and, finally, to experienced
man-of-the-north  with   a  fine-tuned
sensibility toward Inuit life and culture.
The story is told in Bill's own voice,
compiled from taped interviews and edited
only where necessary by writer, Patrick
White (no relation). What a story! And what
a voice! Steer through the profanities and
bawdy commentary, and you'll encounter a
man of heroic proportion with a rare feel for
the North and its indigenous peoples.
Behind the bombast lies a quieter voice with
a keen sense of the ridiculous and a non-
judgemental perception of the human
condition in all its weaknesses and
strengths. The result is a fascinating account
of the peculiarities of life in the far north, in
the early 1930s, that will have you
alternately chuckling and gasping.
As Bill's memories unfold, the barren
landscape vibrates with life. His descriptive
ability is so powerful that at times you'll
experience the moment as if you were there:
the miseries of crewing the Roch, the perils
of a solo dog-sled trip in blizzard conditions
to find and capture a murderer, fighting for
life in a raging, ice-choked river - all are
recounted with vivid detail that will stay
with you long after you put down the book.
There are many such moments, and
along the way you'll met a colourful cast of
native people whose moral and spiritual
code, so alien to the white man, seems
somehow to make sense in the harsh Arctic
environment. The "wife-pulling contest", for
example, is one episode that is not to be
This book may be a hard read for
animal lovers. Bill shows very little respect
or compassion for the Arctic creatures that
he kills, often for the fun of it. Likewise, his
blue language may dismay the faint-of-
heart. But the man was a product of his time
and I hope that these final observations will
not deter you from reading the book. As Bill
says at one point, "that was a whole new
way of living and thinking and I was always
interested in every bit of it".
Carol Lowes is a long time member of the Historical Map
Society of B.C.
30 BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 North by Northwest: An Aviation History.
Chris Weicht. Roberts Creek, Creekside Publications,
2004. 287 p., illus., $41.95 paperback. Available from
Creekside Publications, 846 Joe Road, RR 26, Robert
Creek, BC VON 2W6
In this well-printed and
comprehensively illustrated book, Chris
Weicht has written a remarkably detailed
account of the early years of aviation in the
Pacific North-West region of North America.
The illustrations, however, are not of
photographic quality, they are of newsprint
standard. This enhances the period effect,
as we are dealing with the very beginnings
of commercial flying, and more than half the
aircraft shown are biplanes.
The author's method is to take a
selection of the airfields of the time (roughly
1920-1950) and give an account of who first
landed at each one, why, and in which type
of aircraft. This is followed by mention of
any subsequent notable events, crashes,
rescues or visits.
The amount of detail provided is
lavish, and the book is much more a resource
for research than it is for casual browsing.
Twenty-one airports are discussed,
each account following the previous one like
beads on a string, and there are charts and
illustrations on every page. Every aircraft
shown or mentioned is identified by its full
registration number, and the length and
elevation of every runway is specified
precisely. Enthusiasts will be delighted by
such sentences as
"On December 23,1953, R. F. McLeod
and D. K. Styan of Quesnel bought a De
Havilland DH-82C Tiger Moth, CF-CIK,
from Skyway Air Services at Langley, B. C,
which was later damaged beyond repair in
a crash at Shalalth, B. C. while on a flight
from Boston Bar to Dog Creek", or perhaps
"Barney Boe was a well-known pilot at
Williams Lake. He bought a new Fleet
Model 2 biplane on floats, CF-AOD, in
Ontario September 15,1930, and flew home
to B.C. following the CNR railway".
This meticulous mosaic is the
strength of the book. The mass of detail
provides a firm, objective viewpoint from
which we can gaze back into the past and
feel not merely gratitude, but wonder and
respect for the skill, bravery, and ingenuity
of the early aviators.
Mike Higgs is a retired pilot.
Camp Vernon, A Century of Canadian Military
Hugh Rayment and Patrick Sherlock. Kettle Valley
Publishing, Vernon, 2003. 524 p., illus.. $49.95 hard cover.
Available from Kettle Valley Publishing, 7990 Wilson
Jackson Rd., Vernon, BC V1B 3N5
Camp Vernon presents mainly a
chronological series of documents, images,
and short biographies, in which the reader
can trace several aspects of the camp's
development through war and peace. This
is not a continuous connected narrative,
what historians would call a 'secondary
source'. Rather the book contains mainly
primary sources of diverse character -
reproduced local newspaper stories,
advertisements, photos, drawings, and first
person accounts. In postmodern terms, there
is no single 'master narrative', but rather
'many voices' that testify to different facets
of life in the camp.
The book's most sustained narrative
outlines the several false starts, beginning
in 1897. Eventually local boosters combined
with militia enthusiasts to persuade the
federal government to establish a summer
training camp in 1909. The City of Vernon
donated the land. There are brief chapter
introductions which somewhat unevenly set
the stage for each period (e.g. which war)
or topic (eg. cadets). Also woven through
the whole text is an independently written
brief history of the British Columbia
Dragoons. Some stories seem to be topics of
local history with no necessary connection
to the military base, such as the
development of the region's airport and
flying clubs.
Unlike traditional military histories,
women appear both in the photos and
telling the stories, most often of their male
kin, but sometimes of their own parts as
well. In World War One they appear as
nurses, during and after World War Two in
a broader array of roles. Between the wars,
women are featured as fruit pickers, a role
having no obvious connection to the army
camp. While 'aliens' get a mention only in
the coverage of World War One, for World
War Two there is greater ethnic diversity
apparent both amongst the Canadian
soldiers and our allies, specifically the Free
Polish troops (although the latter had no
connection to the Vernon area until after the
war). There is ample coverage of
noncombatants, even including mascots and
local 'wild life' (particularly snakes).
Much of the book is taken up with
short 'war stories' by or about family
members or friends. Some of these have only
the most tenuous connection to Vernon and
none, apparently, to the army camp (e.g. E.
P. Evans on p. 82 and Dick Cresswell, pp.
341-342). One chapter is given over to a
"Farm Boy's Diary" which covers one
soldier's experience through World War
Two. But there is no introduction to tell us
who he was, although photos of him and
his family are included. The authors
conclude the book, indirectly
acknowledging its sometimes fragmentary
nature, with "Pictorial Perplexity" - an
assortment of photos which came to them
with little or no documentation, included in
hopes someone could identify the people or
situations depicted.
An example of the unsatisfactory
nature of this somewhat loose 'many voices'
approach to the past is the camp's role in
internment during the First World War. The
only written account offered is a story from
the local newspaper of the day, on enemy
aliens being interned at the war's outbreak,
since they were liable for military duty in
their homelands. The several photos
however clearly show families were interned,
not just military-age men. The photos'
heading is "1914-1920". The reader has no
idea why women and children were
interned, no clue that they began to be
released in 1916, and only a guess that those
interned as late as 1920 would have been
political prisoners or prisoners of war (not
alien civilians). While the 'many voices'
approach gives a multitude of personal and
family reminiscences (some only vaguely
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3        31 linked to the camp), there is no reference to
Al Hiebert's recent 2002 Okanagan History
article on the camp and enemy aliens in the
First World War.
There is some general discussion of
conscription in the two world wars. But
there is, again, only a single story reprinted
from the local press on the home defence
conscripts' protest at being ordered overseas
in November 1944. There is no mention that
the Vernon demonstration sparked a half
dozen others around BC, nor that it made
headlines across Canada. Once again the
'many voices' seem not to include the work
of professional historians.
Camp Vernon illustrates many
diverse aspects of both the army camp and
the local area. Like much of the best in
amateur history, it shows the particular
and personal side of events, which are
often lost in more general works.
Peter Russell, Okanagan University College, Vernon.
A Canadian Patriot and Imperialist; the life
and times of Brigadier James Sutherland
Atholl Sutherland Brown. Co-published by the Laurier
Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies
and Trafford Publishing, 2004. 217 p. $32 paperback.
It's a risky business for a son to write
a biography of his father, particularly when
the latter is a controversial character like
James Sutherland 'Buster' Brown. But the
author does it superbly well with an
objectivity that exposes most of his hero's
warts and with commendable restraint in
defending him when he is attacked.
This is more than a biography of a
complex military man; it is an intriguing
history of his times during which the public
image of a man in uniform evolved from
hero to buffoon and back again. By birth and
upbringing Buster was typical of the many
Anglo-Canadian patriots who joined the
permanent army or militia in the early
twentieth century. But he was in no sense
monotypic; he was an intelligent and
popular leader who at the same time was
vain, blunt and lacking in diplomatic skills.
An excellent organizer, he made
notable contributions in the planning of
successful military engagements in World
War I. Much has been written about the
Canadian battles of Vimy Ridge, Lens,
Passchendale, Amiens, Mons, and the
acquisition by the Canadian Army of an
identity distinct from that of the British
Army; but the evolution towards that goal,
achieved in 1917, is made more authentic by
the author's linking it to his father's
leadership at the Front during this crucial
period of the war
For several years in the twenties
Buster served as Director of Military
Operations and Intelligence at National
Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. It was
while in this post that he produced - under
the orders of the Chief of the General Staff -
'Defence Scheme No. V, designed to meet
an attack by the United States against
Canada and the United Kingdom. Ironic
though it may appear today, in the early
postwar years there was insufficient
evidence to eliminate completely the
possibility of such an attack from the south.
This scheme - innovative, daring,
complete in every detail - carried Buster's
imprint. It was studied carefully and filed
away, but, by chance, in the 1960s, it came
to light in the Archives of Queen's
University. Its author was ridiculed by both
historians and journalists and his son rightly
rises to his defence. Subsequently it became
known that such an attack had been on the
boards of the U.S. military planners.
Of particular interest to readers of
British Columbia History may be the latter
part of the book which recounts Brigadier
Sutherland Brown's service, during the
depression years, as District Officer
Commanding (DOC) of Military District
Number 11, consisting of B.C. and the
Yukon. The worst of the doldrums hit in the
early thirties when the Army, its salaries
reduced and low in public esteem, was
called upon to assist the unemployed by the
operation of relief camps.
Exacerbating Buster's problems was
the creation by General A.G.L. McNaughton,
CGS, of a federal system of camps competing
in British Columbia with those financed by
Public Works. The fact that these camps - his
camps - provided better treatment than
those under National Defence added
powder to the explosive tension that had
been building up between the two men. The
result was inevitable: the top man won and
the Brigadier resigned on 28 June 1933 at
fifty-two years of age.
It is this clash between two public
personalities, beginning in mutual respect
and ending in mutual loathing, that gives a
human dimension as well as dramatic pace
to this engrossing biography.
The author, Atholl Sutherland
Brown, is an accomplished writer whose
publications include a history of geological
surveys in British Columbia and Silently Into
the Midst of Things, a fascinating account of
his experiences as a fighter pilot in Burma.
Formerly a Squadron Leader, Arthur Sager was a member
of Canada's delegation to Holland for the peace
Remember When...: celebrating 100 years of
Crawford Bay on Kootenay Lake, British
Susan Hulland & Terry Turner. Crawford Bay, BC: The
Authors, 2004. 242 p., illus., maps. $25.00. Paperback:
Available from S. Hulland, Box 42, Crawford Bay, BC VOB
1E0 or T. Turner, Box 201, Riondel, BC VOB 2B0
Crawford Bay, a small rural
community on the east shore of Kootenay
Lake, celebrated its centenary in November
2004. During research for this centennial
book, the authors interviewed many
residents who, recalling their experiences,
would begin with the nostalgic refrain, "I
remember when ..." thus the title.
It is amazing that a book of this size
(242 pages) could be compiled about such a
small community (about 300 people
currently live in the broad valley
surrounding Crawford Creek). It is a
testimonial to all those individuals who
helped forge this unique and vibrant rural
community in what was once a rather
isolated section of the province. An amazing
story of resiliency and, at times,
32 BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 Both Hulland and Turner are
accomplished authors with several
publications under their collective belts.
Their first joint publication, Impressions ofthe
Past, was runner-up inBCHF's 2002 Writing
Competition. The same graphic designer
helped create Remembering When... so the
layout and design of both publications are
quite similar — why alter a winning
formula? Well over 400 illustrations,
primarily photographs, are distributed on
almost every page of this book.
All twenty-eight chapters begin with
the refrain "Remember When" and all
remembrances seem to be covered: pioneer
recollections, post offices, fruit ranching and
farming, logging and sawmills, early stores,
newspapers (8), sports, churches, Girl
Guides and Boy Scouts, Women's Institute,
schools, artisans, floods and fires, fall fairs,
outdoor recreation, and much more.
Although Crawford Bay may be known for
its championship Kokanee Springs Golf
Resort, few people realize that the Crawford
Bay Women's Institute in the late 1950s,
because of health issues, chose and leased
24 acres for a central dump site.
In order to help defray production
costs, advertisements are subtly inserted
into the book. These are not loud or garish;
in fact they are almost indiscernible and
complement the text with sympathetic
design and location. Those struggling with
publication costs for small, regional histories
should take note. Unfortunately there is no
index to the book. Because it includes so
many Crawford Bay names, costs would
have been prohibitive. Too bad, but
understandable under the circumstances.
All in all, an excellent publication
about a small, resilient community whose
"economy has mirrored the peaks and
valleys of the surrounding landscape with
periods of prosperity and recession". Its very
existence parallels that of so many other
small communities in the province.
Ron Welwood, resident of Nelson, BC, is a former
President of the BC Historical Federation.
Lilies & Fireweed; frontier women of British
Stephen Hume. Madeira Park, BC, Harbour Publishing,
2004. 80 p., illus. Raincoast Chronicles 20. $24.95
This short volume does a credible job
covering an enormous topic in less than 100
pages. Limited to the events and lesser-
known personalities who populated British
Columbia prior to 1914, the book challenges
any notion the reader might have about frail,
tightly-corseted Victorian women often
pictured around the family hearth.
The female pioneers who populate
this montage were tough, inventive, and
unorthodox; however there are few
indications of why they choose to venture
to the frontier. A lengthier biography of
Susan Allison, a vivacious 17 year old, who
settled in Okanagan Similkameen Valleys in
the late 1800s, provides a more complete
picture of these early women but otherwise
there is only a glimpse of the lives of the
other women and the hardships they
The tribute to aboriginal women is a
welcomed inclusion as they are so often
absent from our history books and their
contribution and role as the province's
original women who sustained
communities, shared their skills and
knowledge with fur traders and settlers,
needs to be acknowledged.
The stories are inclusive — all the way
from the grand Lady Amelia Douglas, the
wife of Governor James Douglas to the
hurdy-gurdy girls in dance halls of
Barkerville. The province was populated by
those from away, the most surprising of
whom were those from the Sandwich
(Hawaiian) Islands and the freed American
Blacks who settled Saltspring Island.
British Columbia offered unfettered
opportunities to a variety of women in the
19* Century but these pioneers had to be
resourceful, determined, and fearless to
survive the challenges. For the most part,
they were conventional enough to continue
venturing into the wilderness in their long
skirts and impractical hats but where they
went and how they got there was anything
but the norm.
This small volume contains a good
selection of photos as well as source notes
and a bibliography to assist the curious to
search out more information. It is a
welcomed addition to this under-recorded
segment of the province's history.
Sharron Simpson is the author of Boards, Boxes, and Bins:
Stanley M.Simpson and the Okanagan Lumber Industry.
Ruby Red and Gold Rush Yellow; an early
Cariboo adventure.
Branwen C Patenaude. Victoria, BC, Trafford, 2003. 265
p. $16.95paperback.
A longtime member of the Quesnel
Museum Commission and the author of four
books of nonfiction, Williams Lake area
resident, Branwen Patenaude, has
gravitated to fiction with her interesting
debut historical novel, Ruby Red and
Goldrush Yellow. But despite changing her
genre, she has retained her commitment to
the fascinating history of North America's
famous gold rushes. For the strength of its
story, its action and romance, and the artistic
credibility of its historical settings the book
is well worth reading in spite of its
occasional typographical errors, several
inconsistent spellings and a grammatical
flub or two.
Patenaude has invested years in
researching her subject area, more than
twenty in fact, in uncovering the details of
the roadhouses between New Westminster
and Barkerville that are referred to in her
novel. Thus there is the reader's strong
impression of realism when she refers to her
characters travelling past, eating in or
staying at such stops as Frank Way's Deep
Creek House, Chapman's Bar House, Henry
Herkimer's Stage Hotel at Lillooet, Thomas
Davidson's ranch at Williams Lake or the
Sellers and Dunleavy hostelry.
Patenaude's story is simple but not
simplistic. It involves a thinly disguised
Philip Henry Nind, the Cariboo's first Gold
Commissioner, as Arthur O'Rourke, an
illegitimate son who travels from Ireland to
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3        33 find his father, Thomas Moore, in the
goldfields of the Cariboo. The son's
identification of his Da is to be made
through a large gold ring with a ruby setting
and the paternal family crest, a gift to
Arthur's mother when Tom left Ireland
without knowing his wife was pregnant but
knowing full well that her father had
forbidden their marriage. In turn she gave
him a locket with her portrait. The plot
unfolds in the travels and travails of the
protagonists as they unwittingly cross paths
while Arthur develops his own romance
with young Annie Ross, whom he met on
the boat to Canada.
While Arthur searches for his father
and assumes the role of the Cariboo's first
Gold Commissioner, he encounters
historical figures doing, within the bounds
of Patenaude's artistic license to create, the
things they were known to do. Colonial
Secretary, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton,
interviews Arthur as an applicant for a
government position in the British
Possessions. Sir James Douglas governs
from the "Bird Cages" in Fort Victoria and
the Chief Commissioner of Police, Chartres
Brew, assigns a policeman, William
Pinchbeck, to assist Arthur in his
endeavours. On their travels they meet the
Reverend George Hills, the first Bishop of
British Columbia and further on encounter
"Matthew Bailie (sic) Begbie, first Judge of
the Colony, with his entourage, Arthur
Bushby, clerk, Sherriff Nicol, and the Irish
Barrister William Kelly." Joel Palmer,
"Cap'n Joel Palmer what hails from
Indiana", is around too and so are others
such as the Chinese miners with their
discovery of a Chinese mercury mine, the
drovers herding their cattle past Fort
Kamloops, even the famous Cariboo camels.
Anecdotes and stories of clashes between
and among various factions - the
Americans, the Chinese, the intruding
miners and local First Nations - of fortunes
won and lost, and of acts of cowardice and
bravery also lend authenticity to Arthur's
Although much of the focus is on the
Cariboo gold rush, a sizeable portion of the
story involves Tom Moore's journey west
with Kit Carson's wagon train, the gold
fields of California, the development of the
Oregon Trail and a tale of murder, robbery
and drug dealing that add intrigue to the
plot and spice to the historical flavour of the
novel. For Patenaude it's a laudable first
attempt at historical fiction.
M. Wayne Cunningham writes a weekly column of book
reviews for The Kamloops Daily News.
Sawdust Caesars and Family Ties in the
Southern Interior Forests.
Denis Marshall. Salmon Arm Branch, Okanogan
Historical Society, 2003. 223 p., illus. $23 paperback.
This handsome book is about sawmill
operations, logging companies, forest
entrepreneurs, and mill towns in a small
section of the BC Interior. Geographically,
the focus is on the Shuswap area, though the
text also follows people on journeys to
Golden, Nakusp, Yukon, and the Alberni
Valley. Chronologically, it begins in the 1880s
and 1890s—decades when railway
construction opened up the region to
industrial forestry, prairie settlement
provided growing markets, and timber
depletion in the United States caused
investors to look north-and runs through
to roughly the 1940s. The emphasis is on the
business side of the industry. A number of
families and individuals are at the core of
the narrative, most notably the Genelles, the
Carlins, Pat Burns, A.D. McRae, and R.W.
Bruhn, but people connected with smaller
companies are also mentioned. The
Columbia River Lumber Company is the
most prominent firm discussed in the book.
Marshall has uncovered many
interesting tidbits, such as how Kualt
received its name, through newspaper and
archival research, and he has drawn on a
number of local histories of area towns. He
also dipped into the academic literature to
build up the data base. The book traces the
roots of this lumber industry to central
Canada and the United States, and notes the
presence of Asian workers, the use of
logging railways in area operations, and the
activities of the Industrial Workers of the
World, a radical union, in the camps and
mills. Marshall is especially strong in listing
investors in early milling concerns.
A lively writing style and interesting,
nicely-reproduced photographs enhance the
text. A map would have helped locate the
study, but most readers will be from the area,
and thus familiar with the terrain. An index
of names provides assistance in finding
families mentioned in the text.
Marshall's main goal is to get the
facts about local development down on
paper and to celebrate the pioneers of an
industry that is so important to the province.
He is also keen to give the Interior its due:
'Popular legends tend to glorify the coastal
forests and the men who hacked them
down, but in the Southern Interior family
cooperation and enterprise cut a wide
swath, too.' (p. 11) Sawdust Caesars
contributes to rectifying this imbalance.
Gordon Hak, Malaspina University-College
The Wild Edge; Clayoquot, Long Beach Et
Barkley Sound.
Jacqueline Windh. Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing,
2004. 168 p., illus. $34.95 hard cover.
This very beautiful large-format
book is a photographer's personal record of
Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim. She
approaches her subject as a sea kayaker with
detailed and intimate knowledge of this
stretch of coastline, and also as a
professional geologist.
The Wild Edge however, is much more
than a personal account. Guidebooks to the
beaches, islands and waterways of this
increasingly popular region have typically
focused rather superficially on the natural
beauty of the area. By contrast, Jacqueline
Windh adds a dimension of central
importance: in text and photos she examines
the history, geography and culture of the
Rim from the native (Nuu-chah-nulth) point
of view. The 10,000 year history of the Native
settlers of 'the wild edge' and the often
catastrophic contact between Nuu-chah-
nulth and Europeans in the eighteenth and
34 BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 nineteenth centuries are not closed chapters
in the past. Alongside the white population
of the Pacific Rim's towns the traditional
native culture still thrives.
For both populations, life is focused
on harvests of forest and sea. This fact is
stressed in Windh's excellently
comprehensive history of the communities
of Ucluelet and Tofino. As in many of B.C.'s
coastal places it is the history of an evolution
from industry to industry (sawmiUing, a
gold rush, fish processing), with tourism
emerging now as the area's new vital force.
The latter activity has brought about an
ironic change: this stretch of coast whose
remoteness was once its principal attraction
now draws a million visitors each year.
An intriguing feature of this book is
its large number of highly informative
sidebars, fascinating little micro-essays on
such topics as phenomenal rainfalls,
environmental protests, beachcombing,
shipwrecks and much more.
Chiefly, however, this is a
photographic book. The life of the coastal
communities, the breathtaking magnificence
of the Pacific Rim beaches and the less well
known loveliness of the Clayoquot Sound
islands are revealed in Windh's stunning
photos. It is a skilful blend of pictorial art
and historic content, a book to be highly
Philip Teece, a retired Victoria librarian, has kayaked and
sailed the coasts of Vancouver Island for more then forty
Plants of the Haida Gwaii.
Nancy J. Turner. Winlaw, BC, Sono Nis Press, 2004. 264 p.,
illus. $38.95paperback.
Although botanical books fall
outside the scope of this quarterly, Plants of
the Haida Gwaii merits inclusion because its
outstanding scholarship and stunning
presentation gives the reader an insight into
one aspect of life on the Queen Charlotte
Islands (Haida Gwaii). Nancy Turner,
eminent ethnobotanist of British Columbia,
with the help of many Haida plant
specialists and elders, provides detailed
information about food and medicinal
plants, plant fibres and dyes, and the
spiritual and ceremonial aspects of them.
Indexes of English and scientific
plant names as well as Haida ones, Haida
language symbols, and a five-page
bibliography supplement the text. Over 200
colour and black and white photographs
and ten paintings of Haida plant stories by
Haida artist Giitsxaa (Ronald Wilson) add
the final touch to this impressive work. A
joy to browse!
Elizabeth Walker is a member of the Vancouver Historical
Note from Ed. Plants from the Haida Gwai won the
Lieutenant Governor's Award at the recent BCHF
conference in Kelowna.
"A Woman's Place:" Art and the Role of
Women in the Cultural Formation ofVictoria,
K.A. Finlay, ed. Maltwood Museum, University of Victoria,
2004. 129p., illus., $25paperback.
Too seldom does Victoria get credit for
the cultural foundation it established for the
province of BC. It is often as unrecognized
as the women of that city whose
contributions to its cultural ambience
provide a fascinating story for all British
Columbians, told in "A Woman's Place."
The book is one product of a research
project which hugely expanded our
knowledge of women's place in the arts of
Victoria from the 1850s to the 1920s, a
catalogue of artifacts that were shown
September 1,2004 to January 11,2005 at the
Maltwood Art Gallery and Museum at the
University of Victoria. Led by Dr. Karen
Finlay, Professor of Art History at the
University of Victoria, a team of twenty-
seven students and uncounted others in the
city researched the arts and crafts ofVictoria
women for two art exhibitions and a variety
of published articles. A number of the
articles constituted the Fall, 2002 issue of
British Columbia Historical News, under the
theme of "Womanly Arts."
The idea for the project came from
Jennifer Iredale, Curator in the Heritage
Branch of the Provincial Government, then
responsible for the four Victoria heritage
homes: Carr House, Craigflower
Schoolhouse and Manor, Helmcken House
and Point Ellice House. The arts and crafts
contained in those four houses formed the
core of the exhibition, but art pieces were
also gathered from the Royal BC Museum,
the BC Archives and other public, church
and private collections. Finlay directed the
research, which ultimately uncovered, often
for the first time, the part that many women
played in the "womanly arts."
"Womanly arts" are those that
excluded certain kinds of fine arts, such as
studies from live human models and
wartime depiction (allowed only to men at
the time), and include the crafts executed
with needles and hooks, looms and carving
tools. "The exhibition includes—as well as
paintings, drawings, and architecture—lace,
embroidery, china painting, pottery,
basketry, weaving, photography, carving,
and interior design." Seldom labelled or
attributed to their creator until this project,
these works are skilfully put in context. The
extensive notes and bibliography attest to
the diligence of the researchers.
Despite its conformation as a
catalogue, with only some artifacts
photographed and reproduced in colour,
and all the rest illustrated in small black and
white, it is a fascinating book, arousing
curiosity as much as satisfying it.
Connections and significances pop up
without introduction, but demanding
recognition: the fact that white women, as
the "angels" of society, the "civilizing
influence" sought by the earlier settlers,
jumped in to establish some of the finest and
earliest arts and crafts schools in the country;
the trend against the Industrial Revolution;
promoting a move back to hand crafting; the
impacts of various moods of acceptance or
rejection of aboriginal women; the social
weight of women's crafts in funding
buildings and programmes through
donations in time and skill rather than
As exciting as the stories told here are
the possibilities for more such research,
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3        35 along with a different appreciation of these
arts and crafts.
Anne Edwards a resident of Moyie and MLA for Kootenay
1986-1996, has a long time interest in heritage and
Dr. Fred and The Spanish Lady: Fi$htin$ The
Killer Flu.
Betty 0"Keefe and Ian MacDonald. Surrey, Heritage
House, 2004. 221 p., illus. $18.95paperback.
In 1918, the Spanish flu killed 25 to 50
million people worldwide. Betty 0"Keefe
and Ian MacDonald have written a
compelling and detailed account of the
conditions that helped to spread the disease
and the effects the pandemic had on Canada
and, in particular, BC. Unlike previous
influenza, the Spanish Lady was hardest on
those aged 20 to 40. Therefore, thousands of
soldiers fighting in the First World War
succumbed to the disease, including Colonel
John McCrae the author of "In Flanders
Fields." Troopships returning to North
America with casualties often lost men to
the virus. Other military personnel
successfully reached Canada's shores but,
as they made their way home, they carried
the flu across the country.
Using archival information,
interviews, newspaper accounts,
photographs, poems, timelines, and a
variety of publications, O'Keefe and
MacDonald vividly recreate the short-lived
but deadly events of 1918. Approximately
50,000 of this province's inhabitants died
during the pandemic, and the authors
highlight the fears, bravery, and suffering
of BC's citizens. In particular, they pay
tribute to the work of Dr. Frederick
Theodore Underhill, Vancouver's first
medical health officer, whose pioneering
and sometimes controversial tactics kept the
death toll from being higher.
Prior to 1918, Dr. Underhill had
organized the city's first garbage collection
and "stalked city streets to ensure that
manure piles were removed regularly." He
instituted cleanliness regulations for food
handlers and restaurants, was a "pioneer in
the control of infectious diseases," and
instituted the use of quarantine signs when
households were struck with infectious
diseases such as typhoid and diphtheria.
During the pandemic, he suggested that
sheets be hung between patients' beds and
that care givers cover their noses and
mouths with masks. He published a "do's
and don'ts" list for children and another for
adults. These contained such simple but
sage advice as eating well, not spitting, not
kissing, keeping one's hands clean, using
clean hankies, using individual dishes and
utensils, and avoiding people who were
sick. His advice was preferable to some of
the folk remedies that abounded at the time:
putting sulphur in one's shoes, each eating
three cakes of yeast a day, or gargling with
crude carbolic.
Tales of individual heroism, such as
those of nurses and doctors working to
exhaustion and then succumbing to the flu
themselves, highlight some of the ways in
which people rallied to help one another as
they fought the Spanish flu. Accounts of
valiant volunteers, stories of entrepreneurs
who exploited the situation, and the rumours
of far-fetched cures (such as rubbing the chest
with goose grease), vividly recreate the
atmosphere of 1918. Furthermore, sad stories
of the deaths of people in isolated situations
illustrate the horror of the Spanish flu.
Eight-seven years ago the world
suffered its worst pandemic. This book
provides a fascinating look at the ways in
which British Columbians dealt with the
deadly disease.
Sheryl Salloum, a member of the Vancouver Historical
Society, is a Vancouver writer.
Jean Coulthard: A Life in Music.
William Bruneau & David Gordon Duke. Vancouver, BC
Ronsdale Press. 2005. 216 p. illus. $22.95 paperback.
History has not been particularly kind
to women composers. Although many have
been successful and known in their day, a
lack of documentation has led to their
disappearance in our times. Quick, other
than Clara Schumann, how many women
composers can you name? Fortunately for
us, and for the history of music, William
Bruneau and David Gordon Duke have
written a charming and useful biography of
Jean Coulthard, a successful Canadian
composer. Coulthard's music is well-known
to many of us thanks to the CBC and concert
halls across the country. In addition,
generations of young Canadian music
students are fondly familiar with her music
and name through her series of graded
piano books and other educational works..
The authors are modest, almost to
the point of invisibility (there are no author
descriptions outside or inside the covers,
forcing the curious reader to turn to the
internet for information) but it is clear that
they are admirers of their subject. Based
chiefly on a number of interviews with
Coulthard, done by William Bruneau, a
historian who had known her for many
years, and extensive musical analysis by
David Duke, a composer, educator and
student of Coulthard's, plus the wealth of
Coulthard's archives, both personal and
musical, held by the University of British
Columbia, the biography traces her
impressive development as a musician and
composer from her earliest years through
seven decades.
Coulthard, who was born in 1908,
was the daughter of a Vancouver doctor and
his musician wife. She came from an
exceptionally well-educated family and she
herself showed early promise and musical
ability which was encouraged and
cultivated by her parents. Growing up in the
comfortable, if slightly provincial,
surroundings ofVancouver's West End and
Shaughnessy Heights she had access to the
"better class" of cultural events and some
gifted teachers, including Frederick Chubb
and Jan Cherniavsky. As her horizons
expanded internationally, thanks to a
Vancouver Women's Musical Club
Scholarship, she studied with Ralph
Vaughan Williams in London and later
continued to teach and compose in
Vancouver. In 1937 she married Donald
Adams who was himself intensely
interested in the creative arts and
encouraged her to look to new musical
36 BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 developments in the United States where
she was to study with Aaron Copland.
War brought many European
composers to North America and Coulthard
eagerly sought out opportunities to meet
and study with many of them, including
Arthur Benjamin, Darius Milhaud, Bela
Bartok and Arnold Schoenberg, all of whom
influenced her music.
In 1947 Coulthard was appointed as
a lecturer at the University of British
Columbia, a post she was to hold for twenty-
six years. With a few exceptions her UBC
years were happy: she enjoyed her students
and, most importantly, she was free during
the summers and on sabbaticals to travel
internationally, frequently with her
daughter Janey, to make professional
friendships and to enjoy her own increasing
recognition and success as a composer. After
retirement she continued to be increasingly
productive and, unlike many struggling
artists, she received recognition and many
honours during her lifetime.
The biography gives us an agreeable
general view of Coulthard's life and
changing musical styles. It is factual and
discreet in its historical perspective rather
than speculative, and the reader
occasionally would like to see more in-depth
commentary on the part of the authors such
as an examination of the reasons why Harry
Adaskin, the Head of the Department of
Music at UBC tried (unsuccessfully) to fire
Coulthard in 1951, or the influence of
Elizabeth Poston, the well-known English
composer, on the life and work of Coulthard.
There is a rather intriguing and curious time
line called " life, compositions and context"
which relates dates of importance in the
musical and outside world to Coulthard's
compositions and life. For example in 1994
the time line shows that she was made an
Officer of the Order of Canada, composed
Celebration Fanfare for Orchestra and Nelson
Mandela was elected President of South
Africa. The book also contains a selected list
of published and unpublished works and
some excellent illustrations. The musical
analysis of individual works is useful as an
overview as it is not too technical and is thus
accessible to the average reader. Her own
analysis and comments, quoted often, are
particularly interesting. For a serious music
student, the biography offers a good starting
point for a study of Coulthard's changing
musical style and influence, for the rest of
us it is a pleasant picture of an elegant and
successful composer with deep roots in
Vancouver and Canada.
Laurenda Daniells. UBC Archivist Emerita
Noteworthy Books
Books listed here may be reviewed at a later date. For further information
please consult Book Review Editor, Anne Yandle.
Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890-1950. Gary Sim,
Sim Publishing, 304-1348 Barclay St., Vancouver, BC V6E 1H7
Coldstream: the ranch where it all began. Donna Yoshitake
Wuest. Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing, 2005. $23.95
Common & Contested Ground; a human and environmental
history of the Northwestern Plains.
Theodore Binnema. University of Toronto Press, 2004. $27.95
Denny's Trek; a mountie's memoir of the march west. Sir Cecil
Denny. Surrey, Heritage House, 2004. $18.95
Disasters of Western Canda. Tony Hollihan. Edmonton, Folklore
Publishing, 2004. 240 p., iillus. $14.95 paperback.
Eastern Arctic Kayaks; history, design, technique. John D.
Heath and E. Arima. Fairbanks, University of Alaska Press,
2004. US$45
Enduring Threads; ecclesiastical textiles of the St. John the
Divine Church, Yale, BC. Ed. Jennifer Iredale. Historic Yale
Museum, 2004. 52 p. illus. $12
The Heavens are Changing; nineteenth-century Protestant
Missions and Tsimshian Christianity. Susan Neylan. Montreal,
McGill Queens University Press, 2004. $27.95
Land Here? You bet!; the true adventures of a fledgling bush pilot
in Alaska and British Columbia in the early 1950s. Sunny Fader
and Edward (Ted) Huntley. Surrey, Hancock House, 2005. $19.95
Legh MulhaU Kilpin; teacher, painter, printmaker. Ed. Barbara
Winters. Langley Centennial Museum, 2003. $19.95
Mobsters and Rumrunners of Canada: crossing the line. Gord
Steinke. Edmonton, Folklore Publishing, 2003. $14.95
Outposts and Bushplanes. Bruce Lamb. Surrey, Hancock House,
2005. $17.95
Triumph and Tragedy in the Crowsnest Pass. Diana Wilson, ed.
Surrey, Heritage House, 2005. $14.95 paper.
Watari-dori (Birds of Passage). Mitsuo Yesaki. Vancouver,
Peninsula Publishing, 1740 Comox St., #1105, Vancouver, BC
Wings Across the Water; Victoria's Flying Heritage, 1871 -1971.
Elwood White & Peter L. Smith. Madeira Park, Harbour
Publishing, 2005. $28.95
World Tea Party, Victoria; an exhibit of tea wares and tea-
related art curated by Bryan Mulvihill and Judith Patt with
Sheila Connelly. Art Gallery ofVictoria, 2004. $14.95
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3        37 Archives and Archivists
Andrea Sanborn, Executive Director, U'mista Cultural Centre, Alert Bay, BC, VON 1A0
Edited by Sylvia Stopforth,
Librarian and Archivist, Norma Marian Alloway Library,
Trinity Western University
U'mista: the return
of something
Our name, U'mista Cultural Centre is
most fitting, as our Collection comprises
"the return of something important." The
primary focus of our Centre is our
permanent exhibit, the Potlatch Collection.
This Collection includes most of the objects
confiscated by the Canadian Government in
1922 following a large potlatch held at
Village Island in 1921. It was during this
period that the Potlatch ceremony was
banned; introduced in 1884, the law just
quietly dropped from the book of statutes
in 1951. This group of objects included
Kwakwaka'wakw ceremonial masks,
rattles, frontlets, cedar-bark dance regalia,
coppers and many other objects held sacred
by our people.
Following many years of negotiations
by many people, the federal government
agreed to return these objects if we had a
proper place in which to house them. A
building meeting museum standards was
required and so the U'mista Cultural Centre
was built, as was the Kwakiutl Museum in
Cape Mudge that also holds some of this
Collection. For a period of time, the federal
government provided some operating
funding, but this changed in 2000 when the
criteria for their funding changed. They no
longer support the U'mista with operating
funding because all funding is now project
As we and our sister museum in Cape
Mudge are small organizations, this created
hardship for both the U'mista Cultural
Society and the Nuyambalees Cultural
Society. For the U'mista to suddenly lose
our operating funding from the federal
government and be expected to generate this
from visitor admissions, museum shop sales
and membership sales is unreasonable. We
are on a small island very dependent on
ferry traffic with a ferry too small to service
our island during the busy summer months.
Operating a building requiring
museum type standards for environmental
controls is very costly. These costs do not
disappear if we want to maintain our
standard as a Class A Museum, which is
very important to our future.
Following the changes in government
funding came the terrorist attack on the
Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon
in Washington, DC in 2001, bringing further
challenges to our funding including a
ridiculous increase in insurance rates -
which has doubled our premiums to date -
that we can ill afford. A small organization
such as ours cannot afford $30,000.00 per
year in insurance premiums.
We do receive $38,200.00 from the BC
Arts Council each year but have recently
received a letter from them questioning our
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 38 No. 3 ability to demonstrate that we can meet the
BC Arts Council program guidelines and
standards. The Council is concerned that
our emphasis is on language retention,
which is not included in their guidelines as
a primary focus. Our language is our culture
and as such is an integral component of the
Potlatch Collection. If we are to portray
ourselves as the Kwakwaka'wakw First
Nations, we must do so with our language,
kwakwala. They are also concerned that an
evident lack of curatorial or museological
programming exists. This is quite a catch-
22 as our operating funding is clawed back.
If we had the financial resources, we would
hire qualified people to run the U'mista with
all the museological programming required.
In the meantime, we continue to tread
water until the federal government reviews
our Special Claim and agrees to settle it with
compensation. Compensation will allow us
to increase our staff from one person to a
team of at least four, that will then allow us
to do all the programming required and
become less dependent on government
funding. Our Special Claim includes
compensation for all the injustices endured
by our people following the banning of our
Potlatch ceremony, thereby allowing us to
continue to rebuild our culture, socially and
economically. However, be it known that our
language will always be the focus of who
we are and how we portray ourselves in our
exhibits and our programming.
We have many visitors from all over
the world that truly appreciate the
experience a visit to the U'mista gives them.
We are often called upon for advice as other
places plan to build their Museums and
Cultural Centres. We are used as a model
for their development planning. We will be
celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the
Umista Cultural Centre on November 1,
2005; we must be doing something right. We
will be here for some time to come yet and
we will continue with our repatriation
process until all of the Potlatch Collection
returns to its rightful place, here at the
In the meantime, we continue to ask
the governments for their support not only
for the U'mista Cultural Society and the
Nuyambalees Cultural Society but also for
all of Canada's culture. What legacy can we
leave our future generations if not our
Photographs courtesy of the U'mista Cultural Centre
sta Cultural Museum
39 Miscellany
Halcyon Hotsprings Note
Finally read the great story by Bill
about this mine but he has made a dreadful
error in the last paragraph about Lt
Governor Charles Mcintosh - saying that he
had bought Halcyon Hot Springs and built
a spa and hotel there. This is very incorrect.
According to our research and as
stated in our recent publication 'Halcyon.
The Captain's Paradise', Capt. Robert
Sanderson purchased 400 acres aroung the
springs in 1890 and built a diminutive
building at that time.
By 1894, a much larger hotel was
constructed to house 75 guests and it then
opened under the name Halcyon Hot
Springs. Invitations were sent out for a gala
occasion for the opening ceremonies which
brought people from Nakusp, Nelson and
In 1896 Capt. Sanderson sold a half
interest to Nate Lay and in 1897 Dr. Robert
Brett and David McPherson bought the
Halcyon Hot Springs complex. Dr. Brett,
with his association with the CPR,
spearheaded the building of the Banffs
Springs Sanitarium. It was thought that he
had big plans for the development of
Halcyon too along the same lines.
To obtain enough funds to upgrade
and expand the hotel and grounds, 40 shares
of $1000 each were sold with the formation
of the 'Halcyon Hot Springs Sanitarium Co.
Ltd.' in 1898. One of the prominent
shareholders was Honorable C.H. Mcintosh,
Lt. Governor of the Canadian Northwest
Territory. He was given the position of
manager of the complex.
However, in 1899, W.C. Husband
became the manager, so Mcintosh was only
there for one year.
Milton Parent
Author!Historian for the Arrow Lakes Historical Society
Editor's note: Milton has written the book Halcyon, The
Captain's Paradise which is available from the Arrow Lakes
Society for $25.00 + $10.00 PkH. Contact them at P.O. Box
819 Nakusp, B.C. VOG 1R0
Stave Falls Hydro-electric
National Historic Site
The National Historic Sites and
Monuments Board of Canada plaque
commemorating the national historic
significance of the Stave Falls Hydro-electric
installation was unveiled on September 18,2005.
Work began on the first phase of Stave
Falls in 1909-1910. Power production started
in 1912 with transmission lines from Stave
Falls to receiving stations at Ardley (between
New Westminster and Vancouver) and
Sumas, Washington. In 2000, the original
52.5 MW powerhouse at Stave Falls was
decommissioned and replaced by a new 90
MW powerhouse at the same site. The
Visitor Centre was created at the original
powerhouse to preserve the heritage and
history of one of BC Hydro's first
hydroelectric installations.
Can you help?
The Parksville & District Historical
Society is missing the following issues of the
Historical News & would like to have them
if they are still available: -
Vol. 1 Nos 1,4
Vol. 2 No 4
Vol. 3 Nos 1, 3,4
Vol. 9 Nos 1, 2, 3
Vol.10 No 4
Vol.12 No 1
The Society has some extra copies of
the Historical News Magazine Vols 11 (1978)
- 36 (2003). Not all volumes are complete,
some issues are missing. If anyone is
interested please contact me as soon as
Paddy Cardwell
Collections Manager (Volunteer)
email (Home):
Phone/Fax: (250) - 248-9541
Address correction
In issue 38.2 the book reveiw column
reviewed Maureen Duffus's book on
Langford and her old address was noted. If
you are interested in her book contact her at
7, Governor's Point Rd., Victoria, V9B 5L8.
Canadian history has lost a notable
figure in the death of Charles W Humphries,
Associate Professor Emeritus, University of
British Columbia History Department. In
addition to teaching Canadian history, Dr
Humphries enriched the lives of many
talented scholars through UBC's Transition
Program for secondary school students. He
served as the British Columbia member of
the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of
Canada, 1979-1993. Dr Humphries was the
first contributor to the fledgling British
Columbia Historical News, in 1968, with his
article The Banning of a Book in B.C. •
Edward Barraclough
With the death of Edward
Barraclough at age 82, the Nanaimo
Historical Society has lost one of its most
stalwart members. Ed was president from
1986 to 1988, and was unique in the Society
having followed in the footsteps of his
father, William, who was president in 1955.
Ed also served as president of the Nanaimo
District Museum and contributed to the
inception of the Nanaimo Community
Archives. He gave valuable advice and
played pivotal role in the preservation of
Nanaimo's heritage.
A keen enthusiast of history, Ed
quietly promoted the many aspects of
British Columbia's past and had a personal
interest in the early pioneer days of
Nanaimo. His mother, Ethel, was the
granddaughter of John and Elizabeth
Thompson, who were passengers on the
Princess Royal in 1854. The Barraclough
family initiated the Ethel Barraclough
Memorial Award for history students at
Malaspina University-College in her
Ed recalled visiting his grandfather,
Samuel, on Kennedy Street, and how he was
enthralled listening to accounts of
Nanaimo's early years as friends gathered
to play cards and tell their stories. Ed was a
familiar figure in his Cowichan toque and
rarely missed attending the Princess Royal
Day celebration to answer the roll call of
families. •


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items