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British Columbia History

British Columbia History 2012

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Published by the British Columbia Historical Federation | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2 | $7.00
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This Issue: Land Under Water | The Flying Vet: Part 2| Riverview Hospital | and more
British Columbia History is published four
times per year (Spring, Summer, Fall,
Winter) by the British Columbia Historical
ISSN: print 1710-7881 online 1710-792X
Subscriptions: $20.00 per year
USA: $32.00 (US Funds)
International: $44.00 (US Funds)
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,
Andrea Lister
PO Box 21187, Maple Ridge BC
V2X 1P7
Submission guidelines are available at:
Book reviews for British Columbia History,
K. Jane Watt, Book Review Editor,
BC History,
Box 1053, Fort Langley, BC VIM 2S4
Subscription & subscription information:
Alice Marwood, BCHF
1400 Guildford Town Centre, PO Box 42011
Surrey BC V3R 1N0
Phone 604.582.1548
Single copies of recent issues are for sale at:
- Caryall Books, Quesnel, BC
- Gray Creek Store, Gray Creek, BC
- Otter Books, Nelson, BC
- Royal British Columbia Museum Shop,
Victoria, BC
- Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art &
History, Nelson, BC
ISSN: 1710-7881
Printed in Canada.
Production Mail Registration Number
Publications Mail Registration No. 09835
We acknowledge the financial support of
the Goverrnment of Canada through the
Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of
Canadian Heritage.
Canadian     Patrimoine
Heritage       canadien
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 His Honour
The Honourable Steven L. Point, OBC
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
Honorary President: Patricia Roy
Several houses were built at Riverview to house the families
of important medical and management staff. Serving various
purposes over the years, they are well maintained and contain
lovely solid wood trim. Read story starting on page 26.
Image courtesy of Riverview Hospital Historical Society
Cover Image: Rosemary Cunningham (nee Coulthard)
and brother Bill Coulthard, circa 1934. Read the
story on page 5.
*.A   Image courtesy of Rosemary Cunningham
Editorial Advisory Committee
Anne Edwards
Jan Gattrell
Catherine Magee
Ramona Rose
While copyright in the British Columbia History as a whole is vested in the British Columbia
Historical Federation, copyright of 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.
The British Columbia Historical
Federation has been working since 1922
with historical sites, societies, groups,
museums, archives, etc. throughout
British Columbia preserving and
promoting British Columbia's history.
The British Columbia Historical
Federation is an umbrella organization
embracing a variety of membership
categories who are interested in the
preservation and promotion of British
Columbia's history.
•   Member Societies: Local and regional
historical societies with objectives
consistent with those of the
Federation. All dues paying members
of the local or regional society
shall be ipso facto members of the
Affiliated Members: Groups,
organizations and institutions without
dues paying members with specialized
interests or objectives of a historical
Associate Members: Individuals may
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entitled to become members of the
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member with a minimum membership
fee of $30 and a maximum of $75
• Affiliated Members: $35
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For further information about
memberships, contact Ron Hyde:
Membership Chair
BC Historical Federation
10991 No. 1 Road, Box 36105,
Richmond, BCV7E1S0.
Phone 604-277-2627
"Any country worthy of a future should
be interested in its past"
W. Kaye Lamb, 1937
Published by the British Columbia Historical Federation | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
3    Editor's Note
5    Land Under Water: The Coulthard Farm in 1935
by Rosemary Cunningham
When a severe winter storm caused flooding in 1935, the Coulthard family
struggled to recover from the devastation to their Surrey farm.
9    The Flying Vet: Part Two
by John Roberts, introduction by Marie Elliott
Part one was published in Fall 2011 Vol. 43. No. 3; written in 1959 the
second group of letters describe some of the many challenges and victories
that John and his wife Anna faced.
17 A Potlatch of Provincial Proportions
by Alice C. Huang
Each year, the British Columbia Historical Federation offers two W. Kaye
Lamb Scholarships for student essays relating to the history of British
Columbia. Alice C. Huang is the winner of the $1000 prize for a student in
3rd or 4th year university or college in British Columbia.
26 The History of Riverview
by Valerie Adolph
The Riverview Lands have a long history as a sanctuary for British
Columbians; a sanctuary that is threatened by the possibility of
37 The Voice of Maisie Hurley
by Janet Mary Nicol
Maisie was one of BC's most well-known native activists in the 1940s
through to the 1960s. Strong-willed and complicated, she left her mark on
the province's history.
43 Archives & Archivists
by Robin Lowe-Irwin; edited by Sylvia Stopforth
Robin Lowe-lrwin, Princeton Museum Operations Manager, talks about how
their museum and archives has achieved the impossible and doubled in size.
45 From the Book Review Editor's Desk
by K. Jane Watt
46 Book Reviews
48 Cabinets of Curiosities
Salli Rice researched the story of a wooden leg and the remarkable man to
whom it belonged.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      1
President: Barbara Hynek
2477-140th St., Surrey, BC V4P 2C5
Phone 604.535.9090
First Vice President: Barry Gough
P.O. Box 5037, Victoria, BC V8R 6N3
Phone 250.592.0800
Second Vice President: Gary Mitchell
337 Richmond Ave., Victoria, BC V8S 3Y2
Secretary: Jean Wilson
123-2600 Ferguson Rd, Saanichton, BC
V8M 2C1
Phone 250.652.0452
Treasurer: Kerri Gibson
702-1803 Douglas St., Victoria, BC
V8T 5C3
Phone 250.386.3405 Fax: 250.361.3188
Past President (ex-officio): Ronald
PO Box 1351, Victoria, BC V8W 2W7
Phone 250.598.1835 Fax: 250.598.5539
Council Members
Mary Campone
611 Robson Drive, Kamloops, BC
V2E 2B4
Phone 250.374.1509
Marie Elliott c/o BCHF
PO Box 5254, Stn B, Victoria, BC
V8R 6N4
Frances Gundry, Archivist c/o BCHF
PO Box 5254, Stn B, Victoria, BC
V8R 6N4
Derek Hayes
15241 Victoria Ave., White Rock, BC
V4B 1G7
John M. MacFarlane
11155 Lincoln Drive, Delta, BC
V4E 1N7
William R. Morrison
or writing@bchistory.i
The Federation Website and Companions
A complete list of the Federation's membership with links to their websites is
available at
Book Store
The website Book Store now has over 60 books on its shelves from the British
Columbia Historical Federation and member societies. Books can be purchased
through using PayPal. Purchase books about BC history:
Digital Archives
The Federation publications from 1923 - 2007 can be accessed from the main page.
Click on the Publications link from
Or go directly to the university library website at http://bchistory.library.ubc.
The archive of BCHF Newsletters can be found at
newsletter/index, html
Find our entry on Wikipedia and add to the discussion.
Magazine Association of BC (AAABC)
MABC represents, connects and promotes the BC magazine industry by uniting the
talent, knowledge and skills of its publishers. BC magazines foster award-winning
talent and represent some of the best periodicals published in Canada.
MABC membership is made up of more than 80 titles, including arts and culture,
news, business, lifestyle, leisure and special interest magazines. Find British
Columbia History and investigate other BC publications.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 Editor's Note
Are you a bucket filler or a bucket dipper?
My daughter's kindergarten
class learned about being
bucket fillers this year. The
idea is based on the book by
Carol McCloud Have You Filled a Bucket
Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for
Kids. The idea is that everyone has an
invisible bucket. Our buckets represent
our self-worth, our self esteem, how we
feel about ourselves. They learned the
only way to fill your own bucket is to
fill someone else's through expressing
kindness and appreciation. However,
not everyone is a bucket filler. Saying
unkind words, being selfish, hurting
others — all of these things make us
bucket dippers. Oddly, as part of the
planning sessions that the Publications
Committee undertook we added the
idea of developing a code of conduct to
our workplan; really the adult version
of being a bucket filler and not a bucket
In addition to their ongoing work,
the BCHF Publications committee
has been hard at work researching
marketing and revenue generating
opportunities for British Columbia
History. What will the next 90 years
hold for British Columbia History?
2012 seems to be a year of many
anniversaries:   The   BCHF's  90th;   100
years since the sinking of the Titanic;
the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth
II; the 95th anniversary of the battle of
Vimy Ridge; the bicentennial of the War
of 1812; the 100th anniversary of the
Vancouver Sun; and, on a personal note,
my parent's 50th wedding anniversary.
It would seem remiss not to
mention the Titanic's BC connections.
Many of these stories are already written
about in the back issues of British
Columbia History. Read "A Capilano
Love Story" by Patricia Korestchuk
in Vol. 32, No.1, or "Competition
Between Princesses and Princes on the
B.C. Coast" by Norman Hacking in Vol.
26, No. 1, or "Agnes Deans Cameron"
by Gwen Hayball in Vol. 7, No. 4. Go
to the digitized back issues at http://
bchistory. library.,
type "titanic" in the search box and see
what you can discover.
I have just returned from
the wonderful BCHF conference in
Campbell River where I got to chat
with many of you. Our hosts did an
excellent job of organizing the event.
It was inspiring to celebrate 90 years
of encouraging interest in the history
of British Columbia through research,
presentation, advocacy, publishing and
This issue contains stories of
storms, veterinarian work, the 1958
Centennial celebrations, the Riverview
lands, native activism, and even a
wooden leg.
Thanks go out to my team of
volunteers: the Editorial Advisory
Group; the copy-editors, Catherine
Magee, Erica Williams, and Ronald
Greene; the authors; and the editors,
K. Jane Watt and Sylvia Stopforth.
Ask yourself if you have filled
someone's bucket today and then sit
back and enjoy this issue.
Andrea Lister, Editor
Manuscripts that have been published
elsewhere or are under review for
publication elsewhere, will be considered
at the editor's discretion.
• Word Count 1000 to 5000.
• Electronic version, with file extension
(either .doc or .rtf), will be required
should the article be accepted for
• Endnotes must follow Chicago Manual
of Style, do not insert notes in text.
• Photocopies/scans of research material/
quoted material (pages from books,
documents, or journals you have used)
for fact checking are appreciated.
• Illustrations are encouraged:
° submit copies of permissions (or
assurance of permission) for the
°   sufficient resolution for high-quality
reproduction, 300 DPI (dots per
inch) minimum or a pixel dimension
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exception of images such as coins;
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°   Not embedded in text—send as
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°   Please provide suggested captions
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°   Image credit information must be
provided with all illustrations;
°   Low-resolution images may be sent
with initial submission in cases
where images would need to be
purchased from an institution.
• A two-three sentence biographical note
about the author.
If a manuscript is accepted for
publication, major changes will be cleare'
with authors before publication. Authors
will also have the opportunity to do a
final proof check prior to publication.
You agree to grant the BCHF First
Rights (the right to be first to publish
your material in North America) or
Reprint Rights (your material has been
published before and this is now a
reprint; the original publisher will be
credited at the time of reprint), and
Electronic Publishing and Multimedia
Rights (the right to publish the work on
the internet) and to publish that work
in British Columbia History journal for
no payment. Future online publication
of your work and the right to reprint
it in a future publication is included in
your granting of publication rights to the
The British Columbia Historical
Federation assumes no responsibility for
statements made by contributors.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      3
W. Kaye Lamb Essay Scholarships
Marie Elliott
% BC Historical Federation, P.O. Box
Station B, Victoria, BC V8R-6N4
Lieutenant-Governor's Award for Writi
William R. Morrison
Ron Hyde
10991 No. 1 Road - Box 36105, Richmond
Phone 604.277.2627
Jacqueline Gresko
BC History Editor, Andrea Lister
BC History Subscriptions, Alice Marwood
Newsletter Editor, Ron Hyde
Website Editor, R.J. (Ron) Welwood
Gary Mitchell
337 Richmond Ave., Victoria, BC V8S 3Y2
Historic Trails and Sites
Tom Lymbery
1979 Chainsaw Ave., Gray Creek, BC VOB
Phone 250.227.9448 Fax 250.227.9449
Letters from Readers
Great Articles
I've just received the latest
terrific issue of British Columbia
History — great articles!
Margaret Sharon
The Spring issue is terrific.
Spent the afternoon with it, reading
all about the historians (and more).
Congratulations on the colour cover!
Barry Gough BCH today...a great
issue...I really liked reading the words
of past greats.
6/7/ Morrison
Send us your thoughts.
British Columbia History welcomes reader's letters and emails, while reserving
the right to edit them. Email your story to:, or mail it
to: Editor, British Columbia History, PO Box 21187, Maple Ridge, BC V2X 1P7.
In the Fall 2012 issue of
British Columbia History
An Immigrant's Journey
Nineteen year old Jennie Korsnes travelled alone from Aalesund, Norway
to Barnet, British Columbia in 1927. Her nieces have crafted her journals
into an engaging account of her experience.
by Noreen Buschmann Jacky and Ingrid Buschmann
Toil and Trivia
The life of a weekly newspaper editor is not a thrilling, glamorous job, nor
is the pay anything to rejoice over. Instead, ifs a life of punishing hours,
too much criticism, not enough praise, constant pressure - and certain
intangible rewards that almost make it worthwhile.
by Vern Giesbrecht
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 Land Under Water: The Coulthard Farm in 1935
by Rosemary Cunningham
When a severe winter storm caused flooding in 1935, the
Coulthard family struggled to recover from the devastation
to their Surrey farm.
Occasional flooding is a fact of life in
many places in British Columbia,
particularly in the Fraser Valley, the
fertile delta west of Hope. Flooding
is due to a number of factors: the depth of the
snowpack on the coast and interior mountains;
the amount of snow on the ground; the rate
that the snow melts in the spring; normal
climate conditions that frequently include
heavy rain, but most of all; the low level of the
land that borders the lower course of the Fraser
River. When the mighty Fraser River overflows
its banks, the result is economic hardship
and misery for those who live and work near
enough to the river to be considered on the
flood plain. The most devastating Fraser River
flooding in the Fraser Valley occurred during
the spring freshets in 1894 and 1948, and is
well documented. Although nowhere near the
magnitude of those natural disasters, another
flood in 1935, not involving the Fraser, severely
affected those who lived in Surrey, as my
family did, and throughout
the Lower Fraser Valley,
the lands on both sides of
the Fraser River west of
Chilliwack stretching to
the outlet of the north and
south arms of the river into
the Strait of Georgia.
My family moved to
south Surrey from New
Westminster in 1929 so that
our father, F.H. "Sonny"
Coulthard, could manage
the large piece of land
his father, F.J. Coulthard,
had owned since 1898.
That year, Grandfather
and his friend, Chris
Brown, purchased 3000
acres, reputedly one of the
richest, most fertile tracts in
Surrey, bordered by what
is  now the  King  George
Highway on the east, the McLellan Road on
the north, a line from the Scott Road down
to Mud Bay on the west, and the Serpentine
River on the south. The two men divided the
property in half, Grandfather taking the east
half, and Brown taking the west half. Although
Grandfather never lived on the farm, he built a
substantial house and outbuildings on it, and,
with hired help, operated it for many years as
a successful business. He sold dairy products
and a variety of agricultural crops, such as
oats, barley, sugar beets, mangels1, potatoes,
hay, and truck garden produce, which was sent
weekly to the New Westminster Public Market
by boat from his dock on the Serpentine River.
When we moved to the farm, there
were draught horses, cows, pigs, sheep,
chickens, geese and ducks and one tractor; all
contributed in some way to the output of the
farm and the income it produced. Had it not
been for the 1929 Stock Market Crash, during
which Grandfather suffered serious financial
Cunningham began
a second career as
a writer following
retirement from
her career as a
librarian. She
published Bravo!:
The History of Opera
in British Columbia in
farmhouse, circa
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      5
 Left: F.J. Coulthard
Middle: Rosemary
and Bill Coulhard
circa 1931.
Right: Rosemary,
Bill, and father F.H.
"Sonny" Coulthard,
circa 1933.
losses, it is likely we children would never
have experienced the joys of living on a farm,
for there would have been no need for Dad to
step in as manager in order to save his father
the financial burden of a paid overseer. As
other pressing money matters began to worry
Grandfather, he found it necessary to take out
a large mortgage on the farm, which was to
have unforeseen consequences for our family
in 1935.
We settled into country life very easily; my
brother, Bill (F.W. Coulthard)2, was enrolled in
Grade 1 in Colebrook School on Station Road in
September, 1931, and I followed in September,
1934. Our brother, Doug (D.J. Coulthard), born
in December, 1933, completed our family.3
The 1935 flood was unlike the 1894 and
1948 floods in that it occurred in the middle
of winter during a period of the most extreme
and unprecedented weather. Although the
water levels of the Fraser River were of no
concern, many of the numerous smaller rivers,
streams, sloughs, and ditches that drained the
delta were not dyked, or had dykes inadequate
to contain the high water levels caused by freak
conditions that began in late December 1934.
During Christmas week the temperature
dropped into the minus Fahrenheit figures
and it began to snow heavily. People
listened anxiously to their radios for weather
developments as the cold and snow continued
throughout early January, 1935; on January 16
six inches (15.24 cm.) of snow fell in twenty-four
hours. By January 17 there were huge drifts in
the Fraser Valley, the temperature was 1° F.
(-17° C), many schools throughout the region
were closed, and getting around was extremely
difficult. Then, suddenly, on January 21 the
cold snap ended and a rapid thaw ensued as
the temperature rose during the day from 6°
F. (-14° C.) to 40° F (4.44° C). To add to the
problem, it began to rain heavily and the water
could not be absorbed by the frozen ground.
By January 23 The British Columbian reported
that "continued rain and melting snow have
turned the lowlands of Surrey ... into lakes."
Conditions went from serious to
disastrous in the days that followed, as
the rising waters of the Serpentine and the
Nicomekl rivers broke through their dykes
and overflowed into the already flooded low-
lying fields. Reports in The British Columbian
document the extent of the situation: on
January 25, ". . . the road to Crescent Beach
washed out [and] a snow storm collapsed a
barn, sheep shed and a pig barn [in the area].
The Nicomekle [sic] dyke broke again . . ."; on
January 28, "Working in the rain day and night
in boats [rescue workers] saved the lives of the
residents of the Meridian and Cameron Road
districts in Surrey . . . flooded out last week by
waters of the Serpentine and Nickomekl [sic]
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 rivers. . . . only boats and rafts could be used
to take families to places of safety. The boats
and rafts were rowed a mile and a half [2.4
km] over submerged wire fences and through
floating blocks of ice. . . . The water rose three
feet [90 cm] during Thursday night [January
24] and continued to rise so rapidly on Friday
[January 25] that residents only had time to
dress themselves and make rafts to get away
from the houses .. . cattle, horses and chickens
were left behind. In some of the houses water
was from three to four feet high. .. . The losses
to the farmers will be tremendous ...."
Further up the Valley, conditions were
equally severe. On January 20 the front page
of The British Columbian described the Hatzic
prairie as "one vast lake... the flood waters were
so high that a cow placed on a raft was floating
between the rafters of a barn." On January 30,
the same source reported houses floating off
their foundations in Sumas. A story on January
31 told of the rescue of a Hatzic family in grave
danger of drowning after falling from a raft
into the turbulent flood waters. On February 9,
the paper reported that all roads on the south
shore of the Fraser River leading to Chilliwack
were still closed, residents had been without
electric light since the week of January 21, and
only 100 telephones were in working order.
By February 4 the newspaper confirmed
that all main roads in our area of Surrey were
temporarily passable, but the Johnson Road
Bridge over the Nicomekl River had washed
out. One of the last newspaper references to
the flood was the following on February 25:
"Surrey's road crews during the past week
have been engaged mainly in going back
over temporary repairs of storm damage
and making a permanent job. Among those
completed during the week were the Johnston
Road . . . the Crescent [Road] fill. . . Elgin Hill
and Bose Road." These areas were very close to
the location of our farm, so it is safe to assume,
in the absence of any further documentation,
that the water had receded sufficiently to allow
people around us to return to their homes to
salvage what they could and start the massive
clean-up of their property.
Our grandfather had had the foresight to
raise our house on blocks so that the main floor
was more than four feet (1.2m) above ground
level. That meant we were in no immediate
danger when the flood waters rose to that level
in January 1935, and never had to be evacuated,
unlike many of our neighbours whose houses
were built directly on the ground. There were
seven steps up to the veranda of our house,
and they were completely submerged. The
boat used to get to various areas of the farm
was tied to the lower rail of the veranda beside
the steps, and we were able to step directly into
it from the veranda level without getting our
feet wet. When I think back to that time, I seem
to hear the distinctive noise made by the boat
bumping against the wood of the rail. From
the veranda our farmlands looked like a vast
inland sea: the water rose above the barbed wire
fences and the fence posts, so it was possible
to row the boat over them as though they did
not exist. Some of the farm's outbuildings were
also raised above ground level, for example,
the granary and the piggery. The higher level
of the chicken coop was where the poultry
found refuge, but neither my brother nor I can
account for how the other animals were able
to survive, remaining on the farm as they did
during the entire flood period. The barn may
have been slightly raised, but certainly not
high enough to avoid being flooded. I have
read one memoir that told of bloated animal
carcasses bobbing on the flood waters, but we
never saw that. As far as we know, none of our
animals was lost.
Farm boundaries
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2     7
 Our parents tried very hard to shelter us
from the stress they were under by maintaining
our normal routine as much as possible. In
order to get my brother and me to school,
Dad rowed us to a trail at the base of the hill
below Panorama Ridge, and we walked up
to a rendezvous spot on the McLellan Road
where we were picked up and driven to school;
someone would be waiting for us when we
returned. I remember being fearful of falling
into the ruts in the trail made by the heavy rain
and melting snow as it rushed downhill; they
looked like crevasses to me.
The daily necessities - food, water, and
heat - were at hand during the period we were
unable to be outdoors on our own. Like all farm
women, our mother had always preserved
a considerable store of food for the winter
months, and her large pantry was well stocked
with staples. Meat for our table was always
provided from the farm or from the game birds
Dad shot. Perishable food was stored in large
ice boxes. At least a winter's supply of wood
was always stacked to heat the house and keep
the kitchen stove going. Our water came from
a deep well, but likely had to be boiled as a
precaution against contamination.
When the flood waters subsided, the task
of mopping up began. One of the tasks was to
clear the land of hundreds of railway ties that
had floated off the railway bed of the unused
portion of Great Northern Railway track that
ran along the north side of Colebrook Road
through our land.4 The railway company had
removed the rails, so when the water rose
sufficiently, the ties rose with it. They were
gathered up on a stone boat pulled by horses,
piled into stacks, and burned. Most of the other
clean-up work was also accomplished using
horse power; it was weeks before the tractor
could be used on the sodden fields without
becoming stuck.
During this recovery period our parents
felt lucky that they did not have to contend
with a ruined house and furnishings, but that
was soon forgotten when they received some
very sad news: the death of our grandfather
on April 18, 1935. More bad news followed:
he died leaving outstanding debts, and the
likelihood of foreclosure on the farm was
looming. The solutions proposed by Dad to his
mother before the likelihood became a reality
fell on deaf ears. Consequently, ownership of
the farm passed to the mortgagor, and we had
to leave.
It is quite possible, but by no means
certain, that the added stress of the flood in
the months preceding Grandfather's death
contributed to it. He was already an invalid,
having never recovered from the stroke he
suffered shortly after the Stock Market Crash of
1929. What is certain is that the consequences
of his death for our family were very hard to
bear at the time. We had not only lost a beloved
family member, but also we had lost our home.
Young children are not always able to sort out
cause and effect, and so for a time in my mind
the flood was the cause of all the disruption
our family experienced in its aftermath.
I was curious to know what had become
of the property. A look at the current map on
which the original farm boundaries are outlined
shows considerable residential development
south of the New McLellan Road on Panorama
Ridge, which was the northern boundary of
the original 3000 acres. On a recent drive along
Colebrook Road, I saw no private homes north
of the road on the eastern half, which was our
grandfather's portion. Most of the area has been
obtained by the City of Surrey for Colebrook
Park, a nature conservancy; the last private
parcel inside the park, 13381 Colebrook Road,
was recently acquired by the city.5 However,
despite the problems associated with living on
a flood plain, private homes with acreage are
situated on the south side of the road between
it and the Serpentine River. The river was high
and the fields appeared to be very wet, likely
due to the amount of rainfall this winter on
the south coast. Although there are no traces
of our former home, it having burned to the
ground many years ago, I am told the house
was there for some years after we left.6 It must
have been an ironic reminder to our parents of
a well known saying about winning the battle,
but losing the war. •
1. A mangel is a large
coarse yellow-to reddish-
orange beet grown
chiefly as food for cattle.
2. Bill contributed to
this article many details
that I was unaware of,
including the known
boundaries and size of
the farm. I thank him for
willingly delving into his
excellent memory.
3. Doug died in 2002.
4. The track runs
along the south side of
Colebrook Road west
of 131A Street. It has
since been restored,
and is today used as a
freight line by several
rail companies, including
CN and CP.
5. "The End of Train
Whistles," Newsletter
(Fall 2010). The West
Panorama Ridge
Ratepayers Association,
6. My brother, Bill,
visited the area during
the 1970s, and was told
that fire destroyed our
house and most of the
outbuildings, but the
owner of the property
was unable to tell him
when that happened.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 The Flying Vet: Part Two
by John Roberts, introduction by Marie Elliott
Part one was published in Fall 2011 Vol. 43. No. 3; written in
1959 the second group of letters describe some of the many
challenges and victories that John and his wife Anna faced.
Dr. John Roberts was born in Australia
and during service with the Royal Australian
Air Force he learned to fly everything from
Tiger Moths to various twin-engine bombers.
He maintained his licence while attending the
Ontario Veterinary College and the University
of Toronto, and for a break from studies enjoyed
performing aerial acrobatics in a Chipmunk
over Guelph. Following graduation in 1958,
John and his wife Anna, came to Williams
Lake, British Columbia, where he had secured
work vaccinating cattle against brucellosis. The
town owed its existence to cattle ranching and
the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, and since
there were no resident veterinarians north of
Kamloops, they established a veterinary clinic.
They bought acreage on the south side of the
lake and began landscaping and cultivating a
large garden even before their home was built.
Their house was designed to take advantage of
the superb view over the lake, accommodate a
family of three children, a German Shepherd
called Lubbie, and the clinic in the basement.
While a large ranch could weather bad
times, the loss of even a few cattle could break
a small holding, yet delivering medical services
to them was difficult. In 1958 almost every road
leading off Highway 97, the north/south artery,
was unpaved. Consequently all secondary
roads and bulldozed ranch accesses were dusty
in summer, full of mud holes during the fall
and spring breakup, and treacherous in winter.
Emergency care was impossible without the
use of an airplane, so John used his contacts in
the local flying club (which he helped establish)
to locate a Piper Super Cub.
John corresponded regularly with
relatives in Quebec and Australia and recently,
much to his surprise, his early letters from
Williams Lake, dated 1958-1960, were returned
to him by his sister-in-law. The following
letters describe some of the many challenges
and victories that John and Anna faced in their
new surroundings.
February, 1959
With no plane to use last Sunday I had to
take the wagon and drive out to Riske Creek
and have a look at an old patient, a Labrador
that got its foot caught in a trap, then turn
south, down past the deserted old 30-room
house of the Martins, that used to be a hotel,
blacksmith, horse change depot for the old
coaches, and trading post, now overgrown
with weeds and spider webs and all white with
snow; on past the Native settlement—a dozen
one-roomed shacks in a long row with the little
Catholic chapel at the end.1
Arrived at Cotton ranch about 5 pm,
no one around, so I unloaded all my drugs
into their kitchen, plus sleeping bag, rifle and
camera, then built up the dying fire in the
kitchen stove, and the oil drum fires in the
bunkhouse and dining hall. In its heyday, the
Cotton was also a fine old homestead of 20-odd
rooms—a wrecked billiard table and cues are
still upstairs in the deserted attic. It is now the
clean, but bare-essential only shelter of four
lonely bachelor cowboys. (What the Cariboo
needs is 500 more women! But it aint wimmen'
country.) The bunkhouse room used to be the
big living room, with 30 feet (9 m) of glass
picture windows looking out on the valley of
pasture meadows sloping for three miles down
to the junction of Cotton Creek and the Fraser
River. Anna and I flew in there before last
October on TB work. The bunkhouse had four
old army-type beds, sleeping bags, no sheets
or pillow slips, not even dirty ones, saddles
around the floor, and piles of paperback novels
of cowboy, crime and sexy yarns. That is the
only form of pastime the poor guys engage in.
At dark the boys arrived: Scotty, who now
manages the place under supervision from the
main ranch manager at Chilco; a German lad;
Leonard, a part Native lad, and a new arrival
from inland who guides hunting parties all
On retirement from
veterinary work
John Roberts served
as coroner for the
Cariboo region
from 1977 to 1987
and found more
time to pursue
his avocation of
collecting local
history. He wrote
and self published
a book, Cariboo, in
1999 and continued
developing his
archives. When the
collection grew too
large he donated
it to the Williams
Lake Public Library.
John and Anna
Roberts continue
to live in the house
that they built on
Williams Lake.
John will be
celebrating his 90th
birthday this year.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2     9
86(139)  f
lumbers between asteriks along Hwys 97 and 20 represent distances in miles (kilometers)
Map of the Cariboo
fall, works in the USA on bulldozers, etc.,
during the summer, and cowpunches during
the winter. He was elected cook—as a hunting
guide they have to pick up the rudimentary
elements of the art.
I spent the evening in the old rocking
chair, stocking feet up on the stove so the steam
rose in clouds, and yarned with Leonard.
We'd met somewhere before at some wayback
meadow and shack that I have forgotten about.
His only conversation is cattle, horses and
rifles. And I read all the advertisements in the
Up at 6 am to a huge pile of wheatcakes—
pancakes covered in butter and maple syrup—
with bacon and eggs on top of the cakes, swilled
down with pints of coffee that kept getting
darker and thicker in the gallon enamelled jug
that bubbled away on the stove. The boys had
to distribute the hay on a mile-long (1.6 km)
feed trail so the 1,000 head could eat. At 10 am
we started running the heifers into the corral,
squeeze chute and box. I put tags in their right
ears, 3 ccs of vaccine into their necks, short stop
for lunch, two steaks, and we finished by 4:00
pm-500 head of heifers at a dollar a pop for me.
Harley, the Chilco manager, had arrived
also by car—too much snow falling for him
to use the four-seat Cessna plane. He was a
bomber ace in the American airforce in Europe.
He gave Leonard half an
hour to pack and go back
with him the 40 miles (64
km) to Chilco. Leonard
packed in five minutes:
sleeping bag, razor,
saddle, halter and lasso,
and he was ready to go; his
entire wardrobe was on his
frame. When his one and
only pair of boots wear out
he buys a new pair, "and
by golly these new cowboy
boots don't last the ten-
fifteen years like them old
ones used to". Of course
the only part of HIS boots
that get any wear is where
they touch the stirrup iron.
In spite of it being
10°F below (-6°C) the car
started OK so, followed
by Harley and Leonard,
I drove to Chilco, had
supper, had a romp with his two little, very
blonde kids, read them a story, then listened to
classical music until bedtime.
Vaccinated some more calves there next
morning, then took Harley on the 25 miles
(40 km) to another ranch at Big Creek that is
another part of the cattle empire owned by
one John Wade. This ranch/store was even
more dilapidated than Cotton, with one old
guy living all alone in a deserted six-room log
house: one bed, one table, two chairs, an old
stove for heat and the coffee pot-saddlery and
pocket books all over the floor.
I vaccinated another 45 heifers there,
then called in on the way back at the Church's
big place. Anna, Lubbie and I were there three
weeks ago, vaccinating their calves. Had them
in to our place for lunch last week; they have
their own plane. I stopped long enough to look
at my patient, the mare who broke her leg 10
weeks ago. It is coming along fine—may be the
first horse in the Cariboo that was not shot on
the spot.
Back to Chilco in time for lunch, then I
drove on to the Lee's place at Hanceville-a
ranch and corner road store, started at the turn
of the century by an earlier Lee and now run
by father, two sons and daughter. The father
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 is 6'7" (200 cm) and broad shouldered, and I
find it very, very disconcerting looking UP at
someone. Their living room was a mass of old
moose and deer horns around the walls with
rifles hanging in the horns, all rather dusty,
a huge roller-top desk, and a dozen worn,
comfortable armchairs around the central iron
fireplace. We choofed thru his 60-odd purebred
bulls and heifers in an hour. I do not tag the
purebreds but have to record their tattoo
numbers from inside their ears. Wild Hereford
bulls resent their ears being peered into by
strangers or anybody else for that matter.
February 15
Flew to Alexis Creek, to the Martin's. As
I mentioned once before, they have sold their
ranch to a German princess.2 The manager is
arriving from South Africa soon to take over.
Duke Martin came up from the States about
50 years ago and has been ranching ever since,
a small man but an authority on cattle, and
he does a large man's work, in spite of being
diabetic. Mrs. Martin hails from Wales and I
mentioned before the time Anna and I went
out there at midnight with a Welsh vet, pal
of mine, and we yarned until daybreak. The
whole Martin family are animal crazy. The
two Chihuahuas, the Sealyham terrier and
their long-eared and long-tailed Doberman
(the only one I've seen without tail docked and
ears cropped) all sleep on a bed behind the big
wood stove in their kitchen. And eat??? I've
never seen a family of people and dogs that can
stow away so much fodder.
February 16
After vaccinating Martin's and their
neighbours' cattle, I flew to northeast of Alexis
Lake, landed on a frozen lake, and taxied up
to the corrals of Jack Maindley. A Native ranch
hand came down to meet me and with my
rucksack on, sleeping bag under one arm and
box of drugs under the other, we strolled up to
the house. Jack came out from Bedford, England
forty years ago, started building a stormwater
drain on Marine Drive in Vancouver, then
worked on laying rails for the PGE up here in
the Cariboo and drifted out to the Chilcotin,
erected a one-room log cabin, and gradually
built up a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle. Lived
all the forty years by himself, guiding hunting
parties in the fall for moose, deer, bear and cats
[cougars]. His cattle have not been vaccinated
for years as the wagon trail is impassable
except by saddle horse in the winter. He loves
to have visitors and although I wanted to crawl
into the sleeping bag early, he yarned until late.
The pressed sawdust walls of his kitchen are
adorned with newspaper clippings of events in
his area, going back ten years: hunters lost, a
woman flown out, etc. The similar walls of the
"lounge" were covered with snapshots held on
with single pins, all curling inwards with the
constriction of the gelatin. Another room was
decorated with calendars dating back years.
He is badly crippled with arthritis
and cannot handle a hayfork or an axe, two
very essential tools in this country, so he is
seriously but regretfully thinking of retiring. It
is hard for these guys to stop all of a sudden
after working hard for so many years at what
they love—cattle. I put my foot in it when I
suggested that he advertise in the popular
American magazines catering for hunters,
etc...."Advertise! Strike me blue, I advertised
and those Yanks, none of 'em got any ready
money. One wanted to swap a gas station with
me, another a motel, and I wrote to them and
told them I knew nuthin' about runnin' those
sort of clip joints. Advertise? —Huh!"
He cooked a huge pile of porridge but
we three could eat only half, and the same
with a pile of fried potatoes. Then he got out
three old oval tins that once held herrings,
and each tin was piled high with the above
plus milk, and the two cats and his beautiful
farm collie dog had their first meal of the day.
"I only feed them three times a day." He has
the reputation of being the kindest-hearted old
guy in the Chilcotin. The Bayliffs later told me
of being in a little cabin [with him] one cold
winter night, 40°F below (-40°C), and after a
cup of coffee and a thaw out before the fire he
remounted and at 10 pm set off again into the
night to ride another twenty miles, to deliver
his neighbour's mail.
After vaccinating his wild calves next
morning, he picked up his old rat trap of a
Brownie, of vintage "you press the button, let
Eastman do the rest", and he carefully showed
me how to look into the little window and
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      11
 press the button. Then he stood at attention in
front of the plane whilst I took his photo.
Next I flew over to Cooper's meadow,
four miles (6.4 km) away, where the Paxtons
winter their herd. They have the cleanest little
cabin I have ever seen; she is part Native (lots
of people up here have Native blood in them)
and has the reputation of being one of the best
with a lasso in the country. They had no chute
or squeeze, so we had to run the cattle into the
corral, and rope and throw them one by one—
rope around their necks, then he holds their ear
and I their tail and we pull together—so the 200
lb. (90 kg) calf goes on its side, hold one front
leg to stop it getting up—I put the aluminum
tag in its right ear and jab 3 ccs of strain 19
brucellosis into its neck muscles. Then it is a
job to release the rope with the calf running off
with it.
After some fruitcake and a special
brewed pot of tea, I rode their horse back
to the plane and flew down to the Bayliffs at
Redstone—and a greater contrast between
ranches, people and atmosphere could not be
imagined. The Bayliff's ranch is a little bit of
olde England transferred out to the Chilcotin.
Mr. is the son of English immigrants. During
the first War he was an officer, taken prisoner.
He married an Englishwoman from Sussex.
The two boys, about my age, went to a private
school in Vancouver. The house was made 40-
odd years ago from lumber cut and planed on
the estate. All dark, hand polished paneling,
with many hand-carved shields; huge living
room with books all over the place, and a
winding staircase. The cutlery is solid silver.
My bedroom had three towels, jugs of hot
water, hand basin, etc. They ran their cattle thru
the chute to get them used to it—a thing never
heard of before in the Cariboo. At supper, Mr.
B., sitting at the head of the table looked at his
brother-in-law, "I think this calls for a beer?"
So we three men partook of a beautiful, long
cold beer which whetted my appetite for the
rolled steak (killed on the estate). As I retired
for the night Mrs. B. in her very English accent
said, "Good night Dr. Roberts. I do hope you
sleep well."3
Tony, one of the sons, has a good ranch
six miles (9.6 km) away. I landed the plane
Hugh Bayliff in a group including Mrs.
Bayliff and son Gabriel Thomas, circa
Bayliff Family
Jg     Hugh Peel Lane Bayliff was born in Malta in 1864 and came
_l ■  _    . 1_   _    /"t1_ '1  _ _ ■ •   _    •_    t rtrtry     xx      _ 1_     _    _   _1     _   _    .._   _  ._ ik. t _       _    _   x    _   _    _.  _  ...  _   _1
LU   U1C   \_.XLXX\.WIXXL   XXL   A.KJKJ^.   llUtlll   CLX LU.   L/ailllCl   l^tWXXXLCLXL   LiCt   ^lailCU
the Chilancoh Ranch in 1888 with an unusual agreement.
•   I    If one of them married they would toss a coin; the winner
would buy out the losers share in the ranch. According to
ive Stangoes account in History and happenings in the Cariboo-
Ihilcotin: pioneer memories, when Hugh returned from England
with bride Gertrude Tindall in 1891, Hugh lost the coin toss
but Norman could not come up with the money so Hugh
bought him out.
Jheir son Gabriel GayThomas Lane Bayliff followed in his
fathers footsteps and went to England to find a bride. He
married Dorothy Dyson, from Sussex, in 1923. Gay took over
the ranch when his dad passed away in 1934. Gay and Dorothy
had two sons, Tim and Tony.
Tim also took an English bride when he married Merel
Glenny in 1954. They had three children. Their eldest son
Hugh is the forth generation on the Bayliff ranch.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 "/ left my sleeping bag and rucksack at their place and with my overall pockets
filled with essentials—toothbrush, drugs, syringes—I borrowed a horse, his son
accompanied me to the trail, and I set off alone in the moonlight on a six mile ride
thru the forest and up the mountain."
at both places. They were very interested as
planes had not landed there before, although
they had run over the areas in a car at 60 mph
(96 km/h), to see if one ever could. I got in and
out easily. I am going back there on March 9 to
test their herd of 1,000 odd for TB.
February 18
Left the Bayliffs with the whole family
looking on—three generations—and headed
for the American strip at Puntzi where I
refuelled.4 I know all the Yanks there now;
they are glad to help. Flew on to Chezacut.
Anna and I were there in September, looking at
three horses. Landed on a huge sheet of ice, a
meadow flooded a foot (30 cm) deep. Saw lots
of moose. Left for home the next day. It was
dark when I got to Williams Lake; the houses
along the lake had their lights on so I could
gauge the height, landed and parked the plane
under our clinic window.
February 23
Flew via Puntzi to Tatla Lake and landed
on a little lake at the back of the village of 10
houses. A plane had never landed there before.
Vaccinated 100-odd heifers then flew on to
Kleena Kleene. When passing over Dowling's
I saw somebody waving a teatowel from
their front door, so I waved back. Found out
later they wanted their 2 heifers done. Flew
on up a little valley and landed in a pasture
and taxied up to the corrals of Brink. He and
his family were in Vancouver and he left the
running of the ranch to a one-toothed Native
man and a guy who was an ex-pro pug—and
now punchy. He had recently read an article
on Russia, had not spoken with a white man
for months and wanted to argue on the pros of
Russia with me. All I wanted to do was crawl
into my sleeping bag.
February 24
Flew back over Tatla Lake and down the
narrow, deep valley to Tatlayoko, a lake that
never freezes. All the mountains on both sides
are covered with glaciers or snow and the valley
was much deeper in snow than elsewhere.
Vaccinated heifers until dark, finished up at
a Native herd. The two kids had taken two
Canada geese home and tamed them; now the
geese are tamer than any bird. They came into
the corral with us and just dodged the heifers
as they rushed past. When the men galloped
their horses to round up the stray heifers the
geese flew after them, over their heads and
alighted beside them. They did not migrate
last year as they should. They chase the pups
around and bite their tails, and they chase the
kids around and bite their backsides.
I left my sleeping bag and rucksack
at their place and with my overall pockets
filled with essentials—toothbrush, drugs,
syringes—I borrowed a horse, his son
accompanied me to the trail, and I set off alone
in the moonlight on a six mile (10 km) ride
thru the forest and up the mountain. Arrived
at the next ranch in time for a hot wash and a
huge supper, and we looked at saddles, rifles
and Native stone spearheads, and yarned
all evening. Incidentally, I have ordered two
Australian best quality stock saddles thru
Anthony Hordern & Sons of Sydney. The
Bulletin sent my letter on to them. It works out
half the price with everything included.
Next day my host and his Native helper
had to rope 20 head. He would drag them
along with a lasso around their neck, the other
end tied to the pommel of his saddle, and the
helper would grab an ear and tail and throw it
on its side. Eartag, jab, then let her go boy.
Then I took off and gained height to hop
over the mountain range and landed on a little
frozen lake. The three cowboys had left the
previous night on a five-hour horseback ride
to the lake, and the adjacent corrals. They were
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      13
 busily branding and cutting half ears off (ranch
identification) when I arrived.
I could see a storm coming in from the
Pacific, forty miles (65 km) to the west—lots
of mountain cumulus clouds building up and
it was rough flying, so I decided to postpone
the work and headed for home. On the way
thru Puntzi for fuel I had an American captain,
lieutenant, and three sergeants all gas her up,
and maneuver her around for me—boy, what
Circled the house for Anna to come to the
airstrip, but she did not hear, so I went on to
find it had been snowplowed with 4-foot (120
cm) banks, and I had skis on. So I had to go
back and land on the lake. Found there had
been quite a storm that day. Tied the plane
down to the pile of old tires, covered it up
with one of Anna's old groundsheets, and it sat
there for three days. As the sun came out the
temperature went up to 50°F (10°C) above, all
the snow melted on the mountainsides and all
the water ran down over the ice, until it was
five inches (12 cm) deep. One of the lads, the
local bush pilot, helped me change over to
wheels and I took off, as I found out later, to
an audience of all the lakeside dwellers. For
the first hundred yards (90 m) it was like sitting
inside a washing machine as the prop blew
water all over the plane. She got a good wash,
but as soon as I landed on the muddy airstrip
all the good work was to no avail. Anna says
I should mention how I landed at Bayliffs,
castrated their tomcat, had coffee, treated a
milk cow at Puntzi for a blind teat, stayed for
coffee, did Tatla and Kleene all in one day,
covering 200 miles (320 km) between 10 am
and 5 pm.
April 23
Received a call from Duke Martin at
Alexis Creek, 30 miles (50 km) west of here. He
sold his ranch to a German princess, and the
German family who will eventually manage
it have now arrived from South Africa. They
were ranching there but the conditions could
not be more of a contrast, so Duke is showing
them how for twelve months. Ranch changed
hands for a quarter of a million or so.
Anyhow, they had a 4-year old bull with
a broken leg. Pulled him from out of the bush
and up to the house about ten miles (16 km) on
a stone boat. I had an idea in mind that I wanted
to try of driving stainless steel pins thru the leg
and bone, both above and below the fracture.
Unfortunately, I have been procrastinating for
months until I go next to Vancouver, to buy 8
mm stainless steel rods. So, I was caught short.
Williams Lake is such a little cowboy town
that the rod is unheard of. So I finally choofed
over to my neighbour, Pop Fowler, and cadged
three stainless steel welding rods, each 5 mm
diameter. Had to hammer the flux off and
polish them on an electric wire brush.
The Martins have their own generator
plant, 110 volts, and a full-size workshop. So
after a strong cup of tea and a yarn with Mrs.
and her two daughters, I had a look at the bull,
found the left hind tibia broken clean across.
Sharpened the pins to four facetted points
then put all my tools—pins, pliers, hammer,
scalpel, etc., in a huge baking pan on their
stove and sat down to the regular huge feast
the Martins call a snack for lunch. With six men
helping, four women looking on a-jumping at
my commands, two of them taking coloured
movies, and the kids sitting on the fence, we
led the bull up close to the barn, so the electric
cord would reach, pulled him over onto his
side, on a 30 degree embankment to reduce the
danger of bloating, and gave him a good dose
of anesthetic intravenously until his eyeballs
stopped rolling.
I had previously clipped, washed and
massaged iodine 5% all over the outside of
the leg. With two men holding the leg on an
inclined plank for support, I used the sterile
pliers to pick up the sterile pin and put it into
an electric two-handled drill. Then simply
drilled the foot-long (30 cm) pin right thru the
leg, until it came out four inches (10 cm) on the
inside. Put a piece of cardboard over the pins
to make a template, gave it to the cowboys, and
told them to hurry. I had previously explained
at length, and in detail what I wanted. In ten
minutes they returned with iron splints, W x
2" x 12" (6 mm x 50 mm x 300 mm) with the
holes drilled as per template. During this time I
reduced the contours of the muscles by plaster
of Paris molds, then wrapped the iron splints
in an old woollen, long-sleeved vest of Duke's,
and used clamps on the pins to hold the splints
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 Then strolled over to another corral
where they had a three-year old stallion they
wanted castrated. He was a wild hoss [horse],
and they did not wait to see my newfangled
method of throwing and tying a horse for
surgery. Instead, they put a huge loop of rope
across the gateway and shooed the hoss thru
the gate, pulled the lasso around his front legs,
and with five men on the rope and one on
his tail, and with his feet off the ground, they
finally, to my huge amusement, got the nag to
the ground in a cloud of dust and manure. I
usually manage with one man and Anna.
I gave the hoss a dose of anesthetic and
explained that I refused to do any surgery on
an animal without some method of reducing
John Roberts
getting ready to
insert a steel pin
in the broken leg
of an Appaloosa
colt at Lord Martin
Cecil's ranch,
100 Mile House.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      15
 the pain. And, as Anna often remarks, "You're
a bit of a showman, you perform better before
an audience." I explained as I did the surgery,
the structures, the care of cutting between the
veins, the reason for slow, steady traction on
the cords, the danger of intestinal prolapse
and why I finally tied off with catgut, a thing
unheard of in the Cariboo in the years BJ (before
Johnny). Next, I looked at another pony with a
bursitis on one foreleg. Gave them a tin of evil-
smelling iodine ointment and recommended
frequent massage. Then had to get another
horse in the chute to look in his ears and
scraped out a teaspoonful of cheese to see the
pink, painful lesion underneath. Suspect mites.
Took all my gear back to the ranch
wagon, pulled off my now bloody, dusty,
manurery overalls and pulled on my white
shirt—Pelaco, bought in Brisbane.5 With the
shirt hanging outside my khaki drill pants I
explained to Duke how this was the way they
wear them in India. Duke is five feet (150 cm),
and as he tottered alongside me to keep up, he
moaned, "Do they walk this fast in India, too?"
We all sat down to 3 pm tea and coffee,
and everybody looked at my textbooks on
anatomy and the article describing the type of
surgery I did on the bull. Got home tired and
dirty about 5 pm, and sat down for a rest after
supper. I was thinking about a nice, hot bath
and bed, when the phone rang. Bill Stafford,
14 miles (22 km) back along the road I had just
been on, with a calving difficulty. So with Little
Lubbie in the back seat, Anna and I set off in
the dark.
Bill has an Aussie working for him, a lad
from NSW, off a dairy station. Got the calf out
after an hour's really hard work. It was back
to front, with the hind legs tucked underneath
its chin and crossed. Water bags were broken
so no lubrication. The calf, of course, was dead.
Had to connect the chains from around its
legs to my $3 block and tackle, and with two
pulling on the rope and me trying to dilate the
birth canal with my fingers we stretched the
calf out to twice its length.
Went in for toast and coffee, and a yarn
about Australia, mainly. Then, in a snowstorm
that melted as it hit the ground we drove home,
to get to bed after a tired, quick wash at 1 am.
Ho hum, such is the life of the Doc.«
British Columbia History
Back issues as far back as the 1980s
are still available. Order now while
r ijmr9^
Vol. 38 No. 3 - 2005 Vol. 39 No. 1 - 2006        Vol. 43 No. 1 - 2010
or PO Box 42011,1400 Guildford Town Centre, Surrey,
BC, V3R 1N0, or by phone 604.582.1548.
1. Fred Methuen Becher's original stopping house on
Becher's Prairie was famous for its all night saloon.
When it burned down in 1915 he rebuilt a more palatial
residence to suit his new bride, Florence Cole.
2. Princess Margareta Wittgenstein who was the wife
of Gustav Albrecht, 5th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-
Berleburg. Their son, Richard, 6th Prince of Sayn-
Wittgenstein-Berleburg, sold the Alexis Creek property
in 1993 to Seattle businessman Bruce Blakey. Source:
"Home, home on the range," The Vancouver Province,
July 18, 2007, accessed February 10, 2012, http://www.
3. Hugh Bayliff preempted ranchland in the western
Chilcotin soon after the restriction on purchasing Crown
Land in the area had been lifted in the early 1890s. The
historic ranch house was dismantled recently.
4. Puntzi Lake Airbase was part of NORAD's radar
defense system, the Pinetree Line. It was manned by
the US Air Force 917th Aircraft Control and Warning
Squadron from 1952 to 1963, and by Squadron 55, RCAF,
from 1963 to 1966. It is now known as Puntzi Mountain
Airfield, just north of Chilanko Forks.
5. Pelaco is a welLknown clothing manufacturing
company in Australia.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 A Potlatch of Provincial Proportions
by Alice C. Huang
Each year, the British Columbia Historical Federation offers
two W. Kaye Lamb Scholarships for student essays relating
to the history of British Columbia. Alice C. Huang is the
winner of the $1000 prize for a student in 3rd or 4th year
university or college in British Columbia.
Student's Assignment
This essay was done as an assignment for Professor Robert A.J. MacDonald's British
Columbia History course (HIST 305). Her essay builds on the work done by Mia Reimers in
her doctoral dissertation at the University of Victoria in 2007. Huang's essay studies British
Columbia's 1958 centennial, a topic that, curiously, has received little scholarly attention. The
winning entry has been edited, with Huang's permission, to suit British Columbia History.
On the 7th of May, 1958, thousands
of British Columbians gathered on
the front lawns of the provincial
legislature in Victoria to witness the
historic unfolding of an impressive spectacle
of civic pride and pageantry. At the centre of
the crowd stood Chief Mungo Martin, leader
of the Kwakiutl First Nations Tribe, along with
a delegation of provincial dignitaries, First
Nations representatives, and one towering 34
m tall Western Red cedar totem pole.1 A group
of Native performers, adorned in traditional
regalia, entertained the
spectators with dances
and songs. After the
dance ended, the chief
addressed the crowd in
his native tongue while
granddaughter Helen
Hunt translated his
words into English. Chief
Martin then dedicated
the Royal Totem Pole
as a Centennial gift
to Queen Elizabeth II,
which was accepted by
the Queen Mother on
her daughter's behalf.
Two days later, the chief
and his granddaughter
boarded a steamship
and accompanied the
totem pole to London,
where it was erected in
Windsor Great Park to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of British Columbia's founding.
"As a token of British Columbia's loyalty to the
Throne with all that it stands for the totem pole
will be unique," mused the editor of Victoria's
The Daily Colonist newspaper. "Chief Martin
also will truly represent British Columbia, being
in his own person an unusual link between the
old and the new in this western land, one who
treasured and preserved its ancient Indian arts ."2
The Royal Totem Pole ceremony was
just one of the hundreds of special events
Alice C. Huang
is a 4th Year,
Double Major in
History and English
Literature at UBC.
She starts the AM
History program at
SFU in Fall 2012.
She hopes to work
as an archivist
to promote the
province's heritage.
At the opening
ceremonies for the
Queen Elizabeth
totem; from left to
right, Helen Hunt,
Mungo Martin's
W.E. Ireland; and
Mungo Martin in
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      17
 held in honour of BC's Centenary in 1958,
but it represents one of the most iconic and
ironic moments in the history of Aboriginal-
newcomer relations in the province. A First
Nations chief, dedicating a "royal" totem pole
to a member of the British monarchy, was an
ironic reminder of the province's colonial
and imperialist heritage. Considering the
conservative socio-political milieu of the late
1950s, it seems highly unusual that the white
dominant society of British Columbia eagerly
celebrated and embraced Native cultures
during the Centennial festivities. In 1958,
Aboriginals were still considered "wards of
the state" under the paternalistic policies of
the Canadian government, monitored from
cradle to grave by the Department of Indian
Affairs, and denied the right to vote in federal
elections. Only seven years earlier did the
Canadian government amend the Indian Act
to end the ban on potlatches, which had been
illegal since 1884.3 Looking back at this history
with the hindsight of over fifty years, it is easy
to criticize and dismiss the significance of
the BC Centennial celebrations because of its
colonialist treatment of Aboriginals. In many
instances, the Centennial appropriated and
commodified Native art and cultures for public
consumption. Numerous Native-themed
souvenirs, marketing campaigns, events, and
theatre performances popped up around the
province, from the "Salute to the Sockeye"
festival to a special-edition commemorative
silver dollar that featured—according to the
Report of the BC Centennial Committee—an
"authentic totem pole" which "proved to be
particularly popular as a souvenir piece."4
However, in order to develop a more
nuanced understanding of the Centennial's
impact on Aboriginal-newcomer relations,
historians need to consider both non-Native
and Native perspectives on the representation
and participation of Aboriginals in the
festivities. The BC Centennial Committee,
along with mainstream media sources like The
Daily Colonist and Victoria Daily Times, lauded
Aboriginals for participating "wholeheartedly
and enthusiastically in the celebrations."5
Native perspectives are obviously harder
to find in the mainstream media. The most
prominent and widely-circulated Native
newspaper from this period was The Native
Voice, the official publication of the Native
Brotherhood of BC. The newspaper's editorial
board was comprised mainly of coastal First
Nations from BC but also included editors
from Toronto and Oklahoma. While the The
Native Voice did not represent the opinions
of all Aboriginals, the newspaper reveals
that Native perception of the Centennial was
overwhelmingly positive and favourable.
Six coastal First Nations reserves organized
their own Centennial committees and events,
ranging from hosting rodeos to building new
longhouses. Across Vancouver Island and
the mainland, First Nations communities
organized pow-wows, potlatches, and "Indian
Festivals" that welcomed everyone, regardless
of ethnicity.6
For many Aboriginals, the BC Centennial
opened up new spheres of opportunity to
participate in civic life and to assert their
place in the dominant society. Following
the repeal of the potlatch ban in 1951, the
Centennial marked the first major occasion in
modern BC history where Aboriginals could
legally and openly engage in Native forms
of cultural expression. With the exception of
Frank Calder, who was the first Aboriginal
elected to the provincial legislature in 1949,
historian Paul Tennant notes that "from 1890-
1960, Indians were of little concern to whites.
Non-native politicians were poorly informed
about Indians."7 But this indifference started
to change, undoubtedly, during the Centennial
of 1958. The inclusion of Aboriginals in the
Centennial festivities demonstrated that the
white dominant society began to recognize
Native peoples as fellow British Columbians,
not simply a racial "other" that belonged in
the margins of history and modern society.
Through public spectacle and pageantry, an
awareness of Native cultures entered the social
consciousness and public discourses of the
province. Ultimately, Aboriginal participation
in the BC Centennial of 1958 was an assertion
of Native identity and agency, as well as a form
of cultural revitalization and resistance against
the legacies of colonialism and assimilation.
While the BC Centennial of 1958 marked
an important turning point in Aboriginal-
newcomer relations and the province's history
as a whole, surprisingly little has been written
about   this   moment   in   the   historiography
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 of British Columbia. Few historians have
studied the representation and participation of
Aboriginals in public spectacle and pageantry.
Through study of the participation and
portrayal of Aboriginals in the Centennial
celebrations, historians can better understand
how British Columbia negotiated and
constructed its identity during this "coming-
of-age" moment.
Cultural theorists consider public
spectacle and pageantry to be a form of identity
politics, which is the way a society constructs
and expresses its identity and sense of selfhood.
According to Clifford Geertz, spectacles and
cultural performance reveal the "stories a
people tell about themselves," and also serve
as meta-commentaries about a society's values
and ideologies.8 The BC Centennial reflected
a particular vision of British Columbia's past,
present, and future. It was a vision which
celebrated the province's pioneering spirit
and settler heritage, as well as its dynamic and
enterprising future. It was also a vision which
acknowledged the presence "of a way of life, of
a culture, which preceded Western settlement
in British Columbia and which has remained to
this day to add its historic note to the progress
of a great province."9 For probably the first
time in the province's history, Aboriginals were
portrayed as contributors to the development
and progress of British Columbia.
Throughout the year of 1958, British
Columbians witnessed some of the most
spectacular moments of civic pride and
public pageantry in the province's history.
After decades of socio-economic unrest and
overseas warfare, the province was in dire
need of a swanky "birthday party" to promote
its image as a modern, progressive province
and to show off its postwar prosperity. The
impressive guest list included the Queen
Mother and Princess Margaret, the governor
of Washington State, and officials from various
Commonwealth nations. Never before had the
provincial government, local municipalities,
ethnic groups, and First Nations communities
mobilized en-masse to plan and take part
in an entire year of celebrations and civic
boosterism. Two years earlier, on March 2,
1956, the provincial legislature had passed the
Centennial Celebration Act. This act established
the BC Centennial Committee as the official
organizing body of the Centennial, which
granted it the right to receive government
funding for its operations. Another 330 local
Centennial committees were established
in municipalities across the province. Six
First Nations communities set up their own
Centennial committees in Duncan, North
Vancouver, Victoria, Port Alberni, Massett, and
Bella Bella.10
The BC Centennial Committee and
local municipalities organized a vast range of
public festivities and community improvement
projects, which included the construction
of parks and recreation facilities, medical
centres, and seniors' homes. Across the
province, communities held flag-raisings,
carnivals, fireworks, parades, regattas, and
sporting competitions, including the Grey Cup
and the Babe Ruth Baseball Championship
in Vancouver. Significant funding was
earmarked for historical re-enactments and
the preservation of BC's pioneer heritage
sites, such as the restoration of Barkerville
and Fort Langley. A "Historic Caravan" of
trucks wound its way across the province,
showcasing historical films and photographs to
the public. In the Peace River region, the P.G.E
Railway made its inaugural run in September
1958, with Premier W.A.C. Bennett and other
dignitaries onboard. At the International Trade
Fair in Vancouver, the province promoted its
pro-development ethos and commercial power
by   inviting   Alcan,   Wenner-Gren,   Lafarge
Doug Huran,
Willard Ireland
Librarian and
Archivist, former
president of the
BC Historical
Association and
editor of British
Columbia Historical
Quarterly) in front
of the Centennial
Caravan, Victoria,
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      19
Welcome Postcard  I
Cement, and other British Columbian firms to
exhibit their products.11
Given the vast scope of the celebrations,
the BC Centennial Committee was further
divided into seventeen subcommittees, each
responsible for overseeing a certain portfolio.
The Publicity and Advertising Subcommittee
purchased about 300 television spots on
Canadian and American channels, and
ran advertisements in 75 daily and weekly
newspapers in the province. The Educational
Activities Subcommittee developed special
Centennial lesson plans for elementary and
secondary social studies classes, as well
as songbooks and stories of pioneer life.
The Subcommittee also commissioned Dr.
Margaret Ormsby, a history professor from the
University of British Columbia, to write British
Columbia: A History, which is considered to be
the first major book on this subject. However,
Ormsby's seminal work is written from a
European colonial narrative and
makes minimal references to
the contributions of Aboriginals,
which demonstrates that the
mainstream historiography of the
1950s still relegated Native issues to
the periphery of academic study.12
Although Aboriginal
history was noticeably lacking in
academia, Native artistry stood at
the forefront of many Centennial
events and promotional marketing.
The    official    Centennial    poster,
chosen from a contest run by the
BC Centennial Committee, featured
a sketch of a totem pole with "1958"
inscribed onto its top tier. During
the Centennial year, many private
businesses   also   used   totem   pole
motifs in their marketing campaigns
and  newspaper  advertisements.  In
its   special  Centennial  edition,   The
Native Voice featured a message from
Prime   Minister   John   Diefenbaker.
He proclaimed that "the province of
British Columbia is rich in evidence
of the unique culture of our Native
citizens. The pictorial heraldry which
has found expression in varied forms—
from totem poles to blanket, basket
and  mask  designs—never  ceases  to
charm."13 This interest in Native art was not
new to the 1950s; tourism promoters in BC had
started to use Native designs on a regular basis
since the Depression.14
Centennial organizers appropriated
many Native motifs for their aesthetic appeal
without considering their specific cultural
meanings or consulting with Native artists.
However, there is little evidence to suggest
that Aboriginals condemned the appropriation
of their culture and art. In August 1958 the
Vancouver Province, ran an article entitled "The
Realm of Art: Indian Display Fascinates."15
The article reported on the opening of a new
Native art exhibit at the UBC Museum of
Anthropology, featuring artifacts from the
private collections of Dr. George Raley, H.R.
MacMillan, and photographs from Edward
Curtis. Gloria Jean Frank, a Nuu-chah-
nulth scholar, is critical of museums for
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 objectifying and falsely representing Native
cultures. Some of these images, which were also
exhibited at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria,
depicted Native actors in culturally-inaccurate
costumes and stereotypical activities. Frank
argues that Curtis "superimposed Western
society's (and his) assumptions onto our
cultural identities."16 However, in the August
1958 edition of The Native Voice, editors chose
to feature the Vancouver Sun article which
suggests that the editors were more interested
in promoting the museum exhibit than in
censuring it for its stereotypes.
Moreover, Centennial organizers did
not portray Native culture as simply totem
poles and masks. One of the most interesting
aspects of the Centennial celebrations
was the representation of Aboriginals and
Aboriginal history in dramatic productions
and pageants. The Creative and Cultural
Activities Subcommittee, along with the BC
Centennial Committee, produced several
plays that were performed by theatre troupes
and schoolchildren around the province.
One of these dramas, a one-act verse play
called Blue Duck's Feather and Eagle Down,
was chosen as the winner of the Centennial
Playwriting Competition. Written by non-
Native playwright Rona Murray, the play
was performed by amateur theatre and school
groups. Blue Duck's Feather and Eagle Down,
set in an unspecified era before the arrival of
European explorers on the BC coast, features
the story of an old Nootka whaler (now known
as the Nuu-chah-nulth) telling his life story to
a young man. The play ends with a moralistic
message promoting courage and family
love. Murray dramatizes different Nootka
ceremonies, including funeral rituals and
mourning dances, and elaborates on the types
of clothing and props that each actor should
wear. According to a note at the end of the
script, the author states that "this play is based
upon a true incident which took place among
the Nootka Indians of the West Coast."17
The most theatrically-impressive
pageant, called From Wilderness to Wonderland,
was commissioned by the Centennial
Committee and co-written by several British
Columbian playwrights. This pageant,
produced over 100 times across the province
by   schoolchildren   and   community   theatre
groups, featured important moments in
BC history from the contact period to the
Centennial year. The first act of the play
opens in 1778 with Captain Cook meeting
Chief Maquinna of the Nuu-chah-nulth. This
scene is followed by Captain Vancouver and
Quadra's meeting with Maquinna, then several
scenes featuring Simon Fraser and Alexander
Mackenzie exploring the Interior with Native
guides. Scene 5 opens with the Songhees Tribe
constructing Fort Victoria with James Douglas
and his men, and concludes with a tableau of
Natives and Europeans joined in prayer and
singing "Ave Maria." Act I ends with Judge
Begbie, surrounded by Douglas, Aboriginals,
and Royal Engineers, proclaiming the
establishment of Fort Langley. Act II presents
a sweeping overview of the decades, starting
from 1860s Barkerville and the Last Spike at
Craigellachie, to the death of Queen Victoria,
and the two world wars. Finally, the play ends
with a spectacular jamboree of various ethnic
groups, dressed in national costumes, dancing
in unity. Whereas important Native characters
were present in almost every scene of Act I,
Native peoples were conspicuously absent
from Act II.18
These theatrical representations
of Aboriginals simultaneously challenged
and affirmed existing Native stereotypes. In
Murray's play, Aboriginals are portrayed as
superstitious but also as stoic "noble savages."
By situating the play in the pre-contact period,
Murray suggests that Aboriginal societies
existed only in the primordial past, but not in
mainstream history or society. The exclusion of
Native characters from Act II oiFrom Wilderness
to Wonderland also emphasizes the notion that
Aboriginals were somehow a "vanishing race."
In the final scene of the play, ethnic characters
come onstage and symbolically unite together
for a brighter future, but Aboriginals are
not shown to be part of this idealistic vision.
Paradoxically, From Wilderness to Wonderland
also challenged stereotypes of Aboriginals
as "primitive" or "childlike." In Act I of the
play, Native characters play important roles in
helping European fur traders and colonizers
navigate the province. Chief Maquinna is
portrayed as a dynamic and multi-faceted
individual who fiercely protected the interests
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      21
 of his people, but was also willing to negotiate
and co-operate with European explorers.
Clearly, Aboriginals were depicted by
non-Natives in contradictory ways, but how
did Aboriginals represent their own cultures
during the Centennial? Although Aboriginals
participated extensively in the celebrations,
the BC Centennial Committee did not
establish an "Indian Subcommittee." Officially,
the Ethnic and Provincial Organizations
Subcommittee was responsible for ensuring
that "consideration of the native Indian people
should be studied with special activities in
mind."19 However, no Native persons served on
the Ethnic Subcommittee. Instead, First Nations
communities had the power to establish their
own local Centennial committees if they
desired, which was a small, but significant,
step forward for Aboriginal self-determination.
Notably, First Nations communities were
given the freedom to organize their own
festivals, without the paternalistic oversight of
government officials or Centennial Committee
First Nations communities from across
BC and Canada worked together to plan
and host Centennial events, with the goal of
promoting and revitalizing Native cultures. In
July 1958, the Squamish Tribe and the Alberta
Indian Association organized a ten-day
pow-wow at a recreated longhouse in North
Vancouver. James Sewid, The Native Voice's
associate editor, reported on the progress of a
totem pole restoration project in Alert Bay: "I
am very proud of our young people for taking
this step because we like to show the white
people that we can still do our handywork."20
The involvement of young adults was
especially important for First Nations
communities, since decades of residential
schooling and assimilatory education policies
greatly impacted the transmission of cultural
knowledge. At the "Salute to the Sockeye
Festival," which was held at the Squilax
Indian Reservation near Salmon Arm in the
Okanagan, Natives presented fishing and
cookery demonstrations, performed stories
of traditional folklore, and showcased Native
sports and games. The editors of The Native
Voice encouraged Native peoples to share their
culture with non-Natives and urged its readers
to challenge colonial narratives of BC history:
"We are well aware of the programs of the
white government...They will tell us of their
birth dates in BC and their progress in various
parts of the land. But that will be only 100 years
ago which is like yesterday compared to the
ancient times of our forefathers."21
In terms of Aboriginal participation,
the two most important Centennial events
were the Royal Totem Pole ceremony and
the Vancouver Island Indian Festival. While
the Royal Totem Pole ceremony attracted
significant public interest in Northwest Coast
art, it reinforced colonialist ideologies and
attitudes. The Centennial Committee hired
Wilson Duff, a non-Native anthropologist, to
oversee the pole creation process. Whereas
the Royal Totem Pole was created under
the paternalistic supervision of provincial
officials, the Vancouver Island Indian Festival
was solely planned by Native organizers. The
two-day event, held at the Songhees Reserve
near Esquimalt harbour on May 18 and 19,
received favourable media attention from
local newspapers. The highlight of the festival,
according to reporter David Cowlishaw of the
Victoria Daily Times, was "a highly popular rock
'n' roll session complete with vocals, put on by
Chief Dan George and his group." Twenty-six
Native bands, from across western Canada
and the United States, celebrated Native
culture and identity through traditional dance
performances, war canoe races, track and field
competitions, and salmon barbecues. The Daily
Colonist praised the festival for representing
"BC's first century better than any other
weekend function, with authentic war dances
from the past mingled with rock 'n'roll." Quite
notably, the media portrayed Native peoples
as progressive and dynamic, and commended
their talent for syncretising traditional culture
with modern entertainment. This favourable
portrayal challenges stereotypical depictions of
Native cultures as "ancient" and "static."
However, scholars who have studied
the portrayal of Native cultures in public
displays and spectacle have tended to view
these types of pageantry as negative and
detrimental. Mia Reimers argues that the
Centennial was a form of "hegemonic province
building," which reinforced colonial and racist
attitudes towards Aboriginals.22 For some
historians, the appropriation of Native art for
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 consumer consumption "domesticates" and
homogenizes Native cultures. Although the
Royal Totem Pole increased public awareness
of Northwest Coast cultures, Susan Roy
believes "the totem pole came to signify a
region and was generally considered to be
the product of an imagined 'Northwest Coast
Indian' rather than the tradition of a specific
group or the creative product of an individual
artist."23 Michael Dawson also articulates
similar concerns, arguing that tourist
promoters "offered the more comforting
vision of the province's Natives as quaint
and mysterious people who maintained a
safe enough distance from the modern world
to retain their uniqueness."24 This "staging of
otherness" hindered Native struggles for self-
determination and socio-political autonomy,
rather than increasing public awareness and
respect for Aboriginal peoples.25
However, Roy and Dawson's
arguments appear to be reductionist and
overly simplistic for a number of reasons. They
do not consider that some Aboriginals may
have consciously chosen to engage in public
spectacles. In fact, Chief El wood Modeste,
of the Cowichan Tribe, stated that he was
"'disgusted' by the lack of interest being shown
in the Centennial by many Indians."26 While
non-Natives frequently homogenized totem
pole motifs, Native artists were just as willing
to experiment with different forms of artistic
expression and hybridization. Chief Martin, a
Kwakiutl, incorporated Tsimshian and Haida
designs into the Royal Totem Pole. Paige
Raibmon, in her study of Kwakwakwa'wakw
dancers at the Chicago World Fair in 1893,
frames the question of cultural appropriation
from a Native perspective: "Why, must we
ask, did Aboriginal people agree to play parts
in spectacles that today seem demeaning and
This question may be explained by the
examining the socio-political and cultural roles
of public spectacle within Native Northwest
Coast societies. In oral cultures, public
performances, such as mask dancing, singing,
and storytelling, are an important method of
record keeping and knowledge transmission.
Special names, titles, crests, and territories
are affirmed and reciprocated through acts of
public witnessing. Other forms of pageantry,
such as potlatches and feasts, maintained social
cohesion by creating a shared sense of identity.28
In an article about Centennial activities in The
Native Voice, an anonymous writer remarked
that "pageantry and ceremonies will depict
the age-old way of life...with colourful scenes
and ancient ceremonial costumes."29 For many
Aboriginals, participating in public spectacle
was not neither demeaning nor objectifying,
but a fundamental part of their cultural
After the success of the Vancouver
Island Indian Festival, the West Coast Allied
Tribes, comprised of sixteen bands from
Vancouver Island, followed up with a powwow on Somass Reserve near Port Alberni.
Held on May 24 and 25, the pow-wow
featured parades and marching bands, sports
competitions, feasts, and traditional dances.
Unlike the Vancouver Island Indian Festival,
which was more inclusive of non-Native
visitors, the Allied Tribes marketed the powwow as an "all-Indian affair" but stated that
"others are cordially asked to attend and see an
all-Indian show."30 The Allied Tribes likely had
a covert political agenda for hosting the powwow, which they saw as a form of cultural
resistance against the federal government's
treatment of Aboriginals. In the April edition
of The Native Voice, guest contributor George
Clutesi argued: "There has been no unity
amongst [ourselves] since [the] introduction of
the white-man law known to us as the 'Indian
Act' also very effectively split the Native
complete asunder with its laws of complete
segregation of one from the other."31 He
praised the Allied Tribes for organizing the
pow-wow as a way of "banding themselves
together" through "unity and brotherly love."
Although the Red Power movement did not
begin until the late 1960s, the Allied Tribes and
Native Brotherhood were already engaging in
early forms of pan-Indigenous activism by self-
organizing, which had been suppressed by the
Indian Act and other colonialist policies.
The most symbolic and important
cornerstone of coastal First Nations societies,
which had been banned by the Indian Act for
more than half a century, was the potlatch.
Although potlatches continued to occur
underground between 1884 and 1951, the
potlatch   ban   created   severe   cultural   and
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      23
 socio-political ramifications for Aboriginals.
Coupled with the devastating effects of
residential schooling and the cycle of
intergenerational trauma and poverty, Native
chiefs and leaders recognized the need to
revitalize the potlatch tradition. On May 8,
1958, the Native Brotherhood held a potlatch
at Courtenay on Vancouver Island, which was
attended by Princess Margaret. Like the Royal
Totem Pole ceremony, the Courtenay potlatch
symbolized a tenuous moment in Aboriginal-
newcomer relations. It is ironic that a member
of the British monarchy was formally invited to
partake in a potlatch, which had been banned
by the Canadian government only seven years
earlier. However, the Native Brotherhood's
intentions appeared to be sincere, as they saw
the potlatch as a way "to extend welcome,
express goodwill, and pray for peace."32 In
the eyes of the Native Brotherhood, it was not
the British monarchy that was responsible for
the problems of colonialism, but the failure of
the Canadian government to provide "British
Justice and fair treatment" for Aboriginals.33
Despite the celebratory optimism of
the Centennial festivities, Aboriginals living in
1958 were still denied access to "British Justice
and fair treatment." Certainly, the province of
BC had elected Frank Calder as the province's
first Native Member of the Legislative
Assembly, and Canada had a Native person in
the Senate. But according to The Native Voice,
"there are too many other ways through which
Natives have been relegated to second-class
citizen status."34 As the rest of British Columbia
partied in April 1958, Native leaders were
meeting with Indian Affairs officials in Aiyansh
to pass legislation that would guarantee Native
hunting rights, the federal vote, and provincial
jurisdiction over Native education.35 A small
minority of Aboriginals refused to participate
in the Centennial as a form of protest, but few
gains were achieved. Aboriginals continued
to struggle for basic democratic rights until
Diefenbaker's 1960 Bill of Rights granted them
some legal protection, but even that could not
adequately resolve the legacies of colonialism.
Questions of Aboriginal title, the residential
school system, and systemic discrimination
continued to afflict First Nations communities,
and these issues remain to this day.
Ultimately, 1958 was a year of
contradictions for Aboriginal-newcomer
relations in British Columbia. The
representation and participation of Native
peoples during the Centennial celebrations
demonstrated the paradoxical place of
Aboriginals in BC: they were a part of, yet
apart from, the white dominant society. The
dominant society, on the whole, embraced
Native cultures as a part of its own identity
and acknowledged the contributions of
Aboriginals to the province's history, present,
and future. Both the mainstream media
and the Centennial Committee praised First
Nations communities for their willingness
to participate in the celebrations. Despite the
glowing optimism of the festivities, Aboriginal
cultures were still portrayed in stereotypical
ways. Dramatic productions and pageants
such as Blue Duck's Feather and Eagle Down
and From Wilderness to Wonderland reinforced
the belief that Aboriginals were "noble
savages" from BC's frontier past. Native art
was appropriated in culturally-insensitive
ways and commodified into consumer goods.
But even with these barriers, First Nations
communities found ways to assert their agency
and presence. The Centennial opened up new
opportunities for Aboriginals to participate
in civic life, and many communities did
so by organizing their own festivities and
community improvement projects. Potlatches,
pow-wows, and other forms of cultural
pageantry offered a space where non-Natives
and Natives alike could gather and witness
the revitalization of Aboriginal cultures and
identity. For many Aboriginals, the Centennial
year was considered "our best since the white
man came."36 Through the unifying power
of the Centennial celebrations, First Nations
communities joined together to advocate for
socio-political causes and an end to systemic
discrimination. Since the founding of British
Columbia in 1858, government officials and
the dominant society had thought Aboriginals
were a "vanishing race." Exactly 100 years
later, they were finally proven to be wrong. •
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
13. "A Message from the
25. Trudy Nicks, "Indian Villages
Prime Minister," The Native
and Entertainments: Setting
1.    The Kwakiutl Indian
Voice (Vancouver, BC), Special
the Stage for Tourist Souvenir
Tribe is now known as the
Centennial edition 1958.
Sales," in Unpacking Culture: Art
Kwakwakwa'wakw First Nations,
and Commodity in Colonial and
whose territory is in northern
14. Michael Dawson, Selling British
Postcolonial Worlds, ed. Ruth B.
Vancouver Island and the adjoining
Columbia: Tourism and Consumer
Philips & Christopher B. Steiner
mainland and islands.
Culture, 1890-1970 (Vancouver:
(Berkeley: University of California
UBC Press, 2004), 164.
Press, 1999), 306.
2.   "The Centennial Gift," The Daily
Colonist (Victoria, BC), May 9,1958"!
15. Palette, "The Realm of Art:
26. "Centennial Festival Planned,"
Indian Display Fascinates," The
The Native Voice (Vancouver, BC),
3.   Although it was banned,
Native Voice (Vancouver, BC),
November 1957.
the potlatch and other forms
August 1958, reprinted from the
of Indigenous ceremonial
Vancouver Province.
27. Paige Raibmon, "Theatres of
practices did not disappear.
Contact: the Kwakwaka'wakw
They were still practiced covertly
16. Gloria Jean Frank, "'That's My
Meet Colonialism in British
in many communities. Rene
Dinner on Display': A First Nations
Columbia and at the Chicago
R. Gadacz, "Potlatch," The
Reflection on Museum Culture,
World's Fair," Canadian Historical
Canadian Encyclopedia, http://
BC Studies no. 125/126 (Spring/
Review 81, no. 2 (2000): 161.
Summer 2000): 169.
index. cfm?PgNm=TCE&Param
s=AlARTA0006431 (accessed 27
28. Coll Thrush, Native Seattle:
17. Rona Murray, Blue Duck's
Histories from the Crossing-Over
March, 2011).
Feather and Eagle Down: A One-Act
Place (Seattle: University of
Verse Play (Victoria, B.C.: British
Washington Press, 2007), 131-132.
4.   For a photo of the coin, see
Columbia Centennial Committee,
British Columbia Centennial
1958), 30.
29. "Brotherhood Plans Huge
Committee, The Report of the British
Columbia Centennial Committee
Indian Rally To Honor Visit of
18. British Columbia Centennial
Princess Margaret," The Native
(Vancouver: Mitchell Press, 1959),
Committee. From Wilderness to
Voice (Vancouver, BC), January
Wonderland: a Pageant of British
Columbia History (Victoria, B.C.:
5.   British Columbia Centennial
British Columbia Centennial
30. George Clutesi, "West Coast
Committee, The Report of the British
Committee, 1957).
Natives Plan Big Pow-Wow," The
Columbia Centennial Committee, 284.
Native Voice (Vancouver, BC), April
19. British Columbia Centennial
6.   Ibid, 285.
Committee, The Report of the British
Columbia Centennial Committee, 46.
31. Ibid.
7.   Cited in Marcia Violet Crosby,
Indian Art/Aboriginal Title, M.A.
20. "Natives Plan Centennial
32. "Princess Sees Potlatch, Visits
Thesis (University of British
Celebrations," The Native Voice
Bob," The Native Voice (Vancouver,
Columbia, 1994), 48.
(Vancouver, BC), April 1958.
BC), August 1958.
8.   Clifford Geertz cited in John J.
21. "Natives Plan Centennial," The
33. "Brotherhood Plans Huge
MacAloon, "Olympic Games and
Native Voice (Vancouver, BC), April
Indian Rally To Honor Visit of
the Theory of Spectacle in Modern
Princess Margaret," The Native
Societies," in Rite, Drama, Festival,
Voice (Vancouver, BC), January
Spectacle: Rehearsals Toward a Theory
of Cultural Performance, ed. John J.
MacAloon (Philadelphia: Institute
for the Study of Human Issues,
1984), 247.
22. Mia Reimers, "BC at its Most
Sparkling, Colourful Best": Post
war Province Building through
34. "We Look to the Future," The
Centennial Celebrations, Ph.D
Native Voice (Vancouver, BC),
Dissertation (University of Victoria,
December 1958.
2007), 255.
9.   "A Message from the
Prime Minister," The Native
35. "Aiyansh Brief Asks Federal
23. Susan Roy, "Performing
Vote," The Native Voice (Vancouver,
Voice (Vancouver, BC), Special
Musqueam Culture and History at
BC), May 1958.
British Columbia's 1966 Centennial
Centennial edition 1958.
Celebrations," BC Studies 135
36. British Columbia Centennial
10. British Columbia Centennial
(Autumn 2002): 73.
Committee, The Report of the British
Committee, The Report of the British
Columbia Centennial Committee, 284.
Columbia Centennial Committee, 285.
24. Michael Dawson, Selling British
Columbia: Tourism and Consumer
11. Ibid, 169-170.
Culture, 1890-1970,164.
12. Ibid, 137.
Vol. 45 No. 2     25
 The History of Riverview
by Valerie Adolph
The Riverview Lands have a long history as a sanctuary for
British Columbians; a sanctuary that is threatened by the
possibility of development.
Valerie Adolph is a
founding member
of the Riverview
Centre Society.
Director of
Volunteer Services
at the hospital
from 1990- 1994
her offices were
in one of the old
houses originally
built for trades
people, She was
able to experience
first-hand on a daily
basis the impact
of the Riverview
The Riverview Lands, originally
more than 1000 acres just west of the
Coquitlam River near its confluence
with the Fraser River, remained as
pristine forest until they were purchased by
the provincial government in 1904. Today
only 244 acres remain surrounding Riverview
Hospital in Coquitlam; an elegantly treed
haven that has been home to people with
mental illnesses for a century. The Lands have
mirrored the growth of the province. To date
their heart has escaped the worst ravages of the
developer. The whims and financial vagaries of
a succession of recent governments, however,
make their continued survival as a haven for
our mental health a matter of constant doubt.
Construction on the provincial "Hospital
for the Mind" began in 1909. The challenge of
what to do with people with a mental illness
had been growing since the time of the gold
rush some fifty years before. At first mentally
ill men were kept in the local jails or shipped
home to England or to the nearest hospital for
the mentally ill in California. Greater problems
arose when three sisters became mentally ill
together. It offended Victorian sensibilities to
have women kept in jail with men. A matron
was hired and mentally ill people were
removed from the jail.
A small older wooden building in
Victoria became the first, makeshift, hospital
for mentally ill men and women. When the
number of patients became too large for this,
provincial funds were set aside 'to construct
an inexpensive building for a lunatic asylum
in New Westminster'. Patients were moved in
to the new, purpose-built hospital in 1878 and
it was immediately so full that there was no
room for a resident physician.
As the population of the province grew
the number of mentally ill people also grew
and the New Westminster hospital - later
better known as Woodlands, home to young
people with mental and physical handicaps
- was enlarged several times. It could never
keep up with the numbers of people requiring
admission. In 1904 the land west of the
Coquitlam River, well away from residential
areas at the time, was purchased to build a new
Much of the initial 1000 acres was flat
alluvial land, ideal for farming and not difficult
to clear. Within a couple of years of the land
purchase about 17 acres had been cleared by
patients from the New Westminster hospital
who lived in tents on the work site. This area
became known as Colony Farm and it was
expected to produce enough agricultural
produce to feed patients at the New
Westminster hospital and at the new one yet
to be built. Cordwood from land clearing was
sent downriver to heat the New Westminster
hospital. Scows brought in building materials.
But while clearing of the lowland
went ahead the New Westminster hospital
was still bursting at the seams - Medical
Superintendent Dr. Charles Doherty pleaded
for funds to start building at the Coquitlam site
but the provincial government kept delaying
their allocation.
Dr. Henry Esson Young
This delay ended when Dr. Henry Esson
Young was appointed Minister of Education
and Provincial Secretary in 1907. At the time
the health portfolio was included, with a wide
range of other services, in the Ministry of the
Provincial Secretary. Henry Esson Young
modernized the government printing office,
organized the provincial archives, established
the first 'Normal School' in the province to train
teachers, established the Royal Columbian
hospital and was one of the first advocates of
preventive health.
The early years of the twentieth century
were a time of growth and consolidation in BC
and beginnings of the development of much
needed infrastructure. Henry Esson Young
was the man with the vision to move BC from
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
Left: Working the fields at Colony
Farm. Established in 1904 to provide
both food and work for patients at
the mental health hospital being built
nearby, the farm was soon producing
award winning crops and providing
surplus foods to other institutions.
Left bottom: Clearing land for
construction of the West Lawn Building
in 1912.
Right bottom: The lay out of the
roadways and gardens at Riverview
represents the work of G.K. McLean
and Jack Renton and is reminiscent of
England's Kew Gardens.
^'}'^^r^~!P*%~ "--'^ji**..
a pioneer colony of gold rush, agriculture
and logging to an established province with
the amenities he had been accustomed to as
he grew up in eastern Canada. Among other
projects he had to build, not only this new
hospital for the mentally ill that matched
the standards of those in the cities of eastern
Canada, but also a new university. He found
an unusual way to blend the two.
He played a prominent role in the
establishment of the University of British
Columbia in 1908, and at the first convocation
in 1912 was dubbed "the Father of the
University" for his energy and persistence in
getting the university established. He is best
known, however, for at last allocating funds
for the building of a new Provincial Mental
Hospital. The name Essondale, still used by
many today, is a tribute to him.
And what a hospital it was to be! A
competition for the design of a collection of
buildings on the site, the uplands, well above
the Coquitlam River, was open to all architects
in BC, and was won by architect J.C.M. Keith.
The State Architect of New York was the
Henry Esson Young, trained under Sir
William Osier1, determined that the hospital
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      27
 John Davidson,
a young botanist
from Scotland,
Western Canada's
first Botanical
Garden at
Riverview. He
became the first
professor of Botany
at UBC.
would be
integrated into
the natural setting
and be designed
for occupational
and recreational
activities. It
was a model
of psychiatric
care at the time.
However, only
the first building
followed the
original design.
This first
building, officially
opened April
1, 1913 as "The
Provincial Mental
Hospital at
Essondale", was
an imposingly
large three storey
structure. It
appeared to be
the solution to
the overcrowding, housing 340 male patients.
By 1914 this number had increased to 520. As
further buildings were added it became known
as 'the Male Chronic Building'; later still as
West Lawn.
Meanwhile, in 1910 G. K. McLean, an
engineer and landscape architect was hired
to design both the new hospital grounds
and the new provincial university campus
at Point Grey. At the hospital he designed
the formal grounds whose basic outline can
still be seen. Originally he envisaged tennis
courts, fountains and brilliant masses of colour
from bedding plants. His plans were based
on the theories of both Henry Esson Young
and Medical Superintendent at the time, Dr.
Charles Doherty; they integrated botany,
natural history and medicine.
MacLean's formal design, somewhat like
Kew Gardens in England, was part botanical
garden, part pleasure garden, with bright
summery flower beds, sweeping lawns with
scattered trees and curving road ways. His
was a strong influence on the formal design
of the lands, including the future siting of
buildings and the flow of roads. His design
was emphasized by gardener Jack Renton, who
had trained at Kew Gardens.
John Davidson and the
In 1911 a young Scotsman named John
Davidson arrived in Dr. Esson Young's office
with glowing references from the botanical
department of the University of Aberdeen.
He was looking for a professorship at the new
provincial university he had heard about.
Impressed with him and his strong references,
but aware that the new university was still some
years away, Henry Esson Young hired him as
provincial botanist with the understanding
that he would become professor of botany
whenever the new university came into being.
As provincial botanist John Davidson
was charged with establishing a provincial
botanical garden on land right beside the new
hospital for the mentally ill that Henry Esson
Young was developing in Coquitlam. Here, he
was to assemble a representative collection of
plants from all parts of the province, grow sets
of species for study and research to determine
accurately their species and apply their valid
names, and create an outdoor museum to
provide living material for teaching, as well as
a source of supplies for undergraduate work as
well as for post-graduate research.
He set to work with Mr I. van der Bom,
a nurseryman from Holland. By contacting all
the school principals around the province and
the office of the Surveyor General he received
native plants of all kinds, as many as 5000 a
year, arriving by train and by wagon. Small
areas of land beside the hospital had to be
adapted to re-create all the bioregions of the
province — cold north, river valley, mountain,
dry belt, rain coast. Not all plants arrived in
good condition or at the right season for replanting, but few were lost. Seeds and roots
were collected for propagation.
So in the early years of the twentieth
century three separate streams of development
were taking place on the Lands — the
agricultural operation expanded at Colony
Farm, the hospital for mentally ill people was
taking shape in a park-like setting and John
Davidson was creating western Canada's first
botanical garden.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 The arboretum of native trees on the
site was probably designed by John Davidson
and Jack Renton together. In 1913 Davidson
had collected specimens of about half the
sixty identified native species and started
propagating some of these for landscape use.
Along with imported trees some of these
trees developed into the arboretum that
was established downhill from the first new
hospital building. Today, almost 100 years
later, it is still a breath-taking display of the art
and science of arboriculture.
In 1914, 3500 cuttings of rare or showy
species had been prepared in the botanical
garden, along with 10,000 young plants that
had been protected over the winter. John
Davidson and his gardener had 350 specimens
of native trees of approximately 30 different
species. Dr. Doherty allowed Davidson to use a
small ravine for aquatic species, and permitted
the building of a couple of small lakes for
plants needing an aquatic environment.
Propagation and the planting out of
young specimens continued in 1915, but that
year, despite war time cutbacks, the University
of British Columbia began operations at
Fairview in Vancouver. Despite all the hard
work of developing micro-climates for his
wide variety of plants John Davidson was
instructed to remove them to the site of the
new university.
It had been John Davidson's job to have
the 85-acre Point Grey site cleared, drained
and graded and the thin topsoil enriched by
successive crops of oats, barley and rye that
were ploughed under. Five acres at the west of
the site became his new botanical garden.
In 1916 the collection of plants at the
botanical garden at Essondale, estimated to
number about 26,000, was transported, mostly
by wagon, to the new site of the University of
British Columbia at Point Grey. By this time
many of the trees were too large to move so
they remained on the original site.
The first World War affected the
development of the hospital, not least because
influential and popular Medical Superintendent
Dr. Charles Doherty served overseas for most
of the war years. Dr. Doherty had been Medical
Director first at New Westminster, later at
Essondale from 1905 until his death in 1920.
He was instrumental in seeing and using the
natural landscape as part of patient treatment.
At the New Westminster hospital Dr. Doherty
had opened the gates and taken down the high
fence. At Essondale he put together work crews
of about 50 patients with a staff of eight who
were experienced engineers and stockmen.
Dr. Young and Dr. Doherty together
pioneered the idea of outdoor employment,
regular work in the outdoors, whether
agricultural, landscaping or gardening as
essential to the recovery of patients with
mental illness.
From the first days of site preparation,
taking on virgin forest and steep, rocky terrain,
patients worked together with staff. They
laboured with or without machinery to clear
the land; living at first in tents then later in
a hastily thrown together shack. They built
walls and helped maintain gardens. It is easy
to see this as unjustifiably forced labour, taking
advantage of people who might be unable to
refuse. In later years this was discontinued
and patients could only participate in training
programmes, many of which were mind
numbing. The fashion pendulum has swung
from one treatment philosophy to another, just
as it has swung from incarcerating thousands
in locked wards to allowing mentally ill
people to have the choice of living homeless
on downtown streets. Those of us who have
provided the
labour to create
and maintain
gardens. The
beauty of
Riverview today is
their legacy to us.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      29
 West Lawn Male
Chronic Building,
1915. The first
building opened
at Riverview
was constructed
with reinforced
concrete. It has
been empty since
not been diagnosed as mentally ill have, in
our greater wisdom, yet to find a centre point
between the extremes where the pendulum can
Colony Farm
While originally developed to provide
root vegetables — especially potatoes —
dairy products and some of the meat for
the Essondale Hospital and the one still
operating at full capacity in New Westminster,
Colony Farm rapidly became the provincial
experimental farm. In addition to growing
potatoes and vegetables it imported and bred
the finest livestock — horses, cattle, sheep
and pigs. There were even plans to import a
herd of red deer when the federal government
intervened, citing an outbreak of foot and
mouth disease in England.
Colony Farm continued to produce food
crops for many years, despite a devastating
flood in 1921. Many people still remember
the prize-winning stock from the farm
displayed annually at the PNE. In later years
the development of the Forensic Psychiatric
Institute on the site and changes in government
policies saw the agricultural use of this site
virtually eliminated.
Jack Renton
In 1917 Jack Renton was hired as head
gardener at Essondale. He had been born in
Scotland, trained at Kew and had worked
at Cardiff Castle in Wales. Offered two jobs,
one in the Gold Coast and one in Canada he
came west. Seeing the first building of the
new hospital he realized how its imposing
architecture lent itself to being the focus of
grand landscaping. He set out to work within
MacLean's design to develop a landscape
that made the hospital resemble a grand old
country mansion.
Described as a quiet, kindly faced man
he kept meticulous records of daily weather
and everything that he planted. Riverview is
valued for the vision combining therapeutic
environment, buildings, landscape,
horticulture and therapy. It was Jack Renton
The first purpose-built
hospital for mentally ill
people is opened in New
The Provincial Government
acquires land at the confluence of
the Coquitlam and Fraser Rivers.
On it is to be built a larger hospital
for the mentally ill and the
province's first botanical garden.
Funds are approved to
build the hospital.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 who made this vision a reality, creating an
integrated landscape based on the English
romantic tradition, with its elegant vistas. He
brought in plant material from the United
Kingdom, eastern Canada and Asia to create
the effects he was seeking.
In the formal area of the lands, working
on the base created by John Davidson, he aimed
for a blending of colour, a contrast or blending
effect in flowers and in foliage. He would
have seen the trees only as saplings. We have
inherited his vision of mature trees, planted
with faith that future generations would see
and understand this beautiful blending of tree
foliage colours
But he had a working area too. A large
orchard was developed on the high south
west slope of the lands and for many years it
produced large crops of fruit for the hospital.
Some of the trees remain today, heavily
overgrown, but feeding birds and some of the
other small creatures that inhabit the Riverview
In an intensively planted 12 acre nursery
he, his staff and patients produced vegetables
and other fruit as well as flowers for the
patients to enjoy. Nursery stock on hand was
valued at $21,193 in 1917, and $3,087 worth
of nursery stock was shipped to schools and
government buildings around the province.
The nursery together with Colony Farm
continued to supply almost all the fresh
produce for the hospital at Essondale plus the
one in New Westminster.
Still living on in the memory of ex-
patients, staff and visitors are the beautiful
gardens maintained by patients and gardeners
together. When Renton retired he was
succeeded as head gardener by Joe Hancock.
Their dedicated service totalled 63 years.
Each year thousands of patient hours
went into clearing more land, dyking the low
land at Colony Farm, building the stone walls
and working on the grounds. Seen in terms of
sweat equity, the mentally ill people of BC own
the Lands.
Provincial Secretary Dr. Henry
Esson Young hires John Davidson
as BC's first provincial botanist.
The new hospital is officially opened
and named 'Essondale' to honour the
Provincial Secretary who initiated the
building of the hospital and saw it
through to completion. The first 340
male patients are transferred from New
Westminster into the new building now
called "West Lawn".
An estimated 26,000 plants are
moved to the new provincial
botanical garden at Point Grey, site
of the new University of British
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      31
 After the end of World War 1 the first of
the houses for employees on the site was built.
One group of houses, for the doctors, was high
on the hill above the orchard with glorious
views over the Fraser Valley. Other cottages for
trades people such as the chauffeur were built
closer to the centre of the hospital. Handier for
work, but without the glorious view.
In 1922 the Boys' Industrial School was
opened to the north of the site. Designed by
Henry Whittaker, the province's chief architect,
it was originally titled the Subnormal Boys'
School. The boys were accommodated in large
Tudor-revival style cottages. They principally
housed "incorrigible boys" as an alternative
to sending them to jail. They were educated
and expected to work at training programmes,
especially down at Colony Farm but they
also had playing fields and a swimming pool.
Programmes and facilities were shared with
the hospital.
Ancilliary buildings around the
site followed: a cannery, a piggery with a
slaughterhouse, a fire hall, a school for the
children of staff, more cottages for staff.
Essondale became like a small town with its
own services, still distant from most centres of
population in the lower mainland.
In 1924 the second of the three grand
buildings of Essondale was opened, slightly to
the east of the original Chronic Male Building,
This, the Acute Psychopathic Unit, was similar
to the first building in design but by this time
the design and construction had been taken
over by the Provincial Department of Public
works. It was designed to house 675 patients;
during the 1950's it held over 1400.
In 1930 the last of the three grand old
ladies of Essondale was built. The "Female
Chronic Building" took the last of the adult
patients from the old hospital in New
Westminster. As the mentally ill women were
moved by the busload to Essondale any young,
mentally and physically handicapped children
at Essondale were moved to the hospital in
New Westminster. The Boys' Industrial School
was converted to a Home for the Aged in 1936.
The 1930s were a time of change and re-
focusing of Essondale. This was a time of rapid
instutionalization across the continent and
with that came experimentation with different
types of psychiatric treatments.
Despite this, the Depression meant that
government funds were unusually low. A
hospital for veterans of the first World War
had been discussed for years. It was finally
opened, the first section of Crease Clinic,
named for Medical Superintendent Dr. Arthur
Lionel Crease, in 1934, to house victims of
shell shock. Generally seen as a profound form
of war fatigue, shell shock was slowly being
recognized as a psychiatric issue.
By the mid 1930s the number of patients at
Essondale was over 3300, and, if staff numbers
were included, the population of the site was
almost 4000. To maintain a flow of trained staff
a school for teaching psychiatric nurses had
been opened in 1932. A large building to house
young nurse trainees was completed the same
Essondale was a self-sufficient, self-
contained community like a company town,
distant from residential areas but close to river,
railway and roads. It existed as a community,
with parades and carnivals, playing fields,
picnics and year round social activities for
patients and staff to join in. It was a self
sufficient, working landscape, evolving as the
The Boys Industrial School
is opened to the north of
the main hospital site. It
houses and trains "juvenile
Illlllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll I
The second main hospital
building, later called Centre
Lawn, is opened.
The third major building, for
female patients, is opened. It is
now called East Lawn.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 Above: Activities
at Riverview often
involved the whole
community of
Port Coquitlam as
evidenced by this
Sports Day Parade.
At this time the
hospital had over
4000 patients and
2000 staff.
Below: The
"Cottages" built
to house the Boys
Industrial School
are actually large
structures situated
on a hillside. The
collection today
resembles a small
English village.
References to 'lunatic7 and
'insane' are removed from
the Mental Hospital Act.
The greatest number of
patients is reached - 4306.
New treatments and more
services in the community
gradually help to reduce this
The building known as
Valleyview 300 is opened
to accommodate elderly
A very small number of
patients remain on the
site of Riverview. The
provincial government has
commissioned a study to
guide the direction of land
use planning for the future of
the Lands.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      33
 need arose, with social activities that included
everyone. While much of the food was grown
or raised at the hospital the per diem cost of
maintaining a patient rose above $1 for the first
time in 1937.
In 1940 the terms 'lunatic' and 'insane'
were removed when the Mental Hospital Act
was amended. Many of the able-bodied male
staff went to join the war effort and more
women joined the staff. After the war many of
the men returned and gardening to previous
standards resumed.
Right after the war, however, Colony
Farm faced a difficult few years. In December
1946 a large fire there killed one employee, six
horses and completely destroyed one large
building. Also destroyed were the farm office
and all the farm records. Three more fires in
1947 destroyed several large barns, storage
sheds, silos, tools and equipment as well as
killing eight more horses. In 1948 extensive
flooding in the Fraser Valley wiped out most
of the farm's crops. The Lougheed Highway
was flooded and only the orchard and the main
hospital on the high ground were not affected.
The hospital expanded after the second
World War. Crease Clinic of Psychological
Medicine opened in 1948 and operated
independently of the main hospital until 1965.
It was a huge building, actually a second,
matching, wing of the old Veteran's hospital,
linked to the old section by a central entrance
hall. Alongside the Lougheed Highway, it still
had a few pretensions to architectural merit.
The veterans remaining in the Crease building
were moved to Colony Farm in 1949. This later
became the Forensic Psychiatric Unit and the
farm activities were phased out.
Three large 100-bed units for the aged
were built at the north end of the Lands,
opening between 1946-1952.
Significant changes took place in 1950.
With the changes in psychiatric philosophy
of care and improved medication for mental
illnesses the term 'mental health' became the
preferred usage and the all mental health care
within the province came under the Provincial
Mental Health Services. This reduced gaps in
service throughout the province.
The hospital was re-named 'The
Provincial Mental Hospital, Essondale'. In
keeping with this, the three original buildings
took on the names by which they are still
known - the Male Chronic Building became
West Lawn, the Acute Psychopathic Unit
became Centre Lawn and the Female Chronic
building became East Lawn.
The decade was a time of expansion at
Riverview. Pennington Hall, the recreation
centre known to all as 'Penn Hall', was opened
in 1951 and contained a large gymnasium used
for parties and dances and a bowling alley. A
separate tuck shop was built in 1955. A large
building to house the laundry and supplies for
the hospital was built in 1951 and an auditorium
and chapel building was completed by 1959.
North Lawn was built in 1955 high on
the hill away from the other wards to treat
psychiatric patients with tuberculosis and
other infectious diseases. This building, much
smaller than previous buildings housing
patients, was a plain concrete rectangle.
About this same time a nurse named Art
Finnie received head injuries from a patient
and after six months recuperation he returned
to light duties - taking a small group of male
patients to do some gardening in what became
known as Art Finnie's garden patch'. They
took a steep two and a half acres behind the
hospital, leveled it into terraces supported
by hand-built stone walls and created a treed
garden sanctuary including a shaded pool with
water lilies. This pioneer horticultural therapy
garden has been rescued from overgrowth
and oblivion in recent years. Today it is called
Finnie's Garden and it is maintained by a small
band of volunteers.
New treatments and medications and an
increasing focus on community treatment saw
the population of the hospital decline starting
in the late 1950s. Advances in treatments
and medications, especially anti-psychotic
medications, together with counseling led to
the eventual growth of deinstitutionalization.
From a peak population of the 1930s
the number of patients gradually decreased
in spite of the opening of the Valleyview 300
buildings on the north end of the site in 1959.
Another huge concrete rectangle, this housed
elderly patients, often suffering from forms
of dementia. It operated independently of the
main hospital for many years.
The cemetery at the north end of the site
was opened in 1957. Operated by the provincial
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 Right: Essondale was at one time a self-
sufficient community with its own fire
hall, school, credit union, post office,
and bakery. This tuck shop served both
staff and patients.
Bottom left: The lawn bowling green at
Finnie's Garden was home to an annual
corn roast in the 1950's. A group from
the Riverview Horticultural Centre
Society today maintains the garden and
has restored the stone walls, staircases
and fishpond built there by patients.
Department of Public Works it took over
burials when the cemetery at the old hospital
in New Westminster had no more space.
In 1965 Crease Clinic of Psychological
Medicine merged with Essondale and the
combined facility became known as Riverview
Hospital. From this time fewer patients were
admitted and more of them were treated in
shorter periods of time or had medications
adapted and were returned to the community.
In 1973 the final class of the nursing school at
Riverview closed and the training of psychiatric
nurses was transferred to community colleges.
The last large building, the seven storey
Henry Esson Young building was opened in
1976. Built originally as nurses' quarters, it
soon became an office building.
In the mid 1980s the use of patient
labour  on  the  grounds  was   discontinued.
The huge Crease Clinic was closed in 1992.
It was scheduled to be demolished almost
immediately, but it is still standing and is
considered to have value as a heritage building.
The three 'grand old lady' buildings would
also have been demolished had not the film
industry used them so frequently.
In 1991 a group, mostly of Riverview
Hospital staff, seeing buildings close and
hearing threats of more development on the
site (a significant area had already been carved
off to sell to housing developers building the
Riverview Heights subdivision) decided to
display the beauty of the Riverview Lands.
After eighty years of care by patients and
dedicated gardeners, the Lands had a mature
beauty and grace that was unique and
irreplaceable. Expecting only a few people, the
Above: The Henry
Esson Young (HEY)
Building has a
tower with 96
dormitory style
rooms, 3 lecture
theatres, and
several classrooms.
Built as an
education facility,
it would provide an
ideal site today for
small retreats and
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      35
 group was amazed at the numbers arriving for
the two 'walkabouts'.
From this start the Riverview
Horticultural Centre Society, (RHCS) was
formed to preserve the Lands not only for their
beauty and the mature trees in the arboretum,
but also as a reminder of the countless hours of
patient labour that created and preserved them
so that future generations could appreciate
The threat of having the Lands sold off
for development continues as strongly today
as ever. Despite the following motion, passed
by the provincial Liberal Party in 1999:
Whereas the remaining Riverview
Lands are an irreplaceable asset for the
people of British Columbia as a regional
green space; and, whereas, these
lands have a long history as a special
sanctuary for all British Columbians,
be it resolved that the BC Liberal Party
encourage the government to preserve
the remaining Riverview Lands as a
park complementing the GVRD Park,
Colony Farm, as a regional green
space; and be it further resolved that
the BC Liberal Party encourage the
government to preserve the Riverview
site as a means of promoting economic
development of the horticultural
industry and tourism.
Most of the buildings on the Lands
are now closed, although three small new
buildings for patients have been opened -
Connolly Lodge in 2003, Cottonwood Lodge in
2006 and Cypress Lodge in 2010. These were
built and are run by Fraser Health Authority.
Meanwhile the Provincial Health Services
Authority is determined to completely close
their programmes on the site by June 2012.
What remains are all the major old
buildings, along with some of the smaller ones,
comfortably encompassed within the graceful
canopy of century-old trees. The great lawn
and formal stairs up to West Lawn can still be
glimpsed. Arborists from across the continent
have visited Riverview Lands and shared
with their colleagues their appreciation of the
treasure we have here. It is also a wildlife oasis,
a generous link in the chain of urban green
spaces, a remnant of an age-old track linking
the Fraser River and Burrard Inlet.
This is not 244 acres of land that can be
sold by the province to developers. Henry
Esson Young, in placing his Hospital for
the Mind beside his first botanical garden
understood that contact with the natural world
has a healing effect on us all; it is fundamentally
valuable to our wellness. This is an asylum in
the truest sense of the word - a sanctuary.
Generations of gardeners and patient
workers understood and upheld the heritage
of the botanical garden and the place of healing
co-existing in mutual support together. The
Riverview Lands have social and spiritual
values for people living there and for the larger
The historical significance of the
landscape which evolved from conscious
design layered over time by the variety and
setting of the mature trees makes BC's first
botanical garden compare to any arboretum
in North America. The character of place, its
formal arrangement, its views, its curving
roadways, its sloping lawns, Finnie's terraced
gardens, the 'backyard' natural areas, its stone
walls and amazing range of mature trees creates
a unique aesthetic. The variety of monumental
buildings are of a style and grandeur we
shall not see again. The City of Coquitlam's
application to designate the Riverview Lands
as a National Historic site is still awaiting the
approval of the provincial government.
Set aside for combined botanical and
mental health use, the Riverview lands
developed a mental health legacy into a superb
therapeutic milieu. Most of the patients, for
now, are gone. The trees silently continue
their growth while we...we hold our breath
while struggling to save this legacy for future
generations of British Columbians.*
1.   Sir William Osier was a Canadian physician and one of
the founding professors at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Osier
created the first residency program for specialty training
of physicians.
Adolph, Valjn the
Context of its Time; a
History of Woodlands,
Government of British
Columbia, Ministry of
Social Services. 1996
Adolph, Val and
Gillespie, Brenda G., The
Riverview Lands: Western
Canada's First Botanical
Gardens, Riverview
Horticultural Centre
Society, 1994
Cook, Denise. Riverview
Cultural Landscape
History, Riverview
Site, Coquitlam, BC_
Government of British
Columbia, Ministry
of Labour and Citizen
Services, 2007.
Luxton, Donald and
Associates. Riverview:
Statement of Significance
City of Coquitlam, 2008
Williams, Niall. Riverview
Hospital Heritage Walk
Riverview Historical
Museum. Curator: Anna
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 The Voice of Maisie Hurley
by Janet Mary Nicol
Maisie was one of BC's most well-known native activists
in the 1940s through to the 1960s. Strong-willed and
complicated, she left her mark on the province's history.
In 2010 North Vancouver Presentation
House presented "Entwined Histories:
The Collection of Maisie Hurley." The
exhibit displayed gifts given to the late
Maisie Hurley from members of the Squamish
and Coast Salish nation, in recognition of
Hurley's advocacy for aboriginal people.
These artefacts and artworks sparked
renewed interest in a remarkable British
Columbian. Hurley's story, as chronicled
here, confirms she was a compassionate and
spirited woman, clearly ahead of her time.
Growing up in the BC frontier
Cowboys and Indians fascinated me.
—Maisie Hurley, Orchard interview,
Maisie Hurley was born Amy Campbell-
Johnston in 1887, in Swansea, Wales. She
was the first born child of Ronald Campbell
and Amy (nee Merry) Campbell-Johnston.
Trained as a mining engineer in England,
met his wife while
employed at her
father's firm in
In 1890
the couple and
"Maisie," as she
was affectionately
called, immigrated
to the Kootenay
region of British
Columbia. Two
more children were
born, Ronald in
1891 and Alexander
in 1901. Campbell-
Johnston travelled
around BC,
exploring mining
operations. He was
often accompanied by his wife. The couple
encountered many First Nations people and
developed an understanding and respect for
aboriginal culture. This attitude, along with
pride in their own Celtic heritage, influenced
their daughter's world view.1
Hurley spent much of her childhood
at home in Aspen Grove, a remote ranching
community near Merritt. She was watched over
by servants, including a nanny. Hurley recalled
it was a lonely life. She sometimes played with
a "dear childhood friend," Lena Voght of the
Nlaka'pamux nation. Voght shared her culture
and taught Hurley how to find edible roots
and plants.2
Hurley learned the finer points of riding
stock saddle — not "side saddle" as was
considered "proper" for girls — from 'Dad' J.P.
Allen, when she was only 10 years old.
"I first met Dad' in 1897 in Slocan
City, BC where he owned the livery
stable and ran pack trains and horses to
the mines," Hurley recounted.
Janet Nicol is a
freelance writer,
with more than
200 articles,
including several
stories about
contemporary First
Nations issues. She
has been teaching
history at Killarney
Secondary in
Vancouver since
Maisie and her
father, Ronald
Johnston, c 1900.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      37
I had nurses and governesses out there but it didn't seem to do me
any good." — Maisey Hurley
She observed 'Dad' rode a horse without
bending his knees, despite being in his eighties.
"He rode a raw-boned three year old grey
stallion called 'Turk,' she remembered. "(He
was) always cautioning me not to be corrupted
by the old country English style of riding."3
Hurley was also acquainted with the
infamous train robber Bill Miner who lived in
the area under an alias name.
"In the spring of 1906 we moved down
to Lower Nicola," Hurley reminisced. "One
evening, Mother and I were strolling through
the Shulus Indian Reserve when we met Bill
with a companion.... Some days later we heard
that the Canadian Pacific Railway train had
been held up at Ducks, and the newspapers
said that it looked like the work of the famous
American bandit 'Bill Miner.'"
Police and Indian trackers scoured the
country for Miner, according to Hurley, and he
was eventually captured. Later 'Dad' J.P. Allen
visited her and told her not to judge the bandit
too harshly.
"He was just one of those socialist
fellows" Hurley said Dad told her, "who took
from the rich and gave to the poor."4
Hurley concluded, "....these wild men
of the mountains and plains were finer men
with a greater sense of honour than many of
our respected business men of today. At least, I
would rather have them for pals."5
Love, Grief and Renewal
"I can't help having ideas of my own."
—Maisie Hurley, Orchard interview,
Hurley was expected to marry within her
Episcopalian faith—and divorce was not an
option. But at age 19, she had other ideas.
"I attempted to elope with an Anglican
minister," she remembered, "but was found out
and brought home—on horseback. We planned
to elope but I was tricked in to taking one of the
slowest horses and so I got caught. With the
right horse, I would have made it. Instead, my
parents shipped me off to England."6
Two years later back in Canada, she met
John Reginald Rowallan Armytage-Moore,
a North Vancouver real estate agent. He had
recently emigrated from England where he was
raised in an affluent Irish-Anglo family. The
couple's engagement was formally announced
and in 1909 they married in a church wedding.
But for undisclosed reasons, their union didn't
last. By 1911 Hurley was staying with her
parents in Vancouver.7
Then in 1914, Hurley moved to the
United States with Martin Joseph Murphy,
an immigrant labourer. No Armytage-Moore
divorce documents exists—nor is there a
marriage certificate between Hurley and
Martin. The couple lived out of wedlock in
lumber camps, towns and cities along the
Pacific Northwest. They were involved with
the International Workers of the World and
fought for improved conditions for working
Meantime, Armytage-Moore moved
to New Zealand and enlisted with the New
Zealand Expeditionary Force.8
Looking back, Hurley explained the
forces that shaped her impulsive youth.
"I had nurses and governesses out there
(in Aspen Grove) but it didn't seem to
do me any good."
"I was the only granddaughter in
what was supposed to be an exclusive
(pedigree)," she also noted. "But
there must have been a barmaid three
generations back!"
My younger brothers were more
civilized," Hurley concluded, "but
then they spent more time there (in
Murphy was a boxing enthusiast and
Hurley became interested too, helping to
organize boxing matches in lumber camps.
Likely this was when she took up cigar
By 1917, the pair had settled in a rented
apartment in the diverse immigrant Haight-
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 Ashbury district of San Francisco. "Amy
Murphy", as Hurley was now called, had
three children: Michael, Kathleen, and Ronald.
Martin Murphy registered with the U.S. army
when the Americans joined the First World
War that same year, but continued working on
the 'home front' as a caulker in a shipyard.11
Hurley's Canadian and British relatives
were less fortunate, as she later wrote: "The
Campbell-Johnstons lost uncles and cousins in
the war and I suffered an even deeper personal
loss in the death of my two younger brothers,
Ronald and Alexander. Both were killed on
the same day. The death of my only brothers,
who had barely begun their lives, would cause
my father to die of a broken heart. Despite our
grief, we accepted our lot without complaint.
Thousands of others were going through the
same experience."12
Both Hurley's younger brothers were
single when they enlisted in the Canadian
army and died September 2 and 3,1918 at the
battle of Cambrai. Alex enlisted when under 16
years of age, served first as a private, and died
aged 18, as a Lieutenant with the 16th Battalion.
Ronald enlisted in 1916 and was a 29 years old
private with the 7th Battalion when he fell.13
By 1924, the Murphy family had grown
to include Miriam and Terrence, but there
were obvious — though unspoken — marital
problems. That year all five children crammed
into a Model T Ford with their parents and
left San Francisco. Arriving in Vancouver,
Hurley moved into her parent's house in the
West End. Martin Murphy rented rooms on the
city's east side and over the years continued
working at shipyards and athletic clubs. The
children maintained their father's surname
and lived at different times with either or both
parents. Hurley reverted back to her previous
husband's surname, Armytage-Moore' and re-
adopted her pet name, Maisie.
In 1929 the stock market crashed and
Hurley's father died. No longer able to afford
the family house, Hurley's widowed mother
moved to smaller quarters. Hurley was
compelled to temporarily move back in with
Martin Murphy until she found employment.
Despite economic hard times, Hurley
did find a job as manager in a Police Book
Publishers' office. She also helped reinvigorate
the Vancouver Athletic Club on the east side.
There she met
another boxing
fan, and future
husband, Tom
Hurley. He was a
confirmed bachelor
and well-respected
criminal lawyer
who had emigrated
from England to
Vancouver two
decades previously.
The pair became
fast friends and
in 1934, Maisie's
eldest son Michael
was hired as a clerk
in his law office. A
year later "Maisie
also joined Hurley's
firm working as a
secretary. Michael
left in 1937 but his
mother stayed—for
The       family
pulled through the
depression and by the war years, the Murphy
children had grown. In 1941, Tom Hurley
moved in to their mother's home in the West
Meantime, all three Murphy boys
enlisted and were fighting overseas in the
Second World War. Terrence and Ronald
survived the war but Michael, aged 29, died
at sea on December 18, 1944 while serving in
the U.S. military, as Is' Engineer on the S.S.
John Burke.15 The following April, Martin died,
'a broken man' over his son's death, according
to his granddaughter, Valerie Jean Murphy.
Martin had been working as a longshoreman
in Los Angeles, and his union paid for the
funeral service.16
More grief came when Hurley's mother
died in 1948. Hurley wrote: "She was a
marvellous woman, fearless and brave,
following my father through the wilds of BC,
travelling the Skeena River in war canoes
before the trains. My parents loved the Natives
of BC and were well known by the many tribes
of BC in the early days."17
Martin Joseph
Murphy with his
granddaughter in
front of the Terry
Apartment a block
east of the Seattle
Bus Station in 1942.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2      39
 Native Brotherhood
president Bob
Clifton and Maisie
Hurley help Tom
Hurley try on his
new sweater, 1955.
The Native Voice
"We are modernising Stanley Park but
when night comes down, the ancient
ghosts still haunt it." - Maisie Hurley,
Or chard Interview, 1961
Hurley started Canada's first native
newspaper, The Native Voice, in 1946. She had
joined the Native Brotherhood of BC two years
previously and was the organization's first
woman member. With only a hundred and
fifty dollars, Hurley became the founder and
editor of the Brotherhood's 'official organ' and
in the first issue, published 7,000 copies, at 10
cents each.
-      »
*.     A    A
C  1
N A T 1 V
D       OF
T 1 S H
I N c.
NATIVE BROTHERHOOD president Bull Clifton and 'Nativ
Voice' publisher Maisie Hurley help Tom Hurley try on his
new Indian sweater, made by Mr. and Mrs. Newman and pre
fer Mr, and Mrs. Hurley held in Stanley
Park recently. In ease anyone isn't clear, the sweater design
consists of lovely green Irish Shamrocks!
A very great honor was paid
recently to Vancouver barrister Thomas F. Hurley and
his wife, Maisie Hurley, publisher of The Native Voice, by
the Native Brotherhood anil
Native Sisterhood of British
It took the form of a delightful
dinner at Ferguson 1'oint in Vancouver's beautiful Stanley Park.
The affair was kept a complete
secret from the popular couple.
Many native members of the organisations and guests gathered to
see Tom Hurley presented with a
miL'jiiilU-t-ii! Indian sweater made
by Mrs. Lena Newman and her
husband. It was made of lovely,
heavy, white wool and the design
irock. emblem of
Tom'l native Irelan
The populai
fought many cases on behalf of
ISnlish Columbia Natives, was so
surprised and affected that his
famed oratory deserted him and
all he could do was kiss Mrs. New-
But he was not tonj;ue-ticd for
lone, With tears in his eyes, he
beamed with pride and pleasure
when Native Brotherhood president Robert Clifton presented him
with the sweater and dressed  him
Maisie Hurley, whose work
among the Native people of the
province Is too well-known to require elaboration, was equally unprepared   and   almost   speechless
Haida   hand-carved   Raven   car-
Ellen Ncel and Guy Williams
both worked hard to make the
party the tremendous success it
turned  out  to  be.
Brotherhood president li.,!i Clifton. Guy Williams and Ted Ncel
spoke of the outstanding work
carried on by Tom and Maisie
Hurley over many years. At their
request. 'The Native Voice' will
not elaborate on the praise tendered Maisie and Tom. It is sufficient to say it left a deep imprint
in  their hearts
They wish to thank the Sisterhood and Brotherhood and Sisterhood president Kitty Carpenter,
brotherhood  president  Robert and
Clifton.   Mr.   and   Mrs.   Guy
,   Mr   :
I Mrs
Mabel Stanley,
Reside Cook and Mr. and Mrs.
Newman for the effort they gave
to make the dinner so t>ut.'landing,
for the sweater and the earrings,
"We regretted that our dear
Nativ- Sisterhood president and
others of our upenast bnithers and
sisters could not he there to witness the joy and appreciation both
of us felt on this wonderful
occasion," Maisie and Tom told
■'the Native Voice.'
'Tom and I feel that you. the
Nativ.' people, have made us very
rich and happy in your loving
friendship. All we can say is that
from the bottoms of our hearts
we thank you. You have made us
very happy.   God bless you all."
"We are working for an honest
guarantee of equality for the original
inhabitants and owners of Canada,"
Hurley pledged. "Under the Indian
Act, Natives suffer as a minority race
and as wards, or minors without a
voice in regard to our own welfare. "u
The Native Voice, still in existence,
was the first of its kind in North America.
The monthly paper "helped us be heard,"
Jacob Nyce, former President of the Native
Brotherhood of BC, said. "The newspaper
began at a time when assemblies of Indians
were illegal, leaving them unable to meet and
talk about their land claims and other issues."19
In a letter to journalist, Violet
McNaughton, who lived in Saskachewan,
Hurley wrote:
"1 can't tell you how I become involved
with Indians. Being the Mother of the
"Fin Back Whales"—the name I was
given at a ceremony—and belonging to
the Brotherhood enlarged my already
wide number of acquaintances. When
Alfred Adams, the founder of the
Brotherhood brought me in, he said "I
would like you to teach the white people.
Tell them we suffer when hungry or in
pain as much as they. "20
Over the years, the Hurleys developed a
formidable partnership — at home and work.
Tom Hurley championed the underdog in
many court cases, willing to advocate without
pay, in the days before legal aid. His loyal
secretary was often at his side and once the
couple went to jail for the night, to make a
point about a padlock law.21
Hurley was a vehement supporter of
land claims and admired the non-violence
and patience of aboriginal people. She took
on many battles, through The Native Voice and
in the courts. First Nations veterans returning
from war still could not vote, for instance. Law
schools only accepted enfranchised citizens so
Native activists such as Andrew Paull, were
Maisie also had no formal legal training,
yet appeared in nearly 80 cases to defend
those who needed help in court—and claimed
to have never lost one case. "I've come to the
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 conclusion that the judge let me win to get me
out of there!" she said.22
On Boxing Day in 1951, Maisie and Tom
Hurley married. It was a small church wedding
with a mix of aboriginal guests and members
of the legal community at the reception, hosted
by Mildred Valley Thornton, an artist and
There are varying stories as to why it
took Maisie and Tom until 1951 to get married.
A biographical account accompanying the
exhibit, "Entwined Histories: The Collection
of Maisie Hurley", asserts Armytage-Moore
refused to grant a divorce and thus Hurley was
unable to re-marry until he died. However,
Hurley told journalist Patrick Nagle in an
interview in the April 4, 1964 Vancouver Sun
that she re-married after her second husband,
Murphy died—a man she refused to discuss
despite the reporter's prodding. To date,
no records have been found for Armytage-
Moore's death.
Whatever the reason for the wait,
the groom's wedding gift to his betrothed
caused a sensation in the media. The package
came by post from Britain and contained a
mummified organ—allegedly the heart of
James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose. The
Marquis was executed in 1650 on the orders
of Oliver Cromwell and Maisie was a direct
Maisie's granddaughter
accompanied the newlyweds
honeymoon to San Francisco.
Vancouver, the Hurleys moved
apartment on Denman Street, still in the West
End and closer to Stanley Park. Their home,
filled with books, First Nations gifts and art
work was a lively salon for journalists, lawyers,
First Nations friends and family.
Retirement never seemed to be an
option for this dynamic pair who continued
commuting to their office at the Standard
Building on Pender Street, in the city's business
district. But on Christmas Day, 1961, Tom
Hurley had a heart attack while walking their
five Pekinese dogs. Rushed to the hospital, he
died soon after. He was 77.,24
Maisie mourned but she also kept
fighting. She marched in to the office of the
young lawyer Tom Berger, struck her cane on
on     their
his desk and said "now you have to defend all
the Native people." And he did.25
Maisie's Voice
"I don't think I'm going to die for
quite awhile. I think I'm going to live
dangerously at 90.1 hope to anyhow!"
—Maisie Hurley, Orchard interview,
In her senior years, Hurley looked back
on interesting people she has known, including
Father Carlyle, a Catholic priest and close
family friend.
"Many times in my work when I was
confronted with hungry, stranded men,
homeless and in trouble, both white and Indian,
I would phone him for help and shelter," she
wrote in a letter to McNaughton. "On my
many trips to Oakalla Prison Farm where I
really got to know him, he was deeply loved
by those unfortunates. On many occasions he
walked the last steps to the gallows with men
I knew."26
Maisie Hurley (on
right) at Salish
canoe races in
North Vancouver
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2     41
 Hurley also wrote, and created sketches and pastels,
of her aboriginal friends, including Jimmie Jimmie of the
Squamish nation.
"He was one of the greatest of the old medicine men.
He told me the reason he was able to keep the canoe steady
in the rushing waters was he had a crew of "dead men" —
ghosts to whom he spoke to and directed—but that is
another story."27
Hurley never stopped making 'pals,' including Frank
Canoe, a First World War veteran and old-time 'cowboy.'
"You would see him walking slowly and aimlessly
along Hastings Street," she wrote, "his thumbs hooked in
his belt. A striking, white haired horseman, khaki-clad,
hand-stitched Acme boots, with a four gallon Stetson hat.
His father was a full-blooded Mohawk, his mother a quarter
blood—French Canadian."
"In Tom and my office, I have a little dugout of my
own where I receive my pals, for I too miss the old life. To
this great old timer I say "Ride 'em cowboy. May they never
see daylight between you and the saddle."28
The activism of Norah Moody, of the Squamish
nation, received Hurley's praise. "I feel that until we can
educate and develop good women we will never really
get anywhere," she wrote. "Norah has a sweetness and a
sympathy and a strong will. She is very anxious to help her
people and has joined us in the long weary fight for equality
and justice."29
Despite Hurley's declining health following a stroke
in her widowed years, she continued working on The Native
Voice. When she required more care, her friends temporarily
took over the paper. Eventually, Hurley had to leave her
West End apartment to be cared for by her married daughter,
Kathleen in North Vancouver. On October 3, 1964, Hurley
died, aged 77. Hurley was survived by her four children, 23
grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.30
Hurley's funeral brought together family and friends
from both the immigrant-based and aboriginal communities.
She collected a life time of experiences and observations
to formulate and voice her strong beliefs. As a result, the
'entwined' voices of Maisie Hurley and First Nations'
people have left a valuable mark on our province's history.*
1. Ronald and Amy Campbell-Johnston donated their First Nations
artifacts to the Vancouver Museum. Also see The Story of the Totem, by
Ronald Campbell Campbell-Johnston, J.T. Pyott publisher, Vancouver,
2. The Vancouver Sun, January 22, 2011, p. D7.
3. A New Side of Bill Miner's
Character, Mrs. Maisie A.C.
Armytage-Moore (nee Campbell-
Johnston), Vancouver, 1943, City
of Vancouver Archives, p. 2.
4. Ibid,p.3.
5. Ibid, p.4.
6. Various versions of this
incident exist. Hurley's beau
was described as a "well-to-do"
cowboy who later committed
suicide in The Native Voice,
October, 1964, page 1.
7. Campbell-Johnston household,
1911 Canadian Census; Census
Place: Vancouver City, Vancouver,
British Columbia; Page: 1; Family
No: 8.
8. Nominal Rolls of New Zealand
Expeditionary Force Volume II.
Wellington: Govt. Printer, 1917, cklandmuseum.
9. M. Hurley taped interview
with Imbert Orchard, April
10,1961 (BC Archives; 1329-1;
10. The Vancouver Sun, January
21, 2011.
11. Martin and Amy Murphy
appear in the 1920 U.S. Census
living in San Francisco, California
along with their three children
and a boarder. Source: Ancestry,
com. 1920 United States Federal
Census [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA:
Operations Inc, 2010. Images
reproduced by FamilySearch.
Second source: Martin Murphy's
U.S. Draft Registration Card.
12. The Native Voice, November,
1962, p. 2.
13. Commonwealth War Graves
Commission internet site (cwgc.
org) The Campbell-Johnston
brothers are buried in the
Dominion Cemetery in Arras,
14. Henderson Directory,
Vancouver, various years.
Addresses and occupations of
Maisie Armytage-Moore and
Martin Francis Murphy are shown
in most years, beginning in 1924 .
15. - This
internet site lists U.S. mariners
killed at sea during the Second
World War, including Michael
Martin Murphy.
16. Author interview with Valerie
Jean Murphy, daughter of Ronald
Murphy—Hurley and Martin's
third child—and Shirley (nee
MacKinnon). The author extends
her gratitude to V.J. Murphy
for her information about her
grandfather's fate as well as other
helpful insights.
17. The Native Voice, February
1953, p. 3.
18. The Native Voice, December,
1946, p. 1.
19. The Vancouver Sun, November
29,1996, p. A19.
20. Correspondence of Violet
McNaughton, October 28,1958;
BC Archives, MSS 2608.
21. The Native Voice, January, 1949,
p. 5.
22. The Vancouver Sun, January 22,
2011, p. 7
23. The Vancouver Sun, January 22,
2011, p. 7. Re-number footnotes
(#22, etc.)
24. The Native Voice, January, 1962,
25. The Vancouver Sun, December
14, 2002, p. 17.
26. Correspondence of Violet
McNaughton, October 21,1958.
27. Ibid, October 28,1958.
28. The Native Voice, December,
1961, p. 4.
29. Correspondence of Violet
McNaughton, October 21,1958.
30. The Native Voice, October,
1964. The entire issue is devoted
to the life and accomplishments
of Maisie Hurley, following
her death. Also see Entwined
Histories: The Creation of The
Maisie Hurley Collection of "Art",
by Sharon M. Fortney, BC Studies,
No. 167, 2010.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 Archives & Archivists
by Robin Lowe-lrwin; edited by Sylvia Stopforth
Robin Lowe-lrwin, Princeton Museum Operations Manager,
talks about how their museum and archives has achieved the
impossible and doubled in size.
The Museum
In January 2011, after many years
of discussion, planning, and unavoidable
setbacks, our little museum experienced
the upgrade of a lifetime. The museum's
square footage was doubled when the public
library we previously shared the building
with moved to its brand new location in
the heart of downtown. It took over twenty
tradespeople, a six-member design team, a
dedicated manger, and an enthusiastic Board
to get this project completed. The expansion
has allowed some room to breathe, and has
given our artifacts the necessary space to shine
as showcased, individual items. In the year
that has passed since the trades pulled out
their sledgehammers, we have achieved the
The plan was created by film set
designers who transplanted themselves from
Vancouver to Princeton for the four weeks of
intensive work required to stretch the modest
budget within the tight timeline. On July Is'-
2011 the museum opened to the public and has
been embraced by the community as a cultural,
educational, and meeting space that is being
utilized by a broad range of individuals and
Featuring the largest private mineral and
fossil collection in North America — which
includes a rare glowing rock exhibit — a fully
reconstructed pioneer cabin from the late
1800's, and many interactive displays that
engage adults and children alike, the Princeton
Museum is a must-see!
With an emphasis on honouring
Princeton's past, while utilizing modern
materials and design concepts, this space is
a barely recognizable version of its former
self, and is sure to put Princeton on the map
as a community with an exciting, interactive,
educational facility for locals and visitors.
Sylvia Stopforth
is a Librarian and
Archivist at Norma
Marion AUoway
Library at Trinity
Western University.
Robin Lowe-lrwin
originally joined
the Princeton
museum as a
designer in 2011.
When the position
of Operations
Manager became
available, her
experience -
including ten years
of experience as
a Set Designer
in Vancouver's
commercial film
industry — made
her a great fit.
Since officially
joining our team
in January 2012,
Robin has been a
great asset to the
Museum Society.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2     43
 •31 ^i^^IShdHHHI
- '':v.
1 ■'■.      ,'
M.y           >
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,'•-    "»i
:''*.» ■
■ - >-.   .     ■- a . ■
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Top: Dinosaur
1880's pioneer
cabin, local to the
Princeton area
The Archives
In addition to the 40,000 specimens in
the Pollard Fossil and Mineral Collection,
the PDMA houses a complete Princeton
newspaper collection dated from 1900 through
to the present, providing access to an invaluable
resource for local families, historians, students,
and researchers.
Archival holdings also include
approximately 10,000 photographs taken
between 1880 and the present, chronicling
area history. A collection of over 200 audio
recordings of pre-1980 interviews with
Princeton pioneers serves as a window into
the past, featuring the personal stories and
experiences of those who helped to establish
Maps and mining reports from 1858
to the present, as well as original records of
all mining claims in the area, offer insight
into the history of mining, logging and trail
development in the area. All these components
are of significant value to historians,
government, and businesses.
For more information on the Princeton
Museum, please call 250-295-7588, visit our
website, or email •
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No.2
 From the Book Review Editor's Desk
by K. Jane Watt
The Community of History
It is fitting in this ninetieth
year of the BCHF to turn our
attention to the celebration of the
community of history, and nowhere
is the power of collaboration more
evident than in Chuck Davis's new
book The Chuck Davis History of
Metropolitan Vancouver (Harbour,
2011 $49.95). As many of you
already know, historian Chuck Davis,
a Vancouverphile described as a
man with "an anecdote for every
occasion," did not live to see into
print his celebration of the physical
nooks and geographical crannies of
the city he loved. The book's brief
biography says of Davis that he was
"an amiable man with a hearty
laugh and a magnificent, stentorian
voice" whose "many passions did
not extend to his wardrobe, which
often consisted of rumpled shirts and
formless sweaters of unappealing
pattern." He worked in an office
"made treacherous by paper
stalagmites of uncertain stability."
And from this office sometime in the
1990s, he began compiling a history
book that he hoped would be the
"capstone of [his] writing career,"
a book that would be "fun, fat, and
full of facts." It was after Davis's
death in November of 2010 that the
intertwined communities of history
and publishing got together under the
guidance of Howard White of Harbour
to bring Davis's dream to fruition.
The Chuck Davis History of
Metropolitan Vancouver is impressive
in its breadth, a chronological history
of Vancouver from 1757 (the birth
of George Vancouver, after whom
the city would be named) to 2011,
the year the city marked a century
of its incorporation. Its clean page
design allows the reader to drop
in and out of the sweep of history,
noting important happenings (such
as the first band concert in the city's
history, held in 1887, that opened
with a rendition of "The Maple Leaf
Forever") the comings and goings
of people and institutions, cultural
changes big and small, and quirky
finds. Did you know, for example,
that New Westminster's famous son
Raymond Burr, began his nine year
stint on the TV series Perry Mason in
1957 in an episode called "The Case
of the Moth-eaten Mink?"
Journalist and genealogist
Dave Obee has been busy. Following
the publication last year of The
Library Book: A History of Service
to British Columbia, he has this year
published a new book called Counting
Canada: A Genealogical Guide to the
Canadian Census $30.00 from www. It's guaranteed to be
as engaging and informative as his
Chad Reimer's Chilliwack's
Chinatowns: A History (Chinese
Canadian Historical Society of
British Columbia and the Institute
for Student Teaching and Research
in Chinese Canadian Studies at
the University of British Columbia,
$35) is part of the exciting Gold
Mountain Series that "reimagines
North America's engagement with
the Pacific world by bringing to light
the long ignored and untold stories of
Chinese migrant experiences through
their interactions and relationships
with other Asian migrants, indigenous
peoples, and European migrants."
Reimer writes of the community's
lost past: "In its heyday, the thriving
community contained a dozen or so
large, two-story building stretched
out on either side of Yale Road, their
boardwalks and balconies connected
to form unbroken chains. The 200
or so Chinese residents — some
permanent, others seasonal — jostled
with customers from neigbouring
White and Native communities.
The sights, smells, and sounds were
Chinese: from the language spoken,
to the food prepared and sold, to the
clothes worn — Chilliwack's Chinatown
was a vibrant, self-contained
borough. Yet few today know that
such a community existed." Available
at the Chinese Historical Society of
BC, the UBC Bookstore, the Bookman
in Chilliwack, the Chilliwack Museum
and Archives, and from the author at
creimer63@hotmail. com.
The West Vancouver Historical
Society has published Cottages
to Community: The Story of the
Neighbourhoods of West Vancouver
by Francis Mansbridge ($40). This
collection of stories traces the
development of West Van in the
fabric of its distinct neighbourhoods
since the first pre-emptors entered
Squamish territory in the 1870s.
The book is carefully designed
with innovative use of archival
photographs, rendered in colours
reflecting the sea and sky, and
framed by the words of British
Columbian writer and social activist
A.M. Stephen: "How different the
air is here. What a contrast to the
burdened, dust-laden atmosphere of
the city! Did you notice the fragrance
of roses — the tang of green growing
The Kelowna Story: An
Okanagan History by Sharron
J. Simpson (Harbour, $36.95) is
described as the first full-length
history of the largest metropolitan
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2   45
 centre outside BC's Lower Mainland. It
traces the story of Kelowna from the
time before Kelowna — with people
known as S-Ookanhkchinx, a group of
Interior Salish peoples with ties to the
Columbia Basin — to its mission history
under the hand of Father Pandosy,
to its settlement history including
homesteaders, cattle ranchers, and
orchardists, and finally those who
created today's "budding metropolis."
The town of Coalmont with
its population of 100 proud citizens
is celebrating its centenary with a
publication called White Gold and
Black Diamonds: The History of Granite
Creek and Coalmont, with Pioneer
Profiles and Area Anecdotes ($24.95).
Written by Diane Sterne, this history
of "sister towns" in the Tulameen
River valley is available in person at
1841 Main Street, Coalmont or on the
web at www. books, mozey-on-inn.
com. If you decide to pick up the book
in person, you can also try your hand
at gold panning or geocaching. If you
are interested in things that sparkle,
you might read L.D. Cross's Treasure
Under the Tundra: Canada's Arctic
Diamonds (Heritage House, $9.95).
It is the story of Chuck Fipke and
Stu Blusson, "two determined British
Columbia geologists who gambled
their lives, their finances, and their
Kelowna-based business to search for
diamonds." Luckily they found them
on the Lac de Gras Barren Grounds at
Point Lake near Yellowknife, setting
off the largest Canadian claim-staking
rush since the 1896 Klondike gold rush.
My cache of books features a
number of biographies and memoirs of
strong women: Harbour has published
Diana Phillips's second book called
Beyond the Home Ranch ($34.95), a
memoir of her cattle ranching life at
Sleepy Hollow, north of Tsetzi Lake
in the Chilcotin. Another unique
woman immortalized in print is big
game hunting guide Betty Frank,
described as a woman "who can tell
five different stories at the same
time," has told the story of her half-
century of guiding to Sage Birchwater
in The Legendary Betty Frank: the
Cariboo's Alpine Queen (Caitlin,
$24.95). "Betty is a Cariboo legend,"
Birchwater notes, because "nobody
was doing what Betty Frank was doing
in that rugged Quesnel Lake country
beyond the fringe of civilization. She
raised sled dogs, guided, trapped,
hunted, cut shakes, sunbathed in the
nude, scampered up mountain trails,
and offered her clients a unique and
unusual experience outside the norm
of everyday life." Susan Smith-
Josephy's Lillian Ailing: The Journey
Home (Caitlin, $24.95) chronicles
Alling's 1926-1929 march from New
York to Dawson City before "finally,
on a makeshift boat, she sailed alone
down the Yukon River from Dawson
City all the way to the Bering Sea."
Did she make it home to the Siberia
she sought? The story ends with this
Caitlin Press has released
Passing Through Missing Pages: The
Intriguing Story of Annie Garland
Foster ($24.95), by Frances Welwood.
Tantalized by the untold story of Annie
Garland Foster's ninety-nine year life,
of her many vocations — including
teacher, nurse, City councillor
in Nelson in 1920, and advocate
for veterans and their families -
Welwood traced the archival trail
of Garland Foster's life, learning of
her connection to a 1926 murder
trial. She begins her work as writer
in the gaps and mysteries of Garland
Foster's autobiography and weaves a
tale of community commitment. "One
hopes," Welwood writes, "that at the
end of her long life, Annie was content
with her victories, big and small.... She
had nursed the wounded of World War
I and obtained a measure of assistance
for the widows and children of the
fallen. Like many others, she brought
education, national pride and health
protection to the children of remote
rural communities. At a time when
women were barely credited with
the right and ability to vote in public
elections, Mrs. Garland Foster dared
to put herself forward to challenge
the voters and the male opponents for
civic election in a tight-knit, but very
young and inexperienced city."
A number of reprints have been
made possible by Vancouver's Legacy
125 publishing project, including
Rolf Knight's Along the No. 20 Line
(New Star, $24), a history of the
changing context of Vancouver life
along the No. 20 streetcar line as it
ran from downtown east to the PNE
area from 1892 to the mid-twentieth
century. Anvil Press's new edition of
Ed Starkins's Who Killed Janet Smith
with a new foreword by Daniel Francis
examines the unsolved 1924 murder
of Scottish nursemaid Janet Smith,
reputedly a tale of "intrigue, racism,
privilege, and corruption in high
Other reprints of older books:
Ellen Davignon's 1988 memoir, The
Cinnamon Mine: An Alaska Highway
Childhood (Lost Moose/Harbour,
$18.95) describes the life of the Porsild
clan at Johnson's Crossing on the
Teslin River in the Yukon, just north
of the BC border. Steve Robertson,
publisher of the Yukon News has high
praise for Davington's work, a book
that "is to the world of the near-
extinct Alaska Highway lodge what
Little House on the Prairie was to the
American Midwest. Written by one of
the Yukon's most natural writers, The
Cinnamon Mine is a touching and witty
reminiscence of family, hard work,
and the lives of those coming, going
and remaining at one of the first, and
best-loved Alaska Highway tourist
My hard-hearted editor has
allowed me room for only a couple of
book reviews. But more will follow in
our fall edition. Until then.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 Book Reviews
Books for review should be sent to:
K. Jane Watt, Book Review Editor, British Columbia History
Box 1053, Fort Langley BC V1M 2S4
The Third Crop: a Personal
and Historical Journey
into the Photo Albums and
Shoeboxes of the Slocan
Valley 1800s to early 1940s by
Rita Moir.
(Winlaw: Sono
i Nis Press, 2011;
L $28.95.
Often when reminiscing
about the past, the family photo album
jogs the memory or proves a point. The
book's cover was designed to represent
an old photo album. Like Rita Moir's
monograph, photographs add detail
and fill in the gaps of history — "a
picture is worth a thousand words."
At first glance, the book's title
seems out of place. However, an
image in Ray Kosiancic's family album
provided the inspiration for the title.
"You harvest the first crop of hay,
and if you're lucky a second. But it's
the rare third crop that helps your
livestock prosper through the winter."
To the author, Kosiancic's words
were a metaphor for what an entire
community can achieve when it works,
struggles and celebrates together.
The book is an excellent primer
on the history of the Slocan Valley and
it complements a 2004 publication, The
Slocan: Portrait of a Valley, by Katherine
Gordon. Over the years the Slocan
Valley has been home to a variety of
cultural groups, including aboriginal
peoples, Doukhobors, Japanese and
European immigrants. To show these
people at labour and at play, Moir
selected over 170 photographs and
enlarged some images to allow the
reader to "see their clothing, their
hands, and their faces. Let the pictures
do the talking." Photographs become
the story; their owners' complementary
stories became captions or text. Moir's
work is first-rate primary resource
The Third Crop has a
comprehensive index and a
basic list of sources. Even the
acknowledgements include poignant
anecdotes. Maps indicate the
locations of aboriginal sites, Russian
(Doukhobor) villages and Japanese-
Canadian internment camps along the
Slocan Valley. A unique foldout map
of the Lemon Creek internment camp,
1942-1946, plots the location of the
school, churches, bathhouses and 268
houses identified by family surname.
Although roughly 1,800 people lived
on this site between 1942 and 1946,
scant evidence of the Lemon Creek
camp exists today.
This Slocan Valley monograph is
an exquisite testimony to a beautiful
landscape cherished by those who call
it home. It is a tribute to the author
that the folk from this unique part of
British Columbia were willing to share
their lives and stories with those of us
who live outside its boundaries. This is
how community is built.
For more information about Ray
Kosiancic, see "The Kosiancic Farm in
the Crescent Valley," British Columbia
History, [Winter] 2005.
R.J. (Ron) Welwood, retired
librarian, has collected Kootenaiana
for many years and two of his
articles based on these resources
have received the Anne and Philip
Yandle Best Article Award. He is Past
President of BCHF and currently
serves as the Federation's website
A Passion for Prevention:
Public Health Nursing in
Skeena Health Unit, 1937-9
by Carol Harrison.
(Terrace: First Choice
^Books, 2011) $25
by mail from 5018
Walsh Avenue,
^Terrace, BC V8G
Harrison's book
traces the evolution of the Skeena
Health Unit from Prince Rupert
eastward to Hazelton. The author
gives dates and facts woven in with
personal experiences describing the
many changes over time, including
the creation of the "instant" city of
Kitimat in the 1950s. Office space
offered contrasts in convenience as
nurses used whatever space was
available. (My favourite picture shows
the Stewart Health Unit barely visible
between huge snow banks.) Prevention
of illness is emphasized in the chapter
on plagues and poxes. Transportation
was, and still is, a challenge as
demonstrated by anecdotes of travel
mishaps that make the reader smile
and arouse admiration for the Health
Unit members. Harrison's timeline
sets pertinent events in sequence
and notes that the Skeena Health
Unit from which the book takes its
name was absorbed shortly after 1997
into the Northern Health Authority.
This self-published history of Public
Health services from Haida Gwaii to
Hazelton, and from Kemano to the
Yukon certainly achieves its objectives.
East Kootenay historian and author
of Fort Steele, Naomi Miller is also
active in the BC History of Nursing
Society. She is a former editor of BC
Historical News.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2   47
 Cabinets of Curiosities
Who was Matt Judson?
Salli Rice researched the story of a wooden leg and the remarkable man to
whom it belonged.
In the early 1980's the new Pleasant View Care
Home was constructed in Mission. As the old
building was going to be torn down they were
having a "garage sale" and among the items for
sale was a wooden leg... my husband and I couldn't
resist! At that time my mother, Jeanne Roberts, was
Activity Coordinator at Pleasant View so I asked for
information about the owner of the leg. She told me
his name was Matt Judson and he was now using a
wheel chair so he no longer used his wooden leg. In
February 1984 she gave me the following article that
had appeared in the Care Home's monthly newsletter:
Matt was born in Rosella, Washington, USA on 05
March 1890. Matt has a sister 14 years younger who
lives in Seattle.
Matt grew up on a farm riding horses and chasing
cattle. He also had his share of family chores. He was a
working cowboy and often rounded up to 500 [cows]
with an Indian friend - amazing, but the friend was
Matt lost his leg in a buggy wheel accident when he
was twelve. This did not slow him down. He continued
to work and ride. He claims to be a jack-of-all-trades;
cowboy, blacksmith, cook and sawmill worker. He
came to Canada just to "see the other side" and has
lived in Mission since 1924. Matt never married...
"just never found the right girl." We at Pleasant View
find him a jolly sort as he participates in games of
Mart's Death Registration was found through the
BC Archives web site and the document printed at the
Cloverdale Library. Through research at I
was able to find the following records for Matt: 1910 and
1920 US Census, 1913 and 1924 Border Crossings, and 1917
WWI US Draft Registration. Matt is also mentioned in A
Brief Introduction to the History of Forest Grove, BC and that
is where I found several photos of him. From the records
found I was able to find proof to match most of the article
that was printed in the Care Home Newsletter, however,
I believe that Matt probably arrived later than 1924 in the
Mission area as his Border Crossing notes his destination as
Forest Grove, BC. Matt passed away in Maple Ridge on 12
December 1985.
Above: Wooden leg.
Right: Matney Judson
Grove ca. 1946
What tugged at my
heart was finding photos
of a man I had never met
but who apparently didn't
let the loss of his leg keep
him from living a full and
long life. It's interesting
to note that in two of the
photos (in the book) you
are able to see the leather
straps from his wooden leg
and notice that he had lost
his right leg. •
Do you have an object of curiosity
in your cabinet?
Send me 300 to 400 words with a high-resolution image
of the object, telling me the story of the object. Email
your story to:, or mail it to:
Editor, British Columbia History, PO Box 21187, Maple
Ridge BC, V2X 1P7
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY | Summer 2012 | Vol. 45 No. 2
 Awards and Scholarship Information
for complete details go to
W. KAYE LAMB Essay Scholarships
Deadline: May 15
The British Columbia Historical Federation
awards two scholarships annually for
essays written by students at BC colleges
or universities, on a topic relating to British
Columbia history. One scholarship ($750) is
for an essay written by a student in a first or
second year course; the other ($1000) is for
an essay written by a student in a third or
fourth year course.
To apply for the scholarship all candidates
must submit (1) a letter of application and
(2) a letter of recommendation from the
professor for whom the essay was written.
First and second year course essays should
be 1,500-3,000 words; third and fourth
year,l,500 to 5,000 words. By entering the
scholarship competition the student gives
the editor of British Columbia History the
right to edit and publish the essay if it is
deemed appropriate for the magazine.
Applications with 3 printed copies of the
essay should be submitted to: Marie Elliott,
Chair BC Historical Federation Scholarship
Committee, PO Box 5254, Station B,
Victoria, BC V8R 6N4
Anne 6t Philip Yandle Best Article
Deadline: To be eligible, the article must have appeared
in the BCHF journal British Columbia History for that
A Certificate of   merit and $250 will be
awarded annually to the author of the
article, published in British Columbia
History, that best enhances knowledge
of BC's history and provides reading
enjoyment. Judging will be based on subject
development, writing skill, freshness of
material, and appeal to a general readership
interested in all aspects of BC history.
BC History Web Site Prize
Deadline: December 31
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 December 31st
each year. Web site creators and authors
may nominate their own sites. Prize rules
and the online nomination form can be
found on the British Columbia Historical
Federation Web site:
Best Newsletter Award
Deadline: March 1
Newsletters published by member societies
are eligible to compete for an annual
prize of $250. They will be judged for
presentation and content that is interesting,
newsy and informative.
- Only member societies of the BCHF are
- Only one issue of a society's newsletter
will be evaluated
- Submit three printed copies of this best
issue from the previous calendar year
- BCHF reserves the right not to award a
prize in a given year should applications
not be of sufficient quality
Submit three printed copies of a single
newsletter issue to: BCHF Recognition
Committee, PO Box 5254, Station B,
Victoria, BC, Canada, V8R 6N4
Certificate of Merit
Deadline: March 1
Group or individual who has made a
significant contribution to the study,
project, or promotion of British Columbia's
Certificate of Recognition
Deadline: March 1
Given to individual members or groups
of members of BCHF Member Societies
who have given exceptional service to their
Organization or Community.
Certificate of Appreciation
Deadline: March 1
Individuals who have undertaken ongoing
positions, tasks, or projects for BCHF.
Any member of BCHF may nominate
candidates for Certificates of Appreciation,
Certificates of Merit or Certificates of
Recognition. Nominations, supported
by a letter explaining why the nominee
is deserving of a certificate, should be
submitted to the Chair of the Recognition
Committee by March 1 of each year.
The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal
for Historical Writing
Deadline: December 31
Each year, the British Columbia Historical
Federation invites submissions for its
Annual Historical Writing Competition
to authors of BC history; and the winning
author is awarded the Lieutenant-
Governor's Medal for Historical Writing.
- To be eligible, a book must be about
BC history and be published within the
competition year
- Non-fiction books representing any
aspect of BC history are eligible.
- Reprints or revisions of books are not
- Books may be submitted by authors or
- Deadline for submission is December
31 of the year in which the book was
Submission Requirements
- Those wishing to enter books MUST
obtain a copy of the entry rules from the
entries chair at
- Authors/Publishers are required to
submit three copies of their book
- Books are to be accompanied by a letter
containing the following:
1. Title of the book submitted
2. Author's name and contact information
3. Publisher's name and contact
4. Selling price
- Books entered become property of BCHF
- By submitting books for this competition,
the authors agree that the BCHF may use
their name(s) in press releases and in its
William R. Morrison
Judging Criteria
Judges are looking for quality presentations
and fresh material. Submissions will be
evaluated in the following areas:
- Scholarship: quality of research and
documentation, comprehensiveness,
objectivity and accuracy
- Presentation: organization, clarity,
illustrations and graphics
- Accessibility: readability and audience
All winners will receive publicity and an
invitation to the Award's Banquet at the
Federation's annual conference in May
following the year of publication.
Lieutenant-Governor's Medal and Other Awards
The BC Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for
Historical Writing will be awarded together
with $1000 to the author whose book
makes the most significant contribution
to the history of British Columbia. The
2nd and 3rd place winners will receive
$500 and $250 respectively. Certificates of
Honourable Mention may be awarded to
other books as recommended by the judges.
Johnson Inc. Scholarship
Deadline: September 15
Canadian residents completing high school
and who are beginning post-secondary
education. 100 scholarships of $1500 each
for Canada,
 Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to Circulation Department.
British Columbia History
Alice Marwood, PO Box 42011, 1400 Guildford Town Centre, Surrey, BC
Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40025793
Publications Mail registration No. 09835
John Roberts always loved swimming in the ocean surf. Here is a "head shot" of John taken in Williams Lake,
BC, circa 1959. Read the story of the flying vet starting on page 9.
Image courtesy of John Roberts; photographer, Rosemary Gilliat


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