Archive for September, 2010

Hudson’s Bay Company (1849) Heritage Trail opens!

September 20, 2010 By: DonH Category: Heritage Trails No Comments →

Chawathil Chief, Rhoda Peters, and Leon Nelson (and son) provided a First Nations welcome
and congratulated Hope Mountain Centre on the re-opening of the historic trail first used by
Indigenous people for trade and sustenance.

The official “Grand Opening” of the Hudson’s Bay Company (1849) Heritage Trail took place September 11 at Peers Creek, the newly-constructed western trailhead of this 50-km-long historic  route over the North Cascades. Hope Mayor Laurie French and Chawathil First Nation Chief Rhoda Peters presided over the trail’s official re-opening.
Work on this exciting project has been underway for the past two summers, preparing the trail for re-opening as a
hiking and horseback route.  It is a provincially-designated “Heritage Trail” protected by a 200-metre buffer centred on the trail.An HBC Trail Steering Committee, led by the Hope Mountain Centre, is overseeing construction.  Participants include the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Fraser Valley Regional District, Backcountry Horsemen of BC, the New Pathways to Gold Society, and private citizens.  The project has also received official endorsement by the District of Hope (Mayor and Council).Initial funding for restoration has been provided by New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS), the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, and the National Trails Coalition (NTC). The HBC (1849) Heritage Trail is one of several successful projects that the NPTGS has been priveleged to participate in, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts.

Part Four: Curtain call

September 01, 2010 By: DonH Category: Iggy's Pop Concert No Comments →

A promise kept

Which brings me to the next dilemma? How to end this entry? Again, at the Province, I would have written something like, “the curtain finally fell on Iggy’s pop concert as he headed off into the sunset, bound for Kamloops, the tournament capital of Canada.”

But I think I’ll resist the temptation and just say both the diary and the George Munro Grant poster are part of the Yale Museum’s collection now and maybe you oughtta drop by and see why people keep on coming back to Yale year after year…

Part Three: Historic Poster-boy

September 01, 2010 By: DonH Category: Iggy's Pop Concert No Comments →

In amidst the media mob

The Liberal bus pulls in and here comes Ignatieff, moving through the crowd, smiling, shaking hands. He sees the poster of George Munro Grant and makes a beeline for it. He has his picture taken next to it. Pretty soon, people are lining up to have their pictures taken with Ignatieff and his ancestor’s image.

During his speech to the crowd, Ignatieff put aside politics and instead read entries from his great-grandfather’s diary written during his stay in Yale. And like his ancestor, Ignatieff knew that this is a special place.

“Yale is a place that looks like a church without a roof.. it is so beautiful, here there is a sense that you are free , a sense that you can have a good life here, these things are universal.”

It’s a heartfelt speech. Adamson joins Ignatieff at the presentation of the diary to Bronwyn Punch, president of the Yale Historical Society, along with a copy of the book Ocean to Ocean. After a tour of the museum, all too soon, he’s back on the bus and headed for Kamloops.

Part Two: Take nothing for Grant-ed…

September 01, 2010 By: DonH Category: Iggy's Pop Concert No Comments →

B.C. Environment Minister Barry PennerSo, what’s all this got to do with Ignatieff?

In the 138 years since Grant’s visit to Yale, lots has changed — including Yale itself. It is not the boisterous boomtown of nearly 10,000 people it once was. But the sense of history, the sense that this is a very special, very important place, has not. It’s evident in the crowd of committed peopole who are here: Sue Baerg and others from the Yale and District Historical Society, Tanya Lee Jones of the Yale and District Ratepayers Association, Jennifer Iredale from the B.C. Heritage Branch and people from all over who have been drawn here. The basket-making workshop is in full swing in the upper field.

There’s also a healthy contingent from New Pathways: Dr. Dan Marshall of UVic, NPTGS’ Universities caucus chair and co-host of the Canyon War documentary moves among a crowd that includes B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner. Close behind are Gord Rattray, NPTGS executive director and NPTGS co-chair Terry Raymond.

But none of us would be here today were it not for Dennis Adamson, the FVRD director who has organized the event and got Ignatieff to come in the first place. Dennis was at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention in Toronto when he met Ignatieff. The Liberal leader heard Adamson was from Yale and started telling Dennis all about George Munro Grant.

Now why would he do that?

Well, Iggy’s full name is Michael Grant Ignatieff, and George Munro Grant was his great-grandfather.

So, Dennis asked him to come to Yale and donate a copy of his great-granddad’s diary to the Yale Museum. Ignatieff agreed and, well, now it’s time to add a little bit more history to the place…

Part One: Happy George Monro Grant Day!

September 01, 2010 By: DonH Category: Iggy's Pop Concert No Comments →

A good crowd at the Yale Historic Site(August 22, Yale, B.C.)

If I was still writing for the Province newspaper, the gold old tabloid in its glory days of chasing pitbulls and ambulances, it would have been easy to write the lede for this blog entry.

After all, here we are at the Yale Historic Site on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, with lots of folks listening to the musicians playing popular music, checking out the exhibits in the museum and the Living History tents and enjoying a barbequed hotdog and a bevvie in anticipation of a visit from Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.

So, if this was the Province, it would be a cinch. “They packed the Yale Historic site on Sunday for Iggy’s pop concert.” Fortunately this isn’t the Tab, but it still leaves me with the problem of how to begin to describe a very special day: “George Monro Grant Day.”

Probably by asking a question: Why would the federal Liberal Leader, leader of the Opposition, swing his summer barbeque circuit bus up the Fraser Canyon to this tiny (but historically significant) community? Historic is the key word here, because Ignatieff has a personal historic link to this special place.

I have lots of time to reflect on this link as I stand in front of the General Store tent in my Simon Fraser costume (loaned courtesy of the Friends of Fort Langley, thanks), minding the New Pathways to Gold Society table stacked with brochures on the Heritage Trails projects, our “2020 Vision” heritage development document and DVDs of the Canyon War: The Untold Story documentary. We’re flanked by pop-up posters, one of which is a near-life-sized portrait of George Munro Grant himself (and thanks to Queen’s University Archives and the folks at Allegra printing in New West for making it happen). The tent, by the way, is part of the Yale: A Living History exhibit on display at the site, which puts you back in time to the gold rush of 1858.

The gold rush was long gone by the time Sir Sanford Fleming, who was surveying the route for the Canadian Pacific Railway, came through town in October 1872. Fleming’s secretary was his life-long friend, George Monro Grant, a Nova Scotian clergyman and educator who had been instrumental in getting his reluctant province to join Confederation in 1867.

Grant and Fleming’s journey was an epic, starting in Halifax and ending thousands of kilometres later on the West Coast. During the trip, Grant kept a detailed diary which would become the basis of his book Ocean to Ocean, credited for inspiring many Easterners to move west. Yale, of course, would become the headquarters for the Canadian Pacific Railroad during the construction of the National Dream.