The Museum’s Blog

August 2019 Watershed Moments

Here is the latest newsletter installment of an image from the museum’s award-winning book Watershed Moments – A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District.

Photo credit: These sheds in Lewis Park, 1930s, were used during agricultural fairs. Charles Sillence photograph. Photo: CDM Sillence Collection. Page 157.

Photo: “People anticipated plays, musicals and fairs for months in advance and attended from all around the district. Fun was, and still is, a big word in the valley’s vocabulary.” Page 121.

It’s All There in Black and White: Princess Margaret Visits Courtenay

Comox Valley Royal watchers were treated to a personal appearance in 1958. Princess Margaret visited Lewis Park, St. Joseph’s Hospital and the RCAF airport in Comox. This article from the July 23, 1958 Comox District Free Press gives info on everything from what she ate for lunch to who she visited at the hospital!

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With legacy support from the Bickle Family and the Comox Valley Echo.

July 2019 Watershed Moments

Here is the latest newsletter installment of an image from the museum’s award-winning book Watershed Moments – A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District.

Photo credit: An impressive array of canned goods on display in the Safeway Store, 1932. Charles Sillence photograph.

Photo: CDM Sillence Collection. Page 153.

Periodical Wisdom: July 2019

Our archives houses magazines and periodicals from the past that can often jog memories.

Here’s one for all the folks who ever spent time down on the farm.

The Nor’- West Farmer magazine (which billed itself as “The Pioneer Farm Journal of Western Canada”) of July 21, 1930 featured this informative ad about the 1 ½-ton Ford truck.

Merville – 100 Years and Counting Part 7

Say the name “Merville” to a local history buff and two topics spring to mind: the 1919 visit by the Prince of Wales and the Merville Fire of July 1922.

This month marks the 97th anniversary of the fire. Readers looking for a concise wrap-up of events will find it in the following text from The Land of Plenty.

“The Merville Fire of July 6, 1922, fanned by a north-east wind moved south from the Oyster River through standing timber “crowning” in great bursts of flame. It hit the felled and bucked timber of Comox Logging Camp 2 on the Oyster and gained momentum. It missed the new Camp 3 by half a mile. The velocity of the fire increased as it raced across the reforested ridge north of Merville. The little trees there were flattened to the ground, blackened and stripped of all foliage. It raged through the Merville Settlement destroying buildings and animals. One life was lost; Jack Clifford, a boy of fifteen was found lying on the ground within twenty yards of safety.

Those families remaining in the old Camp Three buildings located on the site of Black Creek store were evacuated by the train crew just ahead of the fire. Some of their men wouldn’t join them and spent the night in wells and in the water pools of Black Creek.

Although the Comox Logging and Railway Company claimed that the fire had started ten miles north of the Oyster River in International Timber Company logging operations, the Merville settlers won their compensation claims against Comox Logging. They alleged that a spark from a Comox Logging locomotive had started the blaze and that the company neglected to take proper precautions to cope with, and extinguish, the fire. Fifty-six settlers claimed for loss of stock, buildings, crops, equipment and permanent damage to the soil.”

Quote from page 195 of The Land of Plenty, Editors-Authors: D.E. Isenor, W.N. McInnis, E.G. Stephens, D.E. Watson, 1987.

Bonus:

Photo of Lewis Park tents that housed burnt out Merville settlers

Earlier this year Ian Clapperton visited the archives from the U.K. to share history and photos from his family collection. Ian is the grandson of Merville settlers Oliver and Elsie Linton. This unique photo illustrates the emergency shelter accommodations set up in Lewis Park.

CDM 2004.7.1.

Bonus bonus:

A photo of the “Resurgam” cup

This silver cup was awarded to settlers Annie and Ken Hanley for the house and barn they’d rebuilt a year after the fire. “Resurgam” is Latin for “I shall rise again.” The Hanley’s home, which was located at the corner of Howard Road and the Island Highway, was demolished in 2002.

New for 2019: Courtenay Heritage Walking Tours

There’s a new tour in town…a guided Heritage Walking Tour of Courtenay.

Learn about Courtenay’s first commercial centre, the origins of the Native Sons Hall, the railway which ran through town, and the important role the river has played in the City’s development. Tour guides will also explore industrial, military and recreational ties to Comox Bay and Estuary.

Click here to find out more