April 2020 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: A hand-coloured postcard featuring Moat Lake on Forbidden Plateau, 1930s. Preston L. Tait photograph. Photo: 975.36.10. Page 7.

Photo caption: “Strathcona Park, designated in 1911, is the oldest park in British Columbia and includes 250,000 hectares in the Forbidden Plateau and Buttle Lake areas.” Page 125.

 

 

It’s All There in Black and White: CRUD is for Clean

It was all hands on deck for the Comox Valley spring clean-up of 1970 as seen in this March 18 article from the Comox District Free Press.

But, you may be asking, what the heck is SPEC? Why it is the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation of course! Founded in 1969, SPEC’s website identifies itself as the “oldest environmental non-profit in Canada.”

The Comox Valley SPEC group and hundreds of volunteers made our local campaign the biggest in BC that year.

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

March 2020 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: A dramatic family portrait by Walter Gage, ca. 1905. Photo: 990.24.13. Page vi.

The family in this portrait have been identified by their descendants and the date revised since publication of Watershed Moments. They are the McKelvey family of Dove Creek. The patriarch, Stafford, died December 28, 1901 at the age of 42 from “acute general peritonitis.”

Left to right: William, Nancy, Stafford, Mary Hannah and Frederick Allan. Missing from the photo is the eldest son Adam Samuel McKelvey. Sorry – no names known for deer or dog.

February 2020 Watershed Moments

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

Photo credit: View from Comox Hill, 1890s. Photo: CDM Stubbs Collection. Page 39-40.

Photo caption: “Though the land and water provided more than enough for food and shelter, the K’ómoks people had a long tradition of trade with other coastal groups. They also traded cedar root and eulachon oil for Saskatoon berries and dried grass and root fibres from the interior Salish people. This exchange continued with the settlers, who traded tobacco, guns, ammunition, blankets, fabric, buttons, beads, sugar and flour for furs.” Page 30.

Heritage Week Happenings

The City of Courtenay Heritage Commission will have a display at the “Ideas Fair – Official Community Plan Update” held in the Conference Hall of the Florence Filberg Centre on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. The Heritage Commission display will then move to the Activity Room of the Courtenay Library for Thursday, February 20th.

The Filberg Lodge & Gift Shop will be open all Heritage Week for shopping, historical tours and membership sales. Check online for more details.

Heritage Week, February 17 to 23, 2020

Welcome sign, 1950s. CDM 2009.23.151.

Bringing the Past into the Future

 

It’s as if the Argus newspaper anticipated the 2020 Heritage Week theme 70 years ago when it sponsored a high school writing contest “What will Courtenay by like in 1970?” The topic seems a perfect fit with “Bringing the Past into the Future.”

Essays from four winners were reprinted in the March and April 1950 Argus editions. The winners were Betty Ann Carstens, Chere Malcolm, Joan Tilbe (later Robertson) and Barbara Marriott (later Parker).

All the student essays mentioned resource industries in their predictions. For example, logging would decrease but spawn other industries in Courtenay like a furniture plant and a match factory producing thousands of boxes of matches per day.

Agriculture would increase. In fact one essay forecasted the Valley would become the “bread basket of Vancouver Island.” There would be a fruit cannery built in 1960 as well as a jam factory to utilize berries.

Dairying would become huge with the Comox Creamery shipping its superlative products to all corners of the globe.

Increased tourist trade would be a given with a new four lane highway and planes coming in to Comox airport. One student envisioned a new road surfacing material that would be absolutely non-skid no matter the weather.

Tourists would travel to Courtenay to enjoy the beauties of Forbidden Plateau. By 1970, Courtenay would boast two large hotels and more than ten auto resorts.

And of course, population would rise. Courtenay would become the “Vancouver” of the Valley after incorporating with Comox which would act as a residential district.

It’s All There in Black and White: The Comox Valley’s First Credit Cards

An important anniversary to note – it has been 50 years since the first credit card was used at Comox Valley businesses. Check out this article from the February 4, 1970 edition of the Comox District Free Press to see merchant reactions.

The Chargex logo from the 1970’s:

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

January 2020 Watershed Moments

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

Photo credit: Bill Ardley’s Garage, 1932, was located on Anderton Avenue near Central Builders Supply Ltd. and backed onto the Courtenay River. Charles Sillence photograph. Photo: CDM Sillence Collection. Page 152.

Photo caption: “British Columbians adjusted to driving on the right-hand side of the road when it became the law on January 1, 1922. And due to the economic boom in the mid- to late 1920s automobile sales increased, which meant there were more drivers on the road. Businesses developed to service four-wheeled travellers and holiday makers.” Page 151.