August 2018 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.

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Photo credit: Cousins Edith Bates (in back), Reg Biscoe, George Bates and Marjorie Biscoe with Bingo at Seal Bay, ca. 1926. The Bates family had a beach cottage at Seal Bay, not too far from the Biscoes’ summer home at Kye Bay. Like other Comox Valley children they enjoyed an idyllic existence in the outdoors, with unspoiled beaches close by. Photo: CDM 988.197.133.

Photo caption: “Seal Bay Park, a treasure of biodiversity, harbours tall and stately giants of the coastal forest, lush undergrowth and a number of rare specimens. It offers the public the deep tranquility of a protected forest. Those who take time to linger may also find clues to the forest’s past.” Page 144.

July 2018 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.

Click for Larger Image


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Photo credit: July 1st parade at the corner of 5th Street and Cliffe Avenue, 1948. George Apps photograph. Photo: CDM 997.505.15. Page 184.

Photo caption: “For a generation that had lived through the aftermath of the Great War, the Great Depression and World War II, the war’s end signalled an era of promise like none before. The high number of weddings in Courtenay at this time indicated that people had a cautious optimism about their lives ahead.” Page 185.

June 2018 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: Mrs. Margaret Frank and Chief Andy Frank in the 1967 Courtenay parade. Ruth Masters photograph. Photo: CDM 2007.251.18. Page 188.

Photo caption: “In 1906, Mary and Billie Frank, Andy’s mother and father, decided to canoe to Tree Island (now Sandy Island Marine Park) to harvest clams. They pitched their tents on the island, and Andy was born there, the youngest of the family…In the 1920s, Andy went into an Alert Bay store for fishing supplies. He was so smitten by one of the clerks that he needed to make several trips into the store to choose the right flashlight. The clerk, Margaret Wilson from T’sakis (Fort Rupert), of high status and with strong convictions about promoting awareness of indigenous heritage, married Andy first by tradition and later in a church.” Page 119.

May 2018 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.

Click for Larger Image


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Photo credit: Bedroom suite in the Courtenay Hotel, 1941. Charles Sillence photograph. Photo: CDM Sillence Collection. Page 137.

Photo caption: “Before World War I, [William] Lewis added a third storey, and there was no shortage of visitors when the E & N Railway arrived in Courtenay in 1914…Major renovations and additions in 1916 and 1938 left the building with a stucco finish and increased protection against flooding.” Page 68.

April 2018 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.

Click for Larger Image

Click for Larger Image

Photo credit: Courtenay’s original city centre, ca. 1905. Walter Gage photograph. Photo: CDM 972.270.2. Page 62-63.

Photo caption: “”Lewistown,” as some called it, was just across from the head of the slough, at the junction of Dyke Road and Upper Prairie Road. It became a thriving commercial centre…Opposite the hotel was McKean & Biscoe’s dry goods and grocery store. The Masonic Lodge met on the upper floor of this building for thirty-three years. Courtenay’s first bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, opened here in 1909.” Page 63.

March 2018 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.

Click for Larger Image

Click for Larger Image

Photo credit: Girl Guides depart from Royston train station, 1928. Left to right: Gladys Idiens, Joyce Edwards, Margaret Dunn, Dot Waterfield, Mrs. Mary Greig, Ritsuko Uchiyama, Lynn Hilton. Photo: CDM 990.16.26. Page 158-159.

Photo caption: “The first E & N passenger train arrived in Courtenay on August 6, 1914. The August 13 Courtenay Review noted that the train “consisted of baggage and express cars and four coaches.” The trip from Victoria covered 139.7 miles, with the train averaging a speed of roughly twenty miles an hour.

This arrival of the E & N, combined with major expansion of industrial rail lines, strengthened camps and communities such as Union Bay, Royston, Miracle Beach, Cumberland and Headquarters over the next fifty years.” Page 128.

February 2018 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: Florence Harmston and Sam Cliffe both sailed to Vancouver Island on the Silistria in 1862 and married a decade later in 1872. Photo: CDM 974.78.1 Page 14.

Photo caption: “Ten years after his 1862 voyage, in April 1872, Sam Cliffe married Florence Harmston, who had made the same voyage on the Silistria at the age of six with her parents, William and Mary Harmston. According to family stories, the Harmstons had intended to continue their voyage on the Silistria to arrive in April in Port Clemens, New Zealand. They changed course when they noticed an ad for prairie land in the Comox Valley. Florence, born on the Isle of Man, had fifteen children with Sam. Ten survived to adulthood. Florence and Sam took over the Lorne Hotel in 1883. Sam died in 1908, and Florence twenty-one years later, in 1929.” Page 14.

January 2018 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: The Riverside Hotel made an impressive sight at the corner of 5th Street and Cliffe Avenue, 1944. Charles Sillence photograph. Page 180-181.

Photo caption: “When the Riverside was lost to fire in 1968 [January 2], people perhaps missed it most for the curved wall that marked the corner and provided a seat for those with time to spare. Here, they would comment on the passersby, venture an opinion on matters of local and national import, and pontificate for all who would listen.” Page 70.

December 2017 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.

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Photo credit: The biggest and best dance floor in British Columbia: the Royston Imperial Pavilion, 1931. Charles Sillence photograph. Page 146-147.

Photo caption: “From 1923 to 1940, the steady stream of traffic winding its way south from Courtenay on a Saturday night was heading for the Royston Imperial Pavilion, the largest, and reputedly the best, dance floor in British Columbia…In July 1940, as the band was setting up, a short in the wiring caused a fire that swept through the building, engulfing it completely in ten minutes. Paper decorations and greenery fuelled the blaze.” Page 145.

November 2017 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: Seeing the boys off. Valley residents turn up en masse to say farewell to the 102nd Canadian Infantry Battalion, 1916. Walter Gage photograph. CDM 972.55.20. Page 130-131.

Photo caption: “The Battalion participated in a number of prominent campaigns in France and Flanders in the following years: the Somme and Ancre Heights in 1916; Arras, Ypres, Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and Passchendaele in 1917. It played a major role in deciding the battles at Amiens, Scarpe, Drocourt-Queant, Canal de Nord, “The Hindenburg Line” and Valenciennes. More than a quarter of its members died. The unit disbanded on September 15, 1920.” Page 132.