A beaver tale
Lillian Gardiner (nee Porteous) was bron in Needles, British Columbia, on Christmas Day in 1917. She was one of six children who lived in a single-room log cabin for many years.
Most of Lillian's education was of a practical nature. Chopping wood, clearing land, ploughing fields, caring for livestock, and hauling nitroglycerine up the mountains by mule — often alone — were the day's lessons. Frequently, she worked without shoes! At the age of ten, each child was given a rifle, a pair of snowshoes, and a lard pail full of food, and then was sent to work on the trapline.
Lillian learned to survive in the wilderness and developed an immense love of the land. Although trapping was necessary for the family's income, she had great compassion for animals. On one occasion, her trap caught a beaver by its toes. Instead of killing it, ten-year-old Lillian took it home and tamed it.
Here, she is shown sitting on the family's porch holding her pet beaver. She's wearing gumboots with sealer jar rinsg around the top "to keep the water out."
As her daughter Lillian Barton notes, "My mom was not singular, but an example of the courage and strength that made this country what it is."
Lillian Barton is the daughter of Lillian Gardner. She resides in Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia. Text by Beverley Tallon.
Theme: Environment | Settlement & Immigration | Women
A Family Reunion
My family and I immigrated to Canada from China primarily to reunite my father with his family. We arrived in Laporte, Saskatchewan, where my father’s parents lived, on November 20, 1972. This photograph was taken in front of my grandfather’s general store in Laporte, at the time a settlement of fewer than five people.
In the photo I am twelve years old, standing next to my eight- year-old sister on one side; my brothers, aged fifteen and six, are on the other side. In the centre are my grandparents, my father, and my mother. We are dressed in winter jackets and fur hats purchased in Hong Kong. However, the Chinese-made clothing proved inadequate for an authentic Canadian winter. This image is now permanently etched into my memory as being our first encounter with snow.
The family reunion with my grandparents lasted five weeks. Then we were off to Montreal to live with my father’s sister. Montreal became my home for the next four decades.
Submitted by Wah Wing Chan, a printmaker who lives in Montreal.
Theme: 20th Century Canadians | Settlement & Immigration
It was a fine day for a picnic when the Smales and Dale families met in the picturesque Qu'Apple Valley, west of Fort Qu'Appelle, circa 1905. Shown wearing her best white dress is H.G. Bartlett's mother, Dolly (Dora) Smales, born in 1893 in Regina. Bartlett's uncle, Allister Smales, sits on his horse, which is being steadied by Bartlett's grandfather George M. Smales. Both men would serve overseas during WW1.
Bartlett's grandmother, Alice Smales, is seen in the buggy enjoying a tete-a-tete with Mrs Dale, a Qu'Appelle Valley pioneer. Dale's daughters, Beatrice and Alice, are in the right foreground with their faithfulhorses. The Smales family arrived in Regina shortly after the building of the CPR but like the Qu'Appelle valley so much that the moved there in 1900.
The region was first home to Cree and Saulteaux buffalo hunters. The first North West Company fort was built in the area in 1787, and the last one closed in 1819. A Hudson's Bay Company fur trading post was established in 1864.
The valley region is as beautiful today as it ever was.
H.G. Bartlett's mother was Dolly Smales. Bartlett resides in Bay-Sah-Tah near Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan. Text by Beverley Tallon.
Clearing the line
By the early twentieth century, the railway had united much of the Canadian countryside.
However, Mother Nature does not always co-operate in the effort to brings goods and people together. "More snow than rye at Viscount, Saskatchewan," reads one of Duane Forrest's family photos. It shows the area after a brutal march 1920 snowstorm.
In 1907, the Canadian Pacific Railway was graded through Viscount. Originally known as the Pheasant Hills branch, the steel was laid for it in 1908 and a station soon followed. By the time of this photo, the opulation of nearly three hundred had become quite reliant on the line.
Like the mail, the train must get through. This picture shows a Canadian Pacific engine equipped with a large metal snowplough blasting its way through the snow. Large crowds gathered to witness the clearing, no doubt moving out of the way as the shovel created yet another snowstorm.
Duane G. Forrest resided in Maple, Ontario, and was the son of R.C. Forrest. Duane's father was the royal bank manager in Viscount, Saskatchewan, from 1916 to 1926. Text by Beverley Tallon.
Theme: Environment | Industry, Invention & Technology | Western Expansion
This photograph, taken on May 23, 1907, showcases a funeral procession passing by the Dundas, Ontario, home of Dr. James Ross, Surgeon Lieutenant of the 77th Regiment and Signal Corps. Ross had died two days earlier at the age of fifty-three.
People from the town lined the streets to mourn Ross's death. The doctor, an award-winning graduate of McGill University, was well-known and well-liked in the community. He built up a large medical practice in Dundas, was an active member of the 77th Regiment, served on the board of education, and was the president of the local curling club. He was also a competitive sharpshooter. The Dundas Star noted that "on account of his demise the program of sports which was arranged for Victoria Day has been indefinitely postponed."
Ross was buried with military honours. The process was forty-five minutes late getting started due to a delay in obtaining from the Hamilton Field Battery the horse-drawn gun carriage that bore his remains from his residences to the cemetery. This photo is one of the few known to exist that show the 77th Regiment and Signal Corps in full military dress. The regiment disbanded prior to the First World War.
Valerie Kramer of Dundas, Ontario, found this photo while cleanning out her grandmother's attic in 1988. Text by Ryan Kessler.
Theme: Discover Your Community | Military & War
Mary Brierly was living in Souris, Prince Edward Island, when this photo was taken.
The year was 1912, and young Mary was walking in town when she heard words, "Little girl, come here and have your picture taken." So, Mary and the undertake, Will Dingwell of Dingwell Funeral Home, were photographed near his newly acquired hearse.
The carriage was bloack, with ornate fittings and curtains covering the glass sides. Black horses pulled the funeral coach, befitting the solemn occasion. As the deceased was being conveyed to the cemetery — located on the outskirts of town — mourners would walk by the coach's side of travel in their own carriages.
The days of horse-drawn hearses had come to be a thing of the past by the time Mary left this world. She lived to be just shy of one hundred, departing in 2004.
James Brierly is the song of Mary W. Brierly. He resides in Dunham, Quebec. Text by Beverley Tallon.
Theme: Discover Your Community
Fishing in style
The men in this 1922 photograph are fishing off the dock at a spot at Latchford, Ontario, where the Montreal River widens to form Bay lake. The three men are enjoying rare moments of relaxation away from their busy jobs.
Thomas W. Carlyle, left, was the manager of the Bank of Toronto in the nearby mining town of Cobalt. James Hylands, centre, was a mine manager and stock promoter. He was also the grandfather of Vivian Hyland, who contributed this photo. On the far right, puffing on a pipe, is mining engineer Donald J. Russell, who was James Hyland's son-in-law. The identity of the young boy is not known.
The photograph is of interest because of the clothing worn — note the knee-high leather boots, jodhpurs, white shirts, vests, ties, and fedoras. Cobalt was a mining town with wooden sidewalks and unpaved streets surrounded by bush, so clothing had to be rugged and, in the case of mine managers at least, also stylish.
This photo has hung on the wall of Vivian Hyland's home in Cobalt, Ontario, for about eighty-five years. Text by Nelle Oosterom.
Theme: Discover Your Community | Industry, Invention & Technology | Settlement & Immigration
Fit for a Queen
Some people are born into royalty. Others manufacture it for themselves. The latter was the case for Daniel Noonan of Kingston, Ontario, who owned and operated the Rideau Queen at the beginning of the twentieth century under the company name Rideau Lakes Navigation Company, Ltd.
The Queen was an ideal vessel for transporting up to three hundred eager cottagers to the village of Chaffey's Locks. Along with its sister steamship, the Rideau King, the Queen travelled the Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa and back again. This picture taken around 1910, shows the Queen boarding passengers at Chaffey's Locks, where Noonan had a summer home.
Built in 1900, the steamers were constructed with a draught of just over two metres to navigate the shallow Rideau Canal system.
The Queen took passengers on day trips through Big Rideau Lake, making stops at such sites as France Free Cottage — the oldest standing cottage on the lake.
Rideau Queen changed owners over the years, though there are no records of it after 1928. How she was disposed of remains a mystery.
Reverend Daniel Noonan is the grandson of Daniel Noonan. Revered Noonan lives in Sidney, British Columbia. Text by Laina Hughes.
Theme: Arts, Sports & Culture
Reverend James McNeill moved his wife and family to Clairmont, Alberta, in 1930.
The Depression brought drought and hard times. Many people left their homesteads on the Prairies to come to the Peace Country just north of Grand Prairie in search of good land and a kinder climate.
Working through the United Church of Canada, McNeill provided religious guidance plus much-needed clothing, blankets, money, and other necessities to the newcomers. Many of the donations came from eastern Canada.
In the photo, McNeill is shown with his son Burke. They are sitting on boxes of provisions, which they loaded on their cutter in the winter of 1933. McNeill's beloved horses, Prohibition Bay and Lady Clairmont, are ready to pull the load. As there were many people in need, they would return with the cutter empty in the evening.
Burke McNeill is the son of Reverend James E. McNeill. He resides in St. Catharines, Ontario. Text by Beverley Tallon.
Theme: Settlement & Immigration | Western Expansion
Peace in their time
Janette Kasperski's mother, Rose Elsegood, was only thirteen when the Nazis were defeated, but she remembers being let out of school early when VE day was announced. She walked four blocks to her residence at 42 Ellsworth Avenue, Toronto, and all along the way people were celebrating.
Elsegood's older sister Dorothy remembers being let out of work early, too, and stopping at City Hall Square to celebrate with a crowd of people before she went home.
When all six sisters got home, their uncle had the family — in-laws and nephew included — gather on the front lawn for a photo. Dorothy's future husband, John Taylor — who always seemed to have a camera — took the photo.
Rose and Dorothy are holding a newspaper that reads, "Peace is here, Nazis give up." The news was especially important for sisten Evelyn (far right), whose husband was overseas at the time.
Somethingt seemed to have caught the ye of Elsegood's nephew, young David Carthew (centre), and he doesn't look too happy abou it. perhaps there's a much rowdier celebration going on across the street.
This photo was submitted by Janette Kasperski, the daughter of Rose Elsegood.
Theme: Military & War
Ready to rock
Scottish immigrants brought the game of curling to Canada. It has been suggested that the first matches were played during the Seven Years War of 1756 to 1763, when Scottish troops melted down cannonballs to fashion iron curling rocks. In 1807, twenty merchants in Montreal formed Canada's first curling club. Other cities followed.
As the population grew, small clubs popped up in communities in the Western provinces. By 1888 Winnipeg had become the hub of the game and a bonspiel in the city attracted a total of eight-two rinks.
The first women's curling club was organized in 1894 in Montreal. By 1900, most curling clubs had moved to indoor rinks. But as Jim Packham notes, the Ladies Curling Club of Olds, Alberta, was an exception.
The members are shown here ready to play outdoors in the winter of 1923-24, wearing long skirts for warmth and using household-type brooms. Jim Packham's aunt, Mrs. Nettie Lennox Laundon, is standing in the back row, second from the left. The sense of community and friendship is apparent in the women's smiles.
Jim Packham is the nephew Nettie Lennox Laundon. He resides in Toronto. Text by Beverley Tallon.
Theme: Arts, Sports & Culture | Western Expansion | Women
The Watkins wagon
The horse-drawn Watkins wagon, with its spices, extracts, and medicines, was at one time a welcome visitor at many farm homes. The wagon in the photograph was driven by a man named Reed or Reid. The picture was taken in 1918 or 1919 at the Scotton home, located north of Cowley, near Lethbridge in southern Alberta. Mamie Scotton (the former Mamie Bare) stands next to the horses, close to her daughter Ellen. Her three oldest sons — Chester, Freeman, and Lloyd — are seated or standing on the wagon. A Watkins sample case leans against the front wheel of the wagon.
The J.R. Watkins Medical Company was founded in Plainview, Minnesota, in 1868. Joseph Watkins’ first product was Red Liniment and he pioneered direct selling concepts such as the “money-back guarantee.” By 1920, Watkins had about a hundred different kinds of products available for door-to-door sale across the continent. The firm continues to operate today as a direct selling company, with over 80,000 independent sales associates in North America.
Submitted by Ray Scotton, son of George and Mamie Scotton of Cowley, Alberta.
Theme: 20th Century Canadians | Discover Your Community
While the sun shines
It was all hands on deck when it came to haying time. "Everyone, including all the chidlren, did their bit at every stage of farm life," says Catherine Pickard, and harvesting hay for winter-feed was an important activity.
Pickard grew up on the family farm in Foreman, Alberta. Her dad, Wesley Boyd, is shown with the helpeds, kids, and a team of greys named Scotty and Duke.
Boyd made use of the agricultural technology of the 1920s. The grass was mowed and then gathered with a large rake called a hay sweep. Another ingenious piece of equipment, called on overshot hay stacker, depositied the hay on the tool's forks. A pulley and cable system, with the help of horse power, raised the arms, allowing the forks to flip the load and build a tall stack. A good stack was important to prevent spoilage.
Haying was hard work, and young Catherine and her brother Bill would often be in charge of delivering the mid-morning and afternoon meals. The workers would usuall sit on the newly cut field for their respite, but, as time was of the essence, the gang was soon back to work.
This photo was submitted by Catherine Pickard, who is the daughter of Wesley Boyd and resides in Newcastle, Ontario. Text by Beverly Tallon.
Theme: Industry, Invention & Technology
William James Davidson (second from the left) emigrated to Minitonas, Manitoba, from Owen Sound, Ontario, with his father, mother, and seven siblings to start a farm. In 1899, the railway was only built as far as Dauphin, Maintoba, so the family had to travel by wagon into the Swan River Valley.
While attempting to cross a swollen river, the wagon and horses were trapped by the current and pulled downstream. Fortunately, a shallow bar stopped the horses and all were saved, including one-year-old Estelle and eleven-year-old Edna, who clung to the front seat of the cart.
Living on the froniter was no easy feat. This picture shows one of many side jobs the family members took in order to sustain themselves. William's brother John, seated third from the left, and wife Ethyl May, standing fourth from the left, helped in the logging business near Mafeking, Manitoba.
William later took more stable work as a general contractor in Winnipeg, where he poured the first reinforced concrete in the city at Point Douglas, along the Red River.
In 1912, Edna went on to marry Arthur J. Richardson, one of the operators of the Richardson Brothers Art Gallery, the largest art gallery in Western Canada at the time.
Ron Davidson is the son of William James Davidson and lives in Metcalfe, Ontario. Text by Ryan Kessler.
Theme: Settlement & Immigration | Western Expansion
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