Tuesday, August 25, 2015

G is for Greenwood

ABC Wednesday
August 26th, 2015

The letter is G, for GREENWOOD

Let me introduce you to GREENWOOD, a tiny little city in the Kootenays which lays claim to being the smallest city in Canada, incorporated as a city when it was a booming mining centre more than a century ago.  It now has seven hundred and twenty-five citizens!

Another lovely mountain town with an interesting history, boasting some of the best preserved heritage buildings in British Columbia.

A thriving mining town in the early twentieth century suddenly, in 1918, the city lost momentum when the B.C. Copper Company closed as a result of market values.

There was great abandonment, - people left in droves  and businesses closed until in 1940 only 200 people remained.

However during World War 2 a new group of citizens changed Greenwood's fate with the forced internment of Japanese Canadians from the coast of British Columbia.  The many empty hotels and businesses became dwelling places for the 1200 who came to Greenwood.

'with the same undaunted spirit of the miners before them Greenwood's new citizens transformed the town into a once-again bustling community, where culture, education and sports became an important part of everyday life'

When the war ended in 1945 Greenwood stood fast in supporting its Japanese Canadian citizens and were appreciative of the growth and culture they had engendered.

O'Hairi Park, located in the centre of town, is dedicated to the Japanese Canadians of Greenwood.

An old tunnel, narrow and suited to horse and buggy days and once covered over to accommodate railway tracks, is now an attraction to visitors passing through Greenwood, as is the old copper smelter which still stands.  The Tunnel has been decorated with flags, painted by the Mayor of the City to discourage graffiti....

Greenwood now, like many other B.C. communities, is becoming a destination for historic tourism, and flourishing. There are no shortages of things to do in the surrounding country side - fishing, boating, hiking and camping are favourites at Jewel Lake, just north of Greenwood, and east of the City there is a scenic educational Phoenix Interpretive Forest drive and a memorial to Phoenix in the city itself..  (Phoenix - an old and famous mining town in the Kootenays, now a ghost town)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In 2012 this little City was awarded the prize of best tap water in the world and is now selling bottles of Greenwood Gold in its local stores for $3.00 a bottle!  The locals buy them and give them away as gifts.  The award ceremony attracted 250 people  or about a third of the City!

For more interesting Gs do gallop over to the ABC site here,
with thanks to Denise, Roger and their Great helpers.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blue Balloons

A dozen at church this morning - a fair to middling crowd for the times, it seems......

When the service ended I looked regretfully at the coffee and goodies and hastened out the door, late for a Celebration of Life in the gardens at the Grist Mill.....

Two hours spent amongst old friends, memories and the family of the dear departed, most dear to me, and death was a friend who granted her release......

As it grew time to leave a piper played Amazing Grace, 

- blue balloons were distributed amongst those who lingered,  and gently they let go and watched them float skyward

It was a lovely moment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ABC Wednesday
August 19th, 2015

The letter is F  for Fernie

Once, so very many years ago, Charles and I made a detour into Fernie on our way to Calgary.  So long ago that I have forgotten the details, but it was before Fernie became a 'playground of vast proportions' and while it was still a coal mining town, the administrative and commercial centre for the underground coal mines six miles away from the townsite in the narrow Coal Creek valley.

When I started to research the town I was amazed at the amount of information and the number of pictures here at the official Tourism site.  Truly an enterprising and energetic effort to bring to the world's attention this unique travel destination.

Completely encircled by the Rocky Mountains the townsite was laid out in the crook of a doglegged glacial valley that today is drained by the Elk River.

The Three Sisters and Mount Proctor overlook the town to the north.

To the northeast is Mount Hosmer, to the east is Fernie Ridge, to the southeast the Morrissey Ridge, which contains Castle Mountain, and to the southwest are the various peaks of the Lizard Range.

Within such a setting and after several boom and bust cycles throughout the years, the focus 
of the town turned to the wealth of recreational opportunities now available from 'world renowned skiing and fly fishing to exceptional mountain biking, snowmobiling, hiking, 
whitewater rafting and golfing'

Hiking along a trail which was formerly the 

rail line bringing

 coal to Fernie for coking

A visit to Fernie isn't complete without a tour of the Fernie Museum and the historic downtown
"which enlightens visitors with a sense of wonder and amazement'
and lays bare the humble beginnings of the town and the amazing perseverance
which has resulted in this transformation.

Today the town hosts many cultural festivals and events year round, 
and offers a seemingly endless
opportunity to the arts, sporting, music, nature, markets and much more.

'Fernie owes its origins to William Fernie who established the coal industry (which continues to this day) and founded the Crows Nest Pass Coal Company in 1897.  The Canadian Pacific Railway arrived the following year and a townsite emerged parallel to the railway line slightly north of the initial encampment, or Old Town'.

Two disastrous wild fires in the early 1900'a leveled much of the downtown core of Fernie, and as a result the municipal government passed an ordinance that all buildings be built of fireproof material, like brick, or stone.  The new town which arose had broad avenues and brick buildings that would have looked more at home in a sedate Victorian city than a 'rough and tumble frontier coal town'.

The Museum will also tell you of the GhostRider
to be found on one of the encircling mountains and was said to represent
a curse by early residents who had twice seen 
their town destroyed by fire......

Today the town's Hockey Team are called the Ghostriders, and many of the city's business establishments have adopted the name.

To top it all off in November of 2004 a crew shovel operator noticed something very unusual in the digging face of the 1896 bench and a fossilized giant ammonite rolled out of the edge of his bucket  - the second of these giant ammonite fossils recovered in the past thirty years at Coal Mountain.

How to get there???

More interesting Fs to be found here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Denise, Roger and frisky helpers....

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Little of This and a Smidgin of That

August 15th, 2015

I seem to be in for the long haul as far as longevity is concerned, - enjoy good health and the aches and pains of old age have not yet engulfed me.....  This fine weather allows me to leave my cane by the door,  ignoring the question that surrounds me as I prepare to depart - 'have you got your cane' - 
have you got your CANE?'

                   'No honey', I say, offhandedly ' not today.  The weather is good                                and  I'm feeling quite youngish - 

                    I will when it's icy and trouble lies waiting  under a skiff of snow. 

                    I promise'............

However, when it comes to day to day living moderation is my motto and it's a little of this and a smidgin of that, with a little breather in between. to keep me going.....

Today I am weaving and breathing, weaving and breathing, with an hour out at lunch time to go and relieve the cashier at the Bargain Centre so she can eat her lunch in peace.

I come home and have my own lunch, - examine the DVD's I brought from the library yesterday and decide to watch 'Tristram Shandy A Cock and Bull story' after the evening news tonight.

The news these days is full of wild fires -  blazing just over the hill in the South Okanagan, and off to the East a dreadful vociferous fire in the Rock Creek area that had campers fleeing to safety, some in their swimsuits and without shoes.

Douglas Drouin photo

My first-born drove me to Penticton yesterday to see the audiologist about cranking up my hearing aid a notch or two, and when we came back we were forced to detour through a neighbouring hamlet to avoid live wires and poles which had come down through a wildly forecast rain, wind and thunder storm.  Much wind, quite a bit of thunder, but alas, not enough rain to provide a great deal of relief for firefighters.  I came home to find Callie quivering at the sound of thunder, but not so frightened that she had sought refuge under the blankets on my bed.

As far as the audiologist was concerned it was a splendid visit, as she raised my hearing aid (only have one, - other ear completely gone) to 90% and told me of a wonderful device that I can wear on the silent side which will pick up the sound from the hearing aid in the good ear, so I will have hearing on both side!!!  Amazing and delightful - if I have anything to complain about it's the inability to hear in social conditions, which leads me to regretfully decline invitations which I would otherwise so enjoy....

I look wide-eyed at the small oblong my son wears around his neck which allows him to answer his phone, dial out on his phone and do his bidding at other wonderful commands.  Amazing!!  I, who once must have stared wide-eyed at the crystal set my father had down the basement which brought in squeaks and squiggles with music, faintly, in the background.

While I had breakfast this morning I was checking Gmail and Facebook on my Ipad, and happened to click on the 'BOOKS' icon.  Up came John O'Donahue's  'Eternal Echoes' and before me on the screen was 'Matins', part of which reads.....

I arise today
Blessed by all things,

Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes,
Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch,
Eternity of soul,
Urgency of thought,
Miracle of health,
Embrace of God.

May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Gentle in word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.

with all of This in mind I am off to do a bit of That on my loom -
 fifteen inches until the first towel is finished
just in time for supper......

Monday, August 10, 2015

E is for Egmont

ABC Wednesday
August 12th, 2015

The letter is E for Egmont

Egmont is a tiny waterfront village settled in Secret Bay under the shadow of Mount Churchill and near to the northern B.C. Ferry Terminal at Earls Cove, British Columbia's Sunshine Coast.

It centres around two modern marinas set up for overnight moorage, and caters to a transient marine industry of visiting yachts, sailboats and floatplanes.  It is the gateway to Skookumchuk Narrows Provincial Park (Skookum is a Chinook word for strong, and chuk means water).

The Skookumchuk rapids surge through the narrows during a ten foot tide change twice a day, causing 200 billion gallons of water to explode upwards into standing waves, and to be sucked into bottomless whirlpools - an extreme destination for experienced kayakers.  As tidal waters are forced through the narrow shallow channel between Jervis and Sechelt Inlets the difference in water levels can exceed two metres, causing currents of more than 30 km per hour.

Egmont is named after the HMS Egmont which was helmed by Rear Adminral Sir John Jervis at the battle of St. Vincent in the 1700s.

If I still had a 'bucket' list I would surely place Egmont, and the adjoining Princess Louisa Inlet right near the top, as they say there is nothing like wandering through the countryside to give you a feel for old-time Sunshine Coast living, with its lack of car traffic, slow pace, friendly people and a sense of a place out of time.

I will leave the kayaking to the adventuresome!

The small community has few shops and services, but it is rich in scenic splendour.  Artists, B&B's and cottages, a post office, a general store, a pub, the two marinas and a government dock - and a new museum.

It is a tourist village and many, including divers and fishermen, are attracted to the abundant wildlife and waterfalls in the surrounding inlets.  It is possible to board a charter boat or a float plane to see the magnificent granite walled Princess Louisa Inlet......

or to visit Chatterbox or Fiel Falls, which tumbles down to the beach from Lake Fiel high above.

                      Chatterbox Falls

or to hike the trails in the coastal forest

Indian Pictographs

Just a mile past the turnoff to Egmont is Earls Cove which sits on Jervis Inlet at the end of the line on the lower Sunshine Coast and is the location of the BC Ferries terminal for sailings to Saltery Bay on the upper Sunshine Coast.  The spectacular scenery on this trip
has hardly changed from the days when Captain George Vancouver sailed Jervis Inlet and Agamemnon Channel in June of 1792.

How to get there - in case your bucket has room to add this wonderful experience
to your list......

For many other interesting E's visit here at ABC Wednesday

with thanks to Roger, Denise and their ever-loving helpers

Friday, August 07, 2015

A Satisfying Day

Alfred Sisley

"It is the only place where I have been able to wake up at exactly the end of the night, and it became a tradition with me to dress and go down through the quiet to the front, then up to the point, and out along the cliffs, wide-eyed and suddenly awake, watching the sky gently extracting itself from the dark arms of the sea.  Oystercatchers in their dinner jackets pipe the reveille, jackdaws chatter, boasting about their dreams, and out beyond the islands the gulf sky to the far southwest is a particular pale white-blue, the tone of pure air, washed, rinsed, and scoured by last night's squalls, catching the sun rays now, as the swells of cloud billow with light and the first warmth of the morning reaches for the cliff tops, where the thick and sudden turf rolls over, like God's green shoulder, down to the gasp and grasp of the sea."

The words of Horatio Clare in his wonderful new book, "Running for the Hills" and would they not inspire you to rise early and partake of the miracles of the dawn  - 'watching the sky gently extracting itself from the dark arms of the sea'  such tender imagery....


It has been a particularly satisfying day here in the Similkameen, - warm and breezy - perfect summer weather.

I awakened - not with the dawn, but soon after, and watched out the window as the light gradually glowed golden on the tops of the far hills.  And I remembered my bedtime determination to finish threading the loom, early in the morning, and rose with some anticipation.

I go in and sit at the loom and I am encouraged that I am more than half-way through the threading, - surely an hour should do it.  But I keep forgetting that even before half an hour has passed my left shoulder will be complaining bitterly .  So it has been a day of threading a bit, then stopping, gathering my book and the telephone and going to sit in the garden, while it is still fresh from the night air.

I have to confess to reading longer than I bend over the loom, threading....  I am so enchanted with the memoir, and with the beauty of the writing.  It brings back many memories of  lambing and shearing and nights spent in the barn with pregnant ewes, and when I look at Charles' shepherd's crook I am reminded of the lovely way the sheep responded to him any time he entered the barn.  A good and gentle sheep man!

Pictures from the Internet

So I did finish the threading, and when I get to this stage of dressing the loom I can hardly stop until the threads are all sleyed through the reed, the warp tied on and I can begin to throw the first weft. But I know that I will be drawn even more to finish the book, and then go back and re-read the especially lyrical passages of Horatio Clare's memoirs of a childhood that was 'marked by wonder and joy' - the parts that mirror our own experiences, and that of our children.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Dawson Creek

ABC Wednesday
August 5th, 2015

The letter is D

D stands for Dawson Creek, - a town in northern B.C.

Dawson Creek started life as a small farming community in the dry and windy prairie land of the Peace River Country that spans British Columbia and Alberta,  close to the Alberta border.   In the beginning many of the inhabitants were European Canadian settlers moving west through the Peace country when the Canadian government began issuing homestead grants to settlers in 1912.

With the coming of the Northern Alberta Railway in 1931 and the construction of the grain elevator more settlers were attracted to the community.  Business grew and in 1936 Dawson Creek was incorporated as a village.

Some of its claim to fame, and certainly a reason for its sudden growth in 1942 was the Alaska Highway, built by the U.S. and Canadian governments in WW11 to transport equipment 1500 miles to the Yukon and Alaska.  Thousands of Army personnel, engineers and contractors poured into Dawson Creek.  It was completed in less than a year, with 150 bridges and 8,000 culverts.  Even after everybody packed up and went home the population and growth continued....

Dawson Creek is Mile 0 of this famous highway.....

Like most western town it has a rodeo....

and friendly cowboys

as well as Art Galleries, a Heritage Village. and I must say, a long but pleasant winter 
with blue skies and sunshine...

How to get there....

For more Ds dally on over to ABC Wednesday here, 
with thanks to Roger, Denise and all dashing helpers.