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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

“Sunny Joe: 4 Fascinating Facts About Joe Harwood of Vernon, BC”

My family and I have lived in Vernon for over 14 years but just this past year have moved into the area known simply as “Harwood”. Being a bit of a hobby historian I thought I would take a look at who was behind this name and quickly find out it was a very notable citizen of Vernon’s early years  - Joe Harwood. 

#1 A Child Immigrant from England 

Joseph Harwood was born in Hertford, England in 1868 and came to Canada, through the streets of London, at the tender age of 14 with literally only a shilling to his name. Joe was one of the many children known as “Home Children” or “Barnardo’s Boys” – the roughly 100,000 British children who were disadvantaged or orphaned and sent to Canada between 1869 and 1939. Although this movement was likely well-intentioned, it was not without controversy either. However, for Joe Harwood, this movement was something he was always grateful for. 

Sean Arthur Joyce writes:  “Arriving in Canada illiterate left a deep mark on Joe Harwood. In later years he felt it was his duty to encourage public education in any way possible. He had a natural love of children and it was said he was the only trustee in the board’s history to visit the school every day. “He envisioned equal opportunities for all children, be they rich, poor or middle class,” writes Okanagan historian Mabel Johnson.” 

#2 Finding Vernon, BC

Joe arrived in Canada in 1882 where he worked on a farm near Brandon, Manitoba. From there he worked in railway construction, lived in Calgary for a while as a liveryman and finally found Vernon, the home of his greatest accomplishments, in 1893. 

Joe married Marion Bioletti and together they had 5 sons and 2 daughters whom they raised in Vernon. They were married for over 50 years. Mr. Harwood served on the board of Vernon Jubilee Hospital for 20 years and was a strong supporter of the Salvation Army  - “The site on which the present Salvation Army Citadel now stands, on 32nd  Street and 31st Avenue … was donated by Mr. Harwood”.  

#3 His Love of Education

Joe also served on the Vernon School Board for 28 consecutive years until he was finally named president of the B.C. School Trustees Association. The Okanagan Historical Society report records that: “In the 1930’s, he was named as B.C. school-trustee-delegate to a great rally of educational authorities in San Francisco, attended by delegates from 54 nations. He took the conference by storm. His photograph, 4 columns wide, adorned the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle, covering the event. "I had no education myself; that's the reason I want to see today's children get one," he said, addressing 7,000 delegates.”

 Another local education pioneer, Anna Fulton Cail, tells this story of Harwood: “Then there was the time when Joe Harwood got stuck in a heating grill at Central School (Beairsto) when he was coming to play Santa for the children.  I remember there was an air vent in the northeast room.  There was a little flag that blew in the breeze all the time.  Suddenly, we were expecting nothing, there is a noise and the vent comes off and here appears Joe Harwood.  He was a Trustee and he was built like Santa Clause so he didn’t need any padding.  Here was Santa coming through the vent.  But, I heard afterwards from my Dad that he and Bill English, who was the head maintenance man, were behind and he (Harwood) was stuck.” 

#4 Joe Harwood’s Legacy

A kind and congenial man, Harwood was known as “Sunshine (Sunny) Joe” to the locals. He as a tremendously hard worker and owned many local businesses, was the post master, was active in the local railways and finally, on April 20th, 1950 Harwood Elementary was opened and named in his honour – just a month after he passed away. The neighbourhood now surrounding the elementary school is also known as “Harwood” and for this we should be very proud and grateful. 

In closing, the OHSR records again for us: “In giant, well-equipped, adequately lighted and heated schools, (Joe Harwood) …saw the sons and daughters of prosperous people, some of whom stemmed from the British aristocracy, rub shoulders, sharpen pencils and play games, also learn the three R's, with the children of penniless immigrants from other countries, who had come to Canada to seek those very things for which Joe crusaded.”

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:27 

Sources and Further Reading:
(OHSR 24:37-43)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Jasper Blues: Lyrics by Joyce Ann (Rankin) Cumings and Music by Alan McKinlay

The story of this wonderful little song and its author, Joyce Ann (Rankin) Cumings, is told in this Edmonton Journal article. Joyce, also known as "Stevie" by her friends, was a summer time waitress at the famed Jasper Park Lodge when she penned these words for a musical show of sorts put on by the staff of JPL. 

The song catches the beauty of the Jasper area with many local place names thrown in. It was so inspiring, in fact, that Bing Crosby ( known to frequent the Jasper Park Lodge) once sang it there! 

As someone who spent many days reveling in the beauty of Jasper ( and who even worked at the Lodge for a time!), I wanted to share these lyrics with many young and old who I know will appreciate them. Thanks to some local Jasperites these words were found: 

The Jasper Blues

Copyright 1949 Joyce Ann (Rankin) Cumings and Alan McKinlay

Jasper blues – I’ve got that longing for Jasper news;
Back in the city, I thought I’d forget.
I swore that I would never regret departing
But the summer’s come; the moon is high,
My heart is back under a Jasper sky.
Moon over Beauvert, full and bright,
The snow upon Cavell a-shining through the night.

I’ve got that lonely mood,
In this crowded city I’m in solitude.
Why did I sigh and recall once more
The songs we sang around the fire on Trefoil’s shore?

Oh, how I long to go
Out where those western mountains show.
I can’t recall why I said goodbye,
I’m homesick now for Pyramid against the sky.
I’ve got an ache that I’ll never lose,
Those gotta-get-back-to-Jasper blues! 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 and Galatians Syndrome - What does it mean?

This is a good article by VOX but I think they miss the point of the "Galatians Syndrome" reference in Blade Runner 2019.

"Born not made" is indeed a recurring theme and very much resembles the phrase in the Nicene Creed. In light of this it makes much more sense to me that the Galatians reference was speaking about this passage:

Galatians 4:4-5

"But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.
God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law,
 so that he could adopt us as his very own children."

This passage also speaks of slavery which is a massive theme in BR2049!


Note: Blade Runner 2049 is rated 14A and has a fair amount of sexual content. Watch at your discretion... 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Vintage Kalamalka (Long) Lake Postcard Views

I like to collect a few vintage postcards of the North Okanagan region of B.C. One of my favourites is Kalamalka Lake. Kalamalka used to be known as "Long Lake" and it is thus referenced in the below postcards. The lake further south in the pictures was known as Pelmewash Lake and is now known as Wood Lake. The two lakes were once thought of by the Indigenous peoples as one lake and they called it “Chilutsus” (Chil-loot-sus) meaning “long lake cut in the middle”. 

The isthmus separating the two was called “The Railroad”  which “likely referred to a rail (corduroy) road made by the Okanagan people by cutting and laying down closely intertwined poles or willows to facilitate their crossing of the isthmus.” The top card refers to this "railroad" where the town of Oyama is now located. 

The two postcards are taken from a remarkably similar vantage point. The older one (on top) is post-dated 1920 from Lavington ( just outside of Vernon) while the other seems to be from a later unknown date ( probably c. 1930's). 

If one looks closely at the top card they can see in the distance (and to the left) what appears to be one of the buildings that is shown closer up in the lower card. The main house shown in the lower card does not seem to be built yet in the older card. 

For more information on the history of Kalamalka Lake please click here.

Here is another view point of the isthmus:

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Bio-Sketch of Allan Brooks: Okanagan Ornithologist and Artist

A well-known resident of Okanagan Landing (now part of Vernon, BC) was the renowned ornithologist and painter Allan Brooks. His works can be seen at the Allan Brooks gallery located in the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives and his namesake is also honoured at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre at the top of Mission Hill.

Allan Brooks was born in Etawah, northern India in 1869 and after many travels he eventually decided to call Okanagan Landing home in 1905. Brooks' interest in birds and their habitat and his wonderful talent for art later resulted in the contribution of sketches for such publications as The Audubon society and National Geographic. Ron Candy notes: "At least four major museums offered jobs to Brooks in his early years including the Provincial Museum in Victoria.  He turned them all down.  He was a free-lancer and a steady job would have driven him mad."

Brooks was also a sniper in WW1 but that experience seemed to have changed him and afterwards he focused less on big game hunting and more on ornithology and art. His acre of land in the Landing  “ became a sanctuary and nesting site for over 34 species of small birds”.

No less than Robert Bateman has credited Allan Brooks with being an inspiration to his work as an artist.

For a much more in-depth biography of Allan Brooks please see this article By Ron Candy, former curator or the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives

"Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good..." Genesis 1:31

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

12 Fascinating Facts About the History of Canada (In Celebration of Its 150th Birthday)

In celebration of our wonderful country's 150th birthday I have put together some quick but interesting facts about her history. Many you will know but it is good to be reminded and maybe there will be some new little nuggets for you as well. This, of course, is far from exhaustive and, though I've tried to grasp the sense of our history in a chronological order, I'm sure I've left out many important facts and apologize in advance! 

1) The five nations of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca made up the great Iroquois Nation (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy 5 Nations) .The union was established in the 12th century with the Tuscarora nation joining later. It holds a great respect for women and has been described by some as the “oldest democracy on the continent”.

2) Around 1000 AD Leif Ericsson, the Viking and son of Eric the Red, became the first European to discover North America beating Columbus by almost 500 years. He called the area Vinland. The modern day UNESCO World Heritage site, L’anse aux Meadows, is a known Viking settlement and arguably the same place Leif explored and his brother Thorvald tried to colonize. The first European to be born in the Americas was also born in Vinland – a baby boy named Snorri. 

3) John Cabot, also known as Giovanni Caboto, was a Venetian who sailed for England in 1497 and landed in what is now the Maritimes (probably Newfoundland). He is also credited with discovering the Grand Banks famous for their overflowing numbers of Cod. The famous Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia is named after him.  

4) The name Canada comes from an interaction between Jacques Cartier and the sons of the great Iroquoian Chief Donnacona. They used the word Kanata referring to a village and Cartier mistook them for meaning the entire land ( and adjusting the word to “Canada”).  The St. Lawrence was referred to as the River of Canada which in turn lent its name to the future regions of Quebec and Ontario and then eventually to the entire nation.

5) Samuel de Champlain tirelessly fought to preserve a French presence along the St. Lawrence. Around 1608, he founded a ‘habitation’ near a place called “kebek” by the Algonquins and eventually became known as the Father of New France. The early French settler were called habitants and this is why the modern day NHL team, the Montreal Canadiens, are often nicknamed “the Habs”.

6) In 1814, the British (or early Canadians depending on how you view it) ransacked Washington D.C. and in the process burned the residence of U.S. President James Madison. Then, as Will Ferguson tells us, “…the building was hastily rebuilt and the exterior painted over with whitewash. It became known as ‘the white house’.” 

7) Laura Secord was a woman among women. First she went out into the aftermath of the Battle of Queenston Heights (during the War of 1812) and found her wounded husband and dragged him all the way back to their homestead. While taking care of him the Americans confiscated her home but let the family stay. Laura overheard the American’s plan for a surprise attack on the British/ Canadian forces at Beaver Dams – she then ventured out on a 32 kilometre mission through war torn terrain, climbed the Niagara Escarpment and warned of the attack. The end result was the complete surrender of the Americans troops after an ambush at Beaver Dams – all due to Laura Secord’s heroism.

8) On July 1st 1867, the British North American Act created the Confederation of Canada. The new nation included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec (formerly known as Lower Canada) and Ontario (formerly known as Upper Canada). The Arctic regions that would later form the territories also belonged to Canada at this time and then, in 1871, British Columbia joined creating a land “from sea to sea to sea”. Ironically, the first part of Canada to be found by Europeans became the last province to join Confederation when Newfoundland finally entered in 1949. 

9) The area west of the Rocky Mountains and onto the shores of the Pacific (known mostly as the Columbia District by the British and as the Oregon Territory by the Americans) almost became entirely American. Like Cabot, Cartier and Champlain opened up the East, three epic and rugged explorers are credited with opening up the West – Alexander Mackenzie, Simon Fraser and David Thompson. Much credit is due these men for keeping the Columbia District as part of Canada and each one has a major river named after them (not to mention that David Thompson mapped out the Columbia River!) Eventually the 49th parallel was agreed upon to create a border between the Canadian and American lands.

10) If the canoe was the vessel that opened up early Canada, the train was the vehicle that opened it up to become a nation. One person has said, “If the railroad scheme is utopian, so is Confederation. The two must stand or fall together.” The Transcontinental Railroad stretched from Montreal to Vancouver and the last spike was driven in by Lord Strathcona at the small station of Craigellachie (near Revelstoke, BC) on November 7th, 1885. 

11) Another defining moment in the history of Canada came during the Great War. Canada’s 8th Prime Minister, Sir Robert Laird Borden, led the country through this harrowing time. To quote Ferguson once again, “It is a myth that Canadians won their independence without bloodshed. Certainly, there political independence was won at great cost in the crucible of World War 1”. Canada had a proportionally immense contribution to the Great War and Borden, knowing this, refused to let Britain sign the Treaty of Versailles on Canada’s behalf but took his own pen to it in a symbolic but historically altering fashion. Approximately 172,000 Canadians were injured in WW1 and over 66,000 died for this unwaveringly brave new country. In WW2 45,000 Canadians gave their lives. 

12) Ending on a lighter note, it is common for Canadians and foreigners alike to call us “Canucks” – but where did this come from? While first spelled ‘Kanuck” in 1835 by an American writer it mostly referred to Dutch and/or French Canadians. “Johnny Canuck” was a personification of the country that would often stand up to “Uncle Sam” in political cartoons. It has been used by an NHL hockey team, the Canadian rugby team as well as the ski team and, of course, by Marvel comic’s characters “Captain Canuck” and Wolverine who often refers to himself as an “Ol’ Canucklehead”. Today it applies to us all and we are proud to own it because we are proud to be Canadian. 


Canadian History for Dummies: Will Ferguson 

The Canadian Encyclopedia


"Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son... 
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river 
unto the ends of the earth." A Psalm for Solomon 

(Psalm 72 - This passage inspired the official motto of Canada "From Sea to Sea". ) 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Lake Kalamalka: A Poem by Sara Newton 1951

Lake Kalamalka

A Poem by Sara Newton 1951

Deep! Deep shadows in the Lake,

Mirrored dwellings there I see—

And lovely gardens duplicate,

And snow-capped hills new colours take,

And grey blue clouds in the waters below,

Drifting along,—as the warm winds blow,

Wonderful depths and clearness blue,

Do they bring a message to you?

Of when we shall see through 

A gladsome tear:—

When our souls are clear

Like the mirrored Lake,

And shadows pass when in Heaven we wake.

Sara Newton

Okanagan Historical Society Report 15:143 1951

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.
Revelation 21:4-5