Picture Rail

In preparation for the Port Moody Heritage Society’s upcoming annual general meeting, we need to do some last minute changes to the Parlour and the Kitchen.

A few months ago we repainted these two rooms with period colours and we now change the displays on the Kitchen table and the piano “mantle” seasonally. Volunteer Linda Moncur changes the floral displays under the cloche on a weekly basis.

On Sunday, we are officially opening these two rooms to all the members of the society that runs the Museum. The last thing we need to do is to paint the picture rail – our new Exhibits Assistant went to work on painting it – and then hang it up, along with the pictures of John Murray Sr. and his wife, Jane Murray (whose two great grandsons visited the Museum this morning).

Well, that will be the second to last thing we need to do. We are also outfitting some cutlery (said to be a gift from Prime Minister John A. Macdonald) in a shadow box to decorate a Parlour wall.

You can see a close-up illustration of a picture rail here. The framed picture hangs on chains to the hook and the hook slips into the picture rail. The picture rail goes along the perimeter of the room, at about a foot under the ceiling.

An interesting idea we found while googling the illustration to which we linked, is a modern how-to on making a bulletin board picture rail.

By Oana Capota

Human Flower Project

The Human Flower Project published our article on CPR Gardens – read it here!

Ghost Sighting

We got a call from Vancouver Paranormal today and it seems like they’ve caught something on film.

They visited the Museum after hours one night and photographed the Station Platform. When the photo was developed, they saw an apparition of a lady with a hair bun.

Here is what the Station Platform looks like in daylight (albeit on a dark and dreary day):

Museum in the Autumn 4

By Oana Capota

Update on the CPR Heritage Garden

Tom Galinis, our volunteer master gardener, sent an update on our CPR Heritage Garden:

1. Have re-worked the compost bins, please do not add any more items to the compost in the small bin. This one is working fine and we now have to let it “ferment” to completion. The large compost bin has been split into two. If you are facing the Boathouse – the pile on the right side of the large compost box is about complete – it too must “ferment” to completion. So…..if you have stuff to add to the compost, please pile it up on the left side of the box. Also, should you add large stuff – it should be chopped up first before laying it in the composter.

2. A reminder that I have some seedlings for the garden. I have about 20 of the Stock; about the same in Elephant’s Head Amaranth (this is a heritage flower), plus some Hyssop an old time herb used to flavour stews etc. I also have some sunflower seeds – not the dwarf ones, the tall ones.

3. In terms of veggies, the final count works out like this:

1 heritage pumpkin – “small sugar”
2 heritage squash — “Hungarian naked seed”
3 cherry tomatoes – “red cherry”

Right now these are growing under lamps indoors; I will harden them off outdoors this week and we can plant them this coming weekend. Not sure if we can plant the pumpkin near the squash but guess can think of something. As for the watermelon and cucumber and tomato, if they are not wanted at the garden, that’s fine; I can always give them away.

4. I have saved up a few milk cartons to put around these new plants to try and frustrate the slugs. Perhaps you could ask if others can save them up as well. For the squash, I will look at getting one of those copper barriers.

5. A suggestion for a job: sort through all the seeds that are in the shed and the station. Anything that is older than 3 years should be thrown out; the rest put into properly labelled containers (something that won’t retain moisture) and then put them into refrigerated storage. Keeping the seeds cool and away from hot temperatures will keep them viable for a longer time. I’m thinking that some of these seeds are not viable because they are too stressed from the storage at the Station. It is said that the best place for seeds is the freezer, keeps them from deteriorating.

6. Perhaps this weekend, if I get time, I have some fishnet for the sweet peas and will hang it up around the sweet pea area. Should give them support to grow on. A reminder that when growing sweet peas, one must keep removing the spent blooms otherwise they will not keep blooming. If we let them go to seed, they will stop blooming.

By Tom Galinis


Via the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website (and this via Darren Barefoot), we learned about Burkeville, a small neighbourhood of Boeing company housing:

Burkeville was laid out and built by the federal government during the Second World War to provide 328 houses for workers employed at the Boeing Aircraft plant. It was named for Stanley Burke, president of Boeing. The streets are named after airplane manufacturers. The plain, no-frills dwellings came in several standard sizes. Most have been altered to fit the needs of two generations of residents. After the War, Boeing sold the houses to returning veterans. The tightly-knit community, already encircled by airport uses, is currently threatened by the intended further expansion of roads and runways.” Ironically, the “plain, no-frills dwellings” were designed by McCarter and Nairne, who gave us the Marine Building. The name of the development was chosen in a competition among Boeing employees.

In Port Moody, we also have some company housing remaining from the Ioco (or Imperial Oil Company) Townsite so learning of this other company neighbourhood is something up our alley.

A note on the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website and book’s author: on April 3, the Museum presented a talk by Chuck Davis, who thrilled the audience with stories and photographs of old-time Vancouver. Most astonishing was the first mechanized ambulance in the city. It ran over and killed an American tourist on its test run.

By Oana Capota

Summer Hours

Every year on Victoria Day, the Port Moody Station Museum switches over to summer hours (10 am to 5 pm) from our off-seasion hours (12 noon to 4 pm). This year, Victoria Day fell on May 23 and today we wiped off our blackboard sign to update our information.

Filming Begins

The kids from the Vancouver Film School arrived. They are staying overnight to shoot their movie in the Venosta railcar. The plan is to do half of the filming tonight and the other half tomorrow night, when traffic doesn’t disturb them.

The Venosta in the Autumn 2

“If you have any questions, just ask before I leave.”

They returned a few minutes later to ask where the bathrooms were.

By Oana Capota

Photo Friday: Space

For this week’s Photo Friday challenge, Space, we’ve chosen to submit a photograph from this afternoon’s antique appraisal show: here is the junction between an antique mechanized horse, the train tracks and the mats leading to the Museum’s entrance.

Horse Antique Appraisals May 15, 2005

Dating from the 1930s, this horse is similar to the kiddie ones we find today in malls. (We’ll post the rest of our photos later.)

By Oana Capota

Morse Code Beats Text Messaging

At the Port Moody Station Museum we have a few telegraph machines. Every Canada Day we bring in some telegraphers from the Morse Telegraph Club to demonstrate their skills.

On Friday, these telegraphers went on to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to recreate a competition that took place in Sydney, between a 92-year-old telegrapher and a 13-year-old cell phone whiz kid. You can view the video of Chip Margelli K7JA and Ken Miller K6CTW here. (A little bit about the background of the Jay Leno competition reported here.)

You can also read about the original competition. Via Mirabilis, we found this (originally reported at the Times Online):

Thnk ur gr8 @ txt msgng? You may think you’re saving time cutting out all those pesky vowels when sending text messages to your buddies, but Gordon Hill, a 93-year-old Morse code specialist, just might prove you wrong.

In a competition staged by an Australian museum, Hill, a telegraph operator since 1927, was pitted against 13-year-old Brittany Devlin in a battle of the messengers. Hill was armed with nearly a lifetime of experience using Morse code; Devlin, with two years of text messaging experience and a slew of slang popular with chronic texters. A sentence was chosen at random from a teen magazine, and both contestants had to transmit the message as quickly as possible.

…..Hill transmitted the complete message in 90 seconds, while Devlin used texting shorthand and finished sending her abbreviated message a full 18 seconds later. Hill then handedly defeated three other young foes armed with their mobile phones.

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, where the original competition took place, is a science-and-technology museum. Housed in the 1899-1902 Ultimo power station which closed in 1963, the museum took over the station in 1979, opening its doors in March 1988.

By Oana Capota

Railway Garden in Port McNicoll

Tay Township, 142 km north of Toronto (and said to be named after one of Lady Sarah Maitland’s lap dogs), includes Port McNicoll.

In 1912, the CPR connected Port McNicoll to Orillia in the southeast and transferred its steamships (luxurious twin ships Assiniboia and Keewatin, and freight ships Manitoba, Alberta, and Athabaska) from the steeper and more distant Owen Sound. Port McNicoll, named after a vice-president of the CPR, became the “Chicago of the North” once the CPR moved its grain routes wholly into Canada.

In the 1920s, tourists replaced immigrants as the majority of passengers on the CPR’s fleet and many of these tourists stopped to admire Port McNicoll’s railway gardens.

(After the Keewatin retired from service November 29, 1965, it went to Saugatuck-Douglas, Michigan on June 27, 1967 to become the Keewatin Maritime Museum. The rest of the ships succumbed to fire or the scrap heap after the Depression.)

Richard Kay, who established Port McNicoll’s CPR Gardens, and John Bell worked on the gardens together until Kay’s death. Bell’s greenhouses, “heated with steam from the CPR’s laundry,” supplied the sunflowers, hollyhocks, sweet William and geraniums:

Work began on the flowerbeds in March of each year…They were watered and manicured each night by six men, and were a perfect place for CPR passengers to pause while waiting for their ships to board.

By Oana Capota