Canada Day

This year’s Canada Day was the biggest day in the Port Moody Station Museum’s history, with almost 4000 visitors. Three staff members and four volunteers took about 500 photographs.

Our Canada Day started at eight am, three hours before the festivities were to officially start. We had set up as much as we could the day before, hanging the Canadian flag bannerettes across from the Venosta railcar to Charlie’s Shed then to the Station and across the Station Platform; dragging seven display cases into the Venosta for the war memorabilia display; draping pennants inside the Venosta; sweeping and vacuuming the entire Museum; and stringing up a line of flags to go across the parking lot.

Finally on Canada Day, we had less than three hours to get the Venosta to look like a WWII Victory Train.

The problem?

First of all, WWII Victory Trains were rather dull affairs.

Second, once we decided we wouldn’t be that historically accurate, we needed to figure out how to string up the bunting on the Venosta without taping or nailing anything into our 1921 railcar. (After all, museums don’t just display artefacts, they also conserve them.)

It took two staff members and three volunteers a long time, but finally it looked perfect:

Venosta as Victory Train

Then Western Command arrived:

Western Command Sign

At ten am sharp, World War II jeeps, trucks and a lone Harley pulled into our parking lot:

At 12:05 pm

Even before we opened, we had over 200 visitors.

Also at 12:05 pm

Who wouldn’t want to be seen driving one of these?

At 12:43 pm

Another view of the Museum grounds. You’ll note the tricolour half-fan on the Venosta, which was considerably easier to attach.

Venosta as Victory Train with the Vintage WWII CMP

It’s thanks to Vince Hands of Western Command that we got such a fantastic display of vintage military vehicles. Here is Vince (on the right) with Robert Morrison.

Robert Morrison and Vince Hands

And we can’t forget the driving force behind this year’s display: Mr. Guy Black.

Guy Black with Guests of Honour

From left to right, we have WWII veteran June Moreau, Mayor Joe Trasolini, Guy Black and MLA Iain Black.

Guy is a local war historian. He and two others set up a display of medals, uniforms and other war memorabilia in the Venosta.

Western Command also set up a WWI tent outside the Venosta:

WWI Tent with Venosta

The front of the tent:

WWI Tent

Inside the tent:

Inside the WWI Tent 2

Another view of the inside of the tent:

Inside the WWI Tent

George Clark, another member of Western Command, brought his rope cannon and fired it off twice, once in the opening ceremony and then again during the official ceremony for our guests of honour.

1143 am firing the cannon

The countdown:

Waiting for the Cannon to Go Off

Then kaboom!

Ceremonial Cannon

After weeks of hard work, Museum staff finally got a chance to relax.

Here’s our exhibits assistant:

Exhibits Assistant

Our Programs Assistant and Research Assistant:

Programs Assistant and Research Assistant

The Museum Assistant and Programs Assistant in a 1971 UN Jeep:

1971 UN Jeep with Museum Assistant and Programs Assistant

Then there was the WWII Harley:

Roberto Mossier on the Harley

Close-up of the Harley:

Harley Close-up

Another close-up:

Harley Close-up 2

Our Collections Assistant finally taking a break:

Collections Assistant with Roberto Mossier

Even the Mayor had to try it out:

Mayor Trasolini on the Harley

Luckily the rain held off until the very end:

At 12:41 pm

Abandoned Railroads

Thousands of miles of railroads have been abandoned in the United States, much of it in the last 30 years. All of these railroad lines have a history and a story.

Photos and the history behind these ghost lines here. Also, two listings for Canada, both in Winnipeg. Surely there must be more in Canada.

Neighbourhood Detective

We’ve discovered someone’s detective work on their neighbourhood in L.A.:

I’ve been obsessed all weekend with researching…..the roots of my neighborhood — tracing the people who lived in the various houses on my block over the past hundred years and finding out what happened to them after they left the hood.

…..The hours flew by as I studied the handwritten census forms from 1910, 1920, and 1930, along with the Social Security Death Index and World War I Draft Registration cards.

I discovered a fascinating mix of lawyers, doctors, tailors, real estate agents, orange growers, owners of gold mines, a silent movie actress, the lead saxophone player in Paul Whiteman’s orchestra, the rabbi who married Irving Thalberg and Norma Shearer, a famous architect of Craftsman houses and his one-year-old son who went on to become an Oscar-winning Art Director, along with countless people of all ages who did not work but were listed by the census workers as having “own income.”

The rest of the entry is quite funny and has this funny part about someone in a yearbook:

[O]ne single-line entry immediately stood out to me: “Hyman Zarinsky: Has zest.” Nothing else was mentioned, but then again, when you have zest, what else is there to say? I had to research Hyman, of course, and soon was able to piece together a dossier of his life which ended on October 6, 1980. But some things can’t be found in government documents. Did his wife Molly share the yearbook committee’s assessment of her husband’s zest?

As I’ve started researching our own local history for ghosts, disasters and the macabre to add to my Dark Side of Port Moody tours this October, I appreciate anyone’s efforts in taking deeper interest in their neighbourhood. We’re going to keep reading this blog for more developments in the author’s historical detective hunt.

By Oana Capota

Canada Day Aftermath

Boy, were we sad to take down the Canada Day decorations.

Canada Day was the funnest we’ve ever had (and, as all special events at the Museum, extremely busy). About six vintage military vehicles came and the guys from Western Command set up a WWI tent alongside their other displays. They all set out as a convoy to pick up our guests of honour. Then they brought over a rope cannon that announced the start of the event and the arrival of our guests of honour.

We’ll be posting pictures as soon as we upload them all.

Thanks to everyone who helped out – we couldn’t have done it without you!