Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Cowichan Valley … the settling and opening up: Blessings be to the Major … part 4




That man, Major JFL MacFarlane from Victoria bought his Mill Bay farm in the Cowichan Valley sight unseen: which perhaps was a buyer beware mistake … but he was another of those intrepid explorers …


Major JFL MacFarlane


… MacFarlane understandably wanted to see the farm … what he hadn’t realised was … there was no easy easterly route to Mill Bay over or around the monstrous Malahat mountain … there was an 1861 trail, adequate for driving livestock, but useless for wagons …







Some of the sort of granite to be surveyed


… the government had undertaken to build a wagon road in 1877, but within a year had abandoned it.  





The dizzy views available on a clear day ... 
A road with steep grades and tortuous curves, was eventually completed in 1884, which still made it undesirable for heavy traffic … as the Major found out …




Here - the car had arrived ... must have been in the
early 1910s ...




… he and seller toiled off towards the summit (the road today is over 1,150 feet) but had to resort to walking as soon as the ground started to rise …





Red River ox cart - used in mid Canada:
the Red River area



… at the top finally - now for a rest – well no! … it was much too steep … having no brake on the wagon – the wheels were tied together, the men held on and “by degrees” descended towards the Valley (the way they say that the lawyers get to heaven).






An iphone photo from the blurb
at the rest site at the top of the
Malahat.  The easterly route is the
one we use today, skirting the
Saanich Peninsula.  The dotted line
depicts the original 1861 trail;
the railway and westerly routes
are shown too




MacFarlane at this point was informed there was no other route if he wanted to use his wagons … he had been in India, so this self-taught surveyor armed with a hand-compass and an aneroid barometer mapped out a route from the Cowichan Valley to the Goldstream lowlands on the outskirts of what is now Victoria …









… he’d had to do something … he was fed up with taking the three-day westerly wagon trip to get his produce to market …  so down on his hands and knees, crawling through the undergrowth … searching every nook and cranny … he went …



Overlooking the Saanich Peninsula and right across to
Mount Baker in the US - its sun capped top shining through
… at times he had revised his view-point by sailing his sloop up and down the Saanich inlet, and, where logical, taking the railway tricycle to determine a viable route.  The railway in 1886 went inland through to the valley …




iphone photo of Kinsol Trestle
part of the railway route
… this took three summers, without payment, locating a new route … Frank Verdier, a respected local woodsman, supported his venture, which ultimately swayed the government …


Those government men were wrong – and they were going to be proved to be wrong – a more coastal route could be built up and over the Malahat … connecting Victoria with the sheltered fertile eastern side of Vancouver Island and his farm …





A narrow, mostly single lane, road was built – precipitously clinging to the sides of the mountainous heap … no guard rails … was hacked through and opened just before Christmas 1911 … guess who hanseled it …





Apologies for the vandalised photo - but shows
the precipitous route

… that Major with a bottle of his favourite Burke’s whisky to hand and the road gang … had found a way through, where the Government surveyors and engineers had for decades dismissed the possibility of a road …





I want to call him the galloping major – but can’t … he must be something else – the Blessed Major … opening up the trading route linking the capital, Victoria, to the very fertile Cowichan Valley.



From what was that original route ... transformed into a
view point and/or rest area - where my other photos
were taken from ... 


We are indebted to him and the persistent efforts of succeeding generations in achieving a route through, and in the present improvements that are being made to the road … not easy, even today, blasting through that exceedingly difficult granite terraine …




… which leads us to six inches of ice … part 5

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Remembrance Day … 100 years after WW1 ended …




A lot has and will be written about the 100th anniversary of that dreadful time in our history … I am going along the same route with a slightly different emphasis …





On Victoria’s harbour front are moving memorials to Canada’s War Veterans … while we also find a Peace Garden …





The Homecoming Statue ...
Inspired by Gratitude



In honour of all veterans, all peoples damaged by war, their families … the women, children, elderly, newborns … us – their futures … we will care for all in this world wherever we will find them. 







We should remember mother earth … the environment and all that inhabits it – also often severely damaged or destroyed by war … 





I am wondering, as I never asked – funny how these questions come to us too late – why my mother went into caring in the latter half of her life (as it happens for the elderly – she was highly respected) … and whether it was because of the loss she experienced as a child, in WW2 and the subsequent overwhelming grief.





Remembrance - may we never forget





Let PEACE be amongst us … and be their memorial to our future …







Should you want a succinct post on the Armistice 1918 - please read Mike's A Bit About Britain article ...


and another very appropriate post by Sarah Zama on 'The War to End all Wars' - the 1920s period ... where the Great War began to colour so many things in Europe ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Cowichan Valley … the settling and opening up … part 3



A slight deviation from the valley itself – but this post of few words (?!) – just reflects another aspect – about how difficult it was to get to the west coast … and how huge the province of British Columbia is, let alone Canada itself …

Mackenzie's Track from Montreal to
the Pacific Northwest appears on
this 1809 map(see Wiki)



… and I show some of the tree growth that was necessary to be removed before pasture could form … any agriculture or settlement could happen …




Alexander Mackenzie (1764 - 1820)


People had been exploring this part of the world since sea-faring was an option … it’s possible the Greeks reached the West Coast in 400 BC, as too the Chinese in the 1200s …







The orange is the Mackenzie River watershed system

… Vitus Bering in the 1720s took three years to travel from Moscow to the Pacific – before he could begin exploring … from Alaska southwards – he didn’t get very far at all … and no-one  stayed … though today’s people were on their way …






Canada superimposed over Europe and more ..
c/o Reddit


Alexander Mackenzie was the first man to cross Canada – arriving on 22nd July 1793 … his route has never been taken again … showing how difficult crossing the American continent would be … Lewis and Clark crossed the USA twelve years later …

 



Forested slope ready for clearing by hand 1800s
… but all continents over millennia have been altered by the need for wood … the trees must go to make way for ‘us’ … so we can build homes, ships, have fuel, and clear land for agriculture …




An old homestead area ... well off the beaten track
only accessible by water in the very early days


Belatedly British Columbia and Vancouver Island were occupied from the Great Lakes or south western USA … chasing gold, then the lumber industry began in earnest, supported by the arrival of the steamships … 



Size of British Columbia and Vancouver Island
compared to the present day UK and ...
c/o BCRobyn 


... and modern life took hold at the end of the 1800s … the railway only arriving on the west coast later at the end of that century …









Courtesy of  My Life Elsewhere

This post is to remind us all how mighty huge Canada is ... while also reflecting that British Columbia is pretty big too ... settling was luck ... 




... and as there are a few down-under readers ... I thought a map showing Australia over northern America - they've based it on where I happen to be at the moment - the Warm Lands on Vancouver Island.


… which leads us to Blessing Major MacFarlane … part 4



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Cowichan Valley … the settling and opening up … part 2




William Shearing, that trusted crusty 18 year old mariner, who left England, went via India, and embarking in 1862 from HMS Hecate …
Wood engraving by Gustave Dore - re the
poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner




 … most of his shipmates went further north along the coast, while Shearing and a few others on finding the 'Warm Lands' stayed put … a place where they could settle … it didn’t take any of them long to realise the potential of this particular valley …






This was the land just south of Cowichan Bay stretching across to Dougan Lake – which to this day is still farmed …

Map of Cowichan Bay estuary ... Mill Bay is just at
the bottom of the map ...
The road is the Trans Canada Highway that starts in Victoria


The Cowichan Bay area and much of the southern Strait of Georgia is the traditional land of the Cowichan First Nation … Hudson Bay Company agents had, earlier in the 1800s, built a fort at the confluence of the Cowichan River with the estuary …  where trading could take place …







A print from a friend's house depicting
the Butter Church ...
As the Hudson's Bay Company set up forts for trade, and for safety … the Church sent out its missionaries to ‘convert the heathen’ … as they had been doing throughout the world as European influence extended its reach across the centuries …



… what better way to show this than the Butter Church built in 1870 by one of the pioneering Oblate missionaries to the Cowichan Indians.  Unfortunately it was built on native land ...


Today - there are also vineyards ... 


Father Rondeault used monies collected from the sale of butter, churned from his cows’ milk, to build the church – hence its name “The Butter Church”.





It was abandoned once a new church, at the insistence of the authorities, was built on non-native land, rendering this little Church redundant after only ten years.


The Masthead restaurant (ex Columbia Hotel) first
built by Shearing  (red awnings)
But for Shearing and friends the sheltered harbour of Cowichan Bay gave regular access by water, as well as the possibility of pasture, once the land had been logged, a cabin was built providing him with a home … where his Cowichan First Nation bride could join him.




They had five children … William didn’t much like farming … so put in a manager – while he went off to work at a Sawmill in Mill Bay – until the children could take over.



Another vineyard

He was a resourceful fellow … good with figures, logical and put his hand to developing various projects in the Valley – hotels, buildings and bridges …





Yet another vineyard ... showing the soils ... don't ask me
which is which - as I'm afraid I never found that out ...


The area still is very fertile, though a large part is covered with gravel – and back then William didn’t want the gravely part … so he returned it to the Government – keeping 220 acres.  The gravel is in demand today for building and there are gravel works ‘all over the place’ …





Famous Cowichan First Nations' cardigan
on display at the Museum of Anthropology
in Vancouver


Theirs was a mixed farm – Mary, his wife, would have known something about farming in the area … which must have helped … but they had sheep, along with pigs, cows, draft horses and chickens … the excess was sold to the locals and at the Cobble Hill Market …


… the sheep wool went to the Cowichan First Nations to be woven into various items … including their famous cardigans …




'Sidewheeler' and schooner in Victoria
harbour in 1890s
The capital of the Island and British Columbia in those early days was and still is Victoria with its deep water harbours and access to California - her markets were accessible along the west coast of the island – a three day cart-trek, by sloop, or early steamer south along the east coast … nothing could get through inland to the east … not helpful to those pioneering farmers.



Coast Salish - information on history

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Spectacle Eyes on Halloween ...





All the better to see you through the woods and mists that hang low on this the last day of October …


 

… when the ghouls come out to play …








… or the creepy crawlies crackle through the undergrowth of fallen branches …









1897 First Edition cover


Will the lichen covered woods give up their secrets … will the orange glow of falling leaves, coloured trees, or the 1897 first edition of Dracula light our way …




The gravestone for the Stoker family
at St Peter's, Quamichan, Duncan

But this night of 1851 was born a novelist's younger brother:



… the moon will not be peering through the mists for Bram Stoker’s brother – Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Richard Nugent Stoker (1851 – 1931) - he will rest surrounded by the rising moistness of the mellow gloomy night in St Peter’s on Vancouver Island …




… spectacles might be better to see your way  – here is Elton … labelled at the Raptor Centre (the photo is from Wiki - the eyes can be seen).


Spectacled Owl

These raptor eyes move silently waiting for an unsuspecting prey … so their nightly fill of warm flesh can be satisfied …




Have fun Halloweens – some of you are already into NaNo November month … enjoy one and all …


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 26 October 2018

We Are The World Blogfest # 19: Museum of Migration ...



A dedicated Museum of Migration can be found in South-East London … where various exhibitions are put on to give us an idea, an understanding of the hows and whys migration has occurred … and still occurs.

 
-        A museum of stories and experiences …



-        No turning back for so many:  



     … 1290 AD Edict of Expulsion a royal decree issued by Edward I expelling the Jews from England … overturned during Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate in 1657AD.

… 1607AD English colonisers set sail from London for the New World.

… 2016 and on: the start of Brexit – even today the United Kingdom is wavering.


So much emotional heartache … while reminding us as to our abilities to overcometo reach out to learn moreand importantly remember to understand


There are a number of articles on the website, while anyone in the UK can visit the Museum, events to visit and see video clips of their work …


From Wikipedia ... net migration rates - blue = positive;
orange = negative; green = stable; grey = none


… to see how we as individuals, as communities and as nations can come together to appreciate each other’s life … living peacefully with each other … the peace of many, will defeat disgruntled others …




We are all in this world … let us live in peaceful light not cross into darkness we can reach out across those barriers of intense hostility and aversion – let’s extend our hand of tranquil harmony …




We Are The World – In Darkness Be Light



We can always be positive, interested and helpful ... let's always open our hearts ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Cowichan Valley – settling in the 1800s … part 1



The Europeans had arrived in the late 1700s on the west coast of continental America, including Vancouver Island, while slowly bullying their colonial European way of life …

Cowichan Valley

 The First Nations had been in these waters and on these lands since the last Ice Age and possibly earlier … they knew the area with its local riches … calling it ‘Quw’utsun’ – meaning Warm Lands.




A Robert Bateman painting of
a canoe made by Bill Reid -
a Haida Canadian artist



A surveying coaster, the Hecate, landed in the tiny sheltered waters of Cowichan Bay and thus began the settlement in the Valley … mining, forestry, shipping, fishing and agriculture being those early occupations – a way for Europeans to exist.








Cowichan Bay
 The Hecate, originally a 4-gun paddle sloop, was launched in 1839 from Chatham Dockyard, Kent.  She had a brief 25 years or so history.  Her first assignment was the Syrian War in 1840; the Mediterranean came next, followed by serving in the West Africa Squadron.



The Hecate aground in 1861

In the 1860s, after conversion to undertaking surveys, she worked the seas off Australia before being assigned to the Pacific to the ‘island infested’ waters off British Columbia and the Haida Gwaii ...



Showing some of the islands
at the southern
end of Vancouver Island

In 1865 she was paid off and sold for breaking.



What should have been a fresh-faced lad of 18 years, was a crusty mariner named William Shearing who, in 1862, had arrived by way of India …




Haida Gwaii islands - Hecate Strait
was called the Queen Charlotte Sound


… he and a few others disembarked at Cowichan Bay – the only stop the Hecate made on the island on her way north … that stop set the wheels in motion for settlement in the Duncan/Cobble Hill area on Vancouver Island.







Victoria looking north 'up island' - today
At this stage Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, separated on the east side by an impenetrable massif, could only be reached from the Valley with an overland slog, or via a sloop …



When the route over the Malahat was tolerable -
probably in the 1960s/70s


More on the Malahat as we open the valley up ... and an ice up ... interesting times ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories