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