T 'Twas two months before Christmas 2013

Published by the Townsite Heritage Society of Powell River
6211 Walnut, Powell River, BC V8A 4K2
'Twas two months before Christmas
Childhood memories of Christmas preparations — Townsite 1940
By Bev Falconer
here were lots of jobs to do before Christmas.
Mom had the Edith Adams Christmas Baking
booklet which listed all the preparations you should
be doing every week before Christmas. One of the first
things to do was take care of the overseas mail. The
Christmas parcel to Aunt Dorothy in Australia had to
be sent in October because it was a long boat trip and
also because the boats weren’t
sailing on a regular schedule because of the war. They went on
different days, times and routes
so it would be harder for the Uboats to find them. We mailed
Canadian cards much later. If
you just signed your card then
tucked the flap inside the envelope it cost only 2 cents to mail.
If your card had a written note
and was sealed it cost 3 cents
like regular mail. My brother
Doug and I sealed envelopes,
put on stamps — and very important — put TB stickers on the
back. TB is a terrible disease — a
neighbour of ours had it and had
to go to Tranquille Sanatorium in
Kamloops for a year.
Now that we have a classy new post office we have a
key so we can collect mail from our own box. Before
that, at Christmas we had to stand in a long line at
General Delivery to get our mail. One day there was
a tape across the end of an envelope with a word
printed in heavy black letters —“CENSORED.” It was
my Aunt’s Christmas letter from Australia which had
been opened and read. Did they think she was a spy
or something? Mom said Uncle Eric was in the Merchant Marines and if my aunt had mentioned the date
his ship sailed that would have been blacked out as
it could have been helpful information for the enemy.
I thought about the posters we saw in the post office
and in magazines — “Loose Lips Sink Ships” and “The
Walls Have Ears.” This was quite exciting to think of
secret agents lurking everywhere.
The next big job was to make the Christmas cakes
and puddings. Getting the pans ready took a long time.
Mom had a set of three different sized cake pans. She
cut out one waxed paper and three brown paper liners for each pan. using the brown paper wrappings
we saved from things we bought at the company store
like school supplies, shoes or material. Then we thoroughly greased each paper. Mom opened her Purity
Flour cookbook — the fruit cake page was marked with
brown spatters and Mom’s notes for changes in the
recipe. We started preparing ingredients. Mom poured
boiling water over the almonds to blanch them, and
the sulphur used in paper making. That sulphur also tarwhen they cooled Doug and I slipped the skins off them.
nished silver quickly. Our good silver-plate cutlery had
There was a box of ordinary SunMaid raisins and there
to be polished for Christmas dinner — and guess whose
was also a box of the huge, sticky Muscatel raisins to
job that was! The everyday cutlery had to be done at
go in the cake.
the same time. Each piece had to be rubbed with Silvo,
“Can we have some Muscats to eat,” we pleaded. It
polished with a clean rag then washed and dried. I hated
was only at Christmas we got them and they were soooo
the feel of the Silvo on my fingers — it makes your skin
feel tight and dried out.
“You may have four each — they are very expensive.”
The other thing that is a pain to do is the dusting. That
Then mom washed the raisins and we checked them
is my regular Saturday chore anyway but it is worse at
and picked off any stems.
Christmas because of the Christmas cards. My parents
Once the batter was in the pans Doug and I were very
get a lot of them and mom stands them up on top of
helpful with cleanup — we licked the spoon and wiped
the piano. So they all have to be taken down before I
the bowl clean with our fingers!
dust and put up again when
Mom and Dad also made
I am finished. It seems such
marshmallows and TurkMORE CHRISTMAS MEMORIES
a waste of time — who is
ish Delight as gifts for their
going to notice a little dust
friends. After the gelatin,
 Using dad’s work socks for Christmas stockanyway. But Mom said I was
water, sugar and vanilla were
ings and checking them for holes.
the one wasting time thinking
cooked together for the
 Mom wrote down gifts and who they were
about it so just get on with
marshmallows we all took
from and we had to have our thank you’s
the job! The week before
turns beating up the clear
Christmas I also had to polish
liquid with the rotary beater.
all the furniture with Hawes
It took ages before it even
 We got our longed-for Frisky Flyer sleigh one
Lemon Oil. I liked doing that
started to turn white and get
year — but no snow.
because I loved the lemony
thick and our arms were just
Our Bolo bats were a favourite gift.
smell — and it did make the
about dropping off by then.
 We phoned grandparents Christmas affurniture look shiny new. AnAfter the mixture had set in
ternoon. I hated to talk on long distance
other last minute job to be
a pan mom cut it into cubes
because it sounded as if they were speaking
done was washing spills and
and rolled them in toasted
fingerprints from doors and
coconut. Mmmm, they were
couldn’t hear what they were talking about
cupboards or anyplace else.
so soft and delicious. I just
and had to keep saying, “I beg your pardon”.
This year some friends are
closed my eyes and rolled my
I tried to get out of it but Mom said it was
coming for Christmas dinner
tongue over the soft blob and
and this lady is a really fussy
wished it would last forever.
housekeeper. People say you
Bought marshmallows are
 Pulling dried wishbone with pinkies. Whocould eat off her floors. Mom
nothing compared to them.
ever held the bigger piece when it broke was
got in a real stew worrying
There were other preparasupposed to have their wish come true.
about this. We had to clean
tions for Christmas I didn’t
What are your special memories from
the bathroom especially well
enjoy so much. The Townsite
Christmases past?
because behind the locked
air often smelled putrid from
door this lady could give it the “white glove check” for
dust and probably look in the medicine cabinet.
Christmas was sure going to be different this year. We
have always gone to Vancouver to spend Christmas
with our grandparents, aunt and uncle. But this year
our cousins were evacuated from Scotland because of
the war and are staying with Nana and Papa. Now there
was no extra room for us, so we stayed in Powell River.
Because we were staying home this year we did something we hadn’t done before — hiked along the pole line
searching for a Christmas tree. We examined dozens of
them before agreeing on “the one.” We sawed it down
then hurried home carrying it between us, breathing
in the spicy evergreen smell. It was getting dark by the
time we arrived and our fingers felt like icicles. We soon
recovered when mom made us cups of hot cocoa. Dad
bought a string of special lights for our tree — they were
glass candles and liquid bubbled up inside of them. Doug
and I put the tinsel on the branches. It was beautiful, and
this year it was our very own tree!
The Elementary School Christmas concert was an exciting event in December. It was at Dwight Hall which was
packed with people — they were even standing around
the sides and back. Hundreds of kids waited in the big
side room fidgeting and poking, fussing with their costumes, talking, laughing, arguing and worrying. Teachers
shushed us all and tried to keep order. I thought the best
part of the whole show was the act done by Raymond
and Melvin Rees — oh those Rees twins! They were
dressed up as highland pipers with little bagpipes that
Mr. Dicker, the janitor, made for them. They were supposed to march back and forth across the stage while
someone played the real bagpipes offside and we sang
“A Hundred Pipers and a’ and a.’” At a practice one of the
boys wasn’t paying attention and made a mistake. All the
kids in the class hooted and hollered and Mrs. Buckley
saw this would get a laugh so she told them to keep it
in the act. She was right. The whole audience howled.
That wasn’t the only time the twins were in the spotlight
this Christmas. There was a life-sized manger scene set
up in the Catholic Church yard. One night the priest got
a call to inform him that the twins had just gone down
Second Street on their sleigh — and they had taken baby
Jesus for a ride.
Three days before Christmas I just didn’t know how I
could wait any longer. But I wasn’t going to complain
to mom or she would sure find some work to keep my
mind off it!
Community Forest funds for Henderson House
e would like to acknowledge the completed and
ongoing projects that are a direct result of funding
we have received from the Powell River Community Forest Reserve Funds. Thanks to this funding, we have been
able to complete these projects at Henderson House:
• Acquired and installed lighting fixtures, switches, and
the like
•Completed interior and exterior painting
•Installed handicapped walkways and landscaping
•Demolished derelict workshop/carport
•Reconstructed stone retaining wall
along property line
•Restored fir floors
Soon to be completed:
•Cabinetry in kitchen
•Creation of on-site parking
Living museum
enderson House is entering the last, last stages of
readiness to become the “living museum” of life in a
frontier town during the very early years of the last century that we’d planned for the community. The fir floors
are being patched and refinished as we speak, and the
next step will be “dressing” the rooms in appropriate
furnishings and ornaments to reflect what we know of
Dr. Henderson’s family life in the House from 1910 to
1938. If you’ve been looking for a good home for grandma’s dining room suite, or grandpa’s favourite Morris
chair, bedroom furniture or china service, or kitchen
stuff, please give us an opportunity to see if it can find
a home at Henderson House. Objects may be donated
for use on loan, or may be permanent donations and will
be acknowledged with a charitable tax donation receipt
based on market value. Where appropriate, donations
will be identified with a card acknowledging the source
and family history of the donor.
If you have something that can be
part of this living, community
legacy please
contact our office at: 483-3901
or [email protected]
Heritage Supplies
ou know that old door or window you found in the
basement when you bought your “new” Townsite
home, or that vintage light fixture or medicine cabinet
that was replaced by a more modern version and tucked
away in the attic? Too good to throw away, but you’ll
never use it again and now it’s just taking up valuable
space… right? Well, have we got a proposition for you!
Townsite Heritage has long been committed to promoting
the restoration of all of our beautiful heritage buildings
and providing advice and resources to owners who’re
engaged in re-discovering the beauty in their character
homes. If you’ve got a piece of original Townsite architectural salvage that you’re willing to let go to a new home,
we’re prepared to warehouse it and make sure it goes to
a restoration project right here in Townsite. Please help
us re-cycle and re-use your surplus bits and pieces of
Townsite’s architectural heritage by contacting our office
at: 604 483-3901 or [email protected]
It might be a light switch,
a garden gate, a support column
or any of the many original
elements from our historic
Crossroads Village
604 485-5481
Robert Dufour
tel • 604 485 8381
[email protected]
It’s been 20 years!
Works Consulting has been providing top quality service
to Powell River clients since 1994! Call me to see how I can
help your business with... Printing, brochures, cards, flyers,
forms, signage, laminating, report writing and publishing.
Heritage Afloat!
Heritage Week is Feb. 17 – 23
ritish Columbia is blessed with an abundance of water, and most of our towns and cities have been built
next to lakes and rivers, at the ocean’s edge, or where
rivers enter the sea. When we built roads and railways
on land, they linked bodies of water to create a complete
transportation network. Even today our economic future
depends on the continuing availability of efficient and
effective shipping to reach the world’s markets.
Join us Tuesday to Thursday at the Town Centre Mall
from noon – 4 or Friday and Saturday at the Recreation
Complex from 3 – 7 pm Friday and noon – 4 on Saturday.
Enjoy the displays, photos and heritage information,
and take a moment to renew your membership.
Looking for ways to entertain your guests?
The Townsite Heritage Society invites you to join a
walking tour of the Historic Townsite
available during July & August.
In the meantime, we will be happy to
give you and your guests a tour of the
newly restored Henderson House
Visit us at 6211 Walnut Street
Tuesday to Friday, noon – 4 pm
Souvenirs & Gifts
Now available at the office
he Townsite Heritage Society offers a variety of gifts
and souvenirs suitable for anyone interested in history, and especially, Powell River history. Drop in and
have a look. Here are some of the items we offer.
 Postcards & Art Cards: A wide range of cards
picturing various townsite images and locations.
 The Hulks, by John Campbell. A definitive history of
the great cement ships in the Townsite harbour ($15).
 People of the White City, by Emma Levez Larocque.
Stories from the Powell River mill. Includes fascinating
interviews with the people whose lives were so closely
tied to their work. ($20).
 Various magazines focused on historic construction.
Includes Amerian Bungalow Magazine and BC
Magazine each featuring articles about Powell River's
Group tours are offered year-round, by appointment.
Find out more by calling 604 483-3901
What do you need to win?
Summary Criteria for the Townsite Garden Awards
Each year the Townsite Heritage Society offers its Garden Awards to residents who demonstrate their
green-thumb (and more) skills in our neighbourhoods. Just how one wins is not all that complicated — below are the criteria used in judging entries. If you would like to know more, get in touch with us at the
office, by phone or email. And good luck to all.
Spring Fling
Best Mixed Border
This garden will display vibrant spring colours and
continue to be in bloom for most of the spring season.
This mixed border garden will be recognized for consistent growth, colour and variety during the summer
Most Improved Mixed Border
This mixed border garden will be a noticeable improvement over previous years and is recognized for improved
growth, colour and variety.
Most Improved Garden
This garden will be a noticeable improvement over
previous years and is recognized for improved growth,
overall condition, colour and variety.
Best Garden Structure
A little different category that recognizes anything
unique in design of garden structure. It could be a pleasant gazebo, garden shed, vintage garage or garden pond
sympathetic to heritage architecture and detail.
Best Garden Overall
Probably the most prestigious garden award to recognize exemplary design, complexity, colour, variety and
Best Kitchen Garden
This award is made in most cases for the abundant
vegetable garden with overall variety, good productivity
and festive appeal.
Best Container Garden
Pots, pots, pots. This award recognizes colour, variety,
pot design and placement to accentuate the site.
Best Commercial Garden
Commercial properties are recognized for overall improvements, maintenance, beauty and curb appeal.
You’re invited!
Edie Rae’s Café is now serving dinner featuring steak and ribs
with a wide choice of delicious appetizers.
Nightly martini and drink specials.
Thursday to Saturday, 5 to 9 pm
6243 Walnut Street
At the
RES .483. 3)
Townsite Home & Garden Awards
Winners for 2013
he Townsite Home & Garden awards have a long
history, originating in 1917 with a Garden Contest
sponsored by the Powell River Company. The awards
program helps to recognize the efforts of owners of
well-maintained homes and gardens.
This year the Society is once again partnered with
RONA, Springtime Garden Centre and Mother Nature
to present gift certificates and a plaque or framed certificate to each winner at the reception held in their
honour. And the winners for 2013 were...
Home Awards
Grand General Home Award
James & Ruby Tyerman
5807 Maple Ave
Grand Heritage Award
Grant Thomas
5744 Marine Ave
Most Improved
Molly Arial
5468 Maple
Right: Grand Heritage Home
Below from left: Grant Thomas
receiving award from Ann Nelson as
the Grand Heritage winner.
Susan Gagne (left) receiving Best
Kitchen Garden award with
Ron Romero.
Annita Molenar with her
Best Overall Garden award.
Garden Awards
Best Overall Garden
Annita Molenar & RobertVan der Zalm
5492 Marine
Best Mixed Border
Don & Millicent Sharp
6345 Poplar
Best Containers
Gregory & Jean Coooke
5641 Maple
Most Improved Garden
David Roundell & Graham Winter
6286 Oak
Most Improved Mixed Border
Breanne Beckthold
5762 Maple
Best Kitchen Garden
Ronald Romero & Susan Gagne
5440 Maple
Spring Fling
Patrick Rowe & Mary Parrish
5440 Marine
Best Outdoor Living Space
Bryce McKenzie & Melissa Fuller
6293 Poplar
Best Commercial
Granada Restaurant
• J he
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19 st
29 er
Mother’s Day Weekend
10 May 2014
A successful event needs two things for success:
1. People willing to show their homes as part of
the Heritage Home Tour, and
2. Volunteers to act as Tour Guides and to staff
Henderson House.
Contact the Society office if you are
interested in either opportunity: 604 483-7901
or email [email protected]
Coming soon!
Returning in 2014, our biannual Heritage Home Tour
opens up classic Townsite homes for visitors. See the
traditional construction of early Powell River homes.
Talk to homeowners and hosts about the home's features and history.
he Annual Paint-up campaign is just one of the
many activities the Townsite Heritage Society
coordinates to promote pride of ownership and
beautification of our Historic Townsite. A fresh
coat of paint is a wonderful way for homeowners
to showcase their heritage architecture. A carefully planned exterior paint scheme will further
accentuate heritage features and really bring out
the character of the home.
If you are interested in having your home considered this coming spring, please contact the
Society office at 604 483-3901 or email us at [email protected]
Some of the criteria include:
1 House is an original Townsite home with the
façade being at least 60% original.
2 House is owner-occupied, not a rental.
3 House is in need of painting.
Until 1955, the Powell River Company who built
and owned the town, kept the homes in top-notch
shape, maintaining them and painting every five
years. Now, the Townsite Heritage Society helps
residents learn about heritage conservation
through activities and services to promote those
same values.
Doing it right
The Townsite Heritage Digester
Advertising in the Digester
Advertising in the Townsite Heritage Digester supports the
work of the TH Society and helps make this magazine possible.
Please contact us to place your ad in the next issue!
Business Card: 2” x 3.5"
7.0 in
$ 25
Double Business Card
14.0 in
$ 35
¼-page: 3.5" x 4.875"
17.0 in
$ 45
½-page: 7.5" x 4.875"
36.5 in
$ 75
Full page: 7.5" x 10"
75.0 in
$ 140
The Digester is published by the Townsite Heritage Society of
Powell River. It is distributed to every household and business
in the Historic Townsite, current members of the Society who
reside outside the Townsite, and to selected locations around
Powell River. Submissions and suggestions should be sent to
the attention of ths Coordinator.
Townsite Heritage Society
6211 Walnut St, Powell River, BC V8A 4K2
tel 604.483.3901
fax 604.483.3991
e-mail [email protected]
Ads larger than ¼-page, other than specified sizes, are $2.30
per square inch. Reserve your ad space by contacting the THS
Office by telephone, fax (604 483-3991) in person, or by email
([email protected]).
Everything you would like to know about
Powell River's Historic Townsite is to be
found* online at
Layout, graphics & printing by Works Consulting
[email protected] • 604.485.8381
Distribution: 1000 copies
Copyright © 2013-2014 • Townsite Heritage Society
All rights reserved
Printed in Canada
We’re here to help you!
Drop by the THS Office at 6211 Walnut Street, or get in
touch us at 604 483-3901 or [email protected] We
have photo albums, reference books, maps, paint chips,
suggestions, and a wealth of stories to share.
Winter Hours: Tuesday to Friday, noon – 4 pm.
* Okay, we may need to look it up for you, but it is a good place to start!
Membership & Volunteer Form
Please complete and mail or drop off this form to the Townsite Heritage
Society office at 6211 Walnut St, Powell River, BC V8A 4K2
E-mail us at < [email protected] >
Yes, I would like to be a member for 2014
 $5 Membership
Your donation of time as a volunteer, or a cash donation, both go far in
helping us to engage in projects in support of our Townsite.
Cash Donation
 $10  $20 
 $40  $50 
Other $
Yes, I am willing to assist in volunteer efforts for the Townsite Heritage Society.
Please, sign me up to help with:
 Office Volunteer
 Walking Tour Guide
 Digester Newsletter Delivery
 Henderson House Guide
 Blackberry Street Party
 Gardening
 Or I can:
How to reach me
Daytime Phone
Evening Phone
The Townsite Heritage Society acknowledges the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia.