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British Columbia History 52.3 | Fall 2019

British Columbia History chronicles British Columbia’s unique story through the words and images of community writers, archivists, museum professionals, academic historians and more. Fresh, engaging, personal and relevant, every issue is packed with articles, photographs, maps, illustrations, book reviews and insights into local archives and historic sites.

British Columbia Historical Federation
$7.88(Incl. tax)
$26.25(Incl. tax)
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
letters from readers

The Adventures of Jemmy Jones | Summer 2019 Really good story and well researched. Thanks Parker! Jan Peterson Via Facebook Well done Parker, a story that needed to be told with more background than usual! Great to have the story to share, too! Daphne Paterson Via Facebook Centennial Legacy Fund Update: JAPANESE-CANADIAN INTERNMENT CAMP HAIKU TRANSLATION PROJECT The Centennial Legacy Fund supports projects that encourage historical research about British Columbia’s history, its communities and its diverse peoples. The first three grant recipients were announced at the 2019 British Columbia Historical Federation (BCHF) annual conference. Jacqueline Pearce of Burnaby, BC is a grant recipient of the 2019 Centennial Legacy Fund in the amount of $4300. She writes: Few examples of personal writing remain from the Japanese-Canadian internment camps. Most were lost, destroyed or discarded over time. This makes…

2 min
digital stories and large objects

British Columbia’s history is being told in websites, podcasts, movies, and apps. Behind the scenes at British Columbia History, we have talked about highlighting some of these other avenues for telling BC’s story and I am excited to announce that Aimee Greenaway has taken on a new section of the magazine, “Past Forward” in addition to the “BC Bookshelf.” If you are a subscriber to the digital version of our magazine you will be able to click and explore some of these digital options. As I have mentioned before, to me Fall is the new year, not January, and with that in mind, I have also taken the opportunity to refresh a corner of the magazine. The “Cabinets of Curiosity” column has been renamed “Stories of Objects.” The cabinet of curiosity…

8 min
japanese charcoal-making on salt spring island

Ever since humankind learned to make fire, charcoal has been in existence. In Wonderwerk Cave, an archaeological site in South Africa, there is clear evidence that ancestors of homo sapiens were using fire almost a million years ago. Later, fire could be transported from one place to the next by carrying charcoal embers. Charcoal is produced by partially burning wood in a process known as “pyrolysis” that eliminates moisture and volatile gasses in the wood and leaves a stable form of carbon. Charcoal was a necessary ingredient for making black powder (gunpowder), invented in China in the 9th century.1 In old Japan, charcoal was useful domestically as fuel for the open hearth in the kitchen. Artistically, charcoal was used in the tea ceremony. Commercially, it helped fire the pottery kiln. More…

13 min
the ss catala, union steamship a personal experience

I was five years old at the time of my first Union Steamship voyage on the SS Catala, but I remember it well. When I mentioned this to my eighty-seven-year-old aunt, Edith Nelson, she surprised me. “Oh,” she said, “I sailed on both the SS Catala AND the SS Cardena.” I quickly asked for details. My aunt explained that in 1952, she boarded the SS Cardena from Hardwicke Island, where she was teaching at the time.1 There she’d met her fiancé, construction worker Jim Edwards, and the two lovebirds headed for Vancouver by ship to meet her parents at Easter. My aunt later travelled on the SS Catala after she and Jim Edwards married and were setting off on their honeymoon. For seventy years, the Union Steamship Company formed a vital part of…

10 min
doctor by chance, mystic by choice surrey doctor treats the physical, inspires the spiritual

Can you tell us about your home in Guyana? My parents were indentured labourers from India and were taken to Guyana to work on a British sugar plantation around 1910. My father was twenty-one years old and my mother was nineteen. Being indentured labourers, they had to sign a contract to work for five years. After five years they had a choice of returning to India, continuing work on a sugar plantation, or being given a piece of land where they could live permanently and make Guyana their home. They chose the latter. They secured a small farm in the village called Coghlan Bush in the county of Demerara. This is where Demerara Sugar and Demerara Rum got their names. On this farm, they cultivated paddy, fruit, and vegetables. This was…

17 min
catherine macphearson macdonald hughes kaslo city councillor

The story of Catherine MacPhearson MacDonald Hughes (born January 1, 1863) and her husband Angus MacDonald (born about 1846) begins in the craggy western highlands of Inverness-shire and Argyll, the borderlands of Scotland around Loch Shiel. On February 7, 1881, at age eighteen, Catherine, the daughter of mason Hugh and farmer Isabelle MacPhearson married Angus MacDonald of nearby Dorlin. His home in the Ardnamurchan and Moidart region of Scotland was considered geographically and culturally remote. The inhabitants north of the River Shiel were primarily Catholic speakers of Gaelic. In 1881, six out of ten inhabitants of this region were Gaelic speakers. In fact, “After the 1829 [Catholic] Relief Act [of the British Parliament] there was a serious outbreak of church building among Catholic congregations.”1 Angus and Catherine were part of this…