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Birch Trees become a muse of sorts fairly often when I visit Ontario. We don’t have them out west—we have Aspects instead (or Poplars as they’re known in some areas.) Aspens are nice but their bark is more of a silvery grey colour and there’s something about the pure white of birch bark that I find appealing. I grew up around them, and they’re not really a part of my life anymore. I miss them some.
I’m in Ontario, and have been for a few days. As always, these trips are bittersweet for me.
There were two motivations for this trip. My niece turns three soon, and her babysitter is on vacation so I had a chance to take care of her full time for a few days. Those days are priceless as this age.
My mother turns 70 as well—tomorrow, as I write this, and those days are priceless at that age as well. She had a stroke a few years ago, and while he’s been totally fine it’s hard not to be very aware of her mortality in the face of that. While I expect to celebrate a lot more birthdays with my mother, the reality is that at this stage of life they’re countable.
The bittersweet part involves being away from home, and it feels that way for a lot of reasons. For one thing home is just home and it’s comfortable and cozy and where I want to be. For another, there are people I miss a lot and a three hour time difference is just enough to throw me off kilter a bit. Home can’t come soon enough at this point, and I’m looking forward to the cherry blossoms that are blooming in my neighbourhood.
It’s going to be a great spring though: things are looking up, and I can’t wait to get on with the rest of this year. A visit to the parliament buildings is never bad way to stat, but there’s plans afoot, and they’re good ones. I can’t wait to get back.
My uncle Gerry died a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday—August 16th, 2014—would have been his 67th birthday. Gerry was one of those really solid, great guys that you were lucky to have in your life. Even tempered and quick to smile his quiet laugh was an undercurrent to every conversation he ever had.
Gerry became a golfer later in life, but his first love was always baseball. When we were kids he had seasons tickets to the Jays and it was alway a treat to go to a game with him. My brother and I would usually go together—one of us would sit with Gerry, the other one with someone else (often my Grandfather) and we’d switch seats partway through the game. Gerry was a catcher as a kid, and he never lost the love for that game that runs through our family. On the wall in his house he had a map with a a ticket for a game from every single major league stadium in North America. He managed to get to them all, and the last time I saw him he talked about having to redo that adventure now that new teams and stadiums are in the league.
He loved music, that guy. His taste centered on Willie Nelson and what would now be considered classic country and western. The last time I saw him was about a year ago when I was in Hamilton for the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic. I had been lucky enough to attend a dinner the night before with the Harvest Picnic crowd including Emmylou Harris and Daniel Lanois. It was a pretty special night for me—my birthday, actually—and Gerry and I got together before I headed to the show the next day. He was proud of me that day: he always enjoyed the success I’ve had in the music industry, and our tastes sort of converged in later years. He gave me a short message for Emmylou and I passed it along later that day in the backstage area. It was, no doubt, one of thousands of such messages she’s received in her lifetime and quickly forgotten but I’m glad I got to pass it along anyway. I wish Gerry could have been there.
I never went to a show with him, and that’s a chance that’s slipped into the impossible now. I’m lucky though, and have some very good and talented friends and a couple of weeks ago Reid Jamieson was playing a show just down the road from where I live. Reid’s got a beautiful voice, a gift for songwriting and taste in music that overlaps with Gerry’s quite a bit. I chatted with him briefly before the show and asked him if he could play some Elvis for me—Gerry loved Elvis, and it wasn’t lost on him that his birthday was the anniversary of Elvis’ death as well. Reid got up on stage and played a beautiful set of music and just before launching into the Elvis tune he was planning on playing looked out into the audience, pointed and said “This one’s for your uncle.”
And so it was. I sat there on the shore of the pacific ocean where I live sipping a beer and crying behind my sunglasses, while Reid sang. It meant a lot, and Gerry would have loved it. I only wish he could have been there with me.
So long Gerry. Your friends and family miss you. Don’t worry though: I’ll keep playing records for you, and if I ever get the chance again I’ll make sure to tell Emmylou you said goodbye.
So I finally got to hang out with Rose for a few days. It was pretty awesome.
My grandfather died a couple of days ago—the last of my grandparents to be alive. The photo above was taken on February 21, 2009. That’s not much more than four years ago, and it’s quite possibly the last time I saw him. He lived a long, healthy and full life and I didn’t see him use a walker until he was well into his 90s.
Though his first name was Andrew, most people called my him Bill. It was a contraction of Welland, his middle name. My Grandmother was one of the few who didn’t: she called him Ad and it seemed as natural as the transition from day until night. It wasn’t until I moved to Vancouver and my ex-wife asked me about it that I even thought about it. “Ask him next time we see him,” I told her, so she did.
He loved telling stories, my Grandfather, and this time was no exception. It seems that this one went back all the way to when he first joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Put into bunkhouses he met his bunkmate—I’m pretty sure he remembered his name, but I don’t at this point—and the introductions started. When he was asked his he responded with his last name only, as was common in the forces at the time. “Nelson.” After a moment’s thought his bunkmate responded “Nelson, huh? You must be related to the Admiral then?” This was, of course, a reference to the legendary British Royal Navy officers Admiral Horatio Nelson
Much merriment ensued, a nickname was born and my grandmother adopted it along with his friends at the time. It stuck for life: if I ever heard her call him anything else, it’s long since slipped from my memory. It was always her name for him: I never heard anybody else in the family call him that.
I’m glad Kaye asked him that question. I probably never would have. It seemed so natural to me, I never gave it a second thought.
He lived in more that 40 houses in his lifetime all over the world. When we were growing up in Ontario he lived in North Bay and I have such fond memories of spend long summer weeks up there. There was a big house on Trout Lake and those summers were full of adventures in his boat, long days spent picking wild blueberries, eating fresh caught fish and swimming in the lake. My birthday is at the end of the summer, and every year I’d get tossed into the lake from the dock. In winter the fireplace was always going and between toboggans, ice fishing, cross country skis and a SkiDoo there was just as much fun to have. I loved that house, and it was sad for us when they moved from Ontario to British Columbia but they had other grandchildren here, and it was their turn to be close.
My Grandmother’s health slipped earlier than my Grandfather’s. Before she passed away in 2011 she spent quite a bit of time in the hospital while he still lived in the their house. When we visited her once, one of the nurses asked her if she’d marry him all over again. “Of course,” she responded, “Of course. I chose well.” She meant it too. They loved each other to the end, those two.
He didn’t like living without her and, as these things go, the last couple of years of his life were a bit lonely after she passed. His memory started to fade, and his health with it. A couple of nights ago he apparently went to sleep and didn’t wake up. We should all be so lucky. 95 years isn’t a bad run at things, and he’s left a rich legacy behind.
I’ll miss you Grandpa, but those times we had together will never be forgotten.
If you’d asked a few years ago, I’d probably have said I never expected to be in Saskatchewan again. I’m not sure I ever thought I’d get there in the first place, but I knew the place had appeal and it seemed likely to happen at least once in my life. My mother and I took a road trip in 2005 and visited Biggar and La Fleche. The first was the town my grandfather was born in and had left as a young man; the second was the town that one of my mother’s closest childhood friends had retired too and eventually passed away in succumbing to breast cancer.
It was a good trip, that one. I’ve done a few road trips with my mother and in hindsight they’ve gone better than some might expect. We usually get along pretty well, and the occasional moment of stress if far outweighed by the times we’ve spent together visiting far flung family and friends. That Saskatchwan trip carries a lot of fond memories these days.
I’m going back, but this trip is a different one. It’s been seven years since that last trip and a lot’s changed since then. I’ve moved a couple of times, finally landing in West Vancouver in a place I actually own. I’ve held a couple of jobs since then and that may not be surprising in the modern economy but I think I’ve finally landed at a place that offers a future instead of being just a job. There’s been a lot of change, and life is good.
The biggest change is the reason this trip is happening and that’s Allison. Her parents live in Swift Current and, as it turns out, her Grandmother in Qu’appelle is turning 90 in about a week. If a 90th birthday party isn’t a decent excuse for a road trip I can’t imagine what would be.
This trip is going to be a bit different than that last one: we’ll be staying with family in Swift Current instead of just passing through. There are friends—both hers and mine—to be visited in Calgary and Regina along the way. There’s classic small town chinese food to be eaten, the Landing and Grasslands National Park and Whitehorse are playing in Swift Current and we’ll all be going. There might not be time for all of these things, it won’t matter. This is a family trip, and the sight-seeing is secondary.
So here we go: the car is packed tomorrow night it’ll be heading east…to Saskatchewan. This time, I’m pretty sure I’ll be heading back again someday.
My Grandmother died today. It wasn’t much of a surprise, I think. The last couple of years have been hard for her, and there were signs in the last few days that things were getting worse. She lived in Ontario which meant I got news of these things from afar and infrequently since moving to Vancouver.
She lived just about 91 years. When I moved to Vancouver she was healthy and, after living alone in the house she shared with my Grandfather for years, had decided to move to a retirement home. It was good for her that first place: she seemed happy there and whenever we visited we’d head out for a day trip. The Big Apple was one of the places we took her quite a bit. It was close, and the food was good. She was quick to smile in those days, and liked to joke about living with old people. It’s true: she was one of the younger people there.
Things took a turn for the worse when she moved into a long term care facility. Watching someone you love slip away isn’t easy. My visits weren’t as frequent as I would have liked, and every time I saw her she seemed noticeably worse than the time before. A couple of years ago I got on a plane on very short notice when we thought she was going to pass away. We were all there that weekend, but she rallied and by the end of it was as fine as she had been for a while. I have pictures of her that I took that weekend: I don’t like looking at those pictures. She looks awful. I keep them, but I don’t like looking at them.
My grandmother was funny, a wonderful sewer, quilter, knitter and crocheter; she could cook just about anything you wanted for just about as many people as you could imagine; her favourite music usually included bagpipes but she liked a little Country too. She grew up on a farm in the Kettle Valley near Midway, got married young, had three wonderful kids and wound up moving around a lot when my Grandfather joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. They settled in Trenton in the 60s thanks to a transfer, and that became home. I liked it there and we visited often. I actually considered going to Queens University in Kingston and living with her for a while. I sort of wish I had. It was just after my Grandfather had died, and I think it would have been good to spend some time with her.
Yesterday would have been her wedding anniversary, but she’s been alone for more than 20 years now. I like to think that she fell asleep thinking about my Grandfather and the time they spent together and decided it was time to finally go with him.
Arthur died a couple of days ago. He was a farmer, a rodeo rider, one of the first students in the Midway schoolhouse and the son of some of the Boundary Region’s earliest settlers.
My grandmother referred to him as her Baby Brother for as long as she could refer to him at all. I’m not sure if she knows he’s gone or not, but things seem to have taken a turn for the worse for her as well in recent days so we’ll see what happens.
It’s October, and that always means a melancholy time of year for me. A shift in the soundtrack of life happens as days get shorter, temperatures drop and we spend more time indoors. The music I listen to gets quieter, more contemplative and more inward looking.
Fall is a time for new beginnings for some: kids go back to school and in a lot of houses it’s more like the start of a new year that the actual start of a New Year. New routines get sorted out after the lazy days of summer, and schedules adjust.
For me fall starts at the end of August, when the calendar turns on another arbitrarily selected anniversary in my life. This year I turned 40, which is a fact of some significance to some people. Though I shrugged it off as it happened (amidst a week of vacation with friends, family and more live music than is probably healthy for most people) it’s a fact of significance to me too: the last ten years, in particular, haven’t always been easy or kind but this list year…this last year…this has been the happiest year I can remember. Things are just perfect right now. It was a good time to turn 40.
That vacation included a very short stop in Trenton, Ontario. We were there less ten minutes, but I stopped to visit my grandfather’s grave for only the third time in the 21 years he’s been gone. It’s not the frequency of the visits that counts, but the sentiment right? Maybe.
My grandfather died in the fall. He died late in the night one September 19th a long time ago. It was five days shy of his 74th birthday. It’s one of the reasons fall is always a sad time for me: I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember the song that was playing in the store when I bought his birthday card; I remember the birthday card; I remember getting the call when I was at work. September’s never a happy time for me. I remember too much.
Today is the birthday of two dear friends: one lives in Ontario and is now married with three kids. No matter how hard I try to focus on the happiness in her life, I can’t help but remember the other. Richard Charteris died a few years ago. He was 49. He’d have been 57 today. Richard was one of my closest friends when I knew him in Toronto. In a moment of serendipity his youngest daughter found me a while ago through a photo I’d taken and got in touch. Knowing that his kids are doing well was nice: they lost their father so young, and so unexpectedly. October’s not a very happy time for me. I remember Richard every year.
Richard and I were close but not alone. We were a rogues gallery when partnered with Al. Al was the oldest of us, but probably had the most energy. That guy could spend a whole day whipping out a brilliant marketing plan, head to the bar for a post work beer, sing a full set of rocking blues with a nine piece backing band and then wake up and do it all again the next day. One day, when I’m 65, I’d like to be half as cool as Al.
He still has more hair on his head than I do too, so there’s that too.
A few days ago—just a few days before this anniversary of Richard’s death—Al sent a mass email out. He’s been diagnosed with what he’s describing as an “aggressive case of prostate cancer.” It was late at night when I got the email. I was shocked: I was also glad he’d told me. He didn’t have too.
I haven’t seen Al in over ten years. It was before I moved to Vancouver. I lived in Charlottetown for a while and he was in Halifax, but we never quite got together. Worse, he was in Whistler at the end of August and bad timing meant we missed each other when I left for Toronto. We overlapped in Toronto on only one day but I had dinner plans with the oldest of old friends and couldn’t see him. It’s been ten years, but I’m going to have to get to Toronto to see the old guy sometime soon. It will happen.
This stuff all happens in the fall, and it sort of sucks. I’m always happy to have it over with, even though in Vancouver it inevitably leads to the grey skies and rain of November. At least my friends aren’t disappearing. This too, shall pass.
It’s time to cue the music now, and it always starts with Hawksley Workman at this time of year. At least the music’s always good.
I think that ghosts like
The cooler weather
When leaves turn colour
They get together
And walk along ways
These old back roads
— Autumn’s Here, Hawksley Workman
It’s been a bad week, the one that ended today (or yesterday, depending on your personal calendar I suppose.)
Strike that, actually. I’ve had bad weeks before and they don’t hold a candle to this one. This one…this one…probably the worst week I’ve had in a bit more than 20 years. It’s not over for me yet: this week was a new beginning of sorts, but it could have been worse. Not for me, but for people I love very much. It could have been much, much worse.
Today was the start of a weekend I needed. Badly. It’s been nice, feeling the stress and grief of a week wash away. Monday’s a holiday, so it’s not quite back to work yet and I’m pretty happy about that.
A month from today I’ll be in Toronto with a week of great live music, spending time with people I love and I’ll be fourty years old. I didn’t expect it to start this way but you know what? I’m going to roll with it.
Though I’m originally from Ontario, my family traces its roots back to British Columbia quite deeply. The fact that I was born in Toronto has as much to do with the Royal Canadian Air Force as it does with anything else: both Grandparents were enlisted, and moved frequently as a result.
Midway, BC is a town with a population of about 700 now. Like most small towns in British Columbia it’s dying—quite literally in this case, with an aging population and almost no jobs in town to attract new ones. It’s a charming place in the way that small towns can be, and a desolate place in the way they can also be. When I haven’t been in a while I miss it; when I’m there, I can’t wait to get back to Vancouver.
My family were early settlers in Midway, and farmed in the area for over 100 years. I have a branding iron from that farm in my one bedroom apartment: the kind of ironic accessory any hipster would love to have, but in my case it’s not ironic.
My family is a part of the history and culture in that part of the world, a history and culture that will slowly die as generations pass. We live in an increasingly urban society and young people from Midway and places like it gravitate towards Kelowna, Cranbrook, Golden and their ilk these days. Even these places seem small compared to Vancouver, but they’re the urban meccas of their regions. It’s a shame in some ways that this is happening, but it’s a natural evolution of a society that’s no longer tied to the idea of living off the land as it once was.
There was a time when people gravitated towards places like Midway, and this is the story of travelling from New Brunswick to Midway by horse, and how my family came to be out west. It’s worth reading.
Taken from the Boundary Historical Society Seventh Report 1976, pp. 46 - 51
By Beatrice (Bubar) Weed and Wesley Weed
The following story was found among the papers of Mr. J.M. Bubar. It was scribbled in pencil on the front and back covers of a B.C. Telephone Co. report (for the year ended 31 December, 1936). Although sketchy in places it does give us an idea of how difficult it was to reach the Boundary country in the early days.
The Bubars seem to have been always pioneers. They came from Massachusetts to the St. John River in Canada in 1765. Holding land first at St. Anne’s (now Fredericton), they sold that and moved up river to above Hanland. Increasing, they spread out, some back to the States, others West and ever West.
Came the date about 1878 when one, a married man, headed for the Red River country. Riel has been squashed and the west new and it was easy money for a worker. One year later back came the call “come”. Some trip for a young woman and three children. The train carried them down in to Maine, back in to Canada, over to Detroit, on to St. Paul, up North again in to Canada by stage and boat and at last in to Winnipeg. Sounds simple now but there were only poor cars, no connections, nothing but more or less, guess work with no conveniences.
Came 1888 away went the same man, older now, to scout out the land beyond the Prairie in the might Rockies. Back he came to the Red River in 1890. The mother and younger part of the family were sent east to revisit the scenery of their birthplace. The father and the two oldest children turned back to the mountains. Another year and again comes the call. But how much easier and straighter is this trip - Up the St. Lawrence, across Ontario, through the wilderness of the Lakes, on by rat portages, till soon they were in familiar scenes and with familiar faces too. They continued on out of Winnipeg, past the ditches in which the eldest of the family used to swim and as he swam, gazed across the endless prairie and wondered about the great mountains they had heard about. As they get farther west they pass numberless red elevators and farm houses said to be owned by Sir Lester Rey. On past Calgary they go, till waking one morning they find themselves shut in by rocks and trees and down below the river runs blue as the sky. Soon comes the Field hill, the terror of trainmen of those days, down the wicked Kicking Horse to Golden where it joins the mighty Columbia past Donald, then a wide open town where they leave the Columbia and head over the crookedest railroad ever built, Rogers Pass, and through miles of snow sheds till they cross the Columbia again at Revelstoke. Soon they leave the train at Sieamous. From here a line is being built into the famed Okanagan. Here the eldest boy gets in touch with his father by telephone - his first use of a phone. Now the adventure was getting different. The mother and smaller children and two nuns and much baggage were to go up on a speeder run by steam. The eldest had to go with two Chinese and help work a hand car (Chinese had been something far away, now they were nearly touching hands). The hand car caught up to the speeder, as it was so heavily loaded. I could carry no wood, so had to stop when it was needed. At Enderby, we met a work train and our father, and saw numberless Chinese. On the train we ran down past Armstrong (then known as Lansdowne) with its meadows and swamps. Soon the lights of Vernon were in sight.
Then on down the head of the lake to Okanagan Landing where the camps were. In the morning we looked on a new world - lots of sand and pines and bunchgrass - new to the prairie people and never seen further east. Part of the family came south on a boat, a small tug affair run by Capt. Shultz. Many are the tales told of him and his handling of boats.
A few days later mounted on a big horse the lad from the East was on his way with his eldest brother headed south for the lower end of the lake and more wonderful changes. All day they trotted, walked and galloped over rolling hills and by beautiful lakes till at last winding down a lane they came to the Mission, now Kelowna. Back a few miles from the Lake the Lequims had a big ranch, also a store and hotel. The latter was run by Mrs. Lequim, a pioneer of many gold rushes, Rock Creek in 1860 included. If we had only known we might have heard the history of our future home from a first hand source. We arrived in a heavy rain. The barn was crowded with horses and it looked as if ours would have to stay outside. A word from Mrs. Lequim and the barn was nearly emptied. They were just cowboys waiting for the rain to quit. Her word was law at the Mission. Next day the rain still poured but we prepared to start. Heading south over a large flat we struck the hills near what is called the New Mission now, therefore 1938. We climbed up and up leaving the pine for the fir and then fir for the Jack pine, which grew tall and slender, and on that day were covered with wet snow. There was no turning back, so cutting a Hudson’s Bay blanket in two, we wrapped it around us Indian fashion and it shed some of the wet. Many times we had to get off to get the horses over or under a jack pine. Finally the woods grew thinner, big pine more plentiful and soon we were riding in a park like country. Bunchgrass, sage bush and sand again appeared. We were nearing Penticton. We stopped at the Ellis ranch and ate with the crew and slept in the loft of a barn in our partly web clothes.
Now came the most serious part of our journey transferring seven people with one team and a saddle horse about 100 miles over hills and high mountains. Loading grub and bedding and six persons into the heavy wagon and with one person riding the saddle horse, we set forth. Till we reached Dog Lake the road was level and some places it ran in the water. Soon it started to climb and the travelling was slow. The first night we camped at a place called Hynis and it was the last house any of us were in till we ended our journey. From there on we crawled past Myers Flat, up the long pass to Fairview, which was booming. Then down past Hayne’s meadows to Kruga’s at Osoyoos and on down to the Border line. There we had to cross to American soil and stayed on it from Smith’s to what is now Chesaw (named after an old Chinaman who was there at the time). From the line it was a hard pull to Dry gulch the next inhabited place, but when we arrived there was no one at home. Trying to get part way up the mountains that day we kept on till dark following a hogback which was called a road. At dark we made camp and one rode back for enough water for cooking purposes. Next morning on we went up the same hogback till we thought we would never get to the top. But every mountain has a peak and soon we were in bunchgrass country and fairly level. It was beautiful country - wood in the south and grass and water everywhere. Soon we passed the “He He” stone - stone ledge sticking out of the ground. Indians and some white people used to leave gifts there. The legend was about a girl but I never heard much about it. “He He” in Indian means “good horse or a good dog” and so forth.
Soon we dropped down to Mary Ann Creek and after crawling up a long hill we slipped down to Myer’s Creek, almost too fast. McMynn’s ranch came in sight and then crawling up a long slope we could see the Kettle River down below. At Rock Creek we turned east and soon were fording the river to our future home.
I could go on telling you about the death of one of the children and nearly fatal sickness of another - for there were no doctors nearer than Vernon - The father’s ride of 150 miles in late December back to Vernon on a horse with only blankets for a saddle.
The arrival of the first mail about Christmastime when we sat up all night reading letters and papers about the life we had left behind - then waited a whole month for the next mail.
Today eight hours with a car covers the distance we took weeks to cover, but we got as much thrill our of that journey as a Lindburg or any transcontinental auto tourist and it was a greater feat of pluck and courage.
It was 1891 (a fact kept alive in C.P. Bubar’s cattle brand) when Mr. C.W. Bubar arrived with his family in the Boundary district and settled in their log home located on the north side of the Kettle River about a mile west of Ingram Ford, where a bridge was eventually built.
Mr. Bubar had first seen the property in the spring when the hills were green and the creek was running full down the hillside between two beaches. It was this sight that made him want the property. He bought the pre-emption from Mr. John McCallum who had moved across the river and taken up another pre-emption which he sold about twelve years later to the Kettle River Fruit Co.
Not much is known about those early days on the farm. There were no records kept and those who could tell us (in 1976) have passed on. We do know that at first they tried to raised sheep but gave that up because the wild animals killed too many of them. Cattle thrived and were the main-stay of the farm. As well many horses were raised. Mrs. R. Pawsey remembers seeing and being interested in the many colts that grew up at the S. Bubar place. There was always keen competition between farmers and when horse races were held at Midway on the 24th of May and 1st of July celebrations.
Probably at about the same time that the Kettle Valley Fruit Co. got started, orchards near the creek flumes were built to run water to the trees. The orchards flourished for years and always there was a sale for the fruit, mainly apples, in Greenwood.
The boys and their father worked together on the farm, but from time to time the gather went to log at Golden. In 1900 he was drowned while working on a big drive. After his death the boys carried on the farm work but eventually Bayard and Charlie left to start farms of their own in Beaverdell. Stanley and Frank became partners and often their mail came addressed as “Bubar Bros.”
In 1907 or 8 Frank married Morah Sorby, a school teacher who taught in Rock Creek. They located at the foot of the hill a mile west of the family home (which had been built of logs a short distance from their original home). At first, Frank and his bride lived in a small log house then a frame one was built. No doubt they settled where they did because there were springs in a grove of trees on the hillside a quarter of a mile north of the house. The water was piped down the hill and the same springs are in use today. For many years the S. Bubars had a windmill that pumped water into a tank. The water was used by the animals as well as for domestic purposes.
Stanley and his mother lived on in the big house. In 1919 he married Miss Winnifred Haynes. An English Lady. His sister, Beatrice had married Mr. Arthur Hamilton and lived in Golden.
[Stanley Livingstone Bubar was born in Hartland New Brunswick on April 9, 1873. He was a farmer in the Kettle Valley. Winnifred Haynes was born in England on May 16, 1894 and came by boat to Kaslo B.C. and got her first job as a maid.]
Bayard Bubar married Miss Elizabeth McIntyre.
Charlie Bubar married Miss Virgil Powers.
Around 1910 the C.P.R. purchased land from the Bubars in order to continue the railway to the coast. Since the railway ran parallel to the rive it did not spoil the property too much. (Indeed, in later years the C.P.R. fence became useful as part of a private telephone line between the S.L. and F.M. Bubar households. ) Crossings had to be made in the railway so that the Bubars could reach their fords.
The famous Dewdney Trail went through the Bubar property running parallel to the river and railway. Sixty years ago it was easy to see. Now  it is ploughed up and covered with alfalfa.
As in other parts of the district Indian relics were found on the Bubar farms. As late as 1937 F.M. Bubar says in his diary, “Found an arrowhead today near where I found a hammer.” On the field west of S. Bubars there were many mounds. The Indians probably pitched their tents on them.
On the bench just north of his home Mr. F. Bubar found a hole. He liked to think that it had been used by the Indians to hide in while they waited to shoot the passing game or enemies. Whatever it was used for, it is still there and measures 52 inches across the bottom and 15 inches high.
Situated near the foot of the hill just west of Stanley Bubar’s home is a family graveyard. Buried there are: Charles W. Bubar - 1849-1900; Sophronia, his wife - 1853-1928; Their son, Miles T. Bubar - 1885-1891; (Another child died back east) Infant son of S.L. and Winnifred Bubar - April 1930; Stanley L. Bubar - 1876-1937; Frank M. Bubar - 1877-1938 and his wife Norah - 1880-1952. Mrs. S.L. Bubar died on December 24, 1965. She was cremated and not buried in the family plot. Mrs. A.C. Hamilton died on February 28, 1963 and is buried in Golden.
There was a grave just west of F. Bubar’s barn (clearly seen 50 years ago). Stones, all about the same size, were carefully laid out on it. There was another like it at the west end of the bluff over which the Bubar road runs. Just off the Bubar property on what used to be the Richter property, there is another grave surrounded by a picket fence. No ones knows who was in these graves nor whether they were Indians of while fold.
There was rattlesnakes on the Bubar property. They had a den under a big rock not far from the graveyard. Each spring when they first came out F. Bubar would go and shoot some of them. He had medicine ready to be used if someone got bitten. No one did but a horse died from a rattlesnake bite. It still pays to be watchful as C. Bubar killed one not three feet from his home last year. His dog barked and told him it was there.
As on all farms fall was a busy time for the Bubars. After the hay had been bound into bundles and stacked it had to be threshed. Farmers helped each other - the threshing machine going from farm to farm. The old steam engine and separator had to be checked, water and wood hauled for the engine, enough men hired to do the work and teams and wagons made ready to haul the grain.
In the early days the threshing machine had an elevator that carried the straw away. This machine belonged to Mr. Lander and Mrs. C.H. Weed. Later models had a blower that made the pile of straw.
The women were busy too, making pies and cakes and preparing a lot [of] food to feed the hungry men.
For the children it was a time of sheer delight. In the early morning they thrilled to the whistle of the old steam engine. At breakfast what fun to have two porridges to choose from! On the way to school how fascinating to watch the chaff blowing from the blower into a big straw stack.
In the old days during the summer there was nearly always a haze of smoke on the hills. It was made by forest fires. Since they did not have water bombers to stop the fire before it spread, they sometimes lasted for weeks. 1929 was a very dry year. In his diary Mr. F. Bubar says “No rain till June when it rained quite a lot. Quit end of June and has not rained anything more than sprinkle. Crops all dried up July 25th. If it had rained last fall we would have had a good crop. Rained for an hour on August 2nd - first for a month - rained a few drops on the 19th - Whole country is burning up. A big fire on Boundary Creek heading for Main River. Will come out at Waddell’s. Another at Boundary Falls and another at Norwegian Creek and one near Camp McKinney. Another came over the mountain from the west and joined the last and came down in Peanut Point and Beaverdell came seven miles in one day. They stopped it at the railroad and road and river but are not sure if it is out yet. August 22nd Bayard and Charlie brought their families out to be sure, and to give themselves a chance to be of some use. They went home yesterday. No change in the weather but a little cooler. September 3rd - still no rain with fires all over the country. Down at Republic they have 1600 men working. Up here it is still raging. Also on boundary Creek over towards the Main River.”
The S.L. Bubars had a family of Six: Anne, now Mrs. L. Lobb, Trenton, Ontario; George, now living in Midway, B.C. He Married Alberta Watling; Betty, now Mrs. G.I. Peters, Edmonton, Alberta; Margaret (Bunty), now Mrs. D. Bridgeman, Vernon, BC; Stanley in Kettle Valley on the farm, he married Dorothy Chipping; Arthur, Oliver, B.C., he married Beryl Stanbury.
I have better photos of my Grandmother than this somewhere. Like so many of them, they’re tucked away as negatives in a binder and I haven’t scanned them. I like this photo though. It was probably from my first visit to Vancouver, though it may have been my second. My brother and I stayed with them and we visited the sites. I’m the one who gives people tours now.
In August of 2000 I came out to Vancouver for a vacation with my soon to be wife and to celebrate my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary. I hadn’t seen them in a very long time at that point: these are my father’s parents, and my relationship with them was strained by his departure. When I moved here I made it a point of visiting my Grandparents though. Once a month, at least, I’d drive down to White Rock to have lunch with them. It was nice.
When my wife told me she was leaving, White Rock was the first place I went. I remember standing on the steps of their house and being completely unable to speak for what seemed like forever. They were the first people I told.
My grandmother passed away a couple of days ago, gently in her sleep. For the last few years of her life she had been in Peace Arch Hospital after having had a heart attack at home that was quickly followed by several in the hospital. She never recovered and her mind started to go not long after. My Grandfather lived across the road and went to see her once a week, but it was hard for him: she’d ask him to stay, or wanted to go home with him and didn’t really understand what was going on. He told me once how hard it was for him. I think it was hard for him to tell me that.
She was a very proper lady—a fact which drove my Mother nuts sometimes. She was the only one of my Grandparents who wasn’t born in Canada too: my family is very Canadian, but Grandma Nelson was born in Europe and her family settled in Manitoba as farmers in the early 20th century.
The last few years haven’t been kind to her. I’m going to miss that very proper old lady.
Away for a while, rambling down to Oregon first and then across British Columbia to the Alberta Praries—across the country’s spine to the other side to say goodbye to an old family friend. More photos to come.
It really is quite a day.
Any day that includes a walk around Lynn Canyon is almost perfect by definition. Toss is a two year old boy’s first trip to the park and an ending that includes singing Like a Rolling Stone while he falls asleep, and perfect seems like the best way to describe it.
Google maps gets it’s map data from NAVTEQ. At some point a while ago the name on the road in this map was changed from Bubar Road to Babar Road (as in, I presume, the Elephant.)
I contacted Navteq a while ago and submitted a correction. Today I received this email reply:
For the NAVTEQ tracking number: 0058ETVKIJ2TZEIN
Submitted on : 9, May 2008 09:41:42
Problem Description: The road you have listed as Babar Road is incorrect. It should be Bubar Road. It was named for the Bubar Family, whose farm occupied the area to the south.
There is a family graveyard along the road as well. Photos are here (I am a relative.) Photos are online here, and I’ve attached one showing the corrected spelling.
Our Resolution Outcome is: Database Updated - Naming
Details: The road name Babar Rd in Midway, BC, has been corrected to Bubar Rd in the database.
So, in theory, Google Maps should be corrected soon.
It was Family Day in a whole bunch of places today (and Louis Riel Day in one) and i want my holiday!
It took me a while this morning to figure out why I didn’t get any mutual fund update yesterday, and why my monthly withdrawal didn’t happen. It turns out, Family Day in Ontario means the Toronto Stock Exchange was closed, so no trading.
Blërg. I think this thing should be national, just so that we don’t lose track of these things.
it’s cold up at the top of Red Mountain. Fast, packed snow and a steep hill made for a fun day.
Stairs, as it turns out, are quite the little game at 15 months old.
There’s no better way to spend a Sunday than just hanging out with a couple of old friends.
December 31st, 2006
You’re never to young to listen to Neko Case on a good pair of headphones, learn to use a cameraphone or give the photographer a winning smile.
These were all taken with the phone built into my Sony Ericssson k750i cell phone.
When the guy in front of you orders a Triple Triple you know you’re not at Starbucks. This is Tim Horton’s country, my friends.
If this is Horton’s country, it must be Ontario and three milks and three sugars in your coffee is perfectly fine. A bit unusual, but fine.
Mom and I drove today from Ottawa — where we spent 3 days around Christmas — to Toronto. We took the scenic route out Highway 417 and then down 15 through Smith Falls passing numerous beautiful stone house and churches in between.
The architecture is one of the things I miss most about Ontario, particularly the old churches. On Christmas Eve I headed just down the road from my brother’s house to a large and stunningly beautiful French Canadian Catholic church to look for a midnight mass, but found it closed. It seems that since it was a Sunday they simply performed their normal early evening mass. I took photos of the church nonetheless.
I also saw my Grandmother today, for the second time on this trip. On Saturday she was not well and today she didn’t remember that previous visit. Her mind was sharp today, but her body was not — she lay there, with her eyes closed the entire time. When I asked her why she just said that she liked to keep them closed. We talked about other things.
These visits are hard, as spread out as they are. I’m never quite sure how aware she’s going to be or how much she’ll want to talk (sometimes not at all, sometimes quite a bit.) Still…they’re important. I may get a chance to visit her again on Sunday, but we will have to see if time allows. It does seem likely to be my last chance.
I ended the day watching Snowcake which is an excellent movie filmed in Wawa, Ontario and staring Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver and Carrie-Anne Moss. Well worth seeing, although I don’t feel like giving away anything of the plot which starts with a shock to the system. The movie unfolds from there as a slice of life, and a reasonably satisfying one at that.
There’s a great song by Wilco called Via Chicago that’s rolling through my head now, and has been lately.
I painted my name on the back of a leaf
And I watched it float away
The hope I had in a notebook full of white, dry pages
Was all I tried to save
But the wind blew me back via Chicago
I know I’ll make it back
One of these days and turn on your TV
To watch a man with a face like mine
Being chased down a busy street
When he gets caught, I wont get up
And I wont go to sleep
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
For a long time I’ve felt like I’ve been searching for a home, but not anymore.
Vancouver is home, but this Christmas I’m getting there via Toronto.
It’s 0400hrs and I’m up, drinking coffee and getting ready to head to the airport for an eleven day trip to Toronto, where I spent most of my first 29 years.
Christmas Day will mark the begining of my 7th year in Vancouver. I left Toronto on December 23rd of 2001 at about 1530hrs, and this will be the most time I’ve spent there since.
I was torn when I booked this trip. I get to see my Grandmother, who I haven’t seen in a while and may not get to again; it’s Maya’s first birthday and I’ve never met her; I get to see the friends in Toronto who are closer than my own family — the friends that I grew up with and have known for more than 20 years.
It also means missing a few things. it’s the first Christmas for Paige, Benjamin and Elizabeth and I won’t be there. My friends in Vanouver who are my family won’t be around.
It’s a trade off, and one that I haven’t made in quite a while. Paige, Benjamin, Elizabeth and Georgia have a lot more Christmases ahead of them, and I’ll be there to share many of them. There’s lots of time.
So this Christmas I leave Vancouver but only for a while.
I’m coming home, via Toronto.
I spent a quiet thanksgiving this year with little tiny babies who were having their first. There’s no better way to spend a special day.
Life is all about the things that little girls can teach us.
There’s a magic moment when you peel an orange and before you’ve torn away the first slice when it sits there like a perfect little orb with two small holes at either end—the perfect place for a little girl to stick it on her finger.
Today I woke up to what some — not I — would cynically call an atypical Vancouver day. it was sunny and clear with not a drop of rain in the sky, although it was in the forecast.
As I gathered myself up for work and headed out to grab my bike from the garage my favourite three year old was staring through the window. I grabbed the bike, waved, got ready to saddle up and the door opened and out came Georgia and her father.
“Why are you riding your bike?” she asked.
“Because I’m going to work, Georgia” I explained. “I usually ride my bike.”
She came down the stairs while we chatted for a moment and then she waved and headed back up. I started for the gate as she got to the top of the stairs. She paused for a moment and turned around.
“Wait! Wait!” her little voice was full of urgency. “I have to give you a hug!” She did.
So that’s how my day started, and I can’t imagine a better way to do it.
At about 11:00 Pacific Time, news came through cyberspace that a gunman had entered a college in Montreal and killed two people, and injured more. By day’s end exact numbers still hadn’t been confirmed but it appears that 1 woman is dead, 19 are injured and the gunman was killed by police.
Sometimes the world just makes me shake my head.
With spring in the air, the general mood around the city has been getting happier in Vancouver, despite the fact that it’s been really cold. I’ve started cycling to work and it hasn’t been raining much. This young boy’s thoughts are turning to motorcycles too, but I do love the way my mind fits better in the world while I’m pedaling.
Yesterday — the fourth consecutive day that I cycled to work — I picked up bagels for the landlords, who love a specific type of bagel that is boiled and baked around here. Tuesdays are cheap dozen days, so off I went to fill my panniers.
When I got home, I brought the cheap dozen upstairs and was asked if I was staying for dinner — as usual, more had been made than necessary and when these two cook, I never say no (there was a sauce reduction needed…we’re not talking frozen food here.)
As usual, there were also children.
There’s a new mix in this house — little Paige was born in January of this year giving us both a 2.5 year old and a 2.5 month old baby girl. You have no idea how time flies until you watch a baby grow. It feels like Paige has been with us forever.
Mom was cooking and so put Paige down in this great little chair that takes batteries and vibrates, and usually soothes her to sleep pretty well. This time it wasn’t working, so a bit of a fuss went up while an already busy Dad said he’d be there in a minute to take care of her.
No problem; don’t worry — Uncle Skot can handle this, or at least give it a try.
So I reached around, and underneath and cradled this tiny little…person…smaller than any I’ve ever held before. One hand gently cradled her head while the other lifted her up, and I brought her up to my chest. She curled up, with her tiny little face right next to my chest and I gently started rocking her up and down, back and forth.
Suddenly, the noise stopped. Little gurgling noised started, and these were then followed by silence. I reach down and gave Paige a little kiss on the cheek, more for my satisfaction than hers as I suspect she was fairly ambivalent, and started moving around the house…Paige lay there, content and — seemingly — happy.
This went on for half an hour or fourty-five minutes or so, while we talked and Georgia fought for her slice of our attention. Paige just stayed, and I held her as close as I could — afraid to move her too far, lest she wake up unexpectedly.
I’ve never held a baby this young before, but I’m glad I got that monkey off my back. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever done.
Grandma Lobb lives in Ontario still, and I last saw her at Thanksgiving when I was there for a whirlwind 5 day tour. Prior to that, because of various personal circumstances, it had been almost 3 years since I’d seen her. 3 years seems like such a short time relative to 85, but it’s practically a lifetime.
When we’re young, moments of time seem short — a minute is an interminable wait, an hour…forever; a trip in a car is always too long, even if it’s only to the local hockey rink. As we become adults time seems to slow down and move at a more natural pace. As we age, these moments become short again. People change quickly, and in three years my Grandmother changed quite a bit.
There was a time when I couldn’t have contemplated 85 even in an abstract sense. It was just so far away for everyone I knew and suddenly it’s here. All of my Grandparents — there are still three — are around this age which means that friends are begining to pass, and the reality of life’s finiteness sets in. The frailty of age is humbling, especially when seen in those we love.
I wish I could be in Ontario today. I’d like nothing more than to see her and sit with her just to remind her of everything she’s done for me over the years. A phone call, sometimes, is just not the same thing.
I saw, for the first time last night, little Paige Wallace. Home from the hospital finally at the mellow old age of 5 days, I headed upstairs to visit.
Five day old babies are so small it’s almost unbelievable. A little bundle of peace and love in a basket at the moment.
My how they do grow up though.
Official campaign announcement of the birth of Paige Wallace Rogers, 8 lbs. 3 oz.
Paige joins a large, loving and overjoyed family with a very tired mother. Pictures soon.
Welcome to the world, little one. You have no idea how lucky you are to have the parents that you do.
(Note to careful observers of my life: this is not the new addition to the home I live in; this is a new citizen of the Province of Toronto.)
New Year’s Eve on Bowen Island with friends. I can’t imagine a better way to spend it.
Getting old sucks, and right now it’s sucking a whole lot for a guy I know named Stan Hecker.
Stan’s a nice guy, who was a teacher in Vancouver for a lot of years. He’s healthy, and fit, and there’s really no reason he should have needed heart surgery, but it had to happen apparently.
I haven’t seen him in a while, but in April sometime I bumped into him at a party. It was just after I’d abandoned my car for the summer — he knows the same people, and was over on the Island for the weekend.
Stan said “Hi, Skot”, and flashed me that great smile he always had then looked serious for a minute. He shook my hand, and said “I saw your Volvo over on Bowen Island last weekend, so I trashed it.”
It was the funniest thing anybody had said to me in a long time.
My heart is with you Stan, only one of many I know.
They say you’re always supposed to clean kids up before you take their picture. I ignored that rule.
Taken October 6, 2005.
Wheels are fun - I’ve missed not being easily mobile.
To that end, a new set of wheels - only two attached to this engine though.
I only just found out - I had long since forgotten the date - that last Friday, February 10, 2005 would have been my grandparents 64th wedding anniversary had my grandfather not passed away 16 years ago.
I smiled when I heard this, and thought of the three elephants I have lined up on the table that currently serves as my desk.
It’s a time of anniversaries for me: about two years ago today, I moved into a house I expected to live in for a long time. On the very same day, I lost a very close friend in Toronto who had two kids of his own to take care of.
Anniversaries are important, but I like some more than others.
I know that saying today is September 24th seems like a statement of the obvious, but this is a meaningful day for me.
It is—or was— my grandfather’s birthday.
Grandpa Lobb died just over 15 years ago—15 years and 5 days to be precise—just shy of turning 74. He had leukemia, which I didn’t know. Of course in hindsight it was obvious that he’d been undergoing chemotheraphy treatments.
I had only been to one funeral before my Grandfather died and although that one was hard for many reasons, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as his. I was 18 when he died, and I hadn’t actually been to his house in over a year: I was working a lot, and particularly on weekends. At the time I thought that working was more important than family, and I hadn’t taken a weekend off.
The thing about taking people for granted is that when they’re gone, its too late to change things. I definitely took my Grandfather for granted, and didn’t appreciate his role in my life nearly as much as I should have. After my father left he was around for me.
If I could do anything today, I would go for a walk with my Grandfather. I know that just one walk would make everything make sense again.
And I had hoped to be in Ottawa by this time to celebrate with him. Things conspired to prevent it from happening, but maybe some time in the not too distant future.
The last time I was there was on the first day of a road trip to Halifax in the early days of a relationship: those are great days, when nothing could be wrong. The Halifax slides are buried somewhere in one of my binders, but one day I may scan some more of them.
I miss the East Coast, and at this time of the year I miss Ontario quite a bit. The Ottawa area will soon be on fire with the colours of autumn, a spectacle we largely miss out here. We sort of limp towards winter with more rain falling every week until eventually it doesn’t stop.
Next year, this time, I’m hoping to drop a canoe into the water in one of my favourite places: Killarney Provincial Park. The apple harvest may conspire against me, but somehow I think time will allow.
Find a tree, take a picture and send it to me. I need a fresh little piece of Ontario right now.
No visit to the Okanagan or Kettle Valley would be complete without a visit to an old farm: the Clapperton’s was settled in 1905, and is therefore rapidly approaching its century.
This farm is, sadly, for sale. With 100 head of cattle, the family has trouble making a living; this makes me sad to no end and creates a palpable realization that the way our world is operating is slightly screwed up. We’ve got to get this fixed and it starts with paying a fair price for the food you eat.
This cabin was the original home on the farm, although it has long since fallen into disrepair. The Clapperton’s lived here for years; the new house is old, but much younger than this one.
Only one of the two barns pictured below is original; the other is fairly new, and holds most of the large farm equipment.
The old barn - one of them at least - still has remnants of the blacksmith’s shop in it, including the original anvil and pieces of the chimney. Amazing stuff really.
The farm itself is also the home of the Beaverdell Volunteer Fire Department, with Ralph (right) the lead (having spent years fighting fires in the Canadian Forces.)
As a result, vintage fire trucks abound. The one below was my favourite - largely on the basis of the badge.
These tanks seem to be everywhere out here: every farm has the same Pacific 66 badge. Remarkably, I’m having trouble finding information about the company online. If you know anything, send me a note.
The Rock Creek Fair is an annual thing, and one that my family has pariticipated in for years. I had never been.
Somewhat coincidentally, my Aunt Wendy was able to make a trip out here corresponding with this year’s fair; this also happened to be her birthday.
The star attraction of the fair is the rodeo, and I waited patiently for it. When I finally found a decent spot to take photos of the roping, I was standing next to a guy who owned his own ranch somewhere up Pemberton way. I learned lots.
For starters: if you’ve ever tried to make a lariat and loop it around your head like cowboys to in western movies, just stop. They use a special rope that’s quite stiff, more like plastic than any rope I’ve ever owned.
crooked) table in order to keep it steady.
Steer roping is good fun though, and the competitors (as competitors so often do) take it very seriously. My recollection of the rules is pretty basic: when they open the gate, you have to give the calf 60 seconds; you have to get the calf by the neck and the back legs. Most teams seemed to go the neck first, although this wasn’t always the case.
I wasn’t able to take photos of all the competitors: dinner was ready and - ask anybody in Rock Creek - when Alberta Bubar calls you for dinner, you go.
Whistler has apres-ski, Rock Creek has apres-fair in the form of the Rock Creek Hotel.
My grandfather used to spend lots of time here, and despite having driven by it a few times I’d never gone in. Arthur Bubar told us he remembers getting kicked out of the place in 1949 or something like that, but the owners seemed to have forgotten.
A gathering of Bubars was present: photo below.
It was early when we were at the hotel - probably 9 or 9:30 or something - but it was obviouse that some people had already been there for a while. The guy below, for example, wasn’t so much drunk as he was stewed - he’d obviously been absorbing as much as he possibly could for quite some time.
He kept getting up to dance, although that’s a generous interpretation. Definitely the center of attention for everyone in the bar, at least until the band came on. I’ve sort of nicknamed him shakey in my head, which is a shame because I’m really diggin’ Neil Young right now.