Sunday, December 20, 2009

May there be peace within

Mount Cheam Watercolour by Stephen Mullock copyright December 20, 2009

May there be peace within.
May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.
May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content with yourself just the way you are.
Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
Derived from a prayer of St. Theresa

Copyright December 20, 2009 by Stephen Mullock.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cheam and the Great Ice Giant

Mount Cheam and Lady Peak (Dog Face)

I am still very much on the hunt for stories and legends about Mount Cheam the most dominant landmark in the eastern Fraser Valley.  Yesterday, I took the picture above and also dropped into the Agassiz Museum to see if they could provide me with some information about the angel legend.  Unfortunately, the ladies there could not help me much with this legend but they were helpful with other stories.  By the way, the Agassiz Museum is a terrific little small town museum well worth your time and visit - call ahead in the winter as there are limited hours of operation.

Agassiz Museum and former railway station

I found out that the peak is also known by the Pilalts indigenous people from the village at Cheam as See-am (Chief) Mountain.  That Cheam "wild strawberry place" is the name of a nearby Indian Village. There was also this story of a Great Ice Giant.

To quote from a Vancouver Sun article published in Jan. 1952 by L.R. Linton
The Pilats Indians called it Che-ahm, the Chief.  On its wooded slopes the Pilats picked berries, and tribe made offerings to appease the Great Ice Giant that hovered over Cheam.  Avalanches and snow slides used to hurl down its slopes bringing death and destruction, and the Indians believed the displeasure of the Great Ice Giant had been incurred."

The First Nation people of the area had reason to fear the mountain a slide from Cheam estimated to be 3 times as big as the Hope Slide buried a native village some 5,000 years ago.  This is the largest known catastrophic landslide in western Canada with debris fields 30m in depth.

Now the story of the existence of a Great Ice Giant (glacier) was discounted in that article in 1952 as a myth.  I however found something that would tend to support the idea of a glacier behind and above Mount Cheam and the evidence is in Spoon Lake.  In the photograph that follows you can see a small circular lake with a steep embankment as if something with a great deal of force had struck the earth.  When I saw this lake I thought meteorite but it may in fact be a kettle lake.  This is caused when a big chunk of ice surrounded by sediment falls from a great height then melts away leaving a depression and a lot of water. Imagine a big ball of ice bouncing higher and higher as it falls or a one becoming airbourne from a natural glacier made "ski jump".  Could Spoon Lake be the result of such an event falling from a Glacier perched on Lady Peak (Dog Face)?  If it is how old is the story about the Great Ice Giant.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mount Cheam - The View from the Top

Mount Cheam from Agassiz

This post examines primarily in photographs the view from top of Mount Cheam and continues the theme explored in the last post of Cheam as a Wife to distance Mount Baker. There is a need to create a sense of “place” in the communities and Mount Cheam is the most prominent landmark in the eastern Fraser Valley; she deserved to be understood and appreciated.

The word “Cheam,” in Halkomelem, means “wild strawberries” and refers to the ridge comprising of Cheam and Lady (Dog Face) plus the lower slopes around Airplane Creek and Spoon Lake. This explanation, even though Cheam is a pretty sounding name, has always been a bit of a disappointment for me; I always hoped that the name would mean Mother or something like that more in keeping with the legend.

Lady aka Dog Face

Quite a number of years ago, I had a chance to climb to Mount Cheam’s summit and took some panoramic pictures of the trek. I hope you like them they show what you can expect if you ever decide to take the climb.

You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. Rene Daumal

Mount Cheam looks along shoulder to husband Mount Baker

Younger Steve Mullock and Dog Face

Agassiz and Harrison Lake

Seabird Isalnd and Harrison Lake

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright November 25, 2009 all pictures and content by Stephen Mullock.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mount Cheam Local Legend

The most beautiful mountain in the eastern Fraser Valley is Mount Cheam. This posting will discuss Mount Cheam, its legend, directions to climb and how to sound like a local when you pronounce Cheam.

The last first, Cheam is pronounced locally like “Shea-am” say it any other way and you will be giving yourself away as a non-resident. Try to blend in.

Mount Cheam has an elevation of 6929 Feet or 2,112 meters and is part of the Cheam range a subset of the Cascade Mountain Range. Look up from exit 135 on the Trans Canada Highway (Bridal Falls) and all you are seeing is Cheam. On a good day you will see the brightly coloured chutes of Para gliders floating around her shoulders. On poor days, clouds clinging to her forests. Broken cloud patterns spill unexpected light into crevasses as they sweep across the sky. This mountain has a million moods nearly all of them beautiful.

A number of years ago I joined a group to climb the summit and take in the view. It was quite the journey a deeply rutted dirt road and then a fairly steep trail led to the top.  A more recent blog about the climb was written by John Harvey and has some great photographs. If you are in good health and have an appropriate vehicle it is a trip that I would recommend. Just remember to take plenty of water, good hiking boots and supplies for mishaps; directions to Mt.Cheam.

Legend : The First Nation legend is that Mount Cheam is the wife to a nearby and dormant volcano Mount Baker. Mount Baker is situated in Washington State, United States but can be seen by his wife in nearby Canada. The story I like comes from “Five Corners the Story of Chilliwack” by Bruce Ramsey as set down by Oliver Wells it says that they had three sons, Mount Hood, Mount Shasta and Mount Shuksan and three daughters who are younger than the boys.

Mt. Cheam to extreme left and Mt. Baker to right

Cheam got tired of being away from her people and left so that she could look after the Sto: Lo people “I ‘ll stand and guard the Staw-loh, that no harm comes to my people and no harm comes to the fish that come up to feed them”. With her went her three girls and she holds the smallest one I-oh-wat in her hand. The family dog officially called “Lady” but known by the locals as “Dog Face” followed her back as well. Once again try to blend it and call her “Dog-face”. It does actually look like a dog’s head. A second child east of her is not getting enough attention and her tears form”Bridal Veil” falls; the 6th highest falls in Canada. Isn't this a lovely legend worth knowing? I know it has changed my perspective of this grand "mother mountain".

"Dog Face" Explained

The next post will continue with Mount Cheam, a tragedy that occurred, an angel and a place of wild strawberries.

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright November 19, 2009 by Stephen Mullock.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gaining Ground: Getting Ready for the Storm

Fall and Hopyard Mountain, Agassiz BC

Not every day has a blue sky but nearly everyday has something spectacular to express.  Look for it.  This attempt of mine sought to capture a small grouping of  fall trees mid field hunkered down against a threatening sky. I hope you can smell the maple leaves, feel the coming rain and rejoice for a moment in the dance of transformation. 

Click on the picture for a better look.

Gaining Ground and Getting Ready for the Storm

It is appropriate that the picture above shows the world once again in a seasonal decline hunkering down before a threatening sky because that was the tone of the message I received from the Gaining Ground Resilient Cities Conference held in Vancouver, BC this past week.  Climate change and the end-of-oil were the Big storm clouds as explained by scientist Dr. Bill Rees.  Pretty scary stuff but to cope a phrase, I found that "green shots" were also popping up in the most unexpected places. Places that were devasted like the Bronx in New York and North Charleston reinvented with love,caring and a hell of a lot of work. This post looks at how these planetary forces will, briefly, come to change our world the winter we are facing together and the promise of spring.

It is easy to disregard the slowly emerging facts that our world is in a transformative process and pretend that it does not exist. I'll admit that is where my head was until this conference.  Why do we discount these threats?  I am reminded of how you go about boiling a frog - that by placing the frog into pot of cold water and then slowly raising the temperature of the stove under the pot. That is what may be happening to us but instead of the heat of an appliance we are facing the slow increase of fuel costs and the amplifying volatility of weather.  Is this happening locally, Chilliwack broke numerous heat records this year plus we had the hottest day ever recorded on July 29, 2009 of 39.2 degrees celsius!  So, in short yes.

With respect to the end of oil, think back to 2008 and recall that the stock market meltdown was preceded by the costs of oil reaching new heights albeit somewhat speculative in nature.  There is a great book on the end of oil situation that I would recommended reading, it is "Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller" by Jeff Rubin, a fellow Canadian. If you remain unconvicted just go and gas up.

Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth is readily available at most video stores and will give you the overview needed there.  That is where I want to leave this part of the discussion because it is more important to not get blinded into a sense of immobility by the immensity of these issues. We need to ak ourselves "what can we do" and "what can I do"?

Mount Cheam Brillant Sunrise

What can be done?

Do what you can and keep doing it.

Green Shoots

The conference was a great place to meet and chat with people and it gave me a sense of what the "do what you can" might include.  Talking with Karen C. I learned that several blocks in her East Vancouver neighbourhood had organized themselves to share resources and support each other.  We will not be able to solve these huge problems without each other.  I think the street level is a great place to start.  The best part though, was this,  Karen gave me a sense that people were enjoying each others company and that this was adding depth to their lives.  Why not get together with your neighbours?  Carpool.  Talk amongst yourselves, organize, we need to bring more people into the conversation.

A couple of ladies in Sardis did something they had not done for years this summer they dug and planted a garden.  By September they had more vegetables than they knew what to do with.  By the way, Marie, if you are reading this thanks again.  Again, a shared experience; their produce did not have to be trucked in on a carbon trail and how much fresher can it get than today's harvest?  So, think ahead to 2010 where can you plant a garden?

Look to resources in your own backyard and neighbourhood.

Vote with your wallet, support businesses that purchase local.  Ask your restaurant where their produce comes from and chose business that are buying from the local farmers. Did you know that every dollar that a local farmer earns can get multiplied in the local economy as much as 5 times?  If you know the farmer ask them where they make their purchases.  Think about what other products made locally could be purchased - good for the economy and avoids those nasty shipping carbon emissions. If we can build a diverse economy we can build a more resilient community one thar can face up to the challenges ahead.

Despite the heavy tone of the conference I am encouraged by the "budding" of green shoots I see and the resilience of everyday people,like you and me, they give me hope that regardless of the winter to come, a spring will follow.

Best quote I heard at the conference: "there is no elevator to sustainability you have to use the stairs".

Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright October 23, 2009 by Stephen Mullock.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Launch of New Children's Book - "Dude"

Emily Mullock Illustrator

In case some of you are wondering when the second book penned by Christopher Aslan and illustrated by, our daughter, Emily Mullock is due out you will be relieved to learn that the wait is over.  "Dude" portrays a young dude's emotional journey through everyday life... each pictures starts with a bit of a mystery, "what is Dude feeling?  It is a great way to talk about the social context of everyday life with the youngster in your life.

As you can see in the announcement above there will be a book signing at "antisocial" a skateboard shop located at 2337 Main Street, Vancouver, BC on October 20, 2009 starting at 6:30 pm.  If you plan to come, please RSVP to  Emily will be there and I am sure she would be happy to see a few familiar faces.

The complete catalogue of Benjamin Brown Books can be found at including the first book illustrated by Emily Mullock also written by the talented Christopher Aslan called  "Wenda the Wacky Wiggler".

You can also check out Emily's "Blog of M"  with a simple click or Google "Emily Mullock" for more of her fine creations.

Emily is responsible for the caricature that I use on this blog - it looks just like me except that I have greyer hair. :-)

Now I realize that this posting has little to do with the intention of this site except in a loose cultural sense so please indulge me.

Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright October 11, 2009 by Stephen Mullock except graphic.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Between the Bridges: The Agassiz – Rosedale Bridge

My “Between the Bridges” part of the blog examines that area north of the Fraser River between the Mission Bridge and the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge in the upper Fraser Valley of British Columbia. Previous “Between the Bridges” posts have looked at the Kilby Museum and the Harrison Mills area.

Agassiz - Rosedale Bridge looking north

The Agassiz – Rosedale Bridge was built in 1956 during the W.A.C. Bennett years replacing a ferry that had provided a crossing service for many years.

Fraser River View of Agassiz - Rosedale Bridge

It is hard to believe, but the merchants of Agassiz opposed the bridge proposal, largely championed by the Chilliwack Board of Trade as early as 1910, with the result that another 46 years would pass before its opening. What were the merchants of Agassiz thinking? That the local residents would drive across the bridge in search of better prices?  Or were they just resistant to change?

Anyways, I drive across it almost daily and think it is beautiful and the landscape as well. The Fraser River in a late evening light; the farms of Agassiz so green and pastoral; the Coastal Mountains; and of course Mount Cheam. I took a walk across the bridge a couple a weeks ago and snapped these pictures. I hope you like them and that they convey to you the beauty I see.

Gateway to Agassiz

Bicyclist Beware

Under the Bridge Canopy

Long shadows on Farmland

Fraser River

Sunset on Sandbars

Bridge Under Structure

Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of local real estate experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright October 5, 2009 by Stephen Mullock.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Canada Line Into the Blue

"Successful cities are built around quick, easy and reliable transportation systems", this post looks at the new Canada Line from Vancouver to Richmond and YVR from a personal perspective.
Canada Line Station

The Canada Line almost never happened, but it opened this August 17th, and as I had a very, very, very small role, as have thousands of people, in its creation I wanted to have a ride on it.

In May 2003, I found myself a member of the "Rethink RAV Business Coalition" that was hoping to reverse a decision not to proceed with the RAV line (renamed Canada Line), a Light Rapid Transit option from Richmond the YVR Vancouver Airport to the Vancouver downtown core.  This was before Vancouver had been awarded the 2010 Olympics but was in the final group.  Our Federal government was hoping to sweeten Canada's bid by adding some federal funding for the new line.

I attended my one and only press scrum as a representative of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia and part of this rethink business coalition.  Nervously, I made my way to the microphone. After a quick recap of the importance of transportation in Canada in a historical sense from waterways to railways to roads and airplanes (see quote above), it was time for my final argument, cleaner air.  The newspaper ran one of my ramblings "would not the skies be a little bluer if we had some sort of rapid transit here in Vancouver, in Richmond?"  Okay, it doesn't quite roll off the tongue but it was a sound bite that stuck, made it to print, and became part of my fifteen minutes of fame.

It seemed appropriate for me to get on the line at the corner of Granville Ave. and Hastings Street in Vancouver just below the offices of the Real Estate Institute of BC.  Above is a picture of the station from street grade.  I was hoping to find a bright and cheerful logo like the iconic London Underground emblem to help visitors find the station but no; the station pretty much blends into the background. 
One goes down a flight of stairs to face a bank of automatic ticketing machines ready to take your money.  There were no attendants in sight so I had to fiqure out by myself how many zones there are between where I was and YVR. I noticed on a map that the Canada line from downtown all the way to YVR is colour coded a shade of blue so I punched in fare for one zone. Wrong. On the other end (the YVR) some high tech anarchist had used a piece of  scrap cardboard and written "2 zones to Vancouver" and stuck it to the machine. Now signage like that would have helped me on friday; imagine thousands of "limited english" 2010 foreign visitors with this same problem.

Canada Line Train

The station was neat and tidy but the exteriors of some of the cars needed a wash.  Why go to all that trouble to impress the world and not clean the windows? As the ride proceeded stop to stop a good cross section of people arrived and departed;  young travellers toting backpacks heading to the airport, seniors, a bicyclist and people like me just out to explore. There is plenty to explore this line provides important stops near City Hall, the Vancouver General Hospital, Langara University and Oakridge to name a few.  There seems to be ample space for luggage and bikes, although I have heard bicycles are restricted two to a car.  There was a lot of squealing noises along certain sections of the line giving fellow passengers and me an uneasy confidence in the engineering.  My goodness, it sounded like a 40 year old rail service!  Out into the light at 49th Avenue over a bridge built for the Canada Line past the River Rock casino, and then there we were at the Airport all in a span of 26 minutes.  Departing the train to a completely covered skywalk your choice at the terminal is to turn right for international flights or left for domestic flights and arrivals.
YVR skywalk
YVR Vancouver

Blue Sky

All in all, I was pretty impressed and still think that the linkage between the Richmond, the YVR Airport and Vancouver a smart move. 

Looking upwards, yeah the skies did seem, just a bit, bluer.

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright August 30,2009 by Stephen Mullock.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chilliwack Day Trip to Vancouver's South Side Tourist Sights

If you are going to live in the Chilliwack area get use to the fact that relatives and friends are going to descend upon you for visits. Why wouldn't they come? Rivers, lakes, oceans, mountains, golf courses, shopping and a convenient airport are just 30 minutes away in Abbotsford. They are going to come and visit frequently. My advice makes the most of it by planning a few day trips in advance. Now I have previously mentioned some local area spots but for a big city experience Vancouver is only 2 hours away and it is a fabulous city!

This is the day trip to Vancouver's South Side tourist attractions I recently shared with my nephew Jesse and his girlfriend Monica. My goal was to cram quite a bit into the day as their vacation was a short one and Vancouver has a lot to offer. I also wanted to get them out to places they would not likely see without the use of a car. We headed down Highway No.1 around 10 a.m. (they are on holiday) and turned off on First Ave. in Vancouver and drove straight to Telus World of Science for a quick picture break of this wonderful landmark building and the False Creek inlet. If Jesse and Monica had been kids we would have spent 2 or 3 hours in the interactive science centre and Omnimax.

Just around the corner on 4th Ave. to the Granville Island Market was our next stop. A quick lunch and then an Aquabus tour of the inlet at the reasonable price of $7 round trip per adult. Scouring the Granville Island market can take hours but we kept our visit to a short 2 hours inlet tour included.

I have always have always been a sucker for space and planetariums and B.C.'s only space centre the H.R. MacMillian Space Centre is a beauty. It is also a great place to rest the feet while the cosmos swirls above you. In fact, I have known a few relatives to nod off in the comfort of the theatre. This day, however, we were there only for a quick picture of its magnificent Crab sculpture and the building itself. A passion of mine is architecture especially when it offers west coast sensitivity. Here the space centre roof is styled after the tightly woven First Nation cedar hats.

Our journey continued westward to the Kitsilano Beach rated as one of the sexiest beaches in North America by Forbes Travel it is also a terrific site to take pictures of the Vancouver downtown peninsula.

Our final destination was the Museum of Anthropology at UBC and in my estimation a "must see" attraction when in Vancouver. I would rate it number 2 right after Stanley Park and the Aquarium. The building designed by the renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erikson to reflect the post and beam long house construction of the coastal First Nation people. If you count you will see 6 major roof beams in the structure the same number in the neighbouring long houses.

The simple mantle shape of the MOA suggests the welcoming sign in the centre of the long house picture. Originally, the rocky beach in front of the museum and the long houses was to be a water feature reflecting the buildings and in a traditional beach positioning. Unfortunately, the sand embankment upon which the buildings are placed was deemed not to be safe enough for the additional weight. Too bad, it would have been quite the sight!

There are a number of notable cravings within the museum but none more significant than Bill Reid's masterpiece "The Raven and the First Men".

Towering totem poles from the Haida, Gitxsan, Nisga'a, Oweekeno and other First Nations are housed in the Great Hall. Here are a few pictures I took.

Returning back to Chilliwack at about 8 p.m. after a full but well paced day both Jesse and Monica were happy with their Vancouver south side adventure.

Community, amenities and culture are three components that should be considered when making a real estate purchase, unfortunately, they are often overlooked in favour of price. One goal of this blog is to illuminate the lifestyle of the British Columbian eastern Fraser Valley communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz/Kent, Harrison Hot Springs and Hope so that better decisions can be made.

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright August 21,2009 by Stephen Mullock.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Harrison Mills, British Columbia

Harrison River and Harrison Bridge Pictures

I promised a few more pictures of the very scenic Harrison Mills area in a previous posting. This area is situated in eastern Fraser Valley about 15 km from Agassiz and almost directly north across the Fraser River from Chilliwack BC. Too bad there isn't a bridge or ferry like there use to be over to Chilliwack - just wishing. Then again, the charm and serene feel of Harrison Mills is perhaps protected by the absence of such a service. Speaking of bridges, the Harrison Bridge is a small "swing" bridge crossing the Harrison River. I have included some of the photographs I took there. As you can see this is an area to get acquainted with you can even check out the local real estate as a place for permanent or seasonal living as Harrison Mills provides both. The easiest way to explore this area for current real estate offerings is just a click away Harrison Mills Real Estate.

Harrison River and Harrison Bridge, Harrison Mills, British Columbia

There are a number of "posts" at this blog site about the Harrison Mills area, I hope that you will take the time to have a look, better yet, take a drive and enjoy this area first hand.

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Chilliwack's Hottest Day - Ever

July 29, 2009

The July 29th 2009 temperature of 38.2 C is the hottest temperature ever recorded in Chilliwack,BC at least ever since records were started in 1881!!

It was a week of scorching heat unlike anything I can recall.
Chilliwack’s tends to have a very temperate climate with mid July temperatures usually in the mid-twenties, not the high thirties. In general,most, housing has no need for air conditioning but after this past July perhaps the demand for cooled air is about to change. I had a chance to drop into Future Shop in Sardis during the heat wave last week, I was told that they were selling 150 air conditioners a day.

Here are some of the 7 heat records that were smashed last week! New records are in bold. Now the words “maximum minimum” sound like some sort of "double speak", but, what it meant to answer is the question, “how hot was it last night”?

You will notice that many of these records were not simply edged out by another slightly higher temperature they were smashed sometimes by more than 2 degrees Celsius (C).

As mentioned the July 29th 2009 temperature of 38.2 C (100.76 F)is the hottest temperature ever recorded in Chilliwack in 128 years!!

Previous peak temperatures experienced were 37.8 C , July 27th 1958 and 38.0 C July 11th 2007. I am happy to see that these peaks are all in the month of July suggesting a cooler August.

(DAY) Maximum Temperature July 2009
Average Daytime Temperature 25.4 C

30th----36.8 C----Previous Record 35.6 C (1965)
29th----38.2 C----Previous Record 35.6 C (1971)
28th----37.0 C----Previous Record 35.6 C (1958)
27th----34.8 C
26th----30.5 C
25th----31.1 C

(NIGHT) Maximum Minimum Temperature July 2009
Average Night Temperature 11.5 C

30th----21.6 C----Previous Record 17.8 C (1965)
29th----18.4 C----Previous Record 18.3 C (1965)
28th----19.0 C
27th----17.9 C
26th----19.0 C----Previous Record 16.7 C (1965)
25th----17.1 C----Previous Record 16.7 C (1913)

Thankfully, we back to comfortable temperatures that do not require the use of air conditioning but there are still a few weeks of potentially uncomfortable days ahead of us.

Thanks to Weather Observers Roger Pannett and my brother John Mullock for this information.

By the way if you have difficulty converting celsius into fahrenheit I know I do, click away.

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of local experience. Let him provide that knowledge to your transaction he can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Kilby Museum - Between the Bridges

Take a day trip to the Kilby Museum, Harrison Mills BC in the northeast corner of the Fraser Valley, and you will be glad you did. This is a fun trip for kids big and little. The museum’s 5 acre site hosts an authentic 1906 general store and portrays farm life at a time when 70% of the Canadian population lived on farms.

Take a moment to imagine the days that paddle wheelers made their way up the rivers to the former Alice Springs Hotel (now the Harrison Hotel) and a CPR railway station across the street brought passengers into the area from all corners of the country. This rail line is still very much in use but the station house is long gone. You will notice that the main floor of the Kilby Hotel and General Store is surprisingly high and connected to the ground by a big wooden ramp. Why? The height of the Store made it possible to provide a level crossing via an overpass walkway to the railway station across the street and gave some protection when the rivers were flooding.

Step into the Store and it is like stepping back into the 1920s.

For history buffs like myself there is a connection with the many fine exhibits within the Kilby Hotel and General Store. In particular I enjoyed the photographs of days long ago and the chance to ruminate about a time when the province of British Columbia had a population of 178,000 and Harrison Mills only 200. The general store portion of the building is full of a thousand things that the local people needed and a few things perhaps they didn’t. Did women really need hair nets made out of real human hair? There is also a fine First Nation exhibit of the local Sto: Lo people.

The five acres shows what farm life near the turn of the 1900s must have been like. It has a number of farm animals that freely walk the grounds to amuse and delight the kids. Be sure to check out the “Beau” the bronzed turkey and “Brother” the goat. These farm critters are introduced as babies so that they can learn to be comfortable around the museum’s guests. This is a good chance to get the kids some exposure to livestock. The on-site staff dress in period clothing and are friendly and helpful with the children.

The museum opens at 11 am and closes at 5 pm so I would suggest that you get there at the opening and pack a lunch to enjoy in the cool shade of the orchard. For a special treat let me suggest that you have a piece of pie the way that mother made it, at least mine did. Fresh bread, scones, pie (is there a better dessert than pie?) soup and jams are all made on site by “Vera”. I ordered a piece of Vera’s apple pie and was going to take a photograph of it but got distracted eating it; Mmmm. I can tell you that the apples were crisp, the pastry just right my only complaint was that it disappeared too quickly.

Now while you are there here are couple of things to do:

1. Coordinate your visit to take in one of the many special event days the Kilby has posted on their website for example August 30th is the Annual Kids Festival. Or pick a quieter mid-week day and enjoy a more relaxing visit.

2. Buy a postcard or a card to write a note to a friend or yourself about your Kilby adventure and then mail it from the Harrison Mills Post Office and community Hall located just around the corner as you head back to the highway. Ask “Kim” the postal worker there for the special commemorative Harrison Mills postmark. This is a good way to occupy the kids and a nice memento of the day.

3. Finally if the weather is warm pack a swim suit and take a dip into Harrison Bay it is just a couple of minutes past the Museum site but be careful and water safe.

4. Harrison Lake, about 10 minutes east is another option for a swim, stroll or ice cream.

5. You will probably notice that the Kilby museum is in need of some work so if you can afford it why not slip a few dollars in the donation pot located at the front door of the store. Donations of larger sizes can be tax receipted through the District of Kent 604-796-2235 located at 7170 Cheam Ave. in Agassiz.

6. For more online information about life in Canada in 1900 I refer you to this site Human Rights in Canada a historical perpective.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and feel a little better acquainted with this wonderful area, if you have a story to share I would look forward to hearing from you. In particular I am looking for local stories on Sasquatches.

The next post will talk about the real estate opportunities in the Harrison Mills area you might be surprised at the quality level and the prices.

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Stephen Mullock is a full time local area real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience.