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Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Murder of Crows


The Fraser Valley is home to a vast number of black crows; when grouped together they are known as a murder of crows. Today, I found this murder that was startled by my approach.


The beautiful sky above this Keith Wilson Road, Chilliwack acreage also caught my eye.






Imagine living here.


Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Snowfall


First Snow © Stephen Mullock
The Chilliwack - Fraser Cheam area, indeed, the entire Fraser Valley experienced its first snowfall this past week, and, all expectations are that we will be seeing a lot of the white stuff in the next couple of months.  We can't complain too much, however, as this part of the country has one of the mildest climates in the Canada - great place to live. 

Imagine living here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Enlightenment - Picture of the Week


Enlightenment © Stephen Mullock
With spectacular scenery such as this sunrise over the left shoulder of Mount McGuire, it is hard to imagine that there would not be a profound effect on the souls of Chilliwack residents.  At times the entire valley becomes bathed in beauty.

Imagine living here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Steller's Jay and Stellar Jays - Picture of the Week



You can almost check the seasons by the flocks of birds in the Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area.  This week, I noticed the Steller's Jays working their way around the house and took a moment away from my leaf raking to snap this picture.  The contrast between the autumn leaves and the Jay's deep blue to midnight black plumage is startling.  These birds hop around from branch to branch a lot so this picture was the best I could do.

It wasn't all good news, in the backyard, I also found a few features left over, no doubt, from an encounter with a house cat.  One of these was scanned and is shown above.

I was also surprised and disappointed to learn that I had been calling this bird by the wrong name for years.  It was like one of those moments, like when you realize that you have been singing out the wrong song lyrics for years, like the Hendrix  "Purple Haze" lyric  "Scuse will I kiss this guy". A little shocked and embarrassed  I have always called this bird a Stellar Jay - please let me explain.

With a colouration that begins dark blue at the feet and the changes into a midnight black at the head I always thought this bird was named "Stellar" to conjure up a poetic image of the earth's stratosphere turning into space and stars.

Not so.  Apparently it was named after Georg Wilhelm Steller a German naturalist who discovered (?) them.  It is also called the Pine Jay, Mountain Jay and the Long Crested Jay but for me, sorry, I'd like to stick with...the Stellar Jay and hope that someday it can be renamed.  It is the provincial bird of British Columbia after all; can't the province look into a more appropriate name? No disrespect intended Georg.

Imagine living  here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Paramount Theatre Chilliwack -The Final Curtain


Paramount Theatre Chilliwack B.C. © Ian Meissner
On November 3, 2010 the Paramount Theatre in Chilliwack, British Columbia, closed its doors for the last time.  Beset by competitive factors including the construction of an 8-plex Galaxy Theatre, underway in Chilliwack's new Eagles Landing, the decision to close early was made this week when the Paramount's boiler gave its last gasp.  A new $20,000 boiler wasn't in the cards so after 61 years this fine building is shut.

The Paramount Theatre opened June 9, 1949 and was billed as being "completely ultra-modern in every respect" including the modern miracle of air conditioning, soft restful spring chairs, sound installation and a popcorn and candy bar in the lobby.  "Six hundred and eight people will be accommodated on the first floor and 292 on the balcony of the new theatre."  Because the floor is curved and the screen mounted high it was boasted that "even the shortest customer will be able to see over the tall lady with the high featured hat".


P2573 © Chilliwack Museum

The theatre was built, as were all the Famous Player Theatres at the time, on a theme  - the Paramount was supposed to look like a cruise ship.  That's why the steps in the foyer are curved like that and why there are circular "porthole" lighting scones in the theatre.  These wall lights used to have fake fish in them to complete the look. 

An immense outdoor sign extending the full height of the building boldly proclaimed the word "Paramount" accented by blinking lights running down the side.  This sign has become a landmark in Chilliwack adding a splash of needed colour to the downtown core.  It will be sorely missed by many.

Solidly built the Paramount featured laminated firewalls, 800 yards of reinforced concrete in the main walls and 60 tons of structural steel. The largest of the cantilevered steel guiders being 24-inch I-beams equal in size to any single steel beam in the Pattulo bridge. 

In 1977 a second screen was added converting the former balcony section into a new theatre.



There have been 22,427 days since the Paramount Theatre opened during which time tens of thousands of films have been shown.  For many people it was the place to take a first date, where new friends were found lining up in the early afternoon for an evening showing of Harry Potter and always a place to be entertained. 

Thousands of personal stories have been started at the Paramount theatre, and that is why I was so pleased, when, I  learned today that the Landmark Cinemas of Canada had made a generous donation of the land and building to the City of Chilliwack. Landmark that was a class act!  Thank you there are too few buildings with any real architectural merit in Chilliwack.  While it is too early to know what the City is planning it is nice to know that Chilliwack to running the coming attraction.



Thank you © Stephen Mullock

Imagine living here.

P.S. I'd like to thank Ian Meissner for the picture he took of the Paramount's last night.  Also, I had a lot of help from Shannon at the Chilliwack Museum Archive and much of the information comes from sources found there - thank you.

 Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cheam Lake Wetlands - Pictures of the Week


Cheam Lake Wetlands© Stephen Mullock
 Not only cars honk I found out this past week.

A unique corner, in the Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area, to take a walk and contemplate the wonderful diversity of life is at the Cheam Lake Wetlands. Suitable for all ages this 93ha park offers a number of raised platforms for viewing and a relatively level trail system that is about 2 km in length.

The Cheam Lake wetland is located close to Exit 135 off Highway No. 1.  This park was created in 1990 and is a birder's paradise, to date, 184 different types of bird species have been reported. This past week I took the opportunity to observe the changing fall conditions in the park. A chorus of honking from large flocks of Canadian Geese echoed throughout the marshy wetland much to my delight.
 
Here are some of the images that I liked that day.


Fall Reflected © Stephen Mullock

Red Leaf Fire © Stephen Mullock

Imagine living here.
 
 
Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yale, British Columbia | Gold, Alchemy and Yale Today

 

It is hard to imagine that the sleepy little town of Yale, British Columbia I visited this morning was once known as "the wickedest little settlement in British Columbia" "a veritable Sodom and Gomorrah" of vice and violence and lawlessness".

Located on the banks of the Fraser River 175 km east of the Port of Vancouver the community of Yale hugs the north bank in an attempt to maximize the sunlight allowed into the canyon it resides.  Morning light comes late in October and the picture above shows low cloud still lingering in the mountain shadow.

Yale B.C., has a deep history with First Nation people and attracted early settlers as a fur trading post. Fort Yale was as far as a boat could navigate up the Fraser River; providing you had a capable captain and good water. From here adventurers took the Caribou Wagon Road which extended into the province's interior another 380 miles all the way to Barkerville. A bit of a transportation "hub" that one was forced to go through.


"Gold fever" struck the area in 1858 and the fur post was quickly converted into a boomtown with no less than 14 saloons as tens of thousands of surged into the area with "gold fever" (and it would seem a great thirst).

Sadly, the Aboriginal people were pushed aside in haste to find gold. Rape, whiskey and even armed conflict between a regiment of the American militia and the First Nation people stains this period of time.

Attracting the wrong sort of American made Governor James Douglas decide that it was necessary to ensure that the "New Caledonia" territory was not annexed by this rush of American fortune hunters and in 1858 the Colony of British Columbia was quickly proclaimed. Alchemy of a political nature brought about by the pressures emanating from Yale British Columbia.  Very soon after a second major transfiguration the creation of a land reserves for the colony's First Nation people. 

Today, not much remains of Yale's heyday the dockside services have been removed and the former commercial core of the town was torn down when the Canadian Pacific Railway was built.  The Anglican Church of St. John the Divine is quite lovely and on a good day, such as I had, Yale is very picturesque. So pack a lunch, wander down to the river's edge, and imagine the pivotal role this town had in shaping British Columbia's history.

St. John the Divine, Yale B.C.


St. John the Divine, Yale B.C.


Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Picture of the Week - Aerial Ballet


Aerial Ballet © Stephen Mullock
Sunday, I rounded the corner on my way to Chilliwack and found an aerial ballet of clouds and light in full procession off the shoulder of Hopyard Mountain.  Imagine living here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Empress Hotel Chilliwack - Final Days


The Empress Hotel built in 1908 just off "Five Corners" in the heart of the City of Chilliwack is no more than a pile of rubble now.  The property purchased by the City of Chilliwack in July this year awaits redevelopment.

Ian Meissner © Empress Hotel Final Days
The panoramic pictures above show the before and after views of the Empress Hotel, Young Road block in Chilliwack.  These photographs were taken by Ian Meissner a well known photographer and Realtor with Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty.  For video footage of the demolition click here after a brief ad the destruction begins.

It is a little ironic perhaps that in 1965 Victoria's Empress Hotel (circa 1904-1908) was threatened with demolition and new high rise hotel was slanted to replace the Francis Rattenbury masterpiece. A massive public outcry turned the tide and the Hotel was saved, restored, refurbished and remains a crown attraction on Victoria's inner harbour.

In Chilliwack the little country namesake Empress went, not with an outcry, but, with a boom.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Picture of the Week - Simon Fraser University Woodward's


SFU Woodwards © Stephen Mullock
This week I had the privilege to attending the Gaining Ground 2010 Ecological  The Power of Green Cities to Shape the Future and the plenary sessions were held at the newly opened Simon Fraser University Woodwards Wong Theatre.  I took this picture during a break and liked the composition.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Picture of the Week - Autumn Leaf


There has been a notable change in the weather and daily our deciduous forests are being transformed in their waltz into winter's slumber. In other words it is Fall.

 

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Emily Mullock Children's Book - SFU Woodwards


 A day trip to Vancouver is a relatively easy journey from the eastern Fraser Valley especially if you are carpooling with friends as my wife and I did this Sunday. Vancouver's "Word on the Street" was underway at the beautiful Vancouver Public Library and our daughter Emily was on hand to sign her new children book "Go Away Unicorn".  Do you believe in unicorns?  Well neither did Alice until one showed up at her birthday party. This is the third book Emily has illustrated and the first she has written.  It is a gem and can be found at Amazon books.


We also took in a public open house at the new SFU Woodward's Visual Arts centre and enjoyed our introduction to this "State of the Art" :) facility.  Oh, to be twenty again...




Imagine living in a lush valley where real estate prices are still affordable and cities like Vancouver are readily at hand - that is Chilliwack Fraser Cheam living.

All pictures © Stephen Mullock 2010.


Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Picture of the Week - Upon a Foggy Morn


Several times in the past couple of weeks I have awaken to a world blanketed in a deep fog as was the case this morning.  I hope this photograph captures this essence a world a little wild on the edges a country road disappearing into a profound silence.


Upon a Foggy Morn ©
The Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area is full of daily beauty imagine living here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Agassiz Fall Fair 2010


Agassiz Fall Fair Midway © 2010
The Agassiz Fall Fair is an important day on the calendars of the local Fraser Cheam people. Sure the midway opens the night before but the real excitement is on the Saturday. Maybe it is because so many people have a hand in it as a volunteer.  This Fair has been going strong since 1901 and has always required the assistance of an army of helpers.  If you do find yourself "duty-free", well, strolling around and catching up with neighbours and friends seems to be the order the day. The fair grounds are full of 4-H shows, lumberjack exhibitions, tractor pulls, midway fun, crafts but my favourite event comes from the madcap men and women of lawnmower racing. I guess people were born to test the limits of just about everything even a ride-on lawnmower.




Sure there are spills as the drivers push these ride-on lawnmowers to their limits.  It makes for some exciting viewing. Techniques vary between drivers not all are successful.






Every weekend there seems to be something wonderful happening in the Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area. Imagine living in a community like this.

All pictures © Stephen Mullock 2010 All Rights Reserved

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Picture of the Week - Fraser River Island Foggy Morning


Fraser River Island Foggy Morning ©

Fraser River Island in Half Light ©

Yesterday was a fog filled morning common this time of year and I was heading to Chilliwack when I noticed that along the Fraser River the sun had momentarily broken through the fog banks and was lighting the river in a most exceptional way.  It was quite a show.  I had to race about a bit to get these pictures in a quickly shifting light environment.  I hope that you like them. The Mount Cheam summit can be seen in the first picture.  A dreamy glow seems to come from the half light on the island in the second photograph.  The Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area is one of incredible beauty; can you imagine living here all the time?

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Picture of the Week - "chuck's service" and "long light"


"chuck's service" © Stephen Mullock 2010
This week I found this old Ford tow truck with "CHUCK'S SERVICE" painted on its' side tucked into the back corner of a 1.77 acre parcel, I am just listing for sale at $295,000.  With blackberry bushes growing through it and nature doing its best to reduce it back to a pile of rust I was fascinated by this reminder of days gone by.

As you can see the great design lines, of Ford trucks of this era, are very much evident and if this one could talk, I am sure, it would caution us that it was always "Chuck's Service" and never "Chuck Service".

"long light" © Stephen Mullock 2010
I've had this image called "long light" as my screen saver for a week and rather enjoy it. It was taken from the Annis Road area of Chilliwack looking west over our rich Fraser Valley farmland. What a place to live!

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This Old Heritage House 101


Hochalaga

One of the most gratifying things I see as a Realtor(TM) is when a old residence is purchased and transformed back into something glorious.  It's then I think "the right buyers bought this property". Such a property is the home of Greg and Lorna Mills.  This week I took a trip there to see what they had done to the old place they bought in June 2000 and to learn what lessons they might be willing to share.

Back in 1909, this two-storey house was built for the newly married Evan and Alice Probert.  Evan was helping run the nearby Bella Vista Hotel in Agassiz and Alice was teaching in the Harrison Mills, Agassiz and Rosedale communities.  An upper middle class dwelling just a little shy of 2100 square feet over two finished floors with a basement beneath it provided a comfortable home reminiscent of the Montreal and Victoria communities they had grown up in.  They would call the house "Hochalaga" a word meaning "Montreal" in the language of the Mohawk.  A stained glass window above the main entry area with this word "Hochalaga" still greets visitors to its doorstep.

Hochalaga 1909
Successive generations of Proberts would live here until 2000 trying to modernize the structure.  The house would be lifted onto a new foundation at some point, low maintenance vinyl siding would be installed, the upper balcony on the front of the house would be eliminated and the front veranda enclosed.  Still this was a house with many problems: aging heating, electrical and plumbing systems, no insulation and an ancient kitchen and mildewy bathroom.  A lot of work.  Back in 2000 I wrote this ad "Built in 1909 to celebrate a new marriage and move to Agassiz, this house is called "Hochalaga". This fine lady features 9' ceilings, original door casings, 8" baseboards, a pantry. Looking for someone to restore her".  Happily Greg and Lorna Mills responded were they wanting to be renovators?

Hochalaga 2000

When I asked Greg and Lorna why they purchased this house.  Their response was "it was the only house we could afford". You have to love their honesty.

Problems began for the Mills almost immediately the plumbing froze and then flooded the main floor from the bathroom above.  When the front porch foundation was inspected carpenter ants were discovered busy at work.  Infestations of flies dive bombed the place.  The lack of insulation meant you cooked in summer and fought drafts all winter. 

The first order of business for the Mills was to fix the plumbing and get an operational bathroom. Next the carpenter ants were dealt with. To do this the vinyl siding was removed, and, much to the delight of the new owners, the original wood shingles were revealed to be in good shape just needed a paint job.  Since that time a new heavy shingle asphalt roof has been installed, the front balcony restored, exterior trim accents added, a modern kitchen installed and room by room the house has been thoughtfully improved.  Here are the stunning results:

Hochalaga 2010

Front Room

Dining Room

Dining Room Interior positioned fireplace


Kitchen




Upstairs Bedroom

Upper Floor Bathroom

Upper Floor Bedroom

You may be wondering about the caption for this post "This Old Heritage House 101" well as it turned out the dwelling is 101 years of age and looking good for the next century.

A follow up article will talk about the lessons learned by Greg and Lorna Mills and perhaps they will help you with your old house.  It will also feature before and after pictures.

All pictures except original photograph of dwelling (cc) copyright Stephen Mullock.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.