"History isn’t a myth-making discipline, it’s a myth-busting discipline ..."

Sir Richard Evans FBA

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Looking Back

This new book containing a collection of Fred's contributions about the past of Whonnock and Ruskin to the "Looking Back" column of the Maple Ridge News, is for sale at the Whonnock post office.
5.5 x 8.5 inches, 170 pages.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Forest fires

From the MR Museum and Archives a map showing the location and years of the forest fires from  1919 to 1987. Click on image to enlarge.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Heritage Resources

This is a wonderful updated version of the 1998 Heritage Inventory. 
Of interested to anyone who wants to know more of the remnants of the past all around us. Click here. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Bell of St Paul’s now at Holy Spirit Anglican Church

On page 49 of Maple Ridge: A History of Settlement you’ll read of the (1912) improvement of the church “… by the handsome gift of a bell and belfry from the Percys….” 
Those Percys were Mary Anne (Legge) Percy (1840 – 1926) and three of her children: her daughter Ethel Langfield 1870 – 1951) and sons Percy Hugh Jocelyn (1867 – 1951) and Harry Alfred Reginald (1874 – 1962).  Mary Anne Percy was the widow of the Rev. William John Edward Percy, who died in 1876. 
The Percys came from Devon. Harry was the first to land in Canada in 1896, followed by the others in 1897. As from 1896 they were the taxpayers/owners of a quarter section (160 acres) along the west side of 272nd Street above 104th Avenue.
The Percys are all buried in the Fraser Cemetery in New Westminster. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

War Dead WW II

There is no list of those from Whonnock and Ruskin who lost their lives in the Second World War. So far I have only been able to collect the names of four from Whonnock who died in the 1940s. If you happen to know someone else not listed here please let me know:

Derwood William SMITH, 1917-1944 
Leonard Allan SCUTT, 1923-1944
Reginald Frank WILLIAMS, c 1920-1943
Mervin Clayton BOND, 1923-1944
Edward Alan SPROULE, 1919-1943

Sunday, December 4, 2016

School Bus 1946

THE WHONNOCK BUS

Riding down to Haney
We ride the Whonnock “Flier,”
No running boards, no headlights,
No motor and no tires;
No motor and no spark
Still less co-operation.
The bus won’t use good gas and oil
It runs on reputation.
We have to ride this relic
Five days in every week.
We can have a seat but prefer to stand,
It’s safer so to speak.
The seats of lath and slivers,
Are frightful to behold;
The chick-wire windows let in drafts
And boy! It’s really cold.
Long may its rust spots glitter
Long may its motor cease
Long may it run the “Junk Heap Trail”
Then forever rest in peace.


Vera Hodson 1946

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Robbery at Ruskin

It is generally believed that in 1904 Billy Miner robbed the CPR train at Silverdale and that this happened right in front of the Donatelli house at the end of today’s Donatelli Avenue. According to one story, Mrs. Donatelli  pushed the children away from the windows because she saw that the men had guns. A more exotic version tells us that she pushed the children to the floor when shots rang out. 

A newly discovered interview with Nat Scott, the train engineer of the ill-fated train, contradicts that story. Since the engineer was right there when it happened and the interview was held immediately after the train arrived in Vancouver that night the article must surely be given more credence that any other accounts of the incident. The engineer was told to stop the train first at a place out of sight of the Donatelli home, There they left the passenger cars. Then the train moved on to Ruskin where the actual robbery took place. 

Click here to read a transcript of the article about the interview published in Daily Colonist of 13 September 1904. 

Click here for the story as published on The Ormsby Review. 


Below is a copy of a map shown in the book Interred with Their Bones, Bill Miner in Canada, by the late Peter Grauer, self-published in 2006. (1) Silver Creek, shown on the map as the place where the passenger coaches were left, is actually named Jamieson Creek. The bridge across Jamieson Creek would have been where today McLean Street crosses the rail tracks. Silver Creek was the original name of today’s Silverdale Creek close to Mission and far from Silverdale. (2) The actual looting took place near Heaps mill in Ruskin. (3) From Ruskin, without any wagons attached, the engine sped away to Whonnock. Bill Miner and his friends were dropped off at “the creek just this side of Whonnock siding.” That was at Cook Creek, right at the Whonnock wharf. There they “borrowed” a rowboat to cross the Fraser and vanished in the night.