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

Sir Richard Evans FBA

Saturday, December 10, 2022


Friday, May 20, 2022

Lawn Mower Races


This small poster was kindly donated to the Whonnock Archives by Dorothy Gallagher who found it in Stanley Matthew’s former house. “Whonnock Days” or “Whonnock Day” was an annual event organized by the Whonnock Community Association since 1982. The lawnmower race continued to be part of it after 1988. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Maple Ridge – A History of Settlement

Maple Ridge – A History of Settlement was published in 1972 and the last printing was in 1989. 
Some of us seem to believe that the 1989 printing still sold today is an update from the original. Let there be no mistake: a list with a dozen or so “corrections and supplements” was added in 1975 but otherwise the content has not changed. It is still the same as that of the original of half a century ago. 
Based largely on memory rather than contemporary records  -- hard to access in those days -- the book is an interesting mix of myth and historical facts. It has been in need for a major rewrite for decades.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Ruskin Church

Ruskin Baptist Church - Photo by Bob Sheridan ca. 1972

In the summer of 1942 the Mennonite South Abbotsford  Church conducted a summer Bible school at Ruskin and 1943 started a Sunday school. In 1949 the South Abbotsford Church in combination with believers in Ruskin erected the “Ruskin Gospel Chapel” they dedicated on 11 September that year. 

In 1957 there is a handover to a Baptist group – probably associated with Mission rather than Maple Ridge. Services were probably held by visiting clergymen until 1971when John Gilchrist became pastor of the Ruskin Baptist Church. (He was not related to the pioneer family with that name). 

From 1977 the church was home of the Ruskin Gospel Church (pastor Jim Poelzer) who on his retirement in 2007 donated the church to the Maple Ridge Foursquare Church (pastors Pastor Les and Linda Warriner).

Thanks to everyone who helped me find traces of past. 

Saturday, January 8, 2022


1922 - Mrs. Jane Hamilton Pullen on the frozen Fraser River at Whonnock.
Maple Ridge Museum and Archives 

On the north shore behind Mrs. Pullen is a sawmill. Note the log ramp. This mill is probably FIRS Ltd., a sawmill listed in Wrigley’s B.C. Directory from 1919 to 1923. After the First War, Japanese settlers started clearing the higher levels of Thornhill for farming. What now is 263rd Street was once a skid way were teams of horses pulled logs cut by the Japanese to a landing on the riverbank. That is where FIRS Ltd. stood.  
It is not known who the owners of this mill were. The company was apparently not incorporated in spite of that “Ltd.” The mill’s manager was Charles Francis Wilcox, born in Haney. Were the owners Japanese? 
The next sawmill in Whonnock shown in the directory of 1926 was WHONNOCK LOGGING, incorporated a few years later as WHONNOCK LUMBER MILL LTD. by Zentaro Shin and partners. A succession of other mill owners followed over time at this location up to the present day. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Anglican Church, 1957

Left behind the church, on what is now a parking lot, is the old church hall. To the right, behind the church, the vicarage.