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

Sir Richard Evans FBA

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Arthur and Mabel Coldrick called their house on 104th Avenue “Wilmington” after the place where they had lived together in England. They had spent many years the Yukon before settling in Whonnock in the mid-1920s. Their quiet life escaped the attention of their contemporaries in Whonnock and information about these two kind people is scanty to say the least. 
We know that Arthur Coldrick joined the Whonnock Detachment of the Pacific Coast Rangers and he is on the photo of the members taken at Silverdale. The late Brian Byrnes said of him that he was a “very nice old boy, deeply interested in local history.”

Both Arthur and Mabel are buried in the Whonnock Cemetery. He died in 1952 and she three years later. Their graves are as forgotten as their lives.
Attached is a draft note about the Coldricks. If you have anything to add please send an e-mail to webmaster@whonnock.ca

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Hoax?

The photograph shows a horse tied to a lever on the Mission bridge in 1907. Allegedly the horse was used to open and close the bridge as for instance described as follows: 
The swing span opened and closed by horsepower, and the horse's name was "Charlie." The animal was harnessed to the mechanism in the centre of the swing span and walked around in circles, opening or closing the bridge as required. Charlie was stabled in a shed attached to the side of the swing span in winter and in a field on the south bank of the river in summer. Whenever a sternwheeler whistled, Charlie went to work. 

This quote is from Postcards from the Past: Edwardian Images of Greater Vancouver etc. The authors did not show this picture. It is evident that there was no space for a horse to walk around in circles. The story is repeated by other authors but, frankly, I think it was a well-staged hoax. 

Whonnock outside Whonnock

The other day I was asked to find out where a man called Henry Foster had farmed in Whonnock. 
His name appeared on the 1921 Canada Census as living in Haney. He is then 65 years of age. 
His wife, Margaret, died in 1932 in Haney. Why would Henry and his two unmarried daughters, after Margaret’s death have moved to Whonnock? He was by now an aged man. Did he move at all? 
His name did not appear in the directories as a Whonnock resident in the years following Margaret's death. But then, as from 1939, his name started showing up as a Whonnock resident in the directories.
The answer was that in 1938 rural postal delivery started from the Whonnock post office. The first rural route stretched all the way to where the Fosters lived at the north end of 234 Street in Albion. They had never moved to Whonnock. 
Before home delivery the Fosters would have picked up their mail somewhere else, but after 1938  their address became part of the mail was from Whonnock and their postal address was Whonnock. That was the reason their name was included as a resident of Whonnock in the directories.