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K am lo opS

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011

SPIRITS & INTRIGUE

A haunted house, a compelling love story and a spiritual cleansing

season of bounty

Bringing in and preserving the fruits of fall

Hitting the mother-lode

As gold prices soar, modern-day prospectors head for the hills

H o m e s | Ga r d e n s | F o o d | A r t s | P e o p l e | a n d M o r e !


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Editor’s Message

Gold fever — a habitforming obsession

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W

hen my father-in-law was alive, there was one subject that he never tired of, and that was prospecting. Like it or not, the man had gold fever. In the early ‘80s he packed up his family and headed north from Vancouver to a remote placer mining operation outside Williams Lake. They lived there for six months. The economy was in the dumps and they didn’t have much to lose, so he gave it a shot. It didn’t work out. Gold, like dreams, can slip through your fingers, but the fever burned brightly for the remainder of his life, and now that he is gone, it burns ever so steadily in his son, my husband. It wasn’t until his dad died several years ago that my husband took up shovel and pan and began exploring area creeks. But of course, shovel and pan simply weren’t enough. Eventually he had to acquire mineral title — claims — build equipment, head out into the hills and book vacation time from work in search of pay dirt. Other husbands go fishing, dirt biking, hunting. My husband hunts for another type of prize, one that doesn’t give itself up quite so easily. Like other modern day prospectors, he likes the chase and the puzzle that prospecting presents, but I suspect there’s more. I suspect he feels a connection to his dad when he’s out in those woods, much the same way a child who always went fishing with his father would feel each time he got into a boat. So I get it, and because he’s taken me out to his claims, I can truly appreciate how quickly the fever strikes and how hot it burns. It’s impossible not to feel a quick rush the moment you spot a glint of yellow in the bottom of your pan, and it’s impossible not to look around and wonder, “where’s the rest of it?” It’s a great hobby and one I hope you’ll consider trying out for a day, a week, heck, maybe a lifetime. New to this issue is freelancer Paula Kully, who spent the last year working as the community programs co-ordinator for the Western Canada Summer Games. She’s written a titillating story of love and betrayal for this issue, and I hope to have her back again soon. Also new to Currents is veteran Kamloops Daily News reporter Jason Hewlett who brings a little ghost story of his own. — Danna

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November/December 2011

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Currents events

com

K am lo o p S

A sampling of happenings in the Kamloops region NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011

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vo l u me 4

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INSIDE:

7 10 16 17 19 22 26 29 30

The Prodigy and the Architect

Chapter 1 of this haunting international love story begins in Kamloops

Cover Story: Hitting The Mother-lode

As the price of gold rises, more and more prospectors head for the hills

Calamity House

Artist finds creative inspiration living in a haunted house

Things that go Bump in the Night

Sometimes all a house needs is a darn good spiritual cleansing

Bringing in the Harvest

Master gardener reaps and learns from what she sows

Preserving the Harvest

Entrepreneur fills her red truck with jams, jellies, chutneys and more

The Gallery: Hugo Yuen

Versatile photographer making a name for himself around town

On the Home Front

Legions of local civilians wage a colossal war effort of their own

Q&A: Dressing Up, 365 Days a Year

Amber Yake interviews the owner of Pandora’s Costume Box

Catch Currents To catch Currents on the Kamloops Daily News website, go to www.kamloopsnews.ca and click on the Special Publications box. We welcome your story ideas for future issues of Currents. Drop us a line at currents@kamloopsnews.ca. Currents Magazine is published six times a year by the Special Publications Division of the Kamloops Daily News, 393 Seymour St., Kamloops, BC V2C 6P6. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Unsolicited material will not be returned and the publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material.

Phone: (250) 372-2331 Currents Contributors Writers: Amber Yake, Meghan Low, Sherry Bennett, Paula Kully, Jason Hewlett Photographers: Murray Mitchell, Keith Anderson, John O’Connor Publisher Tim Shoults Supervising Editor Mel Rothenburger Editor Danna Bach, dbach@kamloopsnews.ca Art Director Shelley Ackerman Advertising Director John Morash Special Publications Advertising Manager Kevin Dergez Advertising Sales Keshav Sharma, ksharma@kamloopsnews.ca The Daily News is a member of the Canadian Media Circulation Audit, Canadian Newspaper Association, B.C. Community Newspapers Association, and the B.C. Press Council. Published daily except Sundays and most holidays. A division of Glacier Ventures International Corp. Publications Mail Registration No. 0681

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Currents November/December 2011

FSC LOGO

2nd Annual Kamloops Writers Fair Nov. 4 & 5, The Old Courthouse Presented by the Kamloops Art Council, BC Living art and the Federation of BC Writers. Writers of all genres, both professional and emerging, are welcome. Pre-register at www.kamloopsarts.com. Music in the Round Nov. 4, 7 p.m., Irving K. Barber Centre, TRU First performance of the Kamloops Symphony Chamber Orchestra in the centre. Silent auction. Catered by TRU Culinary Arts. Tickets $100. Museum Family Fun Day Nov. 5, Kamloops Museum & Archives Head to the museum to create crafts, make friends and have fun. Basic supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring recycling and decorations. $2/child and adults are free. Parent participation required, pre-register by calling the museum. Chefs in the City Nov. 7, 6 p.m. Colombo Lodge Kamloops’s top chefs, restaurants and local wineries come together. Tickets $60/person. Burlesque Nov. 10, The Blue Grotto Each performance offers a showcase of soloists and troops. Doors open at 8 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets $5 at the door. Christmas at the Square Nov. 18 & 19, St. Andrew’s on the Square One of the best fine arts and craft shows in town. Enjoy live music, complimentary cider, relax and get some shopping done. Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For info call 250377-4232. Ian Tyson Nov. 19, Kamloops Convention Centre Country singer/songwriter Ian Tyson brings his North American Tour to Kamloops. Doors 7 p.m., 19+ show 8 p.m. Tickets $40 + HST, on sale now, www.kamloopslive.ca. Gordon Lightfoot Nov. 22, Interior Savings Centre An evening with Gordon Lightfoot starts at 8 p.m., tickets available through www.ticketmaster.ca, or by calling 250-374-9200.

On the Cover: About 1 1/2 ounces of gold found by miner-prospector D’arcy Cooper. He found the pay streak on one of his Cariboo claims. Photo by D’arcy Cooper

10th Annual Homes for the Holidays Nov. 26 Tour six private homes decked out for the holidays. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Tickets $25 available after Nov. 1 at any Kamloops or Merritt Royal Bank branch. For more events and information, visit www.kamloops.ca/events/


November/December 2011

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Currents November/December 2011

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intrigue

Prodigy Architect The

Oak Bay Archives

and the

A haunting love story

Oak Bay Archives

Rattenbury – Taken around 1924 at age 45, 10 years before he met Alma Alma as Lozanne, her musical pen-name

STORY by PAULA KULLY

M

ystery, passion, betrayal, murder, suicide — it’s the stuff movies are made of. This movie could be a murder mystery, a thriller or perhaps even a spooky horror. The story is exciting, intriguing, sad, and even a bit eerie in the retelling, and it all has its origins right here in Kamloops. Alma Victoria Clarke was born in Kamloops in 1896 — Sir Wilfrid Laurier was the Prime Minister of Canada, the Inland Cigar Factory had just been built and Kamloops had incorporated as a city only three years prior. Clarke’s step-father, Walter, owned the local newspaper, the Kamloops Standard, and her mother Elizabeth was a music teacher. Alma exhibited musical talent at an early age, which her mother cultivated. Even her teacher at St. Ann’s Academy recognized her talent and described her as, “brilliantly clever, well-adjusted and full of happiness and music.”

When Alma was six the family left Kamloops. They spent a year in Toronto, and then moved to Victoria where she became something of a child prodigy, who was pampered and celebrated. This early exposure to fame was perhaps the foundation for both her strength and weakness of charac-

ter. On one hand, her future actions are self-centered and in some instances even cruel. Yet in other regards she is heroic, compassionate — a woman before her time. Alma spent her formative years growing up between Toronto and Vancouver. ➤ November/December 2011

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Public photos

The Legislative Buildings in Victoria were Francis Rattenbury’s first major contract after coming to Canada from Leeds, England. At left, the Rattenbury House, The Villa Madeira at No. 5 Manor Rd. in Victoria, where Rattenbury and Alma lived. She became an accomplished musician and composer in both violin and piano, performing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to rave reviews. She grew into a glamorous, carefree, beauty that loved parties, wore fashionable clothes, drank cocktails and smoked in public. During her short life Alma was married three times, all with unhappy endings. However, it was her third and last marriage that brought about her tragic end. Her first husband, Caledon Robert Radclyffe Dolling was perhaps the love of her life. Had he lived, things likely would have turned out very differently for Alma, but shortly after their marriage, the First World War broke out and Dolling was killed in action two years later. Heart broken, Alma joined the French Red Cross and became an ambulance driver. She was wounded twice in the line of duty and her heroism was rewarded with France’s highest medal for gallantry, the Croix de Guerre. Her second husband, Thomas Compton Pakenham, was smitten with the lovely young widow and divorced his first wife to marry her. They moved to New York, where their son Christopher was born, however, the marriage was an abysmal failure and within two years she left Thomas, taking Christopher to Vancouver to live with her mother. Alma seemed destined to be unlucky in love, so she threw herself into her music, giving lessons and performing at concerts and parties throughout Vancouver and Victoria. At one such engagement at Victoria’s Empress Hotel, Alma met Francis Mawson Rattenbury, Victoria’s celebrated architect who designed such famous buildings 8

Currents November/December 2011

as the Empress Hotel, the B.C. legislature and the Vancouver Court House (now Art Gallery). When Rattenbury met 26-year-old Alma in 1924, he was a successful 55-year-old married man with two children. His marriage with Florence (Florrie) Nunn had long-since become a cold, resentful relationship in which each partner inhabited a separate wing of their Oak Bay house. Outside the home, their lives were completely separate, so it was easy for a relationship to develop between Rattenbury and Alma. In a letter to a friend Alma wrote of Rattenbury: “Though I had resolved, as you know, never to marry again, but to devote myself to my music . . . . Well my dear, if I don’t love him, I simply don’t know what love is.” Rattenbury was determined to have Alma but Florrie would not consent to a divorce. In an effort to convince her, he hired a moving truck to remove the furniture from their house, but as the movers were taking the furniture out the front door, Florrie and her servant were returning it through the back. His next course of action was to have the heat and electricity turned off. Still, Florrie refused to leave. His actions only incited further pity for Florrie and disdain for Rattenbury and his lover, who by this time shamelessly flaunted their affair. But then Rattenbury did the unthinkable and began entertaining Alma at his family home, even having her stay the night. Eventually, Florrie gave into the divorce. However, neither Alma nor Rattenbury anticipated the effect their actions would have on their standing in Victoria society. Even after they had

married and had a son of their own, the couple was shunned. Long-time friends avoided them, Rattenbury’s children would have nothing to do with him, the architectural community refused him any further contracts and Alma was no longer sought out to perform. With dwindling financial resources the couple, along with their son John and Alma’s son Christopher, left Victoria and settled in Bournemouth, England. Alma achieved a certain amount of success in England, where she began to record and sell her music. Rattenbury, on the other hand, found little work, and for a man who had once led such a full, industrious life this was traumatic. Additionally, the 30-year-age gap between the pair caused problems. They no longer slept together and Alma would spend the day out shopping while Rattenbury sank into an alcohol-fuelled depression. Likewise Alma began to drink heavily and there is some indication that she may have become addicted to cocaine as well. Then in September 1934, the couple decided to hire a chauffeur, a move that would have disastrous results for all involved. Eighteen-year-old George Percy Stoner came to work for the Rattenburys and within a month was moved into the spare room as Alma’s lover. On occasion they went away together, spending several nights in a London hotel while she lavished him with gifts. Oddly, Rattenbury didn’t seem to mind or truly didn’t know of the affair and was friendly with the young man. Things began to get complicated, however, when Stoner became resentful of any affection Alma showed her husband. Continued on Page 28


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Cover story

Hitting the

MOTHER-LODE

There’s gold in the hills around Kamloops. Prospectors have been searching for the elusive element for more than a century, and they’re still out there today. 10

Currents November/December 2011


e

E PHOTO BY D’ARCY COOPER

T PHOTO BY MATT DUGUAY

STORY By Danna Bach

he Interior of B.C. has always been known for its meandering creeks and raging rivers. It’s home to impressive displays of wildlife, and hectares of forests that seem untouched by man. It’s a rich countryside full of enviable natural resources. Here there are fish to catch, rangelands for cattle and trees to harvest. Underneath all that, there are minerals — copper, platinum, silver. And there is gold. There has always been gold, and it remains out there, waiting for someone to come upon it. According to the history books, gold was discovered in the Thompson region, quite probably before any other area in the province, possibly as early as 1852. But gold in the Thompson was eclipsed by other regions — the Fraser and the Cariboo. It wasn’t until years later that prospectors returned in earnest, working the Tranquille Creek area, and then moving north, through Louis Creek. Placer gold was found in the North Thompson River, Scotch Creek and Tranquille Creek (which was mined steadily for half a century), as well as many of their tributaries. Take an afternoon hike along Tranquille Creek and you’ll still see the effects of long-ago gold seekers. Take a closer look, and you’ll see the efforts of modern-day prospectors everywhere; sometimes you

PHOTO BY MATT DUGUAY

“That was pretty spectacular. I had another day where we pulled over an ounce of gold in 20 minutes.” see where they’ve been — deep gouges cutting in to the riverbank — sometimes you stumble upon them still, crouched in the creek, pan in hand, or chipping away at the bank. Prospectors have been combing these hills long before roads and technology made it a simple task, and they’re still out there today. While some of the tools they use have changed, the goal remains the same, and the fever burns just as brightly now as it did 150 years ago. ➤ November/December 2011

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Government Creek in the Cariboo, where prospector D’arcy Cooper has a large claim.

The tools & terminology Placer gold is still obtained by just a shovel and a pan, and legally, this is the only way to get the gold out of the creeks, unless you are a registered miner working your claim. Placer Mining: The most common form of mining, it involves mining gold that has been washed away from its source and deposited in small cracks, holes or sand bars in the mainstream of a river. Sniping: The practice of working or reworking bedrock in order to recover gold. Sluicing: A long, inclined trough with riffles in the bottom that provide a lodging place for heavy minerals. The most efficient method of recovering placer gold Matt Duguay is one local prospector who admits to being touched by gold fever. It’s in his blood, he says. In fact, Duguay, who lives in Cache Creek with his wife and young daughter, says his earliest memory is a golden one. “My father’s been mining all his life. I can remember doing it at three years old, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” he says, admitting that it meant for an unconventional upbringing. “I remember him taking me out and showing me how to read the creek and how to read the old river channel. Trial and error — that’s how he got into it, and he just fell in love.” Last year, recently laid off from his job at a mill and with no prospects 12

Currents November/December 2011

in a mining operation after it has been determined by testing that the ground merits mining. Highbanker: A sluice box with mobility. Instead of being put right in the creek like a sluice, the highbanker uses a water pump to transport the water into higher and sometimes richer placer reserves. Mother-lode: Where the gold is trapped inside veins of quartz on mountainsides. The erosion of the land causes the gold to break away from this source and eventually wash down into the river. Taken from The Guide to Gold Panning in British Columbia by N.L. Barlee. Canada West Publications, March 1980. Info from: www.prospectorsparadise.com on the horizon, Duguay took what he knew best and decided to try and make a living out of it. He bought a dry suit and all the gear he’d need for winter, and went up the Thompson River, hand sniping. “I researched all the maps and mining records and tried to go where the Chinese had missed. The Chinese were famous for mining areas out, so I pretty much went in there with a dry suit, goggles and a snorkel.” And it paid off. Duguay found a halfounce of gold in his first day out. But that wasn’t his best day. His best day was on a different claim (he won’t say which), where he found a 1.8-ounce nugget. “That was pretty spectacular. I had

another day where we pulled over an ounce of gold in 20 minutes. Some of the places I work are spotty, but when you hit a nice little pocket it can be really rich.” Duguay is a registered gold miner, meaning he can stake claims throughout British Columbia, and has several in and around Kamloops, as well as through the Cariboo. Asked whether he ever had difficulty parting with his gold, Duguay laughs. “When I was doing it for a living I had to sell as fast as I could get it to pay bills. The best month I ever had was last November. I did over $5,000 in one month, and for panning, that’s pretty good.” Trouble is, he says, he was never again able to replicate that success. These days he’s back working — this time at an open-pit basalt mine near Ashcroft — but he’s still prospecting every chance he gets. For Duguay it’s as much about the history as it is about striking it rich. “I like walking in the footsteps of the miners I’ve researched. My dad used to have claims here, and it’s really neat now I’ll be in the middle of the bush and find one of my dad’s old claim posts. I especially cherish that now because he passed away a few years ago. “It’s good therapy. He was there, and now I am, doing something that he loved to do.” D’arcy Cooper was also drawn to the allure of gold, more because of the puzzle it presented than the expectation of instant riches. Cooper, who is based in Prince George and has claims throughout the Cariboo, has been eyeing up hills and valleys around B.C. since he was a kid — no older than 13 — but his family tried to temper his enthusiasm. “My parents and some other elders were saying there was no gold left. I think they were more or less trying to keep me in school and keep my head out of the clouds,” Cooper says, but that only lasted so long. By the time he was 19, Cooper was hooked. “I talked to an older gentleman who said there’s lots of gold left in the hills. Only two per cent of the gold has actually been taken. People have taken the easy stuff.” So he went, got a pan, and started ➤


“It’s like stepping back in time, getting away from modern society. You’re yourself in the wilderness, and it’s a little humbling.”

D’arcy Cooper shovels material into a high banker. He makes and sells mining equipment through his company Boiler Box Mining. looking for the gold that had been missed. These days, with the price of gold hovering around $1,800 per ounce, it’s not difficult to see the allure of finding that buried treasure. Shows like the Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush Alaska coupled with an economic slowdown in the United States has only added more heat to the fever. Cooper has been prospecting and mining full time for the past 14 years, but he wouldn’t recommend it as a career option. “You’ve got to look at it as a hobby and an interest when you’re getting started,” he says, and if anyone asks how to get into it full time, Cooper’s answer is always the same: “Look for another job.” “If you are single and you don’t have a family to take care of, even if you don’t make it, it will be an adventure — something to look back on as you get older. “Take care of your responsibilities and gradually build your way up. Mining is a pretty risky game. More people fail than make it.” Cooper is making it. Not only does he have several claims throughout the Cariboo, he also sells mining equipment — mainly high bankers — through his company Boiler Box Mining. That side of his business established as a result of his participation in various online gold mining forums. “I started building my own equipment and sharing it online,” he says. At

one point, after being shuffled around within the forest industry, he invested his last bit of money into creating his equipment, and launched Boiler Box. So far it’s been a positive move. These days he’s shipping orders across Canada, the U.S. and overseas. Demand for his product goes up every time the price of gold jumps, he says. “There’s a lot more people interested in it,” he says, adding, however, that he’s not looking to get rich quick. “I always try to go the extra mile. I’ll talk to (clients) and find out about the general area they’re going, and the type of gold they’re after and custom make it.” But if he does strike it rich and find that perfect vein? “I’d give it all to the wife and start it all over again. I’d start a new quest.” “I’d just like to make a living at it. I like it. It’s like stepping back in time, getting away from modern society. You’re yourself in the wilderness, and it’s a little humbling.” Prospecting, he says, “is like a quest to prove yourself — to prove you can handle the bush and maybe make a bit of a living at it. There’s always the dream of striking it rich, but if you do hit the mother-lode, it almost takes the hunt out of it.” The hunt for gold is unlike anything else. It’s the ultimate search for buried treasure. “You’re piecing a puzzle together and the puzzle is so old — from the beginning of the days of the Earth — it’s a

game of Pick-Up Sticks, where all the old channels run across all the old valleys and you’re trying to solve the puzzle. The gold is in the old channels, and the old channels don’t give themselves up easily.” But how to find those channels? How to stake that claim? Both Duguay and Cooper agree that there’s no magic to it. Finding the gold comes down to research and experience, and the fastest way to lose money, says Cooper, is to go in with machines before you’ve proven your claim true. “The big thing is acquiring the actual ground to work on,” he says. “You’ve got to sample your ground to prove to yourself that the gold is there. It’s very easy to get wound up in the gold fever, it’s addicting,” he says, but it’s not smart. Cooper spends far more time poring over old maps and documents available through the Ministry of Energy and Mines than he does on the ground, shovel in hand. “I read reports, talk to other people, hear rumours. Generally people won’t give up exact locations, but you have to take them and cross examine your own studies to figure out the direction you need to go.” Staking claims in B.C. has gotten easier at the same time it’s gotten more frustrating for some old-school prospectors. The province moved to an online staking system back in 2005, which means that prospectors no longer have to be physically on a claim to stake it. According to Dave Lefebure, the province’s chief geologist, this was the first significant change made to acquiring mineral titles in 150 years, and it was done because of the advent of modern technology (global positioning satellites), which make it possible to determine your specific location without the need for claim posts, and also to open up more of the province for exploration. ➤ November/December 2011

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Above, D’arcy Cooper in front of his “home away from home.” The camp is central to a claim of this size, and it provides a base for his sampling. Right, some of Cooper’s gold: “It’s kind of mesmerizing, like staring into a fire.” “People can stake (a claim) online. They know where it is on a map, and they can use a GPS to make sure they’re in the right area,” says Lefebure. This makes it extremely inexpensive to stake a claim, as the prospector never has

to set foot on the land, but it did remove an advantage for prospectors who were in the area, on the ground. In the end, however, there is more tenure held now, as a result of this change, than there ever had been before. Today, says Lefebure, about

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Currents November/December 2011

To find out more about becoming a registered free miner or staking claims in B.C. visit www.mtonline.gov.bc.ca.

15 per cent of the province has mineral tenure and placer claims on it. “It’s a big province. There are lots of areas where we don’t understand the mineral potential on it, but we’re in a mining boom so that (15 per cent) would be a fairly high number.” But Cooper suggests that due to the price of gold, many people are picking up claims for speculation purposes, rather than any real desire to explore the land’s mineral potential. “People are staking claims just to resell them.” Another negative side effect to the rising price of gold can be found in claim jumpers — the name given to prospectors who encroach on claims that don’t belong to them. “There’s a big surge in claim jumpers, which is unfortunate,” says Duguay, who says that as a result, many of the miners that he knows are setting up trail cameras to ward off potential thieves. When Cooper stakes a claim he samples, determines if the value is there and whether it will be economical to get machines into an area.

“If I figure the gold is going to be too hard to get at, I just drop (the claim) and let someone else have it.” One must be extremely strategic when moving from placer mining to machine mining. “You have to pull permits and bonds, put in a road. That’s why I sample so heavily. I don’t want to totally strip an area,” he says, adding that he much prefers to determine where the good value is, open up a small area and leave the rest. Because he’s such an experienced prospector, and because he’s so active in online forums and on YouTube, Cooper is peppered with questions from people out hunting for riches. “I get tons of emails all the time from people wanting to know where to prospect. They want me to draw ‘X’ on a map, but I’ve been doing it for years, and it don’t come easy,” he says, laughing. But it’s a great hobby, and one Cooper is happy to promote, provided you keep a bit of perspective. “I like to get people out of the cities and thinking more about the old ways. The more you get out into the wilderness, the more grounded you become.”


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Homes Homes

Calamity House Fame Mackney and her boyfriend want to live happily ever after in their architecturally unique home in the Nicola Valley. There’s just one problem — the house is haunted. 16

Currents November/December 2011

story By MEGHAN LOw Photos by John O’Connor

W

hen you first walk up to the famed Calamity House, you’ll notice rich architecture and sunbeams casting shadows through the large trees covering the yard. You’ll notice the open porch with wide columns — perfect for relaxing on a summer’s day. This is where Fame Mackney has lived for more than a year, and she loves it. It’s where she met her boyfriend and fell in love,


onnor

and it’s where she hopes to live happily ever after. But there’s just one catch to this story — the house they live in is haunted. Mackney had heard the stories of Calamity House before moving in, but didn’t think much of it. The house, built in 1915, is an official Thompson-Nicola Valley Heritage site and is as rich with history as it is with stunning features and beautiful views. While Mackney loves discussing the history of the home, the home almost seems to speak for itself. There’s the antique doorbell, a claw foot bathtub and narrow door frames with solid oak edging — all of which speak volumes of the house and the time in which it was built. Even if you didn’t notice the heritage plaque on the porch column, it wouldn’t surprise you to find out the house is riddled with stories from the past. “The house itself has a history of a doctor and his wife and their special needs son, and rumour has it (the doctor) murdered (his wife) by pushing her down the stairs. Afterwards, apparently, he also murdered his special needs son — they figured an overdose. Nothing was ever proved, nothing ever went to court, but that was sort of the local belief,” Mackney says. “People thought it was kind of unusual that a doctor could have a son that would overdose. It didn’t help that he actually did have court proceedings against him for selling heroin out of the house itself. That, I do believe, he got a slap on the wrist for,” says Mackney, who has read stories about the house that she checked out of her local library. Though friends urged her not to move in, Mackney went anyway, and she had a welcome reception, and not just from her earthly neighbours. “When I first moved in I was shuffling my stuff into the house, I had my stereo and I plugged it in and it was off,” she says. As she continued hauling boxes up the stairs, the stereo turned itself on and started blasting The Who song Magic Bus. ➤

Florence Amundson of Mystic Dreams does a home cleansing for owner Dodie Goldney, background, to bring positive energy, love and light into her home.

Taking the fear from things that go bump in the night STORY By JASON HEWLETT | PHOTOS BY KEITH ANDERSON

S

ometimes that chill in the basement isn’t just a draft and the creaking floorboards aren’t the house settling. Sometimes, when it feels like someone or something is watching, there really is, but it isn’t the family pet hiding in the shadows of the bedroom closet. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s a ghost. Living with a ghost isn’t easy, and admitting the house is haunted to a friend, neighbour or co-worker can just make things worse. Fortunately, there is someone turn to, even in Kamloops. But Mystic Dreams owner Florence Amundson and colleague Doug Olson don’t consider themselves ghost hunters or ghost busters. And the work they do in a person’s home can be done with or without the spirits. “A good cleansing makes that spiritual connection between the people who live there and where they are living,” said Olson, “That in itself helps improve the positive energy and overall feeling of the place.” Using spiritual water from Peru, a

Cleansing tools include rattle, feather, smudge stick and Kananga water and palo santo, a spiritual oil, both from Peru. rattle, smudge and a hawk feather, Amundson performs a ritual that promotes good energy and drives negative energy out. There have been times when she’s been asked to cleanse a home of a spirit that has troubled or frightened the occupants, she said Amundson has performed such a cleanse for ➤ November/December 2011

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Artist finds house source of inspiration “I thought that was an interesting welcome,” laughs Mackney. Since then, she’s seen beds shake and heard what sounded like a child running across the roof. Appliances turn on and off by themselves, lights flicker, taps constantly drip and batteries have a tendency to die quickly. All of these would be reasons enough to get spooked, but there’s more. Mackney recalls being woken one night by the incessant meowing of her cat near the home’s entryway. She got up to investigate, went to the top of the stairs and looked down. “As my gaze shifted from the front door to the bottom of the stairs that’s when I got a bit of a shock. I saw this elderly man standing at the bottom of the stairs staring up at me and I was looking down into his face.” After poring through newspapers and seeing a photo she discovered the elderly man was the doctor who used to live in the home. “It was the same face, so I knew who it was. It kind of gave me the willies.” These are the sort of tales that would send most tenants running, but not Mackney. Then again, she’s not just any tenant, a fact of which she’s proud. “Most tenants that live in the upstairs don’t last here longer than six months and then they move out. I’ve been here longer than that and I kind of feel like whatever is going on here we’ve got some sort of agreement, they’re okay with me, I’m okay with them.” As an artist the whole experience has benefited Mackney creatively, and she finds the house to be a source of inspiration. Of course Mackney is well aware that others might be skeptical about the paranormal activity of the Calamity House, but she doesn’t take offence. “Skepticism is a very good, healthy thing — unless it’s happening to you personally it would be probably a little bit silly to not be skeptical.” For now, Mackney is content to spend her days with a few ghostly companions. “I almost think of it as I have a roommate or roommates that don’t eat much — they don’t pay rent either, but that’s okay — and we all kind of get along,” she says, laughing. And besides, she completely understands the ghosts’ unwillingness to depart. “I love this house so much that if I were to die, I would come back and haunt it because it is absolutely amazing. It’s fabulous.” 18

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‘It’s important that you go in with a pure heart’ a handful of Kamloops residents since she opened her mysticthemed store on Tranquille Road three years ago. She recently cleansed Dodie Goldney’s Tranquille Road apartment. Goldney wasn’t troubled by spirits, although she’s had her share of what she’s sure were paranormal encounters in the home during her 15 years there. Goldney has, however, had some sad times and bad times and wanted to improve the overall mood of the place, which Amundson was only too happy to do. “It’s a great idea to do a house cleanse every once in a while,” said Amundson. “You’ll notice when it’s done that there’s a lightness in the air and more energy.” First Amundson grounds herself. As she explains it, “It’s like having the string of your kite grounded.” To do this, she lets a few deep breaths in and out then prays to what she calls the white light, which is used to help her work from a place of universal love. “I have to make sure I am not going through my mind or have residue from the day,” said Amundson. Amundson prefers to involve the homeowner in the cleanse. By doing so, it allows the homeowner to take control of the situation and, in the case of a haunting, his or her home. She asked Goldney to splash the water, which is spiritually effective. The rattle shakes up the energy and the feather moves smoke from the smudge. The combined elements drive negative energy from the home. Amundson used the feather to spread the smudge smoke. She moved across the floor and up the wall of Goldney’s living

room and continued the motion along all four walls. Then she moved into the kitchen and down the hallways to the bedrooms. It’s important to cover the whole home, she said. Not one corner can be left undisturbed. Goldney walked behind her and sprinkled the water. A doorway and window were left open to allow the bad energy to leave the home. “It’s like a spring cleaning of the whole place,” said Amundson. “I’m thinking about good things for you, blessings for you.” “My house is a happy place,” Goldney said. It took several minutes to cleanse the small apartment. Amundson and Goldney finished in front of the patio door, where Amundson explained that the final step is very important. She can’t just think the bad energy away, she has to grab it and throw it out, she said. The ethereal plane where energy and spirits reside is as solid as ours, and the bad can physically be pushed out. To do that, she made a sweeping gesture as if pushing the energy out the door with a broom. “Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh,” she said loudly. Then she hugged Goldney and proclaimed the apartment clean. Goldney said the space felt lighter and happier. The cleanse would be performed no differently if she were trying the rid the home of a troublesome spirit, said Amundson. Be it ghosts or bad feelings, a positive attitude is the key to success. “It’s important that you go in with a pure heart,” she said. To learn more about house cleansing contact Amundson at 250-554-8770.


gardens

Bringing in the harvest Master gardener reaps and learns from what she sows Story By danna bach Photos by murray mitchell

T

here’s nothing quite as satisfying as going through your garden in the fall, reaping what you’ve sown. It’s the best time of year for those with a vegetable garden — it’s what they’ve been working toward, and it’s what makes all those calluses worthwhile. But though it might be rewarding, it can also be daunting. For the committed gardeners — the ones who have spent most of their waking hours prowling through their plants, pulling weeds, thinning carrots — fall is when they get to appreciate all that they’ve accomplished. But they don’t get to sit back and relax. No, this time of year might be the most rewarding, but it’s also one

of the most taxing. Bringing in the harvest is a lot of work. Take, for example, the sprawling vegetable garden belonging to master gardener Ann Sutherland. Sutherland owns a half-acre piece of property along the South Thompson River. While her husband spends the better part of his day inside his sizeable workshop, she paces through her garden, pinching off cucumbers to bring into the house for supper and pulling tomatoes off the vine in record numbers. Sutherland refers to herself as “an original homesteader.” She and her husband moved from Saskatchewan to Kamloops in 1972, and moved out to their property in 1980, where they built the house in which they live. After Sutherland finished paid work (“I don’t say retired. You say you’re retired and people think you

can’t hear too well”), she enrolled in the horticulture program at Thompson Rivers University. Ten years later, she completed her master gardener’s certification. Despite her vast gardening knowledge, Sutherland is still intent on learning. Each year she plants something different, something new. This year she tried out several varieties of Heritage tomatoes, just to see how they’d fare. This garden is her labour of love. Each spring she spends up to five hours a day outside, tending to it. The vegetable garden is ringed by a thick wall of flowers, bees busily dashing between her dahlias, lending November/December 2011

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On previous page Ann Sutherland picks a cucumber fresh from her garden. Above, one of her many tomato plants, and at right, kohlrabi and broccoli. Sutherland numbers her raised beds to help plan crop rotation the next spring. a bit of a hum to the early September air. Beyond those flowers, Sutherland has planted rows upon rows of vegetables inside large, numbered raised beds. The beds are numbered so she knows to rotate crops annually. Thriving in her garden you’ll find potatoes and leeks, broccoli and celeriac. There are carrots and beets, peppers and lettuce. One whole bed sports heads of silly-looking kohlrabi, while ordinary looking cucumbers take up residence in another. And then there are her tomatoes — row upon row, and of too many varieties to name — all of which she starts from seed. Though September was glorious, sunny and hot, Sutherland knew that in just a few short weeks — maybe less — she’d be clearing out her garden, and what she doesn’t give away to lucky friends and hungry-looking writers, she’ll store for the winter. But how to store, and where? And if, like Sutherland your thumb is green and your haul is plentiful, is there any possible way of storing your goods to make them last the winter through? She says yes, and the trick is in her cold cellar. Sure, not every gardener is lucky enough to have a cold cellar, but there are ways to keep your veggies cool without filling up the fridge. 20

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While not huge, the cellar is practical, situated underneath her husband’s workshop. To get to it, one must unlatch the lid and climb down several steps into the gloom before pulling on the light bulb. Inside there are three rows of shelves, which on this day sit empty, waiting for the 2011 harvest. This cold cellar will house her kohlrabi, which she’ll pack in bins inside a six-inch layer of peat moss. It will house her carrots, potatoes and leeks. She tried to store her onions here, braiding them and hanging them from nails in the ceiling, but the humidity is too high. By the time she’s done, the cold cellar will be filled to bursting; the shelves will be crammed as will be the floor. And when she’s not packing things in peat moss and hauling them down to the cellar, she’s in the house, chop-

ping up tomatoes and tossing them in freezer bags. She’s got an extra freezer for just such a purpose. She’ll freeze her pears, so as to make jam in January, and she’ll cut up leeks and freeze them, too, making leek and potato soup an easy wintertime meal. Bucket pickles are a favourite in her house — albeit, mostly because they have an extra refrigerator — and she’ll pickle beets to munch on year-round. By the time November rolls around, Sutherland should be able to relax, sit back, and begin planning what to plant next year.


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Do you have 10 hours a month to spare? Partner with us for a safe community. If you have some free time during the week, volunteer with our Speed Watch program. Speed Watch is designed to educate drivers and reduce incidents of speeding. It operates Monday to Friday, during the day. Are you a night owl that likes to be out on Friday and Saturday nights? Assist the RCMP by volunteering with our Citizens on Patrol program. Patrol neighbourhoods, recover stolen vehicles and act as additional eyes and ears for the police. Both these programs require an RCMP Reliability Status which means an in-depth screening process prior to joining our volunteer team. Call 828-3818 or visit our website www.kamloops./communitysafety to find out more. November/December 2011

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FOOD

Preserving the Harvest

P

eople have been making jams and jellies for hundreds of years, and while it’s a process that looks tricky to a spectator, those who do it year after year know how truly simple and delicious it can be. Connie Orr has been preserving fruits and vegetables for nearly four years. Always an avid cook, she struggled to find a niche for herself after moving to the North Shuswap from Port Coquitlam. Orr found herself searching for a new career after spending 18 years working as a marketing specialist. Her company was sold, and she found herself unemployed. It was stressful at the time, she says, but today she sees it as a blessing. “It gave me an opportunity to learn the skill and to learn a lot more abut preserving and canning.” “I have a huge passion for cooking, and when friends and family were 22

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Red Truck Foods and Catering owner Connie Orr holds a jar of her Smokey Blues Dry Rub and the Orange, Pepper & Apricot Chutney, one of the specialty chutneys, mustards, spice blends, BBQ sauces, jams, fruits-in-liqueurs and other delectables she makes and sells.

Story By danna bach Photos by KEITH ANDERSON coming here, I started making chutneys and serving them over Brie — the idea was spawned and I started to prepare some preserves.” Red Truck Catering was born (yes, she actually does drive a big red truck), and during the spring, summer and fall Orr sells her gourmet chutneys, mustards, spice blends, barbecue sauces and jams at five farmer’s markets each week. “Every other spare moment I’m in the kitchen making products.” Because she doesn’t have the time to grow all her own produce as well as prepare her own preserves, Orr pur-

chases as much as possible from local producers. Orr acquires the bulk of the produce she needs when the fruit and vegetables are in season, and then freezes it to make it into jam and chutneys throughout the fall and winter. Her own foray into making jam started simply, with a berry freezer jam, and then developed from there. That’s the same advice she’d give others looking to try their hands at making preserves. People buy her products because they’re delicious. They’re delicious, she says, because “they give you the op-


Apple Carrot Chutney Ingredients: 3 cups diced apples, peeled & cored 2 cups carrots, grated 1¼ cups brown sugar ¾ cup cider vinegar ½ cup raisins ¼ cup fresh minced ginger ½ tsp allspice ½ tsp nutmeg Rind & juice of 1 orange portunity to enjoy the food at the height of its flavour, all year long.” She often hears from customers who used to make preserves but stopped due to time constraints, or from people who would love to start making them, but are intimidated by the process. “If anyone can find the opportunity and time to make their own preserves, they should do it. Their family will love it, and they will taste the difference. There’s no going back when you know that what you make at home tops anything else.”

Her rule of thumb when starting to make preserves is to start simple, and to start with a jam that allows you to pick your own fruit. “It gives you a sense of it being totally hands-on.” There are plenty of great books on the market about making preserves, and the Internet, specifically YouTube, is a great resource for beginner canners. Once you’ve perfected the simple jams, then it’s time to experiment, which is something that Orr continues to do to this day.

Directions: Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large pot, turn down heat and simmer for 45 min – 1 hour, stirring frequently. Ladle into hot sterilized jars & process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Delicious with pork dishes, over rice or served with sharp cheddar cheese. Yield: 4-5 cups

Presentation:

Netherlands, Belgium & Paris featuring historic Bruges & Floriade 2012 with Local Tour Host - Mr. Rae Wilson

Date: Thursday, Dec. 1 Time: 7:00pm Location: Maritime Travel 500 Notre Dame Drive, Columbia Square RSVP by Monday, Nov. 28 Tel: 778-471-5619 kamloops@maritimetravel.ca Guest Speakers: Tom McLean

Highlights... • Amsterdam • Candlelight Cruise • Floriade • Hortus Botanicus Brussels • Bruges • Paris • Giverny • Eiffel Tower Dinner • Seine River Cruise From Kamloops Dbl. Per Person: $4,599* *Terms and conditions apply Prices from other cities also available.

* Terms & conditions apply Back Row (L-R):

Doreen Cook, Rhonda Kopp, Stacey Colnar, Cindy Peever Front Row (L-R):

Gina Regush, Barb Haines, Rose Tomlinson

Drop by and let the familiar faces at Maritime Travel help you plan your next vacation.

Columbia Square Square, 500 Notre N Dame

778-471-5619

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HBC credit cards are accepted and reward points awarded for all travel purchases.

Maritime Travel has been operating since 1949, with 93 locations nationwide • www.maritimetravel.ca November/December 2011

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KAMLOOPS SONIC CLEANERS 6.00x45.0 607999 KD08

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RIC’S GRILL @ SHERATON HO 6.00x45.0 607966 KD08

Ric’s Mediterranean Grill and Ric’s Grill is a classy and refined choice. We provide the best pasta, steak, chicken, ribs and fresh fish dishes Kamloops has to offer. DOWNTOWN ~ 227 VICTORIA STREET ~ 250-372-7771 FOUR POINTS HOTEL, ABERDEEN ~ 250-377-3113

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Treat yourself to the unique and savory flavors of Mongolian Cuisine. Fresh, natural food grilled to perfection every time.

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The Gallery

Mitesh Patel/MP Productions

H UGO YUEN

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O

riginally from White Rock, Hugo Yuen made the move to Kamloops to establish his now flourishing career in photography. Always having a keen interest in the arts, Yuen tried his hand in drawing, 3D art, and various other mediums, but found the camera was the best fit. He chose this medium as the focus of his degree early on, during the first year of his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Thompson Rivers University. Now as a fourth year student, Yuen’s career as a photographer has come a long way in a short period of time. Working with a variety of non-profit and commercial clients throughout the community, he has earned a positive reputation with his ability to shoot in a variety of styles. His work has been featured in magazines and newspapers as well as several commercial campaigns for an ever-widening list of clients. Yuen held a position as the photo editor for the Omega Newspaper for one year. He enjoyed freelancing for Kamloops This Week and now holds a part-time position as a photographer for the Kamloops Daily News. In his free time, when he’s not commissioned to take photographs, Yuen’s most avid hobby is in action sports photography. “I find a thrill in the fast-paced and always changing environment.”


Previous page, New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in Hong Kong: Bus stops for the hundreds trying to get to the harbour for one of the most spectacular light shows in the world. This page: Getting Air: Matt Russo, up and coming professional mountain biker, hits jumps at the Kamloops Bike Ranch. Leap for Gold: Charles Judson, 65, completes during the World Masters Championships. Buskerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Showdown: Claire Lindros, Martina Schnelle and Sabrina Griffin of Blackmoon Dance Company perform during a downtown festival. Belting it Out: Singer David Harder of local band Long Hard Haze performs at The Loft on Victoria Street.

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Toxic jealousy, drunken depression and addictions come to a tragic head

KAMLOOPS’ BEST ITALIAN EXPERIENCE

Continued from Page 8 Six months after Stoner came to work for the Rattenburys, the toxic combination of his jealous infatuation, Rattenbury’s drunken depression and Alma’s addictions came to a final, tragic head on March 24, 1935. The day before, Francis and Alma had decided to go away and spend the night with a friend and potential business partner. George was consumed with jealousy at the thought of Alma going away for a night and sleeping with Rattenbury. She was eventually able to calm him and assure him that they would have separate bedrooms. At 9:30 that evening Alma left her husband in his study and went to pack for the next day. She then went to bed and shortly after was joined by Stoner. Around 10:30 p.m. Alma heard groans from downstairs and knew that something was wrong. She went downstairs and found Francis slumped over in his chair, blood dripping from his head. At first glance she thought he had tripped and hit his head. But upon

28

further investigation she realized the extent of his wounds. A doctor was called and Rattenbury was taken to the hospital where he died from severe head injuries. Alma and George were arrested. The highly publicized trial was the biggest news to hit British papers since the sinking of the Titanic. Although there still remain questions as to who truly committed the murder, Alma was released and Stoner sentenced to hang. Initially Alma admitted to having hit her husband with a mallet because he had dared her and she could no longer stand his threats of suicide. But during the trial she admitted she was protecting Stoner who in a jealous rage had ended poor Francis’ life. A few days after Stoner’s sentencing Alma, heart-broken, walked to the edge of the River Avon where she repeatedly plunged a knife into her heart, her body falling into the river. The following day British headlines once again reported the shocking

news of her suicide. She was only 39 years old. Public outcry over Stoner’s sentencing led to the collection of 350,000 signatures. People sympathized with the young man, believing he had been seduced into committing the murder. In the end his sentence was reduced and he was released after serving just seven years. If it is true that ghosts walk the earth because of a broken heart or a restless spirit, the tragedy of Alma Rattenbury’s life makes you wonder if on certain nights, you might not catch a glimpse of her standing on the riverbank along the River Avon, where she last stood before taking her own life. Or perhaps her ghost still walks the streets of Kamloops, the city in which she was born. NOTE: Both of Alma’s sons went on to lead happy family lives and successful professional careers. Francis and Alma’s son John followed in his father’s footsteps as an architect. He worked with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesen West.

provides its clientele with some of the best home made meals and largest portions in the interior of beautiful British Columbia. Nestled in the Pacific Host Inn and Suites, Vittorio’s has garnered the reputation as being one of the most elite restaurants in Kamloops. Recently Vittorio’s was approved with the honor of becoming a AAA dining facility for the fifth consecutive year, exemplifying exceptional service, a warm inviting atmosphere and a full array of meals for all appetites. In addition, Vittorio’s was named Kamloops’ BEST Italian Restaurant. From an extensive variety of pastas, pizzas, steaks and seafood, Vittorio’s is simply the best. This classy restaurant offers fine dining with a casual ambience and a warm and friendly welcome. Perfect for Business meetings or simply getting together with friends or loved ones for a great night out. Vittorio’s is there to accommodate your needs. Vittorio’s is quite simply a Great Place to Meet and a Dynamic Place to Eat. Our policy is a simple belief, COME HUNGRY AND LEAVE FULL. Vittorio’s Banquet facilities are available for any function you may have, we can accommodate up to 160 people. Again our Chefs and Staff are readily available to make sure that your Conference, Wedding or any social event Catered by Vittorio’s is nothing less than perfect.

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If you are staying for the night or simply seeking an exceptional night out, Vittorio’s will make your evening complete!

1820 Rogers Place

(across from Comfort Inn)

Call 250-851-2112 for Reservations


History

Kamloops Museum & Archives

ON THE HOME FRONT

Red Cross Society workroom in 1940. The Kamloops Branch of the Red Cross made major contributions to local Second World War efforts through their international aid fundraising campaigns, instruction of nursing classes and leadership in acting as the central agency for the instruction and distribution of locally sewn soldiers’ uniforms.

Miss Hannah Forsyth of Merritt lovingly crafted 485 sweaters for the boys overseas. citizens collected 1.3 million pounds of salvage for the National War Service’s Salvage program — the equivalent of 210 pounds for every person living in the city. Included in the roster of coveted salvage items was kitchen fat. With three pounds of fat yielding enough glycerine to produce a pound of gunpowder, Kamloops’ housewives were happy to learn that the 19,000 pounds they deposited in local butcher shop donation bins went on to produce 6,330 pounds of the explosive. And like foodstuffs and gasoline, fabric too became a precious commodity during wartime, when rationing reigned supreme. Made popular during the 1920s, the

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trouser cuff had become a staple of men’s attire. But in 1942, when local men’s clothing retailers received bulletins from Canada’s clothing administration banning cuffs on wool trousers, the trendy fold made a quick exit from the city. But from rationing was born creativity, and a long-standing fashion trend. A week after cuffs were prohibited, 40 lads from Kam High took fabric conservation to a new level by trading in their trousers for shorts; not just preserving precious cloth, but legitimizing an article of clothing better suited for the region’s sultry climate. And while war efforts were very much a collaborative affair, the honour of most prodigious individual effort must go to Miss Hannah Forsyth of Merritt. Clicking her knitting needles for the tune of 15,000 hours, Forsyth lovingly crafted 485 sweaters for the boys overseas. Information in article obtained from Inland Sentinel articles.

new origins FUN childrens

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F

rom the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, to when the allied victory signal sounded at Riverside Park on May 7, 1945, legions of gallant soldiers, sailors and airmen departed the city to lend a hand in the Battle for Freedom. Though battles were fought abroad, civilians on the home front spared no energy in engaging in an all-out war effort of their own. In just one of many international aid campaigns, local civilians raised enough money to purchase 60,000 quarts of milk for the Milk for Britain Campaign — a national Kinsmen Club campaign that furnished milk for children affected by bombings in Europe. When not stuffing parcels with chocolate bars and cigarettes for the boys in the RCAF Moose Squadron, or patronizing Red Cross fundraisers to help purchase emergency supplies for war refugees, area residents scoured attics and garages in search of valuable scrap metal, paper, rags, rubber, bottles and glass. From 1941 through 1945, Kamloops

look

story By Sherry Bennett

curious amuse

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Q&A with Marian Truscott, owner/manager OF PANDORA’S COSTUME BOX

story By amber yake

H

ow did you get into the costume making business? It started when I became involved with Stage North Theatre when I lived in Fort St. John but I’ve always made my costumes and I’ve been sewing since I was a child. Aside from Halloween, what is the busiest time of year for you? Halloween is definitely the busiest and the next busiest would probably be Christmas. We have lots of Santa and elf suits. Most people don’t realize that we do rent stuff year round and for all kinds of occasions. What kinds of occasions do people rent costumes for? Birthdays, anniversaries and murder-mystery parties to name a few. We’ve also seen lots of theme weddings this year and sometimes businesses will rent them for promotions. What was the most challenging costume you ever made? I made a set of lizard costumes once without seeing the people who would be wearing them and without any fittings. I was sent the measurements and had to create the costumes based solely on those. They also had scales all over them and each scale was individually sewed on, that was a lot of work. What was the most memorable costume you ever made? I made a medieval knight costume that has hundreds of fender washers riveted to it. It took three of us almost a 30

Currents November/December 2011

Keith Anderson/The Daily News

Dress up, 365 days a year Pandora’s Costume Box owner Marian Truscott at 753 Victoria Street. In photo Truscott is dressed as a 1920’s Flapper. At right, assistant Amy Baskin dressed as a medieval knight. week to pound all the washers on. On average it takes as little as a couple of hours or as much as a couple of days to make a costume so this costume took a really long time. What is your favourite kind of costume to design and create? I like to build intricate historical costumes. Elizabethan, medieval knight, 1950s hula skirts, pretty much anything time-based. What is a timeless costume that you’ve seen requested again and again through the years? Superheroes never go out of vogue with adults. The superhero costumes reserve early for Halloween every year. What are you going to be for Halloween? I’m usually whatever is left on the rack; last year and the year before I was a witch. My business cards say the costume witch on them so I’m usually some form of a witch. Why do you think all women’s costumes seem to have “sexy” in the name? Can’t women just be nurses or cats without being sexy nurses or cats? At Halloween people break out of their everyday persona and suspend reality for a night. The last five years has been ridiculous with demand for sexy costumes. We do carry some cute, short costumes and I’m finding

people are starting to be a bit more modest again. The trend is starting to go towards the retro, pin-up look; skirts are getting longer and tighter. We also have corsets women can put over costumes to give them a sexy silhouette while still being covered up. Tell me an interesting tidbit about yourself that not very many people know. I’m actually an agricultural college graduate. In high school I wanted to go into the visual arts but right before graduating, I decided being in the arts wasn’t lucrative enough. After college I got involved in community theatre and gravitated back to the visual arts but I still grow a mean cucumber!


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November/December 2011

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