Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Festival of Postcards - Ocean Falls British Columbia Canada

View from Clara Marian Mountain, Ocean Falls, BC. (See below.)
Coloured photographic postcard, unused. Made in Canada by the Gowen, Sutton Co. Ltd. Vancouver, BC. The principals of Gowen, Sutton Co. Ltd. were Frank Henry Gowen and Alfred James Sutton "and their wives". (Originally Lillian Sutton and Gertie Gowen. Quote from Frank Gowen's Vancouver, 1914-1931 by Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Heritage House, 2001, page 9.)

It's time for A Festival of Postcards, the 8th Edition.

The topic this time: GEOGRAPHY

A Festival of Postcards is an online showcase of the best postcards in the blogosphere from family and local historians and deltiologists. Everyone is welcome. There’s just one condition – you must love postcards!

This was my chance to pull out all those landscape, map and other vintage postcards depicting Earth’s natural features and take another look at them.

I chose this card showing Ocean Falls, British Columbia, for three reasons

First, because this image of Ocean Falls illustrates one part of my home province's very varied geography - the Pacific Coast. Ocean Falls, at the head of Cousins Inlet, north east of Bella Bella, was first developed as a sawmill operation in the 1900s. The nearby lake, the source of the falls for which the area was named, was soon dammed for power, and from the 1910s, a pulp and paper operation was established here. This was closed down in the 1970s and the town almost abandoned.

Over the years, many, many families lived and worked at Ocean Falls, some for a short time, others for decades. The Ocean Falls Museum is collecting stories about life here. At one time the town was a busy, thriving community, but this was always a remote area, accessible from the sea by boat or by float plane, and although British Columbia's Pacific Coast is 'renowned' for its plentiful rainfall, Ocean Falls has apparently the greatest annual rainfall in Canada.

The second reason I chose this card was because it mentions a landmark named for a woman, or women, - I collect cards like this - and because it illustrates that you shouldn't always believe what you read in print. The mountain at Ocean Falls is and was commonly and officially named Mount Caro Marion, (not Clara Marian), likely for two young women who climbed it early on - although there isn't the best evidence about those details. (See the British Columbia Geographical Names site.)

And thirdly, because it's almost the end of Earth Week - and the history of Ocean Falls reminds British Columbians, no matter their politics, of the social and environmental challenges we face. This video brings that home, I think.

Ocean Falls Musimentary

Directed by Tony Papa of Avanti Pictures. Winner of Much Music Video award, 1995.

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