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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Seattle / Vancouver / Rockies


AlanCurragh

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Sue and I have a little holiday in the Rockies planned for later this summer - I was just wondering what sites of Great War interest we might find there. We will be starting in Seattle, then via the Okanagan to the Rockies, Banff, Jasper, maybe a visit to Calgary, then back via Whistler to Vancouver

After Martin Middlebrook's excellent WFA talk on Wednesday night, I now know about the 12th Division memorial cross that has been transported from Ovillers on the Somme to Kelowna, BC (link here if you want to read about it), and also about the village of Walhachin, home of Gordon Flowerdew VC, but was wondering whether pals had any other suggestions regarding where we could go.

Thanks for you help

Alan

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I was in Vancouver recently. As I only had two days there, I only caught a few things.

Most people visit Stanley Park, and in the centre of this park there is a war memorial dedicated to Japanese Canadians who served in World War One. Names are all listed.

The World War One Vancouver cenotaph downtown was designed after the Whitehall Cenotaph). It is located walking distance from the Gastown district.

Tourists are usually are told to visit Gastown district and Chinatown. I was there a long time ago, and found it has changed for the worse. Not that it was that great before, but today it consists mainly of restaurants, high end retailers, and "made in China" souvenir shops. The two shops selling Aboriginal items only featured very expensive high end items. You could walk through as it is near all the main hotels and it is pretty, but not too much to do there from a historical perspective.

As you walk to Gastown, just before you should visit the old C.P.R. train station. The interior is not as nice as Toronto's Union Station, but the view from the back of the water is beautiful. In the front of this station (in front of a pub) there is a Canadian Pacific Railway war memorial statue of an angel carrying a soldier - dedicated to the railway employees of the C.P.R. who served in the war.

The Saturday/Sunday flea antique market in Vancouver is terrible. All new stuff. Also, forget Chinatown - it was not very vibrant. Too much of the Dollar Store element.

The best find I had in terms of military interest was Macleod's Books on 455 W. Pender St. This is walking distance from all the downtown hotels. He said that he does not sell online and the bookstore has an enormous inventory. Prices for military-related books are high as he told me this area remains strong. He had some interesting unit histories. He had a copy of the Canadian Corps 1930s reunion book.

Finally, Christ Church Cathedral is downtown on 690 Burrard Street. It is open during the day for viewing. This church has a number of World War One memorial windows, a Roll of Honour plaque, other individual memorial plaques. It was nearly torn down in the 1960s. One of the stained glass windows has a beautiful image of a soldier. It was dedicated to Lt. Harold Heber Owen, son of the Rev. Cecil Owen. Lt. Owen, 7th Battalion, British Columbia Regiment, lost his life in a trench raid in January 1916. His father lived to 1954 was one of the founders of "Save the Children". Other stained glass war memorials windows are dedicated to Nursing Sisters, the 102nd Battalion C.E.F., etc.

As for a museum, I did not have time for that after viewing all the above, but perhaps someone else could give some info on that aspect.

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Thanks Andy, and especially CanadaWW1 for such a comprehensive reply. Plenty of ideas for us there

Alan

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"The World War One Vancouver cenotaph downtown was designed after the Whitehall Cenotaph). It is located walking distance from the Gastown district."

I just wanted to warn you this site is located in a park inhabited by a large number of crack heads as well as the surrounding area. There is a pub across the street called "The Cambie" though that i suggest you stop for lunch and a pitcher at if you're in the area to check out the memorial.

I hope i've been of some help!

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Thanks for the advice, Everclay. Anyone been to the Calgary Military Museums? They have the museums of Pricess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Lord Strathcona's Horse, Calgary Highlanders (10th Bttn CEF) and the Kings Own Calgary Regiment there

Alan

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Years ago (like 30) when I was surveying the expansion of the 1a Highway from Banff to Lake Louise, we came across the sparse remains of an internment camp near Castle Mountain. Today, I think there is a commemorative plaque/statue thingy there now as well as some plaques at the Cave and Basin in Banff proper.

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"The World War One Vancouver cenotaph downtown was designed after the Whitehall Cenotaph). It is located walking distance from the Gastown district."

I just wanted to warn you this site is located in a park inhabited by a large number of crack heads as well as the surrounding area. There is a pub across the street called "The Cambie" though that i suggest you stop for lunch and a pitcher at if you're in the area to check out the memorial.

I hope i've been of some help!

The parkette which surrounds the war memorial is nicely maintained and lit. There were actually no people sitting there in the two times I visited during my trip. So you can certainly take a look. I happened to turn up on ANZAC day, so there was a nice little presentation put on by Australian tourists, and they had left behind beautiful wreaths. Although everything around the memorial is very clean, it seems quite neglected. As you said, things go downhill once you cross the street. I photograph lots of Canadian war memorials and I have only seen one other in such a situation.

My intention was to walk as far as I could get to go to Mountain View cemetery so that I could photograph war graves there. I decided against it as I did not know if there would be security at the cemetery and I didn't need to get robbed.

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Hello Alan.

First my apologies Alan for losing touch regarding your trip. Are you still going to fly to Victoria ? If you are the Bay Street Armory home of the Canadian Scottish and other Regiments that are perpetuated by them this is a must see, a very nice museum.

The Seaforth Armory on Burrard Street is an excellent military museum. New Westminster Regiment Museum is also worth seeing. And there is a naval museum right in Stanley Park HMS Discovery (You could take in the Japanese Memorial one is not far from the other) You could get in touch with "Colin MacGregor Stevens" (Also a member of Seaforth) cstevens@newwestcity.ca this lad is the manager of Museums and Archives New Westminster he would be able to give you times of operation.

Aye Rob.

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Banff - I was just there.

Although it is very nice, you have to pay about $10 person in a car to enter the park and visit the town of Banff. That could be worth it if you want to hike in the park and have a lot of time, but I found downtown Banff itself to be very tourist-y, so you might want to try nearby Canmore instead. Canmore's downtown has a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains which is very similar to what you will see in downtown Banff, and it has a much better mix of shops. The Banff downtown seems to be targeted towards tourists interested in buying high end merchandise, and is full of fancy hotels and restaurants.

Watch the sides of the road if you drive through Banff Provincial park - a lot of deer and other animals at this time of the year. If you are just driving through onto another destination and need to use the highway that goes through Banff, you simply drive straight through and do not pay. As for camping in the park or any of the other parks in Alberta - you have to make reservations in advance online. They just started the online thing this year and apparently there have been some problems with everything getting reserved right away.

If you do go into Banff, the war memorial is merely two marble tablets set in the brick wall in the Legion hall - this will be on the main street (where all the tourist shops are) - you walk away from the stores and towards a bridge. In Canmore the memorial is similar and is around a corner in front of the Legion in the downtown district.

Calgary's "Museum of the Regiments" was recently renovated and would be well worth a visit. This is the largest military museum in western Canada. Read about it here.

Another suggestion is the town of Nanton which is about 45 minutes drive away from Calgary. Here you can see the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum. Inside the museum is a Lancaster which is currently being restored. You can go inside the plane. The museum is admission by donation and a number of other restored planes are on display inside plus military displays. Outside the museum is the Nanton war memorial plus Canada's Bomber Command war memorial.

There is a picnic area near these memorials. Nanton is a very small place so it won't be difficult to find it. I came upon it by accident as it was right on the main road. This summer they will be starting up the Lancaster (just the engine) as they continue to work on restoring it. Here are the dates they will start up the engines - link.

Here is the web site for Nanton for the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum with info on the events and a picture of the Bomber Command Memorial - link.

Lastly, a great thing about travelling Western Canada is that it won't be crowded - the highways are easy to travel and there is little traffic. The views of the mountains are magnificent.

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the sparse remains of an internment camp near Castle Mountain.

This camp held mostly people from Austro-Hungary, with a few Germans and Turks sprinkled in.

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The Seaforth Armory on Burrard Street is an excellent military museum. New Westminster Regiment Museum is also worth seeing. And there is a naval museum right in Stanley Park HMS Discovery (You could take in the Japanese Memorial one is not far from the other)

Yes, the Seaforths and Westies are both excellent. It's a bit tricky to find (actually you almost need a guide), but there are the remnants of gun emplacements in Stanley Park that protected us from the Kaiser's navy.

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Hi Magicrat,

I sent you a pm too about how to contact me. Your trip sounds wonderful. Banff and Jaspar will provide some breathtaking views of the mountains. I agree that Canmore is preferable to Banff only because it will be a little less touristy. Banff, Calgary and Canmore have really grown in the last few years.

The Okanagan will be very hot this time of year but a great area to visit. Great peaches and cherries and wine!

You have already received some advice about Vancouver. I would add, for Vancouver, Mountainview cemetery which has a CWGC cemetery. I would rec'd checking out Kits beach and Spanish Banks beach areas too and the University of British Columbia endowment lands---great views, great walking and all close to downtown. The museums here are not great, this city is more about beautiful landscapes and ocean views.

Please contact me!

cheers,

peter

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  • 2 weeks later...

Magic rat,

There is a good used/rare book shop in downtown Vancouver that never fails to have some interesting titles in its large stock.

Macleods Books at 455 Pender Street West, Vancouver.

Safe trip,

footsore private

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Hi Magicrat,

I just remembered the following to add to the great posts above for Vancouver:

1. Beatty Street Armoury which houses a small museum for the BC Reg't covering both wars.

2. Hycroft Mansion is a beautiful sprawling place which served as a hospital for Great War wounded. I believe you can go into the place and visit the gardens. It is frequently now used for public functions and movie productions.

The war memorial is safe to visit these days. All the street drug sales now occur about two blocks further east.

3. In Victoria there are two things I can add. Munroe's book store is very good. i visit it every time I go over to Vancouver Island. And there is a nice little Nautical Museum. Also Ross Bay Cemetery, which overlooks the ocean is huge and quite beautiful and has a CWGC section.

cheers,

peter

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Hi Magicrat,

There's a very interesting article by Martin Middlebrook on Tom Morgan's website entitled 'The Kelowna Cross'.

Regards,

Steve.

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