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Saturday, June 1, 2013

In honour of my father in law

This blog post is a tribute to my father-in-law who died on May 13th of this year. While he was in his last week of life, I picked up his famous birch bark moose caller. I had never touched a moose caller before, let alone used one. I made a sound in it not very similar to the ones I had heard him make. I said to him, “That is a sick moose!” He responded, “I have been there, you know.” To which I replied, “I have a post card with the Sicamous hotel and a train on the front.” I was going to bring it to him, but his condition didn’t lend itself to a private viewing of the post card.

The top picture is the post card of the Sicamous Hotel in Sicamous, British Columbia (BC) to which I was referring. It served as both the local hotel (75 rooms and a large dance hall) and the local train station (Craigellachie, where the last spike on the transcontinental was driven is only 22km east). The first train station (according to the back of the bottom post card) was built in 1890 and burned down in 1900. A new one – the one on this post card – was built, modernized in 1908, and torn down in the 1960s.

If you ask me, that hotel looks pretty modern, so I would place the card as being printed and mailed after 1908. The stamp on the back carries the picture of King Edward VII. He was king of England from 1901 to 1910. This stamp was in use in Canada from 1903 to 1908. The cancellation marking shows August 5 but the year is not clear.

The top post card was printed in England by Valentine and Sons. The Canadian office for Valentine’s of Dundee, Scotland. They published souvenir books, greeting cards and view-cards of Canadian scenery in sets numbered with a three digit prefix and a three digit suffix. Valentine sold their Canadian branch in 1923.

The bottom post card is a black and white reprint of the top card. It was printed by Wayside Press in Vernon, BC for Pioneer Postcards in Kelowna, BC. Wayside Press still exists: It was begun in 1921 in Vernon, British Columbia and for over 90-years, Wayside has been a trusted business partner to some of the best known and most successful businesses in the area. Over the years They have morphed from an ink on paper commercial printer to an integrated print and e-Marketing solutions company and they owe their success and longevity to always exceeding the expectations of their customers and doing their best day in and day out to deliver the highest possible quality and service.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.