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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Franco-British Expo of 1908

This post card is in my collection because the front picture has train tracks and the title says, "Canadian Scenic Railway..." It also mentions the
"Franco-British Exhibition, London, 1908". I looked up what the Exhibition was all about. This is what I found:

The information below has been taken directly from this website: http://jdpecon.com/expo/wflondon1908.html

It's an odd exhibition for many reasons. Considered an outstanding success at the time, the exposition, confined to the nations and colonies of the British Empire and French Empire, was actually a clarion call that both of those empires were waning and were ceasing to be competitive with the rest of the world that was barred from participation. Twinned with the Olympic Games, a poor second cousin to international expositions at the time, they were managed by the British Olympic Committee, which managed them well. The Olympics were held in the Great Stadium, sixty-eight thousand seats, later renamed the White City Stadium after the fair's buildings, plastered bright white in a dazzing display. The reason for hosting a colonial exposition with only France and Great Britain involved was the 1904 Entente Cordiale peace accord. Apparently they wanted to keep that peace to themselves, but they may have wanted to clue in their colonial possessions, who were beginning to want their independence over peace.

The Franco-British exhibition had large scale leisure attractions, the first for a British exhibition. Kiralfy built an open-air theatre for three thousand and a two hour show, the Alfresco Spectacular, Our Indian Empire which mesmorized visitors on how the British had civilized India. There was also the Flip-Flap ride and fireworks three nights a week. Thirty thousand people attended the opening ceremonies with the Prince and Princess of Wales in attendance. By 6 o'clock on opening day, 123,000 people had visited.

Attendance at the amusement attractions:
Flip-Flap 1,110,800;
Mountain Scenic Railway 2,800,000; This is the exhibit on the front of this post card!!
The Spiral 653,600;
The Canadian Tobaggan 807,000;
Old London 500,000+;
The Mountain Slide 250,000;
The Johnstown Flood 715,000;
The Stereomatus 425,000.
Down the left-hand side of the back of this post card it mentions that it was published by Valentine & Sons Limited from Dundee in Scotland, London in England and New York in the USA; it does not mention that there were two offices in Canada in Montreal and Toronto at that time.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Build the Tunnel

The front of this post card shows a bit of history that no longer exists. You are looking at one of 31 snow sheds built by the Canadian Pacific Railway
in the Roger Pass. When Major Albert Rogers discovered the pass through the Selkirk Mountains, the owners of the Canadian Pacific Railway were happy that an "easy" route through the Canadian Rockies had been found. He was rewarded with $5,000 and the fact that he would be the namesake of the pass he discovered.

The railway was built through Rogers Pass in 1884. In a previous post, last year, I showcased a post card of the Stoney Creek Bridge, one of the largest bridges on the CPR right of way. This was only one of many bridges that had to be built. The tracks also followed a series of loops in order to maintain a safe grade for the locomotives. Despite all of their efforts to avoid steep hills and avalanche areas, danger lurked each winter. So much so that after the winter of 1885 31 different snow sheds were constructed over a total of six and a half kilometers of tracks. Despite their best efforts, avalanches continued to wreck havoc on the railway. Eight people lost their lives when, in 1899, an avalanche took out a train station in the pass. The worse loss of life occurred on March 4, 1910 when the crew clearing out one avalanche were killed by a second avalanche that came from the other side of the tracks. Sixty two people died that day.

This is when the railway decided that it was the safest option to build the Connaught Tunnel. It was completed in 1916. The rails you see in this post card were abandoned and removed.

The post card was published by the Canadian office for Valentine’s of Dundee, Scotland. From 1907 to 1923 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. These tinted halftone and collotype cards were printed in Great Britain. Valentine sold their Canadian branch in 1923. This particular card only shows (extremely faintly and covered with handwriting) that there were two offices in Canada: Montreal and Toronto. For a very short time they also had an office in Winnipeg.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

OUCH!! Don't Do That...

The picture on this post card shows a train exiting from the lower of two spiral tunnels built by the Canadian Pacific Railway to solve a problem of trains losing control on "The Big Hill" and killing people on board. This
happened because the grade of The Big Hill was 4.5%. The very expensive solution to this challenge was to bore two spiral tunnels through two different mountains along where trains entered onto The Big Hill as they traveled west. It is at the beginning of the Kicking Horse River Canyon.

From Wikipedia: The route decided upon called for two tunnels driven in three-quarter circles into the valley walls. The higher tunnel, "number one", is about 1,000 yards (0.91 km) in length and runs under Cathedral Mountain, to the south of the original track. When the new line emerges from this tunnel it has doubled back, running beneath itself and 50 feet (15 m) lower. It then descends the valley side in almost the opposite direction to its previous course before crossing the Kicking Horse River and entering Mount Ogden to the north. This lower tunnel, "number two", is a few yards shorter than "number one" and the descent is again about 50 feet. From the exit of this tunnel the line continues down the valley in the original direction, towards Field. The constructions and extra track effectively double the length of the climb and reduce the ruling gradient to 2.2%.

The reason the title of this post is "OUCH!!!" is because of what a stamp collector did to the post card. You can see in the upper right-hand corner that someone has removed the stamp, leaving an unsightly scar. This has reduced the monetary value of the post card to a collector to minimal. The post mark indicates that this post card is 97 years old (August 14, 1922); and, that it was mailed only 13 years after the Spiral Tunnels were completed. That makes it valuable. Having the stamp ripped off makes it almost valueless. OUCH!!!

The card was published by The Valentine and Sons United Publishing Co. The Canadian offices for Valentine’s of Dundee, Scotland were in Montreal, Toronto and, for a short time, Winnipeg.
This post card documents the short period in which they had an office in Winnipeg (another reason for this card to have been valuable to a collector). 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. These tinted halftone and collotype cards were printed in Great Britain. Valentine sold their Canadian branch in 1923.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas to you...

The picture on the front of this post card shows how the Canadian Pacific
Railway shops looked at the turn of the 20th Century. The post card was printed after 1908 (the publishing company was started in that year). The Canadian Pacific Railway was incorporated in 1881. If this picture is from 30 years later, that would mean the picture was taken in 1911. For sure, the picture was taken before the start of World War I (1914), because the post card printing from Germany for all the North American post card publishers came to a screeching halt when the war broke out.
Just as the picture on the front of the post card shows the CPR yards from a long time ago; the picture here is what I could find on line that shows the yards as close to today as I can get.


This publishing company, The Pacific Novelty Company was headquartered in San Francisco, California from 1908 to the 1960s. They printed many postcards that were duplicates of postcards published by Edward Mitchell. Mitchell was a partner with other photographers in this publishing company then at some point he bought the others out. A major publisher and printer of view-cards depicting California in halftone lithography. They produced cards in different styles, most of which were printed in Germany; this particular post card says it was printed in Saxony - which is in Germany today; in 1871 Saxony became one of the states of the newly founded German Empire. The Pacific Novelty Company eventually sold off their own printing department to Herman Vogel who renamed it Quadricolor Press. Pacific Novelty went on to produce photochromes that were manufactured in the United States.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Yale, Pretty Calm Today...

This is a picture of the Canadian Pacific Railway passenger train as it passed by a small town called "Yale". Yale is in the Fraser River Canyon about 175 kilometers up river from Vancouver, British Columbia. Judging by the appearance of the automobile, I would guess that this post card was published in the 1940s. The Canadian Pacific Railway had several passenger trains that used this section of track, so I cannot say which train it is.

I am publishing this card as part of my blog because of the word "Yale". I went on line to see if there was a history around Yale as a settlement. THERE CERTAINLY IS!! Even before the railway came through this canyon, Yale has already made a name for itself. There was a gold rush in the 1850s in the Fraser Canyon. At one time, they think, there were as many as 15,000 people living and working the gold fields near Yale. It became famous (over the other settlements) because of the Fraser Canyon War of 1858. My favourite part of the war was when some "Indian-hating" white men went up river to kill "the enemy" and wound up killing themselves, instead. You can find the story on Wikipedia by googling "Fraser Canyon War" on their website. I highly recommend it.

This post card was published by The Coast Publishing Company, a publisher of view-cards and cards of Native Americans. Their first cards were issued as tinted halftones and they latter moved on to linens, and then photochromes. All their cards were printed in the United States. They existed between 1907 and the 1950s.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

This Goat Gets Around

The picture on the front of this post card shows Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) locomotive number 3206 at work in the rail yard of Vancouver, British Columbia. Because it is working in the rail yard, it has earned the title of
"Goat". That is the term used to describe an engine that works in the rail yards. This particular photo is from around 1930, according the publisher of the post card. The good news for this engine is that it did not spend its entire life in the rail yard. When I went on line to see what I could find out about the locomotive, I stumbled on a picture of it on Vancouver Island. The front page of the Canadian Historical Railroad Association published a picture of this same engine working as a logging train. This is the text under the picture: "Once upon a time, main line logging trains were as picturesque as their backwoods counterparts, as witness this picture of two Esquimalt & Nanaimo timber trains meeting somewhere on Vancouver Island about twenty-five years ago, the loaded train headed by Canadian Pacific M-l-a class 2-8-0 No.3206." This quote is taken from the July / August issue (Number 113) of 1960. So, in 1930 the engine was working in the Vancouver rail yards, and by 1935 it had earned its way onto the island to haul logs to market.
The post card was published by the Head-end Rail Prints Company out of White Rock, British Columbia. They existed after 1971 because the address includes a Canada Postal Code (first introduced in 1971). However, a search on the internet does not lead to any other information about the company. The business currently at 1450 Johnston Road in White Rock, British Columbia is the Hygrove Design Company and it has a different Postal Code.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Byron Harmon Fest (Part Three of three)

I have so many post cards printed by Byron Harmon that I have decided to simply scan them and publish them so that you can enjoy them, too. The photographs are all taken west of the Spiral Tunnels in British Columbia.

A quick check into Wikipedia will help you to understand where these pictures were taken:
Mount Chancellor, Mount Field, Mount Stephen, Stoney Creek Bridge, Kicking Horse Canyon, Spiral Tunnels, etc.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. May I also suggest that if you are ever in Banff, Alberta that you visit the gallery of his granddaughter...