Obscura Day 2012

April 27th, 2012 @ 3:00pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Atlas Obscura Day is an annual event that happens around the globe as quirky, strange, and usual attractions open their doors and share their stories. While many of the activities are already sold out for the April 28th event, the celebration of exceptional and alluring spaces and places can provide ideas for future visits.

Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

In Vancouver, our award-winning Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is hosting Obscura Day this year with Caves as Portals: Exploring the Grotto Beneath Ting Mountain. For the first time ever, they’re leading visitors into the wondrous caves at the garden. This event is sold out but here’s hoping that the garden will offer this special tour again.

If you’ll be in and around Seattle, there are two Obscura Day events:
Tour of Inscape building and Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore: Peek into Seattle’s past with a tour of the city’s 77,000-square-foot former Immigration and Naturalization Services building, plus a visit to the Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore for rare D.B. Cooper, UFO, and Bigfoot-related artifacts.

Cocktails & Bad Art at Seattle’s Official Bad Art Museum of Art: Visit Seattle’s Official Bad Art Museum of Art (OBAMA), located at Café Racer in Seattle.

In previous years, Vancouver’s Police Museum took part as well but if you look hard enough, you can find a few different types of tours happening year-round. Things like the Mountain View Cemetery, the Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition , and local history walks, to exploring Vancouver’s own Jimi Hendrix Shrine (that’s located in his grandmother’s old fried chicken restaurant).

Metro Vancouver Park Series: Hume Park

April 27th, 2012 @ 1:19pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This morning I asked my Twitter followers for suggestions for my Metro Vancouver Park Series, a collection of posts that has been put together by guest authors, reader suggestions, and through my personal experiences. @MaryAnnMcKenzie responded: “Hume Park in New West. Fields, playground & water park at top level + cool trails & secret places leading down to river.” Thanks to Mary Ann, Hume Park is this week’s feature.

Basics
New Westminster’s 31.72 acre Hume Park is split into two points of access, Upper Hume (via Kelly Street & Braid) and Lower Hume (via Columbia Street, just east of Holmes Street). Parking is available in a lot through the Lower Hume entrance and street parking can be found near the Upper Hume entrance.

Although I have been to Hume Park before for group picnics, I have never explored its forest trails and creek paths down toward the Brunette River. Needless to say, the Brunette-Fraser Greeway is now on my weekend “to do” list.

Central Valley Greenway: New Westminster, Hume Park
Photo credit: buzzerblog on Flickr

Central Valley Greenway: New Westminster, Hume Park
Photo credit: buzzerblog on Flickr

Waterpark Rainbow - January 27 Central Valley Greenway: New Westminster, Hume Park
Photo credit: Water park by Rod Templeton & off-leash area by buzzer blogon Flickr

Features
Three tennis courts, water park, adventure playground, outdoor pool (seasonal), three baseball diamonds, lacrosse box, softball diamond, soccer field, trails and greeeways (connecting to the Brunette River), picnic shelter, picnic tables, and forested trails. There is also an off-leash area for dogs.

The pool is open from the last weekend in June to Labour Day, and washroom facilities are open from April to mid-October, from 8:30 am to dusk. The playground is currently getting an upgrade (see design plans here) and should be ready for romping this May. The existing playground equipment will remain in place, this will be an expansion.

Brunette River
Photo credit: DennisSylvesterHurd on Flickr

History
New Westminster, our province’s original capital, is rich with history as is Hume Park which is named after Frederick J. Hume (1892-1967), a descendent of two of the original Royal Engineer families that settled in Sapperton.

The first trail from the Royal Engineer’s camp, surveyed and constructed as North Road in 1859, skirted the future park site. The trail was a military precaution, built to protect the capital city from potential American attack should the Fraser River freeze solid and the Americans launch an attack from the south. North Road provided a strategic access to Burrard Inlet to forestall such an eventuality. Fortunately, the feared American takeover of British Columbia never materialized, and the trail eventually proved more suitable for the survey and settlement of suburban lands and district lots.

The property was acquired during a land boom by the B.C. Distillery Company for potential factory or residential subdivision development. The land was soon determined surplus to the company’s needs, but the threat to their much-loved picnic site so alarmed local Sapperton residents they presented a petition to City Council in March, 1912.

Mayor Fred Hume has a vision for the park in the 1930s and didn’t let the Great Depression slow down its development. By 1937, things were underway.

Every aspect of the original plan was completed. The quality of craftsmanship and attention to detail by city relief workers exceeded everyone’s expectations. The playground and gardens carved out of the woods beside the Brunette River became a matter of civic pride.

You can read more about Hume Park’s history in this PDF document (quoted above) that is provided by the City of New Westminster.


1951 – VPL Accession Number: 47940. Photographer: Province Newspaper.
Mayor Fred Hume (centre) with Brig Megill, R.C.A.F Gordon along Georgia Street.

Fred Hume was Mayor of New Westminster from 1933 to 1942 and also the Mayor of Vancouver from 1951 to 1958 (while living in West Vancouver). He also owned the Vancouver Canucks in their WHL days and has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the “Builders” category.

Check out all 50 entries in my Metro Vancouver Park Series for fun, recreation, and local day trip ideas.

Hibulb Cultural Center

April 26th, 2012 @ 5:18pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve, located a short drive north from Seattle, opened to the public in August of 2011. The 23,000 square foot facility serves as a museum and education centre for the natural heritage of the Snohomish, Snoqualmie and Skykomish peoples along with other allied tribes and bands. Through artifacts, photographs, videos and interactive displays, the centre tells the stories of these Tulalip Tribes.

Hibulb Cultural Center, Tulalip

“Keeping our cultural fires burning, that’s our motto,” said Mary Jane Topash, our group tour guide who first brought us inside a replica longhouse. A video played, detailing the significance of the longhouse and laid a foundation for what we were about to discover.

Hibulb Cultural Center, Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center, Tulalip

Inside the main gallery there is a focus on the cedar tree, salmon, and other aspects of this region that were vital to the first peoples’ survival – in fact these elements are still a large part of design, food, and culture.

The centre of the gallery is surrounded by posts which are meant to mimic a basket. Mary Jane said that the information on the outside of the basket is about the government (the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855 to modern day relations) while the displays within the inner circle explain how the tribe has sustained itself (including business ventures like the Tulalip Resort and Casino).

Hibulb Cultural Center, Tulalip

While visitors can normally do a self-guided tour, Mary Jane walked us through the centre, explaining the origins of the welcome figures (carved by James Madison and Joe Gobin), canoes, and the traditional writing we saw on signs and placards throughout. “We really wanted to incorporate our native language, Lushootseed.”

Mary Jane said that when she was growing up, you could learn Lushootseed for about two years in school. Nowadays, children can learn Lushootseed from kindergarden to graduation. This is a far cry from the darker decades of cultural suppression that came through boarding schools (or residential schools, as they were called in B.C.) which you can also learn about in the main gallery.

Hibulb Cultural Center, Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center, Tulalip

Hibulb Cultural Center, Tulalip

It’s interesting to look at maps and trade routes up and down the coast. I can spot various similarities in language, arts and customs between the Tulalip and first nations near the Vancouver area (eg. Cowichan, Tsawwassen, Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam) who are all Coast Salish peoples.

One of the most fascinating features is a wall of family trees, dating back to the 1780s. Members of Tulalip Tribes can actually type a code into an adjacent touch-screen computer and locate their relatives. Mary Jane did a quick demonstration for us and could immediately point out family members from generations ago. This system is the result of over 3 years of research.

Hibulb Cultural Center, Tulalip

A temporary exhibit space that is currently hosting “Warriors We Remember“, a tribute to Tulalip war veterans, who served on behalf of the United States since the first World War. A 45-minute video loops in the centre of the room and I caught a quote that resonated: “Warriors are honoured in our society.”

Complete with classrooms and a 50-acre natural history preserve, Hibulb is an impressive tribute and education centre not only for the Tulalip Tribe, but for anyone who would like to visit. It hosts craft days, storytelling, a lecture series, and much more. You can find out about their programs and events in their online calendar.

The Hibulb Cultural Centre & Natural History Preserve is located just a few minutes away from the Tulalip Resort and Casino, which is exit 200 off the I-5 (about 3 hour south of Vancouver). It’s open until 5:00pm every day, but closed on Mondays.

If you get the chance, closer to home, check out the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Center in Whistler as well.

Archives Photos of the Day: Amusements

April 26th, 2012 @ 10:59am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Playland is opening for 2012 this weekend so a look through the City of Vancouver Archives to find old amusement park photos seemed in order.


1929 – Entrance gate to the Vancouver Exhibition and Happyland on Renfrew. VPL#: 7925.
Photographer: Leonard Frank.


1939 – Fair rides. Archives item# CVA 99 – 3131. Photographer: Stuart Thomson.


1936 – Canadian Pacific Exhibition. Archives item# CVA 260-503. Photographer: James Crookall.


1936 – Children’s rides. Archives item# CVA 260-502. Photographer: James Crookall.


1936 – Chute the Chute ride line-up. Archives item# CVA 260-498. Photographer: James Crookall.


1938 – Two children on a ride. Archives item# CVA 260-930. Photographer: James Crookall.


1947 – Aerial view of Hastings Park. Archives item# CVA 180-1468.

Related Posts: Vancouver History: Wooden Coaster, 100 Years of the PNE.

YWCA Women of Distinction Awards 2012: Connecting the Community

April 26th, 2012 @ 10:04am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The nominees for the 2012 YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards have been announced with 71 women recognized in 11 categories including arts and culture, education and training, health and wellness, young woman of distinction, and more.

Tickets are now on sale for the 29th annual awards ceremony that will take place May 24th and until that time, you can vote for the Connecting the Community award. This is the only category that is left up to a public vote and it includes all nominees.

2010 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

Nominees have selected a YWCA program area they would like to represent for the Connecting the Community award: early learning and child care, reducing child poverty, safe and affordable housing, healthy choices for youth, preventing violence against women. Scotiabank will then donate $10,000 to the program of the winner’s choice.

Voting for the Connecting the Community Award closes Tuesday, May 22nd at 12:00pm and the winner will be announced along with the others at the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards dinner Thursday, May 24, 2012.

As a part of my sponsorship once again this year, I will be providing a live blog with photos by John Bollwitt. Follow YWCA Metro Vancouver on Facebook and Twitter for news and information. Follow the awards @YWVanWODA.