A canal in Pitt Meadows: Believe it or Not

You won’t find this story in an official history book, but you will find it in the Pitt Meadows Museum’s newest temporary exhibit

A share certificate for Pitt Meadows Oil Wells Limited.

A share certificate for Pitt Meadows Oil Wells Limited.

A grand canal – wide enough for two ships to pass – from the Pitt River to Burrard Inlet was an idea that reared its head more than once in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The project, to which names such as Oppenheimer and Moody were closely linked, was promoted heavily in the 1880s and a survey for such was carried out in 1891.

In the end, the project was a no go, as was a 1912 attempt to revisit the idea.

In a May, 1912 newspaper article this was blamed, in part, on the “parochial spirit abroad among the less enlightened and progressive …” in the elite of Vancouver and New Westminster “as several prominent citizens of the old school opposed the project.”

You won’t find this story in the Pitt Meadows official history book, but you will find it in the Pitt Meadows Museum’s newest temporary exhibit, “Pitt Meadows:  Believe it or Not”.

The exhibit opens on Pitt Meadows Day, June 2, at the General Store site of the museum and is full of lesser known stories from the sometimes quirky history of the area.

Visit the museum and take in the exhibit to learn about canals to the ocean, oil wells near sloughs, German field guns on municipal hall roofs, religious colonization projects that both took and didn’t take, how the residual “Maelstrom” from a tidal wave further east on the Fraser River affected one resident of the time.

There is a place in the exhibit to for visitors to record there own believe it not stories so they too can become part of the historical trivia of the community.

Other happenings on Pitt Meadows Day at the General Store include a paper-making station, bubbles, pioneer gadgets, hands-on stations, and temporary exhibits and additions to our permanent exhibits.

At the Hoffmann site, there will be a blacksmith, as well as items from the antique engine club.

Pitt Meadows Day is also a good time to come out and meet the museum’s 2012 summer staff, who will be bringing you our 17th season of “Heritage Thursdays for Children.”  This year’s theme is “The Best of the Best,” with each week drawing on favorite sessions from Heritage Thursdays of the past.

•For more information on Heritage Thursdays and Museum Sundays during the summer, contact Rebecca at the museum at 604-465-4322 or pittmeadowsmuseum@telus.net.

– by Leslie Norman, curator, Pitt Meadows Museum.