General Store site before restoration in 1997. (Contributed)

Looking Back: Canada and Pitt Meadows up to 1999

These are just a fraction of the national events in the 1980s.

Canada at 150 – 1976 through 1999.

It is 1976, and Canada is going through some changes. At the end of June, Parliament votes to abolish the death penalty and in November Quebec gets a new premier, Rene Levesque, and a new governing party, le Parti Quebecois.

This is also the year the CN Tower opens, and Montreal hosts the summer Olympics.

For most of us, however, the most significant event of that year is the introduction of the Tim Bit – yum.

The following year, Via Rail is created, and Canada’s favorite game, Trivial Pursuit, is invented.

In Pitt Meadows, a small group of dedicated residents has begun meeting with the objective of establishing a museum in the community. Its goal is realized in 1978, when the group moves into a small house on Harris Road, and by 1980 it will formalize a status by incorporating as the Pitt Meadows Heritage and Museum Society.

The year 1978 is also when a separate bridge with the westbound lanes opens over the Pitt River, and Davie Jones elementary opened.

In 1980, Canada is on the world scene starting in January with the expulsion of Soviet embassy workers for spying and our ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor, assisting U.S. embassy workers in their escape from that country.

It is also the year Terry Fox both began and ended his Marathon of Hope and O’ Canada officially becomes our National Anthem.

The rest of the 1980s mark so many events for Canada, both happy and sad: our first reported case of AIDS; gradual implementation of the metric system; the repatriation of our constitution; Lotto 649; Canada Day; B.C. Place; Much Music and TSN; Pope John Paul II’s visit and the Pope Mobile; Labatt’s twist off bottle cap; Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion tour; Air India flight 182; a dollar at 70 cents U.S.; Expo 86; the Loonie; a tornado in Edmonton; the winter Olympics in Calgary; Wayne Gretzky traded to L.A.; the Canada U.S. Free Trade Agreement; and a massacre at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.

These are just a fraction of the national events in the 1980s.

In Pitt Meadows: we amalgamated with the GVRD; opened a new fire hall and library; got a fourth elementary school – Highland Park; celebrated 75 years of incorporation; and saw the old General Store designated as a heritage structure when owned by the McEwan family.

All in all, a good decade for the growing community (our population more than doubles over that 10-year period).

The last decade of the 20th Century brings too many national events to summarize at once while marking the 150th Birthday of Canada.

However, in Pitt Meadows, we see: the amalgamation of Pitt Polder into the municipality; the start of the West Coast Express; counter flow lanes at the Pitt River bridges; our Heron Logo; an arson fire and rebuilding of the Sturgeon Slough bridge; an airport now under local control; a fifth elementary school – Edith McDermott; a heritage designation for the building that now houses the Pitt Meadows Museum; and the purchase of the Old General Store by the municipality in 1997.

In 1995, a joint services parks and recreation agreement starts a 20-year plus partnership with Maple Ridge and gives our museum society and museum a chance to flourish and grow, and grow we did with a move to the General Store site in 1998 and the acquisition (by donation) of the Hoffmann and Son site late in 1999.

This partnership gave us the opportunity to teach all of you about the history of this wonderful area. Under our new City of Pitt Meadows Parks department, we continue to do this and enjoy every minute of it.

This ends our 150th series. Thank you for reading.

Leslie Norman is curator at Pitt

Meadows Museum.

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