Current Seasonal Exhibit
TBA - Spring 2023
Previous Seasonal Exhibits
Snowy Past - Winter 2022
Arriving to Powell River in the earliest years of it's settlement may not have started with a warm welcome if you travelled during the winter season. Historical accounts and records show that winters in this region in the early 1900s, saw lots of snow and cold temperatures, making arrivals for newcomers difficult.
"In mid-December 1922, I received word to proceed to Powell River. I boarded the Union Steamship Cowichan at 6:00 p.m. Friday, December 15th. She was supposed to arrive in Powell River around midnight, but she neglected to drop off the mail at one of the stops on the way north and had to go back to leave it. This caused a delay of about two or three hours. I remember straggling up the hill in the middle of the night to the Hotel Rodmay. There had been some snow recently and it was not a very warm welcome to Powell River." - Oral History 2008.281.92a with Frank Flett, 1985.
Those who were arriving at the company docks to work in the mill would have travelled through winter's cold and snowy weather, but luckily could seek accommodation close by at the Rodmay Hotel. However, earlier homesteaders and those outside the Townsite area were often left to navigate more difficult environments. Many oral accounts refer to 1916 as being the year of the "big snow" leaving homesteaders stuck in their cabins and tents while a cold and snowy winter barreled on for many weeks.
Pilgrimage to Vimy Ridge - Remembrance Day 2022
The Canadian Corps posted at Vimy Ridge were tasked with the difficult act of seizing German territory in April of 1917. Despite many failed attempts by French troops causing over 1000,000 in casualties, the Canadian Soldiers carefully planned their attack on the heavily-fortified ridge expanding seven kilometers. Attacking together for the first time four Canadian Divisions stormed the ridge at 5:30am on April 9th 1917. More than 15,000 infantry charged the German front and after three days of battle the Canadian soldiers delivered the final victory. The Vimy ridge Monument stands on Hill 145, the highest and most important feature of this ridge, representing the victory of this event and symbolizing a turning point in Canadian Nationalism. Some believe is was through the success of these Canadian men that the nation was seen for the first time as independent, emerging from the shadows of the British Empire.
The 1936 Vimy Ridge Pilgrimage brought over 6200 Canadian veterans and their families to the unveiling of Walter Allward’s Vimy Memorial, including Powell River’s own Mrs. Walter Parkin and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Green, Mr. J MacDougall, Mrs. Baum, and Mr. J. Harper. Leaving from their homes in Powell River to the City of Vancouver, the residents embarked on a specially scheduled train ride to the East Coast. There they joined over 6000 other travelers on five ships and left Canadian shores on July 16th. The Vimy memorial events in Belgium and France took place over three days where the guests visited various battlefields and cemeteries. On July 26th, they participated in the unveiling of the Vimy Ridge Memorial.
The Memorial which still stands to this day, has become a part of Canada's national identity, symbolizing the acts that solidified the nation's independency from Britain and provides a space for the remembrance of World War I soldiers who died in battle, as well as veterans. The 1936 pilgrimage recognized those who served and provided a space for grief for those lost, adjacent to that of Remembrance Day on November 11th.
The Journey of Powell River Citizen Mrs. M Parkin
The daughter of Margaret (Parkin) Oxford of Powell River, donated a large collection of memorabilia from Mrs. Parkin's participation in the 1936 Vimy Ridge Memorial Pilgrimage. The collection contains souvenirs from her travels such as programs, tickets, menus, maps, and pictures. These items all represent the act of remembrance that took place on the days leading up to and following the unveiling of Walter Allward’s Vimy Memorial on July 26th, 1936.
The first collection of items comes from her travels across the Atlantic on the R.M.S "Antonia" to France. Leaving July 16th, the ship arrived in Havre on Friday the 24th. During her time at sea, the Canadian Legion provided veterans and families with entertainment and dining.
Once in France and Belgium, Mrs. Parkin spent time touring the various war sights and cemeteries that resulted from World War I. By July 26th, 6000 other Canadians and herself came together to see the unveiling of the memorial. Both souvenir items such as programs and photographs allow current generations to see the grandeur and importance of this event. Following her time in France, Mrs. Parkin was invited to London for memorial events including the "Order of Service at the Cenotaph, Canadian Legion Memorial Parade" on July 29th. Later returning to her home in Powell River.
Photographs from Mrs. M Parkin's Diary
The Haunting of Powell River - Autumn 2022
One Story included in the exhibit was "The Haunting of Powell River's First Hotel"
Over the years, guests and staff alike have experienced a haunted feeling in one of Townsite’s oldest buildings: The Rodmay Hotel, formerly known as the Powell River Hotel. First opened in 1911 by owners Andrew and Barbara McKinney, the Rodmay has seen many visitors over the course of a century. Some believe the ghosts of former staff and visitors haunt this paranormal hot spot, with sightings recorded up to present day.
By 1957, the Rodmay hotel had 80 rooms and multiple living quarters in the basement for staff. The hotel also had a popular beer parlour, frequented by many mill workers who favoured it due to its proximity. Because of the vast amount of people who have walked through the doors of the Rodmay, locals believe it to be a location where souls linger.
There are five known resident ghosts at the Rodmay Hotel. Sighted most often is resident ghost Charlie: a Chinese cook who worked for the hotel in its earliest years. Some say he died during a poker fight in the basement of the hotel where many workers spent their time gambling and drinking. The ghost of Charlie resides primarily in the basement – also the old living quarters. These rooms were darkly lit, furnished with homemade furniture, and provided a space for entertainment at night.
taff have had multiple sightings of shadowy figures within the various small rooms in the basement. These ghosts are known tricksters and are noted for playing tricks on plumbers or electrical workers. Other popular ghost sightings at the Rodmay include a well-dressed man named Frank, the Matron who frequents the Rainbow Room, two children, and a ghost named Clara.