Last night, being a Friday without plans, we decided to head out for a driving tour of the area.
We ended up near the Vancouver International Airport which is located on ‘Sea Island‘. As we were just about to pass on the highway, we saw a sign for ‘Burkeville‘. A split second decision was made to make a last minute turn off.
Being the only residential settlement on Sea Island, I took a guess that it was a pre-planned community built for the Boeing factory around the time of the 2nd World War, judging by the look of the original homes.
Turned out I was right. Construction and planning of Burkeville, done by the Government and named after then President of Boeing Stanley Burke, started in 1941 and finished up by 1943. Indeed it was built primarily to house workers from the Boeing factory during the war effort.
After the war, any remaining homes were offered to returning vets after production slowed enough that some of the labourers had moved on.
We drove in the darkness down the poorly lit narrow winding streets and gravel/dirt lane ways, enjoying the mid century architecture. I am a big fan of the 20’s – late 50’s North American idealist community planning.
Small, efficient, generally well built homes, cute front and back yards, just enough space between neighbours and fantastic leafy older growth trees. A School, Community Centre, one way streets and a large park with benches all faced to watch the planes land overhead.
And land they did! Noisily, spectacularly and every few minutes, on schedule. And we weren’t the only ones watching.
When we got home, I maintained my usual routine of researching as much as possible about the history of places encountered, and Burkeville did not disappoint.
In addition to finding a WWII, Government pre-planned, war effort community that has now – after a long struggle – been granted it’s ‘Historical Site’ status, we were also led to a series of links to exceptional Halloween events!
A family living in Burkeville puts on a free ‘Haunted House‘ event every Halloween. They also happen to belong to an organization I had never heard of before called the ‘Canadian Haunters Association‘.
If you are in Canada, and looking for something to do on Halloween – or you would like to be the regular host of a Halloween haunt, I would recommend checking it out.