I am going to call our Easter long weekend tour the ‘Summer to Winter‘ trip.
Though we headed out without a destination, we ended up taking a fantastic and familiar ‘circle route‘ loop. BC is full of ‘circle routes’, each specifying a specific biome type, area usage or place in history.
Our route wasn’t an official one, rather a loop that passed through various others.
The only place we had in mind to go was the Kilby Historic Site, located off the Lougheed Highway in Harrison Mills.
We started out the morning with an overly priced breakfast at an ironically named restaurant. Plenty? Pfffft!! Two small coffees and a sandwich with a few potatoes for $14 – and no refills!
Served us right for eating at a restaurant/gas station!
I went to get another (small) coffee (same cup!) and it cost me full price $2.25 – TOO much – we weren’t at Starbucks!
If it hadn’t been for the gloriously sunny, spectacular warm day, we would have been irritated – but we had no time for that.
The Kilby historic site is located in a region called Harrison Mills. It is the only remaining example of what was once a thriving community in that area.
The 1906 general store was the centre of the bustling town. Currently it houses a large inventory original to the 1920’s era.
There was a post office, hotel, milk barn and gas station in addition to the general store. You could even catch the train into Vancouver from this location.
The inside of the general store is an antique-ists dream, and the staff friendly and knowledgeable.
Acton Kilby, son of the original owner, saved everything.
Displays and remedies, children’s toys, tobacco, beauty products, cooking utensils and fishing gear – everything.
We spent far longer than normal perusing the fascinating, nearly century old inventory.
The shoes pictured above are original early 1900’s. Unisex, the child would find the pair that fit best and have the toes fitted in afterwords. Shipments would come in from Vancouver.
These shoes, being impeccably made, would be passed down from child to child.
Above the general store is the old hotel. It wasn’t in operation for long though, and eventually Acton filled the extra rooms with more stuff.
Some of the rooms were reverted back to their original hotel state, while others remain full of interesting ‘storage’.
Beaded dresses from the 1920’s, children’s toys from the same era, prams, a wheelchair, various elaborate tins and even some unearthed opium bottles.
During Kilby’s early years, opium was legal (until about 1919).
The workers would toil and labour – often back breaking work – and with very little medical service available.
They would ease their pain with a nightly dose of opium, ‘hit the sack’ and wake the next morning to repeat the routine.
The farm is quaint and filled with child friendly animals. Beautiful for a short walk.
Looking around, small reminders of the flood days still remain.
At one time, the valley flooded regularly – sometimes with dramatic consequences – as pictured below. To solve these issues, the buildings were lifted and tall boardwalks were installed, linking business to business.
The below photos can be found with a large collection above the general store.
It was so bright and sunny out that my camera whited out the outdoor shots – who could complain about blinding, warm sun after a long winter of grey and rain? Our eye balls couldn’t handle it.
We spent a few hours at the Kilby farm, enjoying the gift shop with its permanent Christmas section, petting farm animals, and picturing ourselves in one of the $1100 prefab homes that were available at the time (100+ years ago).
Kilby would have been a little oasis in an otherwise sparsely inhabited area.
Well worth the $9 entry fee.
Many additional photos in the slideshow.