Kilby Historic Site

Circle Route

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.

Kilby General Store

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!

Eating Breakfast An Expensive Breakfast

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.

Warm in Kilby

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 General Store

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.

Antique Colouring at Home

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.

Jim Checking out the Inventory

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.

Old Shoes

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.

Old School Remedys

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’.

More Antique Finds

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).

Opium Bottles?

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.

Entering the Historic Farm Historic Kilby Farm

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.

Tracks Flooded

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.

Elevated 1100 Dollar Homes

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.

DD & Jim

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.

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Follow this trip by heading to the ‘Summer to Winter Tour‘ section. Many more photos at the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.



4 responses to “Kilby Historic Site

  1. Very interesting! I love seeing the old photos too, the shots from 1894 are a peek back in time to a world gone away. Great post!!


  2. really love seeing the maps in your articles. your photos and writing are in such harmony that i feel as though I too have now visited and am craving a large cup of coffee. Great coverage, Thank you!


    • Oh thank you :). The map idea is new – I was thinking if I was looking at a site about travel, I would like to see some maps…et voila! More coming, for almost all of our tours.


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