Most people would be hard-pressed to name a handful of significant events occurring in 1912, with the possible exception of the Titanic disaster. Yet the year was an important one, for the world, for Canada, for British Columbia and the Grand Forks district.
The Year 1912 is a small heritage exhibition featured this spring and summer at Gallery 2 Art and Heritage Centre. Developed for the gallery by Roger H. Boulet (who researched and selected the images for the permanent heritage gallery), the exhibition focuses on events of 1912. A central feature of the exhibition consists of digital prints of 10 large maps developed in 1912 for both Grand Forks and nearby Phoenix. The maps were produced by Charles A. Goad in connection with the fire insurance industry. They not only detail the layout of the streets, but often identify individual buildings and businesses as well. The Grand Forks maps, for instance, show no buildings at all on the north side of Market (formerly Bridge) street, since a fire in the summer of 1911 had destroyed all of them. By the end of 1912, merchants had begun to rebuild that side of the street, including the Woodland & Company drugstore (across from the Bank of Commerce), a hardware store and the building that would be occupied by Clark’s clothing store and the Gem (formerly the Empress) theatre.
There was also a real estate boom, occasioned by the decision of the Canadian Pacific Railway to move its divisional point from Eholt when that community was devastated by two fires. The Granby smelter enjoyed a record copper production that year, most of it coming from the Phoenix mines.
This was also a significant year for the Doukhobor community since the Provincial government appointed a special Commission in response to increasing concern over their presence.
The exhibit opened February 21st to kick-off BC Heritage Week and will be on display throughout the summer.