Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Stories and pictures from Canada's West

I’ve been working on a story that has a “crime baron” operating in New Westminster, BC in 1881. I’ve found the research interesting, due to the great changes that were taking place at the time. For instance, Vancouver did not come into existance until five years later and twenty years later was a thriving city and one of the more important ports on the Pacific coast. However, more about that in a later post.

For now, I was just looking through some of the material I collected for “Jake’s Justice” and “Cattle Business” and thought I would post some of those items.

“Cattle Business” takes place west of Edmonton in the early 1890s and has to do with some of the unlikely people who, despite their lack of a proper background, eventually became the developers of Canadian Agriculture. It also introduces an aboriginal policeman. According to a couple of sources I discovered the BC Provincial Police appointed “Special Constables” (a policeman’s responsibility, little training and no pay) very early on in their history when they were still “Colonial” police. The story also touches on the development of coal mining and the structure of the North West Mounted Police, their barracks and district prison at Ft. Saskatchewan.

Much of “Jake’s Justice” or perhaps the ‘heart of the story’ takes place in 1898 in the same area as “Cattle Business”. However we also learn something of Jake’s early life as an Ontario farm boy, a Great Lakes deck-hand, a fresh water fisherman, a cattle ‘tender’, and a ‘wolfer’ attempting to help clear the Canadian Prairies of predators after the blizzard winter of 1886. Following the rape and murder of his wife he also spends time trapping on the upper reaches of the Peace River system.
Both of these stories contain considerable mention of the North West Mounted Police. In fact, the main protagonist in "Cattle Business" starts out as a constable but for 'political reasons' is cashierd. Toward the end of the 1800s the Mounties moved to Regina headquarters but Ft. Macleod was still an important centre. Further north the administration centre was Ft. Saskatchewan where the NWMP had built a jail with 32 cells which, by the time of these two novels had very few which were empty. There was also a hospital.
Around the fort a few civilian services were built which eventually became a town and in the twentieth century a fine small city.

Ft. Saskatchewan hospital, 1899

Queens Hotel, Ft. Saskatchewan, 1906

Ft. Saskatchewan store and office

Ft. Saskatchewan, 1905

North West Mounted Police barracks,
Ft. Saskatchewan, 1890

Government Street,
Ft. Saskatchewan, 1906

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