Monday, May 24, 2010

Janet Nairn Gilmour and the Cottage on St. Kilda Avenue, North Vancouver

In 1946, John and James Gilmour (aka Jack and Jim) were discharged from service in the army and were able to go to university, courtesy of Veterans Affairs.

Dad told me that they originally planned to go to ranger school in Saskatchewan, but the man at the office asked them "Why don't you become foresters?", and so they did, moving to Vancouver to attend forestry school at UBC where they lived at Fort Camp (see photo of residences at Fort Camp below).


James had died in 1942, and so the boys' mother, Janet Nairn Gilmour, moved out to Vancouver with them. At first, she worked for an elderly woman who owned a parrot but soon moved to cook and do light housekeeping for Judge Lennox, who lived at 2905 St. Kilda Avenue in North Vancouver. Janet lived in a cottage beside the main house for almost the whole 4 years that the boys were in forestry school.

Today, Pauline (Jim's daughter and my cousin), Dad and I went for lunch in Deep Cove and then set off on a drive to see if we could find the old house. Although the area has changed a lot, Dad did remember rummaging in Judge Lennox's drawers while he was away and finding his old WW I pistol - the boys visited their mother at the house often, taking the streetcar up Lonsdale. Here are some pictures of the house and the cottage (now barely visible from the street; see top photo). The last photo shows Pauline by the "licht gate" leading down to Judge Lennox's former house.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Musical Twins?

While I don't think of myself or my immediate family as particularly musical (let's just say we're much better listeners than producers), perhaps we were just lacking the opportunity to play in a flute band!

The photo above shows the boys with the whole band: 2nd row (after drums) Jim (James) right and Jack (John) left. The caption on the photo reads "We didn't want to get our picture taken that day. Grade 10 at Princess Alex School, Saskatoon".

If this truly was Grade 10, the boys would have been about 15 (circa 1941). I searched Wikipedia and found the following information about the school:

Princess Alexandra School is a public elementary school which is a part of theSaskatoon Public School Division.[18] The school first opened in 1906.[19]Construction began in 1906/07 of 'Riversdale School which was re-named Alexandra School; a four room school house was erected, and doubled in size by 1908.[20] In 1922 there were both Princess and Alexandra schools in operation on the same land allotment. Princess school was sold and torn down in 1961. In 1962 a new school building was erected on the same property site, and re-opened.

I don't know if any of Margaret and William Gilmour's kids went to school after immigrating to Saskatoon - perhaps Tom will know? If the younger kids (David and Mary) did have a chance to go to school, then they would also have attended this old brick school.

The photo below shows the twins posing in their Pipe Band uniforms with their flutes and was taken in the backyard at 428 Avenue E South in Saskatoon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pauline and her Dad, James (Jim) Gilmour, Spring 1975

Pauline (only daughter of James and Helen Gilmour) with her Dad on the back deck of their house in Victoria, BC.

Pauline would have been about 13 when this picture was taken in the spring of 1975; James was 49 years old.  

Sunday, August 30, 2009


"Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to   get back to.” 

- John Ed Pierce 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chloe Straw

Chloe is the daughter of Margaret Rose Gilmour,  the granddaughter of John Gordon Gilmour, and the great-granddaughter of James Gilmour. 

I was actually searching for the announcement of Chloe's recent engagement (to Jules Molloy) but instead found this article published in the University of Victoria's "Ring" newspaper.)  

April 2005 · Vol 31 · No 4

Chloe’s excellent adventure


A co-op student fundraises her way to a work term in Costa Rica

 by Lynda Hills



Funding your own trip to work overseas and bringing money to a project can be a challenge, but UVic arts and writing co-op student Chloe Straw found a way to do it.


Straw wanted to work and travel, so she conducted research on organizations that were involved in overseas community development, and settled on one in Costa Rica called Youth Challenge International (YCI). Then she set to work.


The fee for three months in Costa Rica was $3,535, which covered building materials for the project. Straw took a multi-faceted approach to fundraising. Starting off with family assistance, she branched off to canvassing local businesses for support. Next, she networked with friends and contacts on campus and hosted a ‘Battle of the DJ’s’ event at Felicitas, which included a dance team performance. She then undertook a campus-wide bottle drive.


To help with her travel expenses Straw applied for, and won, the Graham Branton Endowment Fund. The $750 award supports co-op students who volunteer for placements overseas.


During her first five weeks in Costa Rica, Straw helped re-locate a retaining wall at a children’s rescue centre in Vista Azul. “It was pretty intense,” she says. “I’d never had such a physical task, but the kids who lived there were our continued motivation.”


Straw’s second project took her near the Panamanian border and an eco-lodge called Casa Calateas in the small town of Carbon Dos. The group built a green filter to clean grey water coming from the kitchen and filter it into the jungle. They also built roads to improve the lodge’s accessibility and painted the lodge buildings.


As part of both projects Straw taught English to local communities, and while at Casa Calateas, she organized a conference for women and youth.
Straw believes the experience was important for her career goals and is now looking into a postgraduate program in international management.


“I learned not to put limits on my own expectations because I did things on this project that I didn’t think I would even attempt to do,” she says. “It was easily the best thing that I’ve done.”

Jan and Dad, Summer 2009

Here's Janet (named after our grandmother, Janet, wife to James) and Dad out for dinner in Vancouver, August, 2009. 

We were visiting with Tom and Laurie Henry (Tom's grandfather, William, was our grandfather James' brother; Tom's Mom was Dad's cousin - which makes Tom Dad's first cousin once removed (because they are from different generations) and makes Tom our second cousin (because we share great-grandparents but not grandparents). 

Got that? Whatever the relationship, it's been very nice for all of us getting to know another branch of the Gilmour family - Tom is responsible for most of the genealogical digging and many of the photos I've posted so far. 

Cath [sister to Elizabeth, John Callaghan's wife (John is also Dad's cousin; his Mom, Helen, was James' younger sister)] was visiting from England and also came out to eat - will ask Jan for a photo of all of us together. 

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sometimes a Great Notion - Canadian Style

James and John Gilmour trained as foresters at the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1950 thanks to the free university education that the Canadian government offered to WW II veterans. 

While the twins were lucky enough not to have shipped overseas, they both took advantage of the free post-secondary education.  

This picture shows James Gilmour (left front wearing a floppy hat) and several other forestry students working somewhere near Cranbrook, BC, in about 1948 (presumably a summer job before they graduated in 1950). 

The young men were cruising Christmas trees for various operators wanting to harvest them. 

(Postscript - to James' left, you can just see  the head and shoulders of Roy Flannigan - he went on to become a Park Superintendent for Parks Canada; many, many years later, I worked in the Northwest Territories and became friends with his son, Brian - small world, eh?).