Top Ten Fun Wedding Facts

Wedding season has arrived – together with long sunny days, seasonal fresh fruit and veggies and an abundant choice of flowers to brighten your celebration. To mark the nuptial season these fun wedding facts were compiled from a great website I stumbled upon that covers random history facts.

10. Early Roman brides carried a bunch of herbs, such as garlic and rosemary under their veils to symbolize fidelity and fertility and to ward off evil. These herbs served as a precursor to the modern bridal bouquet.

9. Flower girls traditionally threw flower petals in the bride’s path to lead her to a sweet, plentiful future.

8. The phrase “tying the knot” initially came from an ancient Babylonian custom in which threads from the clothes of both the bride and bridegroom were tied in a knot to symbolize the couple’s union. Literally tying some type of ceremonial knot at a wedding ceremony can be found across cultures.

7. Much like the modern tradition of feeding wedding cake to one’s spouse, in ancient Rome, couples pledged their unity by sharing food. Today a Japanese bride and groom drink sake together, Jewish couples drink from the same cup of consecrated wine, and Muslim couples eat from the same piece of candy.

6. The top 10 “First Dance” songs in the U.S. include “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Come Away with Me,” Unforgettable,” “Wonderful Tonight,” “From This Moment On,” “This I Promise You,” “Thank You For Loving Me,” “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” and “All I Ask of You.”



1899 Wilson wedding at St. Thomas Church at 5 corners (before it’s move to Gore Ave.)

5. Over 74% of first-time brides receive a diamond engagement ring, with the diamond (first discovered in India over 2,000 years ago) symbolizing pure and eternal love. The Greeks thought diamonds (adamas) were tears of the gods, and the Romans thought diamas or diamonds were splinters from heavenly stars.

4. Wedding bells are an important symbol of a wedding. Traditionally, it was believed that demons were scared off by loud sounds, so following a wedding ceremony, anything that could make noise was used to create a diversion.

3. Traditionally, bridesmaids would be dressed in similar bride-like gowns to confuse rival suitors, evil spirits, and robbers.

2. Las Vegas is the top wedding destination with over 100,000 weddings a year, followed by Hawaii at 25,000 weddings a year.

1. The word “matrimony” is from old French matremoine (matrimony, marriage) and Latin matrimonium from matrem (“mother+ monium, “action, state, condition”).


Wedding Party on Staircase Stairway at the Royal Hotel – picture perfect!

Are you looking for a unique vintage setting to hold your wedding? The Royal Hotel in downtown Chilliwack offers intimate wedding spaces to accommodate up to 85 wedding guests in our heritage property. On site catering together with 29 guest rooms, a café and gastro pub make the Royal Hotel your one-stop hassle free wedding location; conveniently located in historic downtown Chilliwack. Our Royal Jacuzzi suite is perfect for the bridal party to prepare before the ceremony and offers restful and roomy accommodations for the newly married couple. Be sure to call the Royal Hotel for more information on weddings and to “save your date”.


McPhee/Edmondson Wedding – Dec. 1941 (note Mr. McPhee’s RCAF uniform)



Bride’s Book of Etiquette. 2002. New York, NY: Perigee Books.

Lee, Vera. 1994. Something Old, Something New: What You Didn’t Know about Wedding Ceremonies, Celebrations, and Customs. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc.

Post, Peggy. 2006. Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

i Stewart, Arlene Hamilton. 1995. A Bride’s Book of Wedding Traditions. New York, NY: William Morrow and Co.

“Matrimony.” Online Etymological Dictionary. Accessed: July 9, 2014.

Canadian Women Make History

July 2nd marks an important date in Canadian history as well as a pivotal point in the quest for the fair and equal treatment of women. On this day in 1941, the Royal Canadian Air Force was granted permission by the Canadian government to create the Women’s Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF-WD).

Although Canadian women had a history of service in the military, their contributions had been limited to caring for the wounded and sick soldiers, where they were known as “nursing sisters”. In fact, according to Veterans Affairs Canada, more than 2800 Canadian women served during the First World War, often near the front line of action in Europe. These brave women were respected for their compassion and courage as they worked healing and nurturing during this time of conflict.

RCAF-WD recruits in St. John’s, 24 September 1942.

Photographer: Gerald Milne Moses. Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada (PA-190792), Ottawa, Ontario.

In reality the act of officially enlisting women into the RCAF in 1941 arose from a shortage of personnel – with the large numbers of men serving overseas during World War 2 (1939-1945) in combat roles job vacancies opened up on the domestic front – jobs normally held by men. Although women were not paid the same as men doing the same job (two-thirds, then later four-fifths of a man’s wage) they were trained in many non-female occupations such as aircraft maintenance, aerial and meteorological surveys, operating communication equipment and packing parachutes in addition to filling administrative supporting roles. What women were not trained for was as flying instructors or for front line combat – that would not occur until the 1960’s when women were granted the ability to be deployed in combat.

Photo: Courtesy of the National Air Force Museum of Canada 

More than 17,000 women served with the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division between 1941 and 1946 filling important supporting roles to the Canadian Forces personnel serving overseas.

19910220052.JPG“Victory Medal” 

given to Floret Louise Cantrill from Chilliwack who served with RCAF Women’s Division (Courtesy Chilliwack Museum and Archives) 


For more information on Canadian women’s role in World War 1 & 2 here is the link:


Happy Canada Day!


Celebrating in the Park (courtesy Chilliwack Museum and Archives)

Canada Day is upon us once again – and an opportunity to celebrate Canada’s 147th birthday right here in Chilliwack. Starting with a pancake breakfast (8 to 11 am), the day long family festivities take place within walking distance of downtown Chilliwack at Evergreen Hall, The Landing Leisure Centre and Townsend Park. A bouncy castle and face painting are also offered to occupy younger family members. The fun continues with free skating at Prospera Centre from 11 to 2 and free swimming from 2 to 5 at the Landing Leisure Centre. The family focused fun culminates in the evening with free live musical entertainment followed by fireworks at 10 pm.

Dominion Day (as it was referred to from the year after Confederation in 1867 until the yearly celebration became Canada Day in 1982) was declared a statutory holiday in 1879 to mark the anniversary of Confederation.

Image of 2014.013.001, QuiltPhoto Courtesy Chilliwack Museum and Archives

To mark the 100th birthday of Confederation, Parliament Hill in Ottawa became the site where high-profile festivities are held complete with live entertainment and where new Canadians are sworn in.

Photo courtesy Getty Images

Construction of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa was underway on the 50th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation in July 1917. The iconic buildings were dedicated to the Fathers of Confederation and the Canadians who fought in the First World War.

Canada Day Fun Facts

• Color television was first introduced in Canada on Dominion Day, 1967.
• To celebrate Canada’s Centennial in 1967, crazy residents of Nanaimo, B.C., transformed bathtubs into motorboats and raced 58 kilometres across the Georgia Strait to Vancouver. The bathtub races are still held annually!

For more information on Canada Day celebration in Chilliwack, visit the Chilliwack Arts Council website:

1957022002.JPGCanada’s 60th Birthday 

Who’s photo is on the button?

Photo courtesy Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Cherries, Chilliwack and Creativity



Did you know that cherries are the first tree fruit to ripen and Turkey is the world’s largest producer of the juicy red fruit crop? In Canada, 90% of sweet cherries are grown in southern B.C. with southern Ontario producing the remaining 10%. Exports to Asia, the United States and Europe account for a large share of the approximate 10,000 tons of sweet cherries grown in B.C. annually.

Cherries feature prominently in Chilliwack’s agricultural history with productive cherry orchards planted by early settlers to the area. But how did Chilliwack deal with an abundant cherry crop and increased competition from B.C.’s interior region in the 1920’s?

That was the question the Chilliwack Board of Trade (now the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce) faced in 1927 as the crop’s abundance became evident. What to do with all the ripe cherries?

Chilliwack pharmacist and head of the Board of Trade, Harry Hipwell is credited with the creation of the first Chilliwack Cherry Carnival held in 1927. Running for nearly thirty years the Cherry Festival was heavily advertised throughout the region and well attended attracting visitors from Vancouver, New Westminster and places in between. The BC Electric Train was on board, offering reduced fare to transport carnival attendees to Chilliwack’s Cherry Carnival.



Held at the old fairgrounds on Spadina Avenue, the well-attended event also included canoe races, dancing, horse racing, lacrosse and basketball games, and foot races. And what Cherry Carnival would be complete without the crowning of a Cherry Carnival Queen!

Crowds of thousands lined Yale Road and Wellington Avenue, some hanging out of windows to catch the mile long Cherry Carnival Parade as it wound through Chilliwack’s downtown core. The Vancouver Daily Province Newspaper reported a crowd of 10,000 parade watchers on July 3, 1950.


Cherry Carnival Parade

(all photos courtesy Chilliwack Museum and Archives)


Walkability and Downtown Chilliwack

walking : collection  back view of walking people . going people in motion set.  backside view of person.  Rear view people collection. Isolated over white background. Stock Photo

Everyone has heard about the health benefits from walking regularly; from reducing the risk of strokes, lowering blood pressure, increasing bone density and circulation, enhancing mental well-being, improving balance and co-ordination to helping control body weight walking is a low-tech low cost way to stay mentally and physically fit. But did you know in addition to the health benefits, a recent study from Stanford University in April of this year found that walking also boosts creativity! (Stanford Report, April 24, 2014)
“Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking. We finally may be taking a step, or two, toward discovering why,” Oppezzo and Schwartz wrote in the study published in April 2014 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.
For more information of the health benefits of walking check out this website from the Mayo Clinic:


Walking in Popkum, circa 1907 (Chilliwack Museum and Archives)

Leaving the car parked at home and using our feet for transportation has a positive impact on our environment as well, with less fuel consumed we are saving money and reducing the amount of fumes we spew into our airspace. Think about this the next time you grab the car keys for a trip to pick-up milk, or the kids from school. With a bit of planning, walking can become part of your daily activity offering a healthier transportation option, an opportunity to connect with neighbours and meet new people along the way.

If you have been house hunting lately, you may be familiar with a “walkability” score when viewing real estate listings. This fairly new method of rating neighbourhoods based on their walkability is the brainchild of a privately owned company called Walk Score. In 2007 the Seattle based company developed a system that uses computer algorithms to determine how walkable a particular area of any city is. Just type an address into their website search engine and up pops a score (see the chart, courtesy of Walk Score). Some realtors are using this technology to market properties for sale; promoting walkability as a selling feature as society moves toward being less car dependent and more physically active. Here is walk score’s website:


Walk Score® Description
90–100 Walker’s Paradise
Daily errands do not require a car.
70–89 Very Walkable
Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
50–69 Somewhat Walkable
Some errands can be accomplished on foot.
25–49 Car-Dependent
Most errands require a car.
0–24 Car-Dependent
Almost all errands require a car.

I typed in the address of the Royal Hotel (45886 Wellington Ave) in downtown Chilliwack and out popped the walk score of 97! This rating (see the chart) classifies the Royal Hotel as being a walkers paradise. From our central location you can easily walk to an assortment of retail shops, restaurants, medical offices, parks, schools, the post office, the hospital, the court house, Chilliwack Cultural Centre and Prospera Arena.


Planning a trip to Chilliwack? Remember the Royal Hotel in downtown Chilliwack offers quaint, impeccably clean guest rooms in a heritage setting located in the very walkable historic downtown core.


Walking on Mill Street through the snow (Chilliwack Museum and Archives)


Chilliwack, Heritage and Craftsman Houses



Skelton House circa 1914 (courtesy Chilliwack Museum and Archives)

Sitting proudly at the end of Spadina Avenue opposite the old fairgrounds is The Skelton House. Completed in 1914 the large craftsman home is celebrating a milestone birthday this July – one hundred years after the first residents, Robert G. and Susan Skelton moved in with their young family. The large residence displays the typical features of a craftsman style home with a generous full width front porch, inset second floor balcony, exposed rafters and decorative braces under gables, tapered porch columns and wood shingle siding. The Skelton House originally sat on a 2-1/2 acre parcel of land purchased from Chilliwack pioneer Isaac Kipp and was valued at $1500.00 in 1913. Tax records from the City indicate improvements were made to the property in 1914 and 1915. A barn was built first followed by the grand craftstman style house. The acreage was later subdivided into city lots; the Skelton House is now surrounded by newer homes however still holds a prominent place on Chilliwack’s Spadina Avenue; adding historic texture to the neighborhood.

For more information on the arts and crafts movement and all things craftsman, check out the following website:


Receipt from 1938. Note the gloves priced at 1.98 


In 1926 Robert Skelton opened his men’s wear business at 45957 Wellington Avenue in downtown Chilliwack. Unfortunately fire destroyed the building in March, 1930 when a spectacular fire ripped through the commercial district, razing a large portion of the downtown core. The building was later re-constructed on the same site utilizing beautiful multi-coloured mosaic tiles on the front of the building including the entrance. Today these tiles can still be seen on the store front on Wellington Avenue; taken over in 1966 by Gord-Ray Men’s Wear and still in business today. The interior still bears the original tin ceilings – have a peak inside next time you walk by.


R.G Skelton Men’s Wear on Wellington Ave. (courtesy Chilliwack Museum and Archives)


current photo of Skelton House (courtesy of Ted Sauriol photographer) Spadina Road The Skelton House 1913

Women Granted Right to Vote


May 24th marks an important date in Canadian history. It was on that day in 1918  Prime Minister R.L. Borden’s government passed “An Act to Confer Electoral Franchise Upon Women”, or in other words, Canadian women were given the right to vote in federal elections. But not all Canadian women were granted the ability to vote in 1918. This right was limited to women who were British Subjects, or not “alien born” and met the property requirements of the province where they lived. The right to vote in federal elections however, was not extended to women of either Asian or Aboriginal descent. These women would have to wait several more decades – until 1948 and 1960 respectively for this privilege. The Canadian provinces each granted women the right to vote in provincial elections at different times. Manitoba was the first province in January 1916; Alberta followed in April 1916 and the province of B.C. granted the right to women in 1917.


(photo courtesy history

Nellie McClung was Canada’s well-known suffragette; a feminist before her time as well as published author of 16 books and outspoken advocate for the right of women to vote. Born in Ontario in 1873, McClung would later become a school teacher, marry and have 5 children (the times dictated that Nellie give up her teaching job when she married.) These accomplishments are in addition to her involvement with the Canadian Women’s Press Club and the Political Equality League. (For those unfamiliar with the word suffragette, the Oxford dictionary defines suffragette as “a woman seeking the right to vote through organized protest”.) Nellie McClung died in Victoria, B.C. in 1951 where she had relocated with her husband in 1935. For more information on this Canadian icon, check this link:

imperial theatre 035

The suffragette movement was active in Chilliwack, B.C. – with a Suffragettes Convention held on the nights of February 10th and 11th, 1915 at Chilliwack’s Imperial Theatre on Yale Road.


Campaign button from WAC Bennett (BC Premier from 1952-1972) Chilliwack Museum and Archives


Monster Truck Production Transforms Chilliwack

may 15 010may 15 017may 15 016With the addition of the odd mail box from the US postal service, a few street banners bearing the name Anderson and vehicles wearing North Dakota licence plates, Wellington Ave.( in front of the Royal Hotel) in downtown Chilliwack has been transformed into fictional small-town USA, namely Sentinel County’s Anderson, North Dakota

Paramount Pictures has been filming their $100 million dollar live action/computer generated imagery/special effects Monster Truck production in downtown Chilliwack since this Tuesday the 13th. Today is day three in Chilliwack and the weather has definitely co-operated! Above average temperatures with long, sunny days have made for a more pleasant work environment, I am sure. Working long days (normally twelve hours) the large crew has made Chilliwack their home base as the stunts and action continues with the monster truck being chased by the army and police through the downtown streets and alleys.
The roads are constantly being hosed down (a real clue to the upcoming street action) to make them appear darker on film, with water trucks and hoses standing by.
The scenes are shot and then re-shot and sometimes re-shot (going again…as they say).

The fifty background stunt-actors (it is dangerous work – the monster trucks roars by at high speed and slides around corners on two wheels!) on set add to the hundreds of crew members that have landed in our city. Although the crew is well-fed with production supplied catering serving gourmet breakfasts and lunches, crew members have been seen frequenting Chilliwack’s eating and drinking establishments after filming is completed for the day – a good thing for our local businesses.

may 15 013

The action continues today (Thursday) until end of day Saturday. The crew will then move to another location and return to Chilliwack to continue filming May 26, 27 and 28th.
Although the parking is limited, all businesses remain open and welcome you to drop by – you may see monster truck action while you are in downtown Chilliwack. Parking is available free of charge at either the old Safeway on Main Street or at the new parking lot at five corners on Young Road.

Chilliwack Home to Canada’s Largest Dairy Farm

Agriculture has played an important role in the settlement history of Chilliwack and continues to contribute to the economic health of our community. The valley’s rich alluvial soil coupled with a moderate climate (and yes, rainfall) continues to attract farming families; currently there are over 900 farms in Chilliwack and many of them are family run.
And did you know Chilliwack is home to the largest dairy farm in Canada with a herd of over 3000 cattle! Unfortunately the farm is not open to the public. (They don’t even have a website)

Although Chilliwack’s large cattle operation is off limits to visitors (for health and safety reasons) there are farms in Chilliwack where you can visit to experience an authentic agricultural immersion for the whole family. I have listed five Chilliwack farms below.

Be sure to contact the farms directly to confirm when they are open to the public before you plan your visit.


Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Fantasy Farms is a family run facility on Gibson Road specializing in seasonal farm festivals. Starting in spring with Easter on the Farm; summer happenings include The Chilliwack Corn and Country Music Festival and the Garlic & Music Festival. Fall at Fantasy Farms is a very busy season as they host children of all ages at Reapers Haunted Attraction and Maze and Petey’s Pumpkin Patch. In December the farm is transformed with seasonal magic to welcome visitors to Petey’s Country Christmas. Check out their website for details and dates

Growing an assortment of vegetables as well as blueberries and strawberries, the Forstbauer Family Natural Food Farm was established in 1977 in Abbotsford before the family relocated to a larger property in Chilliwack. The Forstbauer family was also a pioneer in biodynamic and organic farming practices over thirty years ago and have created a healthy farm environment by following these farming methods (while raising twelve children at the same time!) The farm is open by appointment only 604-794-3999.

Local Harvest Market is Chilliwack’s newest addition to the local fresh food movement. The farm and market opened with a limited variety of produce late last summer; April 1st was the opening of the farm and market for 2014 with an offering of freshly harvested vegetables, herbs and fruit grown on their fertile thirty acre property on Lickman Road. Local Harvest is more than a farm, however, as they offer farm tours, (check out the alpacas and bees) workshops (covering interesting topics, like home canning) and rides on either the barrel train or hay wagon. Picnic tables are provided on site to enjoy the home-made offerings from their café. The market store carries more than just veggies – here you will find local eggs, honey, jams and even coffee. Come to Local Harvest Market and experience an authentic farm! Discover how sustainable farming benefits the environment and the community and see where your food comes from. Find them at 7697 Lickman Road  604-846-6006. 

Yarrow Elderberry Farm is located at 44497 Vedder Mountain Road in Yarrow and opens seasonally for u-pick. Elderberry fruit is a new crop to the Chilliwack area and not well-know (good luck finding elderberries at your local big-box grocery store). The deep purple, almost black fruit hangs upside down from the deciduous shrub when ready to harvest in late summer, is rich in both vitamin A and C and is used for pies, jams, jellies and wine. (Remember Elton John’s song Elderberry Wine?)

Rehoboth Farm is another family run operation in Yarrow housing close to 400 free-range hens and chickens as well as grazing goats, pigs and cattle. Stop by their farm for a dozen free-range eggs. Their free-range eggs are also available in select stores – but why not get them direct from the farm.
Located in beautiful Yarrow at 4123 Eckert Street, Rehoboth Farms has also been certified by the SPCA since 2006. Call the farm at 604-823-4534 for their hours of operation. (no website)

Come to Chilliwack and experience a day on the farm – see where your food comes from.PP502122.JPG

The Kipp family with their plum harvest. (Chilliwack Museum and Archives)

Paramount’s Monster Trucks Production in Chilliwack


Chilliwack’s downtown is preparing for its “close-up” as it gears up for an upcoming major film shoot that’s happening for eight days in May. Filming for the largest production to hit Chilliwack to date begins on May 13. The large contingency of cast and crew will be descending upon Chilliwack’s historic downtown as filming for Paramount Pictures $100 million CGI (computer generated images) and live action Monster Trucks production begins in our city.

Set for a May 2015 release and with “Ice Age” director Chris Wedge at the helm, the action film’s cast includes Amy Ryan (from the Office) and veteran actor Danny Glover (as a junk yard owner) joining Lucas Till, Jane Levy and Rob Lowe (news flash: it was just announced that Lowe is joining the cast).

Filming of the action scenes will commence May 13th through 17th and span sixteen square blocks of Chilliwack’s downtown including five corners. Wellington Avenue will be set-up for major monster truck action with cameras situated on roof tops of surrounding buildings capturing the action. The filming continues on May 26 through 28th and will include filming of the principal actors’ scenes during the three day shoot.

All businesses in the downtown will be open as usual during this period although filming will impact some street access and parking in the area. Support these downtown shops by shopping and eating while filming is underway – you never know who you may cross paths with while strolling downtown Chilliwack in May. Please be patient, respect the work of the film crew and remember the positive and lasting impact a large production like Monster Trucks can have on a community. This production has the opportunity of putting Chilliwack on the map, so to speak, in terms of future filming locations. After all, Chilliwack has lots to offer the film community for locations – a historic, small-town downtown core, numerous heritage homes and buildings, mountain vistas, fertile farmland, lakes, streams and rivers. Let’s also be known as a place that welcomes film crews into their city.


“Monster Truck” from the 1940s (courtesy Chilliwack Museum and Archives)

If you really want to be part of the magic of film and watch as the action unfolds in downtown Chilliwack, book a room at the historic Royal Hotel on Wellington Ave during the filming.
The twenty nine room Royal Hotel is offering a special rate for the period of May 13 through 28. Book either on-line or by phone and mention the promo code “MONSTR” while making your reservations. or 1-888-434-3388