Family postcards (some from Canada) at Renaissance Woman

Renaissance Woman, Sandi Ratch, has been writing a series on her family postcards.

Postcards #1 – Banff [meaning Banff in Scotland] was the first. (This led to her discovering that there is a “little known” [!] town also called Banff in Canada. Gosh, I thought our Banff was world famous.)

Very interesting series of postcard articles – for me especially as it turned out that many were from or related to Canada. And along the way, Renaissance Woman has solved a number of little family puzzles. Always good to see!

Here’s a link to the latest article, Postcards #47 – Dick’s journey across Canada continued. These cards were written in 1915 by a Richard (Dick) Grant who died later at Vimy.


Farmers’ Mass – 1897 Victoria, BC, Canada

This week’s Vancouver Postcard Club meeting theme is New Found Treasures. Here’s one of mine – a 1897 concert rehearsal reminder card. Oh, the days before e-mail!

Save0006 Save0007Rehearsal reminder card, Farmers’ Mass rehearsal, Victoria, BC, Canada, May 1897.  Really I can’t quite read the name this card was sent to: W (or Mr.) Wall? Mull? and James Junr, Victoria – do you have another take on this? Or recognize the name?

I did find this article about the performance of the Farmer’s Mass in the Victoria Daily Colonist, Sunday, 2 May 1897, page 8.  Since this is not the best copy, see the digitized page copy by following this link.

Screenshot 2014-06-15 08.15.19And according to an earlier newspaper report, there was to be a photograph taken of the orchestra, chorus and soloists at one of the rehearsals by Mr. Fleming (Victoria Daily Colonist, 29 April, 1897, page 5).  Perhaps a copy survives?

The performance was repeated at the Nanaimo Opera House later in the month as a benefit for the Nanaimo hospital.

Gow Family Residence – Yukon Street, Vancouver BC – 1911

Yukon St residence Vancouver BC-Postcard 1911From the message, this house was on Yukon St. in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and the postcard may have been sent to someone in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The house # on the porch post appears to be “3035”.  Message in ink on back as below. Unused postcard; one cent stamp box.

Vancouver BC
May 8/11
Dear Friend
I received your postal last week and was very pleased to get it. No I am not following Winnipeg fashion in the harem skirt although I certainly think they are an improvement on the hobble skirt. There are several girls in Vancouver that are wearing them. We had the loveliest weather during April, it was just like summer almost too warm, but it has rained nearly every day of this month. This is a picture of our house on Yukon St. were we live now. so if any of you come to Vancouver you will be able to find the house. Best regards to all, Ruby.

Since I too once lived on Yukon Street in Vancouver, BC, I was immediately interested in this image, but I was also most happy to see Ruby’s mention of a current fashion in 1911 Vancouver – the harem skirt. Much more comfortable than the hobble skirts! And yes, I do have postcards featuring both harem and hobble skirts, mostly comic ones, but no others from Vancouver.

I believe the writer was Ruby Margaret Gow, daughter of John Alexander Gow and Mary Euphemia White. This is largely based on the signature “Ruby” and the address: 3035 Yukon St. Vancouver and directory listings from 19111 on which show John A. Gow, a shipper at Seymour Lumber Co. at that address. (Ruby Gow is not listed.)

As Ruby’s message implies, they may not have lived there long before she sent the postcard. The 19091 directory shows John A. Gow at another address: 142-10th Ave. E., Vancouver.

If thiis is the right Ruby, then in 1913 she married Norman Hull. I do have a file of tentative information on this family.

Please contact me if the family or the photograph is of interest to you. I am not related (as far as I know.)


1Henderson’s Greater Vancouver Directory, 1909, and for 1911 and 1912, both Part 1.(Vancouver, BC, Canada: Henderson Publishing Co.). Accessed 14 April 2014 at Vancouver Public Library, Online Resources, British Columbia City Directories, 1860-1955: