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Britain and the Commonwealth declared war on the German Empire on August 4, 1914. Fernie, like much of the rest of Canada, responded with a wave of excitement and patriotic fervour. Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph MacKay opened a recruiting office on Victoria Avenue on the morning of August 12, and by the end of its first day…

Emilio Picariello was an adventurous and hard-working family man whose ambitions led him to challenge the law of the land for profit. On the other hand, he was well known in the community for helping the less well off. His contravening of the Prohibition Act, and consequent violence, led authorities to realize that criminalizing the…

It’s December 9, 1910. At 7:10 pm, Fred Heale heard a sound. Pop. Not a boom, or a crash, as you might expect. Not a gout of flame or a roar of crumbling rock. Just a small sound, like a distant rifle shot on a windy morning. Pop. Then a gust of burning wind, and…

Imagine a cold afternoon, in town. It’s a town so young that, if it were a human, it would not yet have taken its first steps- and already it’s bursting with 1,200 people, with shops and hotels and a school, with rutted frozen-mud streets and hastily-erected wood houses. It’s early December, and the cold and…

Hardship and heartache were the norm during World War II. Rationing, in every Allied country, made life difficult with shortages of food, clothing and general supplies. Watching young men leave, knowing it might be the last time you glimpsed their faces, would break the heart of every family member. MORALE But people and countries endured…

Rationing, making do, shortages – no matter who you were or where you lived in the early 1940s this was the stuff of daily life. Every effort was being made to win the war. Keeping spirits up also required a huge effort. Despite blackouts in the face of nightly bombings London was alive with basement…

Jackets enhanced with shoulder pads, narrow waists, knee length skirts – my uniform for work during the 1980s. But it wasn’t the cusp of a new innovative design in fashion – it was a nod to the difficult war years of the early 1940s. What I love about the Fernie Museum events is the exploration…

It’s a rare and welcomed thing when you read or see or experience something that inspires you to act. We are inundated with images, stories and views every day but it’s not often that many of us are moved to act upon any given source. Last year the Fernie Museum did an exhibit based on…

A guiding principle of the Fernie Museum is that one can learn from the past – past events, past activities, past traditions – and that learning leads to a better understanding our world today. The museum’s summer camps will be a chance for kids to connect Fernie’s intangible heritage traditions with their own lives. Campers…

The Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello travelling exhibit that opened at the Fernie Museum on September 19, 2015 revealed a deep-seated desire to understand Fernie’s past. This was particularly true for members of the Italian community. At museum visits and the Chautauqua event people came to speak to me about the information in the…

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© 2016 Fernie & District Historical Society
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