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Date Range From
1945
Date Range To
2005
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
STEEL, WOOD
Catalogue Number
P20160029000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1945
Date Range To
2005
Materials
STEEL, WOOD
No. Pieces
7
Height
30
Diameter
31
Description
A: PRESSURE COOKER POT: STEEL POT WITH TWO BLACK WOODEN HANDLES. HANDLES ARE SCREWED TO LIP OF POT WITH TWO SCREWS EACH. FAIR TO GOOD CONDITION. BLACK RESIDUE, WATER STAINS, AND SCRATCHES ON OVERALL SURFACE OF POT FROM USE. THERE IS A FULL CRACK SEPARATING THE BACK END OF THE RIGHT HANDLE FROM THE POT. B: LID: STEEL LID 31.9CM (D) X 3.8CM (H). LID HAS ONE BLACK WOODEN HANDLE HELD IN PLACE BY TWO SCREWS. BOTH SIDES OF HANDLES HAVE VALVES FOR LETTING OFF/MANAGING PRESSURE. THE CENTER HAS A ROUND GAUGE WHICH READS BOTH PRESSURE (0 TO 20) AND TEMPERATURE IN DEGREES FAHRENHEIT (228° TO 259°). IT READS "WARNING OPEN PETCOCK, EXHAUST STEAM…” GAUGE HAS SINGLE RED NEEDLE. IN FRONT OF GAUGE ON TOP OF LID READS, “IMPROVED KOOK / KWICK STEAM PRESSURE COOKER 22”. LID IS SECURED TO POT WITH REMOVABLE RING THAT IS TIGHTENED BY TURNING A SMALL HANDLE AT THE FRONT. GOOD CONDITION. STAINING ON OVERALL SURFACE OF LID AND BACKGROUND OF GAUGE IS YELLOWED. C: SEALING RING: 36 CM IN DIAMETER UNTIGHTENED. STEEL WITH A RUBBER KNOB AT THE OPENING. HINGE AT THE BACK SIDE OF THE RING. CLAMP AT FRONT IS TIGHTENED BY A METAL HANDLE. GOOD CONDITION. STAINING ON OVERALL SURFACE OF THE STEEL. D: COOKING RACK: 26.5 CM IN DIAMETER. CIRCULAR, METAL RACK WITH A CIRCLE OPENING AT THE CENTER AND A CURVED PATTERN OF TWO ROWS AROUND. THE RACK HAS 6 SECTIONS AROUND. THERE ARE RIDGES ALONG THE VERTICAL LINES ON ONE SIDE. THE OPPOSITE SIDE IS FLAT. THREE OF THE RIDGES HAVE SCREW HOLES ON THE OUTSIDE EDGE. E-G: 3 MASON JAR LID BANDS: ALL 8.5 CM IN DIAMETER. E IS MADE OUT OF A SILVER-COLOURED METAL. F AND G ARE MADE OUT OF GOLD-COLOURED METAL. POOR TO FAIR CONDITION FOR COMPONENTS D THROUGH G. ALL COMPONENTS ARE RUSTING WITH SIGNIFICANT MINERAL BUILD UP ON THEM. THERE IS FURTHER MATERIAL BUILD UP ON COMPONENTS E-G.
Subjects
FOOD PROCESSING T&E
Historical Association
DOMESTIC
History
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PRESSURE COOKER IS EXTRACTED FROM A SEPTEMBER 2016 INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN WITH THE ARTIFACT'S DONOR, JEANNETTE HOUTEKAMER: HOUTEKAMER CAME INTO POSSESSION OF THE PRESSURE COOKER FROM HER AUNT, EUGENE SICOTTE: “WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I KNOW IT’S VERY OLD. IT CAME FROM A GREAT AUNT, WHO CAME TO THIS COUNTRY AS A YOUNG GIRL AND WAS LOCATED AROUND THE BEAVER MINE AREA… MUST [HAVE BEEN] LUNDBRECK. SHE WAS THERE WITH HER HUSBAND... SHE ALSO WAS A WONDERFUL COOK, AND SHE COOKED IN A LUMBER CAMP … HER FIRST MARRIED NAME WAS EUGENE (SIC) SICOTTE, MARRIED TO A PETE SICOTTE. [N.B. ALTERNATIVE SPELLING OF FIRST NAME EUGINE OR EUGENIE FROM OBITUARY AND LEGAL NOTICE] … SHE WAS WITH HIM FOR 17 YEARS... HOW SHE MET GEORGE ANDERSON, I’M NOT SURE, BUT HE WAS A FARMER PAST COALDALE - BARNWELL. THEY HAD A FARM UP THERE. AND SHE WAS QUITE A BIT OLDER THAN HIM, BUT THEY MARRIED, AND DID VERY WELL. THEN THEY RETIRED AND MOVED TO THE CITY HERE… I IMAGINE THEY BOUGHT [THE PRESSURE COOKER] DOWN IN GREAT FALLS, BECAUSE HE HAD A SISTER WHO WAS DOWN IN SHELBY. AT THE TIME, IT WAS CONSIDERED MORE EXPENSIVE.” OF THE RELATIONSHIP SHE HAD WITH HER AUNT, HOUTEKAMER STATED: “[W]E WERE VERY CLOSE. THEY HAD NO FAMILY, SO THEY KIND OF ADOPTED MY HUSBAND [MARTIN HOUTEKAMER] AND I... WE DID A LOT OF THINGS FOR THEM WHEN THEY GOT OLDER... SHE WAS A FABULOUS COOK.” HOUTEKAMER’S AUNT’S NAME BECAME EUGENE ANDERSON UNDER HER SECOND MARRIAGE. SOMETIME DURING THE PERIOD AFTER THE EUGENE AND GEORGE ANDERSON MOVED TO LETHBRIDGE AND BEFORE THE PASSING OF MRS. ANDERSON IN 1968, HOUTEKAMER CAME TO ACQUIRE THE PRESSURE COOKER: “WELL, SHE JUST GOT TO THE POINT WHERE SHE WAS GETTING OLDER, AND SHE DIDN’T DO A LOT OF CANNING ANYMORE. SHE HAD DONE A LOT PREVIOUS TO THAT. SHE CANNED EVERYTHING, EVEN MUSHROOMS … [SHE WAS A] FABULOUS COOK … SHE KNEW THAT I DID A LOT OF CANNING, SO SHE THOUGHT [THE PRESSURE COOKER] WOULD HELP." "MY HUSBAND DID A LOT OF FISHING, SO [WE] CANNED FISH, WHICH WAS THE BEST THING FOR IT. WHEN YOU CAN IT IN THERE, IT’S GOING TO BE GOOD… [HE CAUGHT FISH FROM] ALL OVER SOUTHERN ALBERTA. BEAVER MINES WAS ONE OF THE SPECIALS. IN FACT, HIS ASHES ARE IN POLICE LAKE. HE DID A LOT THERE AT POLICE LAKE AND LEE’S CREEK. DEPENDING [ON] HOW MANY FISH YOU HAD TO MAKE IT WORTHWHILE, I WOULD DO A CANNER OF IT. I USED THE SMALL FISH JARS, SO I COULD PACK THEM UP. I DID QUITE A FEW…” PRIOR TO OWNING A PRESSURE COOKER, HOUTEKAMER SAID SHE “USED A BIG CANNER. I HAD ONE THAT HELD 7 OR 8 QUARTS. THAT’S WHAT I DID - MOSTLY FRUIT. I DIDN’T DO A LOT OF VEGETABLES BECAUSE, BY THEN, YOU COULD START FREEZING STUFF. YOU KNOW, IT WAS STARTING TO GET MORE POPULAR.” HOUTEKAMER DID NOT LEARN A GREAT DEAL OF COOKING FROM HER AUNT, “BECAUSE I HAD LEARNED A LOT FROM MY MOTHER. SHE WAS A GOOD COOK. SHE EVEN MADE LEFTOVERS TASTE GOOD. SHE HAD HAD A LOT OF EXPERIENCE… WE DID A LOT OF PRESERVING IN HER DAY. THAT WAS ALL WE HAD AND IT WAS ALWAYS DONE IN A BOILER - A GOOD COPPER BOILER. THAT’S THE WAY YOU LEARNED. … FOR SOME THINGS [THE PRESSURE COOKER WAS BETTER THAN THE COPPER BOILER] BECAUSE MY VEGETABLES TAKE A VERY LONG TIME TO PRESERVE THROUGH BOILING. AND FISH, OH MY GOD, YOU WOULD BE THERE FOREVER TO BOIL, SO THIS [PRESSURE COOKER] IS MUCH BETTER, MUCH FASTER [AND] SAFER, AS WELL. IT WAS HEAVY WORK, MIND YOU. WHEN YOUR COOKER WAS DONE, WHEN YOUR TIME WAS DONE, IF YOU COULD LIFT IT AND TAKE IT OUTDOORS, YOU COULD THROW COLD WATER ON IT AND OPEN IT RIGHT AWAY. THEN YOU WOULD THROW THE CANS IN COLD WATER. FOR JARS, YOU HAD TO WAIT UNTIL IT WENT DOWN BY ITSELF. YOU COULDN’T OPEN IT UNTIL THEN OR ALL THE LIDS WOULD COME OFF.” FOR HOUTEKAMER, CANNING TOOK PLACE MOSTLY DURING THE FALL. SHE WAS ABLE TO PRESERVE A VARIETY OF FOOD WITH THIS PRESSURE COOKER: “I [CANNED] CHICKEN ONE YEAR, AND THAT WAS ENOUGH. WE ALWAYS HAD CHICKEN AROUND [AND] IT WAS BETTER FRESH. MY HUSBAND LOVED HIS FRESH CHICKENS. WE HAD OUR OWN GARDEN, AND SOMETIMES WE WOULD GET SOME CORN IN THE FALL [WHEN THE FARMERS WERE DOING THEIR THRESHING].” OF HER FAVOURITE VEGETABLES TO PRESERVE, HOUTEKAMER SAID, “BEANS, I GUESS. I WOULD GET A LOT OF BEANS. BEETS – I DID SOME – NOT CANNED. [I] DID A LOT OF PICKLES. BEANS WERE THE MAIN THING, AND CHICKEN, AND FISH. AND THAT WAS IT. I DID A LOT OF TOMATOES, BUT THEY WERE SIMPLER TO DO IN THE CANNER, BECAUSE THEY ONLY TAKE ABOUT 20 MINUTES… [THE PRESSURE COOKER] WOULD BE PLACED ON [A] GAS OR ELECTRIC [STOVE]. WHEN THE TIME WAS DONE, YOU JUST SHUT THE STOVE OFF AND LET IT COME DOWN BY ITSELF… I USED TO JUST KNOW WHERE TO PUT THE STOVE AT, THE BURNER, TO KEEP [THE PRESSURE WHERE NEEDED]. YOU HAD TO BE CAREFUL. YOU COULDN’T JUST TURN YOUR BACK ON IT. YOU WOULDN’T WANT THAT. THAT WHOLE THING WOULD COME OFF, AND YOU WOULD HAVE ONE BIG MESS. … NO [THAT NEVER HAPPENED]. I ALWAYS WAS VERY CAREFUL – WATCHED IT CLOSE. I DON’T THINK [MESSES] EVER HAPPENED TO MY AUNT EITHER THAT I’M AWARE OF… MOST OF THE COOKBOOKS IN THOSE DAYS HAD INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT HOW MANY POUNDS TO USE FOR VEGETABLES. I THINK MY FISH WAS 15 POUNDS. FOLLOW THOSE INSTRUCTIONS AND IT WORKED FINE – [IT] DID A VERY GOOD JOB.” HOUTEKAMER WOULD USE THE PRESSURE COOKER AT HER HOME ON THE RESEARCH STATION AND THEN LATER AT HER HOME ON THE NORTH SIDE OF LETHBRIDGE: “… AT THE TIME WE LIVED ON THE RESEARCH STATION FOR TWENTY YEARS. AND I USED IT THERE. MY HUSBAND WORKED THERE, IN POULTRY RESEARCH. WE WERE POOR. WE DID A LOT OF CANNING AND ALWAYS HAD A GARDEN. THAT’S HOW IT CAME ABOUT … WE HAD A PLACE TO LIVE AND OUR OWN GARDEN.” THE PRESSURE COOKER WAS ACTIVELY USED BY HOUTEKAMER UNTIL HER HUSBAND’S DEATH IN 2005: “WELL, I DON’T THINK I’VE USED IT IN THE LAST 10 YEARS BECAUSE I’VE BEEN LIVING IN A CONDO. I JUST HAD IT SITTING AROUND, TOO HEAVY TO MOVE… I DIDN’T DO A LOT OF CANNING ANYMORE…” THIS ARTIFACT BRINGS BACK MEMORIES OF HER LATE HUSBAND: “WE ALWAYS DID A LOT OF FISHING TOGETHER. WHEN HE RETIRED, HE BOUGHT HIS BOAT. WE HAD A CAMPER VAN, SO WE COULD GO OUT AND STAY OVERNIGHT. WE HAD [THE] BOAT, SO WE COULD GO ONTO THE WATER [AND] TRY TO GET SOME FISH. THOSE DAYS, THERE WERE SO MANY FISH... IF YOU WERE LUCKY, YOU HAD A NICE BIG ONE THAT WOULD FILL ABOUT FIVE OR SIX JARS.” CANNING WAS A NECESSITY FOR FOOD PRESERVATION: “WELL, I GUESS IT’S OK IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, BUT WHEN WE WERE YOUNGER, WE WERE VERY POOR, SO YOU DID WHAT HAD TO DO. KEEP GOING. EAT… MY GIRLS STILL DO SOME, BUT NOW, WITH THE NEW FANCY STOVES, YOU COULD NEVER USE THIS – TOO HEAVY. THE NEW STOVES – THEY JUST CAN’T PUT ANYTHING HEAVY ON THERE. I THINK IT’S KIND OF TOO BAD, BECAUSE A GARDEN IS NOT THAT HARD TO HAVE, AND YOU CAN GET AN AWFUL LOT OF GOOD FOOD OUT OF THERE – NATURAL FOOD, AND VERY HEALTHY FOOD. SOME PEOPLE JUST CAN’T BE BOTHERED. [IT'S] SIMPLER TO GO TO THE STORE… [MY AUNT] COULD HAVE PROBABLY SAID MORE, SHE DID A GREAT DEAL OF CANNING. SHE ALWAYS MADE SURE, WHEN THEY BUILT THEIR HOUSES, THAT THEY HAD A PLACE FOR PUTTING HER CANNED STUFF, WHERE SHE COULD KEEP IT COOLER IN THE SUMMER.” ACCORDING TO HER LETHBRIDGE HERALD OBITUARY, MRS. EUGINE ANDERSON PASSED AWAY IN LETHBRIDGE ON JANUARY 18, 1968 AT THE AGE OF 85. HER SECOND HUSBAND, MR. GEORGE ANDERSON, PASSED AWAY IN CALGARY ON NOVEMBER 26, 1972 AT THE AGE OF 79. MRS. ANDERSON’S FIRST HUSBAND, MR. PETE SICOTTE, PASSED AWAY IN CAMROSE, ALBERTA ON FEBRUARY 15, 1966 AT THE AGE OF 92. A MEMORIAM IN THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD INDICATES THAT THE DONOR’S HUSBAND, MR. MARTIN HOUTEKAMER PASSED AWAY ON APRIL 21, 2005. SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND COPIES OF OBITUARIES.
Catalogue Number
P20160029000
Acquisition Date
2016-09
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Date Range From
1943
Date Range To
1973
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
SHEET METAL, GLASS, CARDBOARD
Catalogue Number
P20160027000
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1943
Date Range To
1973
Materials
SHEET METAL, GLASS, CARDBOARD
No. Pieces
2
Height
13.7
Length
5.4
Width
1.8
Description
A: THERMOMETER. THE THERMOMETER'S CASING IS METAL. THERE IS A COVER ON THE THERMOMTER THAT HAS 17 HOLES PUNCHED OUT OF THE FRONT (7 ROWS ALTERNATING BETWEEN 3 AND 2 HOLES PER ROW). THERE IS A SHORT BACK TO THE COVER. THE COVER IS ATTACHED TO THE THERMOMETER WITH 2 SMALL NAILS ON EITHER SIDE. THE THERMOMETER GLIDES OUT OF THE COVER AND HINGES BACK TO STAND (SUPPORTED BY BACK OF CASE AND THE 2 NAILS). THE BACKGROUND OF THE THERMOMETER IS WHITE AND IS ATTACHED TO THE METAL CASE. “US PAT 2329685” IS ON THE BOTTOM OF THE THERMOMETER. ON THE LEFT SIDE TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENTS FROM 1 TO 6 ARE ETCHED. THE NUMBERS ARE DIVIDED INTO INCREMENTS OF FOUR. ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE THERMOMETER THERE ARE “00” ACROSS FROM EACH NUMBER ON THE LEFT. THE THERMOMETER’S GLASS IS TINTED YELLOW WITH A TRANSLUCENT CENTER. THIS TUBE IS 12.4CM IN LENGTH. TWO SMALL METAL RINGS HOLD THE GLASS THERMOMETER TO THE MEASUREMENT BACKING. THERE IS A SMALL METAL HOOK AT THE TOP OF THE THERMOMETER. ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE THERMOMETER IN ITS CLOSED POSITION, "D. CARSE" IS HANDWRITTEN IN BLACK INK. GOOD CONDITION. RUSTING/STAINING OVERALL SURFACE. LOSS OF WHITE BACKING BEHIND THE THERMOMETER (SEVERE ON THE UPPER LEFT CORNER AND SLIGHT ON THE UPPER RIGHT CORNER). B: CARDBOARD CASE WITH OVERALL DIMENSIONS OF 13.9 CM X 6 CM X 2 CM. CARDBOARD BOX WITH GREEN LABEL ON FRONT. THE LABEL SAYS “RUXCO” “NO-600-MO-10” “OVEN TEST THERMOMETER RANGE 100 TO 600°F IN 10° DIVISIONS.” GOOD CONDITION. MISSING LEFT END OF BOX. SCRATCH ON THE SURFACE OF THE LEFT SIDE OF THE LABEL. STAINING IN VARIOUS PLACES.
Subjects
FOOD PROCESSING T&E
THERMAL T&E
Historical Association
TRADES
DOMESTIC
History
IN SEPTEMBER 2016, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED IRENE MOCH ABOUT THE HISTORY OF A THERMOMETER SHE DONATED TO THE GALT MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES. THE THERMOMETER BELONGED TO HER FATHER, DAVID ROXBOROUGH CARSE, AND WAS USED BY HIM AS AN EMPLOYEE OF CANADIAN WESTERN NATURAL GAS COMPANY. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM THAT INTERVIEW: “HIS JOB WAS TO GO HOUSE-TO-HOUSE ON SPECIFIED CALLS TO REPAIR AND CHECK GAS APPLIANCES AT VARIOUS HOMES. HE LOVED HIS JOB. IT WAS GREAT PASSION AND HE WOULD SHARE A LOT OF HIS EXPERIENCES AT HOME WITH US. IT BECAME A BIG PART OF OUR FAMILY LIFE. HIS FIRST PASSION WAS HIS FAMILY AND HIS SECOND PASSION WAS HIS WORK. TWENTY- EIGHT YEARS, HE WAS WITH THE GAS COMPANY. HE WOULD BRING VARIOUS LITTLE ITEMS HOME, BUT MOSTLY IT WAS JUST HIS MEMORIES AND OUR MEMORIES OF THE STORIES THAT HE TOLD… MY MOM AND DAD WILLED THEIR HOUSE TO MY HUSBAND, WHO HAD BEEN CARING FOR IT OVER THE YEARS. [THEY] LEFT ALL THEIR TREASURES AS THEY WERE [TO] US BOTH TO DO WHAT WE FELT WAS BEST WITH EVERYTHING. THEY HAVE BEEN GONE SINCE 2000, 2003. SO FINALLY, THIS MOVE HAS FORCED ME TO GO THROUGH SOME OF THE THINGS THAT I HAVE, AND THIS HAS COME UP, AND IT MEANT A LOT. WE ALWAYS HAD GAS STOVE AND GAS RADIANT HEAT AND HE WOULD ALWAYS TEST MY MOTHER’S OVEN WITH THE THERMOMETER TO MAKE SURE THAT IT WAS FUNCTIONING PROPERLY. IT WAS VERY VISIBLE TO ALL OF US. IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT.” MOCH RECALLS THE THERMOMETER IN HER DAD’S WORK TOOLBOX: “… WHEREVER HE WENT, HE WOULD HAVE HIS TOOL BOX, AND THAT WAS THE FIRST THING THAT CAME OUT OF THE TOOL BOX. HE CARRIED IT IN HIS VEHICLE. HE DROVE TO THE HOUSES AND THE FIRST THING THAT CAME OUT OF HIS TOOL BOX WAS THAT.” IT WAS THE JOB AT CANADIAN WESTERN NATURAL GAS COMPANY THAT BROUGHT CARSE AND HIS FAMILY TO LETHBRIDGE: “HE HAD ANDREW’S HARDWARE IN FORT MACLEOD FOR I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY YEARS – QUITE A FEW – AND THEN HE WENT TO THE GAS PLANT IN BURDETT/ BOW ISLAND. AND FAMILY WAS COMING. [HE] NEEDED A STEADY JOB, [SO HE] CAME TO THE CITY [ TO] FIND A STEADY JOB. HE WAS A CERTIFIED PLUMBER AND GAS-FITTER SO HE APPLIED AT THE CANADIAN WESTERN AND NATURAL GAS… THAT WAS HIS WORLD. HE JUST BLOSSOMED. HE WAS A VERY PRIVATE PERSON, BUT HE LOVED TO BE WITH PEOPLE. THERE WAS A LOT OF COMRADERY AND HORSE-PLAY. HE WORKED BY HIMSELF. HE DIDN’T HAVE A PARTNER. AND [HE] WENT PLACE-TO-PLACE – AND IT GREW, AND GREW, AND GREW, AND GREW – 28 YEARS. AND IT WAS NOT UNCOMMON FOR OUR RESIDENCE PHONE AT HOME TO RING FROM VARIOUS PEOPLE, SAYING, ‘DON’T SEND SO-AND-SO; SEND DAVE BACK. DAVE KNOWS WHAT HE’S DONE HERE, AND THAT’S THE PERSON I WANT BACK.’ THAT WAS NOT UNCOMMON AT ALL TO HAPPEN AT OUR HOUSE. HE MADE A GOOD REPUTATION FOR HIMSELF, AND HE LOVED WHAT HE DID, AND IT SHOWED… HE BECAME A KIND OF AN IMAGE AND I THINK HE REVELED IN THAT. HE WAS KING OF HIS WORLD, REALLY. IT WAS VERY NICE.” “… THERE WAS ALWAYS SOMEBODY ON CALL," CONTINUED MOCH, "BUT, IF IT WAS A MAJOR BLIZZARD, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THEN EVERYBODY WAS PRESSED INTO SERVICE. IF IT WAS TURKEY DAY, AND EVERYBODY WANTS TO COOK A TURKEY, AND THE PILOT LIGHT OR THE OVEN DIDN’T WORK, SOMEBODY HAD TO GO. AND THAT WAS THE BIG THING WITH THE GAS COMPANY. GAS COMPANY SERVICEMEN WERE FREE OF CHARGE AND THE ONLY CHARGE WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR A THERMOCOUPLE OR A PART THAT NEEDED TO BE REPLACED. PEOPLE WERE NOT SHY ABOUT CALLING THE GAS COMPANY TO REMEDY THEIR SITUATION. YES, THERE WAS ALWAYS SOMEONE ON CALL, AND HE HAD TO TAKE HIS TURN DOING THAT. BUT, IF THERE WAS A MASS BLIZZARD OR STORM OF SOME SORT, THEN THEY WERE ALL CALLED OUT.” MOCH EXPLAINED THE THERMOMETER WAS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE TO CARSE’S WORK: “MOST OF HIS CALLS WERE [BAKING RELATED]. PEOPLE ALWAYS BAKED IN THOSE DAYS – ALWAYS BAKED AND [IF], ‘THE OVEN WASN’T COOKING RIGHT,’ OR ‘IT WASN’T HOT ENOUGH,’ OR ‘HOW COME THIS FLOPPED?’ ‘WE’D BETTER CALIBRATE THE OVEN PROPERLY.’ AND SO [THEY'D CALL IN], ‘CAN DAVE COME OUT AND CHECK IT OUT AND CHECK THAT OUT FOR US?’ SO YES, THAT [THERMOMETRE] WAS ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT HE BROUGHT OUT… MOM BAKED ALL THE TIME AS WELL, TWICE A WEEK PROBABLY. ON A REGULAR BASIS, HE WOULD JUST DOUBLE CHECK [WITH THE THERMOMETER] TO MAKE SURE THINGS WERE WORKING THE WAY THEY SHOULD. NOT NECESSARILY THAT THERE WAS A PROBLEM, BUT JUST SO THAT THEY STAY THE WAY THEY SHOULD BE. HE EDUCATED US ALL ABOUT THE BLUE FLAME AND HOW THE BLUE FLAME HAD TO HAVE THE LITTLE TIP ON THE END OF THE BLUE FLAME AND THAT MEANS IT’S BURNING CLEAN. IT WAS VERY EDUCATIONAL, TOO.” “[HE] ALWAYS CAME HOME FOR LUNCH. MOM ALWAYS HAD LUNCH READY. WE HAD LUNCH IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH A SANDWICH AND HE HAD A LITTLE SNOOZE. FIVE MINUTES, AND HE WAS OUT THE DOOR. HE WAS NEVER LATE. HE WAS ALWAYS HOME, AND HE WAS NEVER LATE COMING HOME FROM WORK. HE JUST LOVED IT… HE RETIRED IN SEPTEMBER 30, ’73. SO, PROBABLY ’43, ’44 THAT HE CAME TO LETHBRIDGE TO [WORK AT THE] GAS COMPANY.” ACCORDING TO HIS OBITUARY IN THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD, DAVID ROXBOROUGH CARSE PASSED AWAY IN LETHBRIDGE ON 15 NOVEMBER 2000. PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT, LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, AND THERMOMETER PATENT.
Catalogue Number
P20160027000
Acquisition Date
2016-09
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
CASSEROLE DISH SET
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
2006
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
CERAMIC
Catalogue Number
P20160001000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
CASSEROLE DISH SET
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
2006
Materials
CERAMIC
No. Pieces
22
Height
22
Length
44
Width
32
Description
BOX OF SUNBURST CASSEROLE DISHES WITH 11 PIECES (5 FULL SETS OF SMALL AND LARGE DISHES AND 1 PARTIAL SET WITH ONE SMALL DISH). THERE ARE 22 PIECES INCLUDING THE STORAGE MATERIALS. A – F: CERAMIC CASSEROLE DISHES. UNGLAZED. “SUNBURST… OVENPROOF” WITH A SUN LOGO STAMPED ON THE BOTTOM. THE DISHES HAVE A RIM AT THE TOP AND A BASE AROUND THE BOTTOM. THERE ARE 2 HANDLES ON OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE TOP OF THE DISHES. A-E HAVE “1.95” WRITTEN ON THE BOTTOMS IN PENCIL. F HAS AN ERASER MARK IN THAT PLACE, AND A WHITE STICKER WITH THE PRICE “$5.00” HANDWRITTEN AND STICKING TO A TOP HANDLE. THE DIAMETERS ARE 19.4 CM, THE LENGTHS INCLUDING THE HANDLES ARE 23.3 CM AND THE DISHES ARE EACH 7.1 CM DEEP. THE CONDITIONS OF DISH A THROUGH D ARE VERY GOOD TO EXCELLENT. THERE IS DUST COATING EACH DISH. B HAS 5 SMALL CHIPS ON THE BASE AND A SLIGHT CRACK (LESS THAN 1 CM LONG) ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE RIM. THE CERAMIC ON C IS ROUGH ON THE INNER RIM. IT ALSO HAS A DARK MARK ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE RIM AND SOME SMALL CHIPS ON THE BASE. D HAS A SCRATCH ON THE BASE. THE CONDITION OF E IS VERY GOOD WITH A SMALL CRACK ON THE SIDE OF THE DISH, A DARK STAIN ON THE EDGE OF THE RIM, AND A SLIGHT SCUFF ON THE BOTTOM. CASSEROLE DISH F IS IN GOOD TO VERY GOOD CONDITION WITH SOME MARKS ALONG THE RIM AND BASE. THERE IS A CHIP IN THE HANDLE. G – K: CERAMIC CASSEROLE DISHES. UNGLAZED. “SUNBURST… OVENPROOF” WITH A SUN LOGO STAMPED ON THE BOTTOM. THE DISHES HAVE A RIM AT THE TOP AND A BASE AROUND THE BOTTOM. THERE ARE 2 HANDLES ON OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE TOP OF THE DISHES. H-J HAVE “2.95” WRITTEN ON THE BOTTOMS IN PENCIL. G HAS AN ERASER MARK IN THAT PLACE, AND A WHITE STICKER WITH THE PRICE “$7.00” HANDWRITTEN AND STICKING TO A TOP HANDLE. THE DIAMETERS ARE 22.6 CM, THE LENGTHS INCLUDING THE HANDLES ARE 27.1 CM AND THE DISHES ARE EACH 8.4 CM DEEP. THE CONDITION OF DISH G IS VERY GOOD WITH DARK IMPURITIES IN THE CLAY, A SCUFF ALONG THE BASE AND A SCRATCH IN THE CLAY ON THE SIDE OF THE DISH. THE CONDITION OF H IS FAIR TO GOOD. THIS DISH HAS A LARGE CHIP IN THE RIM WITH A LENGTH OF APPROXIMATELY 6.1 CM. THERE IS A SCUFF IN THE BOTTOM. DISH I IS IN VERY GOOD CONDITION WITH SOME IMPURITIES IN THE CLAY, AN AIR BUBBLE ON THE SIDE OF THE DISH, A DARK BROWN STAINING ON THE SIDE, AND CHIPS ON THE BOTTOM RIM. DISHES J AND K ARE IN VERY GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION WITH SMALL CHIPS IN THE RIM. L – M: SQUARE PIECES OF CARDBOARD FOR PACKING. THEY ARE BENT TO FOLD AROUND A DISHES WITH A CIRCULAR CREASE IN THE CENTER WITH TWO PARALLEL SLITS (APPROX. 3.5 CM APART) FROM ONE END TO THE CENTER. THE DIMENSIONS OF EACH ARE 21 CM X 21 CM. GOOD CONDITION WITH TEARING IN SOME AREAS (L IS TORN ON ONE SIDE) AND CLAY DUST OVERALL. N – U: RECTANGULAR CARDBOARD SEPARATORS FOR PACKING (THEY ARE PLACED IN BETWEEN THE SMALL AND LARGE DISH IN A SET. THERE ARE 3 SLITS IN EACH SEPARATOR THAT ARE 4.5 CM LONG FROM ONE SHORT END STOPPING AT THE CENTER AND EACH SLIT IS 7.5 CM APART. EACH PIECE IS BENT TO FIT THE SHAPE OF DISHES. FAIR TO GOOD CONDITION WITH REGULAR WEAR (TEARS AND STAINING) OVERALL. V: CARDBOARD BOX WITH ORANGE LETTERING, “SUNBURST CERAMICS” WITH AN ORANGE LOGO ON THE LONG SIDE OF THE BOX. HANDWRITTEN IN BLACK INK ON THE TOP OF THE BOX CAN BE READ “OPICAL EDMONTON ALTA.” ON ONE SHORT SIDE IT SAYS, “6 CASSEROLES 48 OZ…” IN ORANGE PRINT AND THEN IN BLACK HANDWRITING IT READS “6 + 32 OZ 6 – 48 OZ CASS.” THERE ARE 4 LARGE STAPLES HOLDING THE BOTTOM OF THE BOX TOGETHER. THE INSIDE HAS 4 CARDBOARD DIVIDERS (3 LENGTHWISE AND 1 HORIZONTALLY DOWN THE CENTER) THAT FIT TOGETHER THROUGH SLITS IN THE DIVIDERS. THESE MAKE UP 6 SECTIONS IN THE BOX FOR STORING THE SETS OF DISHES. THE OVERALL DIMENSIONS OF THE BOX ARE 32 X 44 X 22 CM. POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. THERE ARE HOLES, BENDS, AND TEARS OVERALL THE WHOLE SURFACE OF THE BOX. ONE CORNER EDGE IS TAPED TOGETHER WITH A BROWN PAPER TAPE. THERE IS A STAPLE LOOSE ON A TOP FLAP. THE BOX IS DIRTY AND STAINED OVERALL.DIRTY AND STAINED OVERALL.
Subjects
FOOD PROCESSING T&E
Historical Association
INDUSTRY
TRADES
DOMESTIC
History
DONOR MIKE MYCHAJLUK ACQUIRED THIS SET OF CERAMIC DISHES WHEN TROPICAL GARDENS IN EDMONTON, ALBERTA WAS CLOSING BETWEEN THE YEARS 2004 AND 2006. THE OWNER OF THAT BUSINESS HELD AN AUCTION AT HIS WAREHOUSE AND PART OF THAT LOT WAS THE SUNBURST CERAMIC SET, WHICH MYCHAJLUK BOUGHT FOR THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CERAMIC SET COMES FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH MYCHAJLUK THAT WAS CONDUCTED BY COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN ON JANUARY 22, 2016: “TROPICAL GARDENS WAS GOING OUT OF BUSINESS AND THEY WERE SELLING OFF IN THEIR STORE. A COUPLE OF BOXES THEY HAD ON DISPLAY THEN A COUPLE OF MONTHS LATER HE HAD THE AUCTION AT HIS WAREHOUSE ON HIS ACREAGE. HE HAD BINS - TONS OF STUFF THERE AND THIS [BOX] HAPPENED TO BE IN [THE SALE] WHEN I BOUGHT IT. I HAD TO BUY THE WHOLE LOT… [FIRST], I’M INTERESTED IN ALBERTA POTTERY STUFF AND NUMBER TWO I KNEW OTHER PEOPLE WERE [TOO]. I WAS GOING TO SELL SOME OF IT OFF BUT THERE WAS SO MUCH OF IT. I’LL NEVER SELL [ALL OF IT] IN MY LIFETIME TO COLLECTORS… NOBODY KNOWS MUCH ABOUT [SUNBURST] AND IF I BRING IT MORE TO THE ATTENTION, MORE PEOPLE WOULD BE INTERESTED IN IT. IT’S ONE OF THE LAST POTTERIES THAT WAS IN ALBERTA… THE STUFF IS ORIGINALLY FROM LETHBRIDGE.” ON THE CERAMICS BEING UNGLAZED, MYCHAJLUK STATES: “I THINK THAT’S WHEN [SUNBURST WAS] GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. THEY JUST PACKAGED WHAT WAS LEFT AND SOLD IT OFF OR EVEN AFTER IT COULD BE A DISPERSAL… I’M ASSUMING [TROPICAL GARDENS] BOUGHT IT TO SELL DRY FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS… THE ONLY THOUGHTS WAS HE COULDN’T USE IT FOR LIVE [FLOWERS] WITH WATER BECAUSE IT WOULD COME APART.” ACCORDING TO MYCHAJLUK, WHO IS INTERESTED IN ALBERTA POTTERY, IT IS NOT USUAL TO FIND A LARGE QUANTITY OF UNGLAZED CERAMICS LIKE WHAT HE FOUND AT TROPICAL GARDENS. WHILE MYCHAJLUK WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE, HE DID NOT SPEND MUCH TIME LIVING HERE. SUNBURST CERAMICS WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1961 BY RALPH THRALL SR. AND JR. WHEN THEY BOUGHT OUT NEW MEDALTA CERAMICS FROM MALCOM MCARTHUR IN MEDICINE HAT. AFTER OPERATING WITH THOSE KILNS FOR THE COMPANY’S FIRST YEARS, A NECESSITY TO UPGRADE INFLUENCED THE COMPANY TO MOVE THEIR OPERATION TO LETHBRIDGE, WHERE THEY OPENED A PLANT ON 3RD AVENUE NORTH IN 1965. DURING THEIR EXISTENCE, THE PLANT PRODUCED 200 TYPES OF PRODUCTS. IN THE EARLY 1970S, THEY EXPANDED THEIR OPERATION TO PRODUCE GIFTWARE IN ADDITION TO WHAT THEY WERE PRODUCING IN THE MEDALTA STYLE. THE COMPANY DEVELOPED A REPUTATION AS LEADERS IN THE ALBERTAN CERAMIC INDUSTRY, BRINGING IN THE NEWEST TECHNOLOGIES AND EQUIPMENT FROM GERMANY WITH PROVINCIAL SUPPORT. THIS ALLOWED THEM TO ADD DINNERWARE TO THEIR PRODUCTION LINE. SUNBURST CERAMICS CLOSED ITS DOORS IN 1975. THE THRALL FAMILY BOUGHT THE MCINTYRE RANCH FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF BILLY MCINTYRE IN 1947. THE FAMILY CONTINUES TO OPERATE IT AT THE TIME OF DONATION. PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES REGARDING SUNBURST CERAMICS. SEE ALSO FILES FOR ARTIFACTS P19960004001, P19980077001, AND P200000056000 FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SUNBURST CERAMICS.
Catalogue Number
P20160001000
Acquisition Date
2016-01
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
MAHJONG SET
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PLASTIC
Catalogue Number
P20150028000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
MAHJONG SET
Date
1987
Materials
PLASTIC
No. Pieces
159
Height
9.6
Length
23
Width
23
Description
A – G: 7 STANDARD 6-SIDED DICE. 6 OF THE DICE HAVE BLACK DOTS ON A WHITE BACKGROUND, EXCEPT RED DOTS FOR THE ONE AND THE FOUR ON ALL DICE. THE SEVENTH DIE IS THE SAME AS THE FIRST SIX BUT WITH BROWN DOTS INSTEAD OF BLACK. THE DICE ARE 1.4 CM CUBED WITH ROUNDED EDGES. GOOD CONDITION: NORMAL WEAR FROM USE. H-I: A DIRECTIONAL PIECE CUBE (LIKE A DIE) AND A HOLDER. THERE ARE RED CHINESE CHARACTERS ON 4 OF THE 6 SIDES OF THE WHITE CUBE. THE DIE IS 1.2 CM CUBED. THE PIECE’S CIRCULAR HOLDER HAS A RED TOP AND A WHITE BASE WITH A CUBE INSERT IN THE CENTER OF THE TOP THAT FITS THE DIRECTIONAL PIECE. THE HOLDER IS IN FAIR TO GOOD CONDITION. IT IS WELL WORN AND THE EDGES ARE YELLOWING. FAIR TO GOOD CONDITION WITH SOME WEAR TO THE CHARACTERS AND THE CORNERS OF THE DIE. J-BBBBBBB: MAHJONG GAME SET. 144 TILES PLUS 4 BLANK SPARES (148 TILES TOTAL). THERE ARE 108 SIMPLE TILES (OF THE 3 SUITS: DOTS, BAMBOO, AND CHARACTERS), THERE ARE 28 HONOURS TILES (16 WINDS AND 16 DRAGONS), AND THERE ARE TWO SETS OF BONUS TILES (FLOWERS AND SEASONS) EACH WITH 4 TILES IN THE SET. EACH TILE IS 3.5 X 2.8 X 2.1 CM. VERY GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION WITH SLIGHT SCUFFING ON THE TILES. CCCCCCC – DDDDDDD: GREEN RUBBERMAID PLASTIC CONTAINER WITH A WHITE PLASTIC LID FOR THE MAHJONG SET’S CASE. THE BOTTOM OF THE CONTAINER READS “RUBBERMAID 4 QUARTS” “J-3204”. THE DIMENSIONS OF THE CONTAINER ARE 23 X 23 X 9.6 CM. THE DIMENSIONS OF THE LID ARE 23 X 24.5 X 1.5 CM. GOOD CONDITION. THE OVERALL SURFACE OF BOTH THE CONTAINER AND THE LID ARE SCRATCHED. ON THE LID, THE TOP COATING OF PLASTIC IS PEELING OFF. THERE IS ADHESIVE TAPE RESIDUE IN ONE CORNER.
Subjects
GAME
Historical Association
ETHNOGRAPHIC
LEISURE
History
ON NOVEMBER 10, 2015, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED RICHARD LOO AT THE GALT MUSEUM REGARDING A MAHJONG SET HE WAS DONATING TO THE MUSEUM. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM THAT INTERVIEW: MAHJONG IS A TILE-BASED GAME THAT ORIGINATED IN CHINA. LOO RECALLS ACQUIRING THE SET APPROXIMATELY 30 OR 40 YEARS AGO. HE SAID HE GOT THEM, “WHEN I WENT BACK TO HONG KONG. LET’S SEE – ’87. I WENT TO HONG KONG IN ’87. I BOUGHT SEVERAL [MAHJONG] SETS… TO GIVE TO THE KIDS IF THEY WERE INTERESTED. HERE, THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE – NOT IN THIS CITY. YOU CAN GET IT IN CALGARY, BUT, IF I BROUGHT IT BACK FROM CHINA, IT’S A BETTER DEAL FOR ME… I STILL HAVE A COUPLE OF SETS AT HOME. I GIVE SOME TO MY FRIENDS; SOME TO THE KIDS.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT HIS USE OF GAME SET, LOO EXPLAINED, “I USE IT NOT TOO MANY TIMES… THEY COME IN A CASE – LIKE A BRIEFCASE - JUST FLIMSY STUFF. IF IT WAS USED SO LONG, IT WOULD JUST GO IN PIECES. SO I PUT IT INTO CONTAINERS – KEEPS A BETTER SHAPE, THAT’S ALL.” HE EXPLAINS THAT THE GAME IS PLAYED, “MOSTLY AT HOME. TO FOOL AROUND; JUST TO KILL TIME,” AND THAT THE SET DONATED WAS A PERSONAL SET THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AT LOO’S HOUSE. “THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT STYLES OF PLAY. WHEN I CAME, IN THOSE DAYS, WE PLAYED A DIFFERENT WAY, AND AFTER YOU STAYED FOR A LITTLE WHILE, THEY PLAYED A DIFFERENT WAY… YOU PLAY THIS GAME MORE GENERALLY FOR ENTERTAINMENT, KILLING TIME; THE PURPOSE IS NOT TO MAKE MONEY… SEE, I REMEMBER THOSE DAYS, WHEN I WAS YOUNG – JUST A KID THOSE DAYS, IN THE OLD COUNTRY, OLD DAYS. IN THE NEW YEAR, I SAW FOUR OLDER GENTLEMEN PLAY THESE GAMES, BUT I DON’T UNDERSTAND…. WE CALL IT OLD STYLE. NOBODY IS INTERESTED IN PLAYING OLD STYLE ANYMORE. [IT IS] QUITE COMPLICATED... THEY PLAY THIS ONE, JUST LIKE YOU PLAY RUMMY, BUT YOU HAVE TO USE YOUR HEAD A LITTLE BIT. SOMETIMES YOU’VE GOT LUCK TOO." LOO SAYS HE DOES NOT MISS PLAYING THE GAME, “FOR MY AGE, NO. RIGHT NOW, NOT INTERESTED - [I'VE] GOT OTHER THINGS TO DO. YOU PLAY FOR SO LONG, AND THEN, [YOU ARE] NOT INTERESTED ANYMORE. WE USED TO PLAY THIS ON NEW YEAR’S EVE, TILL THE NEXT MORNING. [WE WOULD] START ON NEW YEAR’S EVE TILL TOMORROW MORNING, 6 OR 7 O’CLOCK. NOT ANYMORE. WE PLAYED AT ALBERT’S PLACE, BOW ON TONG…” THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ABOUT RICHARD LOO HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM THE ARTIFACT RECORDS P20110031*: LOO ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1953, HAVING LEFT THE MAINLAND OF CHINA IN 1949. LOO'S GRANDFATHER HAD MOVED TO CANADA IN EITHER LATE 1800S OR THE EARLY 1900S AND HAD HAD TO PAY THE HEAD TAX. HIS GRANDFATHER WORKED AS A COOK IN RESTAURANTS, EITHER IN LETHBRIDGE OR IN TABER (ACCORDING TO LOO, HIS GRANDFATHER WORKED THROUGH THE WAR YEARS IN TABER). LOO’S GRANDFATHER HAD PLANNED ON MOVING BACK TO CHINA WHEN HE RETIRED, BUT THEN THE COMMUNISTS TOOK OVER, AND HE ELECTED TO STAY. AT THAT TIME, HE INVITED LOO TO MOVE TO LETHBRIDGE AS WELL. LOO LEFT HONG KONG, AFTER LIVING THERE FOR 8 MONTHS, ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON AT 2PM LOCAL TIME. HE ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE SUNDAY AFTERNOON. HE WAS LUCKY IN THAT HE WAS ABLE TO GET HIS FLIGHTS ON SALE. NORMALLY A TICKET FROM HONG KONG TO VANCOUVER WOULD HAVE COST $700, BUT LOO WAS ABLE TO SECURE A FLIGHT FOR ONLY $500. HE ALSO INDICATED THAT HIS FLIGHT TO LETHBRIDGE WAS ONLY $39.95. ON RECALLING HIS FIRST TIME IN LETHBRIDGE, LOO RECOUNTED THE FOLLOWING STORY: “SO, BY THE TIME I GOT TO THE AIRPORT, I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO SAY [ANYTHING]. DIDN’T KNOW – MAYBE COULD SAY ‘GOOD MORNING’ – THAT’S ALL I COULD SAY, JUST HOW TO SAY ‘HELLO.' IN THE MEANTIME, THE FELLOW AT THE AIRPORT MUST HAVE KNOWN ZEKE, YOU KNOW ZEKE QUAN [OWNER OF] THE LOTUS INN [RESTAURANT], AND HE PHONED HIM UP. HE SAYS, ‘ZEKE.’ I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT – NOTHING. AND THEN HE SAYS, ‘HEY, THIS IS A CHINA BOY HERE. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH HIM?’ SO, ZEKE SAYS, ‘OH, JUST TAKE HIM TO CHINATOWN AND DUMP HIM.’ NOW, I DIDN’T KNOW THOSE, NOT UNTIL LATER ON. ZEKE’S SON GO TO SAME SCHOOL I DID – CENTRAL SCHOOL.” LOO INITIALLY LIVED IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE SOCIETY BUILDING FOR SEVERAL YEARS, OCCUPYING A ROOM THAT HAD BEEN RECENTLY VACATED BY ANOTHER MAN NAMED LOO WHO HAD GONE TO WORK IN PICTURE BUTTE. LOO RECALLED THAT THE SOCIETY WAS A GOOD PLACE TO FEEL A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND THAT IT WAS A WELCOMING PLACE FOR NEW CHINESE IMMIGRANTS, A PLACE WHERE THEY WEREN’T DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION
Catalogue Number
P20150028000
Acquisition Date
2015-11
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
IRON, WOOD, PLASTIC
Catalogue Number
P20170008000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date
1930
Materials
IRON, WOOD, PLASTIC
No. Pieces
27
Height
67
Length
35
Width
35
Description
WOOD AND IRON COIN-OPERATED SLOT MACHINE. A: BODY OF SLOT MACHINE WITH FRONT MADE OF IRON WITH RELIEF DESIGNS INCLUDING STARS. DESIGNS ARE PAINTED RED, GREEN, AND ORANGE. TOP OF THE MACHINE HAS A COIN SLOT THAT READS “5¢” EMBOSSED IN THE CENTER OF AN ORANGE PAINTED CIRCLE. BELOW ARE THREE REELS PLACED ON THE INSIDE OF THE MACHINE, VISIBLE FROM THE FRONT THROUGH THREE HOLLOW WINDOWS. THE REELS ARE CREAM-COLOURED WITH VARIOUS IMAGES OF FRUIT VERTICALLY ON THE CIRCULAR REEL. BLACK TEXT IS OVERLAID OVER THE FRUIT. EXAMPLE: THE LEFT REEL IS STOPPED AT CHERRIES WITH BLACK TEXT READING, “JOY AWAITS… COMPANY IN TWINS”. TO THE RIGHT OF THE WINDOWS IS A SCORE CARD WITH THE FRUIT IN THE LEFT COLUMN AND THEIR CORRESPONDING SCORE IN THE RIGHT CORNER (“20” AT THE TOP TO “2” AT THE BOTTOM). BELOW THE REEL SECTION ARE TWO RECTANGULAR TEXT PANELS, PAPER BEHIND PLASTIC WINDOWS. BOTH PANELS HAVE TITLES IN ORANGE TYPE – THE LEFT READS, “WATCH REELS… FORTUNE,” AND THE RIGHT READS, “YOUR NICKEL…” INSTRUCTIONS BELOW THE TITLES ARE PRINTED IN BLACK TEXT. THE LARGEST SECTION OF THE METAL FACE OF THE SLOT MACHINE HAS A RECTANGULAR GLASS WINDOW (GLASS IS SEVERELY CRACKED AND DISCOLOURED). THE WINDOW IS INSET IN PART OF THE MACHINE THAT IS PAINTED GREEN WITH ORANGE AND BLACK DESIGNS. THERE IS ONE OVAL WINDOW ON EITHER SIDE OF THE LARGE RECTANGULAR WINDOW. THERE IS A SLOT FOR TOKENS TO COME OUT ALONG THE FRONT BASE WITH A RED, GREEN, BLACK DESIGN. THE SIDES OF THE MACHINE ARE MADE FROM A DARK-STAINED WOOD WITH A GOLD PAINTED BORDER WITH ORNATE CORNERS. “MILLS NOVELTY” STAMP IN RED PAINT ON THE UPPER LEFT OF LEFT SIDE. RIGHT SIDE IS THE SAME AS THE LEFT, BUT WITH A METAL PLATE NAILED TO SIDE TITLED, “O. K. VENDER… MILLS NOVELTY CO. CHICAGO, ILL.” WITH PATENT INFORMATION LISTEL. METAL CRANK SECURED TO THE CENTER OF THE RIGHT SIDE AND A METAL KNOB ON THE BOTTOM LEFT OF SAME SIDE. THE MACHINE IN SECURED TO A WOODEN BASE. INSIDE OF THE MACHINE HAS VISIBLE REELS AND COMPONENTS FOR MACHINE OPERATION VISIBLE. FAIR CONDITION: MODERATE TO SEVERE WEAR TO OVERALL SURFACE. SIGNIFICANT LOSS OF SURFACE PAINT. WHITE METAL CORROSION VISIBLE ON THE FACE OF THE MACHINE. THE LEFT REEL ARE MODERATELY DISCOLOURED. THE MIDDLE AND RIGHT REEL ARE SEVERELY DISCOLOURED. PAPER BEHIND PLASTIC WINDOWS HAS YELLOWED. THE CRANK AND KNOB ON RIGHT SIDE ARE RUSTING ON OVERALL SURFACE. PATENT LISTING PLATE IS BROKEN AT THE TWO RIGHT CORNERS AT THE NAIL HOLES. WOOD STAIN HAS BEEN LOST IN SOME SURFACE AREAS OF SIDES. INSIDE PARTS OF THE MACHINE ARE SLIGHTLY RUSTED. BOTTOM SCREW LOOSE FROM BASE WHEN LIFTED. B: REMOVABLE BACK COVER OF SLOT MACHINE MADE OUT OF PRESSED SHEET METAL. PAPER ATTACHED TO THE INSIDE OF THE COVER WITH TYPED TEXT READING, “MR. OWNER: ALWAYS BEAR IN … CREATE FRICTION.” DIMENSIONS: 50CM X 3CM. POOR CONDITION: THE PAPER ON THE BACKING IS SIGNIFICANTLY TORN AND DISCOLOURED, RENDERING MUCH OF THE MESSAGE UNREADABLE. SIGNIFICANT DISCOLOURATION SCUFF MARKS ON OVERALL SURFACE. C-AA: 25 PLASTIC TOKENS THAT READ, “LOANED FOR AMUSEMENT ONLY” EMBOSSED ON ONE SIDE AND “PROPERTY OF O.K. VENDOR” ON THE OTHER. DIAMETER: 2 CM; WIDTH: 0.2 CM. FAIR CONDITION: SURFACE DIRT ON SEVERAL COINS. GENERAL WEAR TO COIN SURFACES.
Subjects
GAME
Historical Association
BUSINESS
LEISURE
History
ON 24 FEBRUARY 2017, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN CONDUCTED AN INTERVIEW WITH PAM PTYCIA, THE DONOR OF THIS SLOT MACHINE. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM THAT INTERVIEW: DESCRIBING WHY SHE CHOSE TO DONATE THE SLOT MACHINE TO THE MUSEUM AT THIS SPECIFIC TIME, PAM SAID, “BOTH MY PARENTS HAVE PASSED AWAY. MY DAD JUST PASSED AWAY IN DECEMBER. SO CLEANING OUT THE HOUSE AND EVERYTHING ELSE, WE DECIDED IT WAS TIME… [MY DAD WAS] PETO NICAS [OF] LETHBRIDGE.” SHE AFFIRMED THAT THE SLOT MACHINE BELONGED TO HER GRANDFATHER. PTYCIA'S FATHER THEN PASSED DOWN THE ARTIFACT AND INFORMATION TO HER. PTYCIA EXPLAINED, “THE SLOT MACHINE, I WAS TOLD, WAS IN HIS DAD’S RESTAURANT, THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ ON 5TH STREET HERE IN LETHBRIDGE… [HIS DAD’S] NAME WAS ANDREW A. NICAS, HE WAS COMMONLY KNOWN AS SHORTY NICAS HERE IN TOWN… IF THE SLOT MACHINE DID COME FROM THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ, I THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE OF SOME INTEREST… BECAUSE THE GREEK COMMUNITY HAS REALLY DWINDLED DOWN. IT’S JUST NOT LIKE IT USED TO BE… I GUESS IT’S JUST THAT IT’S PART OF OUR HERITAGE.” MACLEAN ESTABLISHED THAT PTYCIA WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE DURING THE 1960S AND THAT THIS ARTIFACT WAS IN HER CHILDHOOD HOME AS SHE WAS GROWING UP. PTYCIA RECALLED, “I JUST REMEMBER IT BEING DOWNSTAIRS… JUST IN THE AREA WHERE THE LAUNDRY ROOM WAS… I REMEMBER PLAYING IT. IT WORKED BACK THEN… YOU PUT THE COINS IN THE TOP PART. YOU JUST PULL THE LEVER AND LET IT GO AND IF YOU HIT SOMETHING, THE COINS CAME BACK OUT… WHEN I GOT MARRIED AND MOVED OUT, MY DAD GAVE ME [IT] AND IT SAT IN OUR GARAGE FOR 30 SOME YEARS.” DURING THE INTERVIEW, PTYCIA STATED THAT CHRIST GEORGE CHRISTOU WAS HER FATHER’S PARTNER IN THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ BUSINESS. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ, MACLEAN INTERVIEWED CHRISTOU’S SON, DR. VAN CHRISTOU, IN HIS HOME ON 27 FEBRUARY 2017. CHRISTOU BEGAN, “I REMEMBER [THE SLOT MACHINES] VIVIDLY. THEY WERE ALL LINED UP ON THE SOUTH WALL OF THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ… ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE, AS YOU WALKED IN… I PLAYED WITH THEM, AS A CHILD... MY DAD GOT THAT IDEA FROM MY UNCLE FRANK, WHO HE BROUGHT OVER TO LETHBRIDGE. [FRANK] OPENED UP A POOL HALL, ACROSS THE ROAD FROM THE RESTAURANT BACK IN THE EARLY DAYS – IN THE ‘20S, I THINK – AND THEN MOVED TO BANFF. HE HAD SLOT MACHINES IN THAT [POOL HAT], AND HAD THEM IN BANFF AGAIN AND [HE] TALKED DAD INTO HAVING THEM IN THE RESTAURANT – THEY WERE A GOOD SOURCE OF INCOME.” HE EXPLAINED, “PEOPLE WOULD STAND AT THE SLOT MACHINES… THE RESTAURANT WAS DESIGNED WITH A HORSE-SHOE COUNTER ALL THE WAY AROUND, AND IT LEFT ENOUGH SPACE FOR THESE TO BE ALONG THE WALL, SO IT WAS JUST ‘STAND UP’ THE WAY YOU DO IN THE CASINOS. THERE WERE NO STOOLS FOR THOSE, BUT THEY HAD THEM FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS.” CHRISTOU WAS A CASHIER AT THE WHITE LUNCH AT THE AGE OF FIFTEEN TO SIXTEEN YEARS. HE WORKED ONLY ON SATURDAYS, AND STATED HE ENJOYED IT. HE SAID, “I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT BUSINESS – GIVING CHANGE, AND CONNECTING WITH A LOT OF THE BUSINESS PEOPLE THAT WERE IN THE AREA, AND GOT JOBS WITH THEM… BY THE TIME I WAS CASHIER, THEY HAD STOPPED USING [THE SLOT MACHINE]. I THINK THEY WERE OUT-LAWED. I THINK THERE WAS A CIVIC BY-LAW THAT FORBADE SLOT MACHINES, SO THEY WEREN’T IN USE AT THAT POINT. IT WAS EARLIER, WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, THAT I REMEMBER THEM BEING USED.” THE SLOT MACHINES WERE A SECONDARY MEMORY OF HIS FATHER’S WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ. CHRISTOU EXPLAINED, “TO ME, IT WASN’T AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS. THE THINGS THAT I REMEMBER ARE MY DAD MAKING BANANA SPLITS; HE HAD A WONDERFUL SODA FOUNTAIN. THE FRONT OF THAT HORSE-SHOE WAS A MARBLE SODA FOUNTAIN – A MARVELOUS SODA FOUNTAIN – AND HE LOVED DOING THAT – MAKING MILKSHAKES, AND ALL KINDS OF SUNDAES, AND BANANA SPLITS." CONTINUING, HE EXPLAINED, “MY FATHER STARTED THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ IN 1907… [IT] WAS LOCATED IN THE OLIVER BUILDING, ON FIFTH STREET SOUTH, WHICH WAS MAIN STREET AT THAT TIME… THERE’S A VERY INTERESTING STORY AS TO HOW HE FOUND HIMSELF IN LETHBRIDGE. HE HAD COME OVER FROM GREECE – FROM A LITTLE VILLAGE IN GREECE [THE CORINTHIAN VILLAGE OF LIMNES] – SENT BY HIS FATHER. AT THAT TIME, THE FATHERS, IN A VERY PATRIARCHAL ATMOSPHERE, CHOSE THEIR BRIGHTEST AND BEST SON, AND SENT THEM TO AMERICA TO HELP THE FAMILY, AND DAD WAS 15 YEARS OLD WHEN HE WAS SENT TO NEW YORK. HE ARRIVED AT ELLIS ISLAND IN 1900, AT 15 YEARS OF AGE, WITHOUT ANY MONEY. I THINK HE HAD $2.00 IN HIS POCKET, AND NOT ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AT ALL. THERE WAS A TEAM HIRING YOUNG GREEK IMMIGRANTS TO WORK ON THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY THAT MET THEM AT ELLIS ISLAND. DAD HIRED ON WITH THEM, BUT HE WAS SMART ENOUGH TO BUY A DICTIONARY WITH THAT $2.00 HE HAD. [HE] BECAME THE INTERPRETER FOR THE GANG, AND WORKED HIS WAY ACROSS AMERICA. HE HAD COUSINS WHO HAD PRECEDED HIM, AND WERE ESTABLISHED IN PORTLAND, OREGON, AND THAT’S WHAT HIS DESTINATION WAS, SO THE GREAT NORTHERN GOT HIM ACROSS AMERICA TO PORTLAND. HE ESTABLISHED A BUSINESS THERE – A GROCERY BUSINESS – BUT DIDN’T LIKE IT BECAUSE IT WAS TOO WET. [HE] WORKED THERE FOR 7 YEARS, UNTIL 1907, WHEN A FRIEND OF HIS IN CALGARY, FROM A NEIGHBORING VILLAGE, WROTE HIM AND SAID THERE WAS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO OPEN A DAIRY IN CALGARY, AND WHY DON’T THEY GO INTO PARTNERSHIP? SO, WOULD DAD COME AND VISIT HIM – AND HE DID. HE TELLS THE STORY OF HOW IT HAD BEEN RAINING FOR 2 WEEKS IN PORTLAND – RAINED ALL THE WAY TO VANCOUVER – AND WAS STILL RAINING ALL THE WAY TO CALGARY. [HE] MET WITH HIS FRIEND, LIKED HIM, LIKED THE PROPOSITION – TOLD [THE FRIEND] HE WOULD GO BACK TO PORTLAND TO THINK IT OVER AND LET HIM KNOW [HE] CAME DOWN THROUGH LETHBRIDGE. STAYED OVERNIGHT AT THE LETHBRIDGE HOTEL. WOKE UP IN THE MORNING TO BRIGHT SUNSHINE, AND SAID, ‘I’M STAYING HERE.’ AND HE DID. AND HE STARTED THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ IMMEDIATELY. HE’D MADE ENOUGH MONEY IN PORTLAND WHERE HE WAS ABLE TO OPEN UP A FIRST CLASS RESTAURANT, WHICH WAS LETHBRIDGE’S PREMIERE RESTAURANT FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS. THE WHITE LUNCH WAS JUST HALF THE SIZE IT WAS EVENTUALLY, TO BEGIN WITH AS BUSINESS GREW, HE GOT THE CONTRACT WITH THE CPR TO FEED CPR EMPLOYEES WHO CAME THROUGH LETHBRIDGE, AND, AS SOUTHERN ALBERTA BECAME SETTLED, FARMERS CAME IN TO SHOP ON SATURDAYS. BUSINESS GREW, AND DAD DID VERY WELL... [HE] BROUGHT IN MR. NICAS IN 1922, AS A PARTNER IN THE BUSINESS, AND THEY WORKED TOGETHER FOR MANY YEARS, UNTIL HE DIED.” “[AS KIDS] WE WOULD STOP IN FOR A MILKSHAKE, AND A PIECE OF PIE… LOCAL PEOPLE WOULD RARELY EAT IN THE RESTAURANT,” CHRISTOU ADDED, “NOW, PICTURE THIS – THIS WAS IN THE ‘30’S – RIGHT AT THE DEPTH OF THE DEPRESSION – PEOPLE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY. DENTISTS WOULD COME AND EAT AT THE RESTAURANT, AND THEY WOULD SHARE A PLATE OF PANCAKES. THEY’D COME ON SUNDAY [AND] THAT WOULD BE THEIR ONE MEAL A WEEK – AND THEY WERE THE WEALTHY PEOPLE IN TOWN. THE COMMON PEOPLE DIDN’T EAT IN RESTAURANTS AT ALL. IT WAS REALLY THE WORKING PEOPLE – THE MINERS, AND THE RAILWAY PEOPLE, AND THE FARMERS THAT WOULD COME TO TOWN THAT USED THE RESTAURANT FACILITIES. AND BECAUSE OF THAT, THE MENU WAS STRICTLY A WESTERN MENU. [PYTCIA’S] DAD COULD HAVE PRESENTED A FULL GREEK MENU, BUT IT WOULDN’T HAVE FLOWN AT ALL. NO ONE KNEW WHAT GREEK FOOD WAS, EVEN.” CHRISTOU RECALLED MEMORY OF THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ, “WE DIDN’T GO TO THE STORE THAT OFTEN BECAUSE THERE WAS A REAL SEPARATION BETWEEN HOME AND BUSINESS. DAD WAS NOT THAT HAPPY IN THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS. HE WAS A REAL FAMILY-ORIENTED PERSON, AND MISSED BEING AT HOME FOR THE MEALS THAT WE HAD AT HOME. HE HAD TO BE AT THE RESTAURANT. HE BROUGHT IN MR. NICAS AS A PARTNER, AND THAT RELIEVED HIM SO HE HAD SOME TIME AT HOME, AND LATER THEY HAD A NIGHT MANAGER – IT WAS A 24 HOUR BUSINESS. PETE, THE NIGHT MANAGER, RELIEVED THEM SOMEWHAT TOO, SO THAT THEY SPENT A LITTLE TIME AT HOME, BOTH HE AND MR. NICAS... THEY HAD EXCELLENT CHEFS; MOSTLY CHINESE CHEFS, WHO WERE TRAINED BY THE CPR, AT THE VANCOUVER HOTEL. THEY’D BE THE MAIN CHEFS THAT THEY WOULD HAVE.” “IT WAS A VERY, VERY BUSY PLACE, SAY, ON SATURDAY NIGHT… LETHBRIDGE WAS VERY BUSY IN THOSE DAYS. THERE’D BE A SALVATION ARMY PLAYING DOWN THE STREET, IN FRONT OF THE ALEXANDRA HOTEL. THE RESTAURANT WAS HALF-WAY BETWEEN – JUST PICTURE THIS, MAIN STREET, THE BUSIEST STREET – STREETCARS GOING UP AND DOWN THE STREET ALL THE TIME – WALL-TO-WALL PEOPLE – VERY, VERY BUSY – AND LOCATED HALF-WAY BETWEEN THE ALEXANDRA BEER PARLOR, AND THE DALLAS BEER PARLOR, AT THE DALLAS HOTEL – SO THOSE WERE THE REAL FOCAL POINTS FOR MOST OF THE FARMERS WHO CAME TO TOWN – AND THEY WOULD SEND THEIR FAMILIES TO THE THEATRE – THE ROXY THEATRE WAS ON THAT SAME STREET, AND THE CAPITAL, DOWN ON THE NEXT BLOCK – AND THE WHITE LUNCH BECAME SORT OF THE 'HOME AWAY FROM HOME' FOR THOSE FAMILIES THAT CAME INTO TOWN ON SATURDAYS, MANY OF WHOM STAYED OVERNIGHT. IT WAS A VERY, VERY BUSY COMMUNITY, AND THE WHITE LUNCH WAS THE PREMIERE RESTAURANT – IT WAS THE ONLY RESTAURANT THAT HAD BANQUET FACILITIES [BEFORE THE MARQUIS] IN THE BASEMENT, AND THE ROTARY CLUB, AND KIWANIS, AND KINSMEN, AND SO ON, HAD THEIR MEETINGS THERE.” CHRISTOU DESCRIBED THE CLOSING OF THE BUSINESS, “DAD WASN’T WELL. WHEN THE DEPRESSION HIT IN 1928, DAD LOST A FORTUNE, AND THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS WENT DOWNHILL TERRIBLY, BECAUSE NOBODY HAD ANY MONEY. I STILL REMEMBER BOXES OF CHITS – PEOPLE’S IOU’S – TO PAY FOR MEALS, THAT WERE NEVER PAID FOR. IT WAS VERY TOUGH TIMES FOR THEM FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS… HIS HEALTH FAILED DURING THAT TIME. DAD BECAME A SEVERE ASTHMATIC, AND WITH HIS HEALTH SO POOR, AND BUSINESS GOING DOWNHILL, HE FINALLY SOLD OUT IN THE ‘50S… IN THE MEANTIME MY MOTHER HAD COAXED DAD TO ACQUIRE SOME RENTAL PROPERTIES, AND THEY WERE ABLE TO MANAGE WITH THAT, BUT THEY WERE VERY DIFFICULT TIMES. ACTUALLY A GREAT BENEFIT TO ME, IN THAT I WAS OLD ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND HOW DIFFICULT IT WAS FOR THEM, AND THAT I STARTED JOBS. I WORKED AS A CASHIER AT THE RESTAURANT, WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, AND WORKED AT OTHER JOBS AS WELL – AT THE THEATRE, AS AN USHER AND DOORMAN AT THE CAPITOL THEATRE, AND AT THE PARAMOUNT. [I] SAVED ALL THAT MONEY FOR UNIVERSITY. THE WORK ETHIC STARTED EARLY FOR ME, BECAUSE OF THE DEPRESSION.” IN THE INTERVIEW, CHRISTOU DESCRIBED IN DETAIL HOW HIS FATHER BECAME THE FIRST GREEK IMMIGRANT TO SETTLE IN LETHBRIDGE, “... [MY FATHER] WAS THE FIRST ONE TO SETTLE PERMANENTLY. HE WAS A VERY GREGARIOUS AND LIKEABLE PERSONALITY, A VERY CIVILIZED HUMAN BEING. [HE] WELCOMED ALL THE GREEKS WHO CAME AND DIDN’T MIND IF THEY WENT INTO THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS AT ALL. SEVERAL [GREEKS] THAT HE WELCOMED, OPENED UP RESTAURANTS. THE SAVOY CAFÉ WAS OWNED BY MR. HYT; THE SHASTA CAFÉ WAS OWNED BY THE GOLIS BROTHERS, AND THE MAPLE LEAF CAFÉ WAS OWNED BY THE AFAGANIS BROTHERS – THREE AFAGANIS BROTHERS.” IN COMPARISON TO OTHER GREEK COMMUNITIES THAT WERE ESTABLISHED IN NORTH AMERICA, LETHBRIDGE’S WAS CLOSE-KNIT REGARDLESS OF A FAMILY’S GREEK REGION OF ORIGIN. CHRISTOU EXPLAINED HOW HE CAME TO LEARN THIS: “I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT [THE NATURE OF OUR COMMUNITY] UNTIL I WENT ON, AFTER GRADUATING IN DENTISTRY. I WENT DOWN TO ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, WHERE I TOOK MY POST-GRADUATE IN/AT THE EASTMAN DENTAL DISPENSARY, IN ORTHODONTICS… THEY HAD TWO GREEK CHURCHES THERE, AND I FOUND OUT THAT THERE, AND EVERYWHERE ELSE THAT I RESEARCHED AFTER THAT, THE GREEK COMMUNITIES WERE SPLIT QUITE BADLY IN TWO, BETWEEN THE GREEKS WHO CAME FROM ASIA MINOR, AND THE GREEKS THAT CAME FROM THE MAINLAND. [IT] BECAUSE OF THE DIFFICULTIES THAT THE GREEKS IN ASIA MINOR HAD, IN MAINTAINING THEIR RELIGION AND THEIR CULTURE. THEY WORKED HARDER AT IT THAN THE GREEKS ON THE MAINLAND, AND WERE BETTER EDUCATED, AND WHEN THEY FINALLY HAD THIS EXCHANGE OF CITIZENS – AND THE GREAT EXCHANGE BETWEEN TURKEY AND GREECE IN 1921 – THE GREEKS FROM ASIA MINOR WERE ABLE TO COME TO THE MAINLAND AND TAKE OVER THE MAIN GOVERNMENT AND OTHER IMPORTANT JOBS, AND WERE RESENTED BY THE PEOPLE ON THE MAINLAND. IN LETHBRIDGE, NONE OF THAT EXISTED AT ALL. I THINK THAT WAS MY DAD’S DOING… THERE WAS NO DISCRIMINATION WHATSOEVER… [MY DAD] AND MY MOTHER BOTH CAME FROM THE MAINLAND… THE AFAGANISES, FOR EXAMPLE [CAME FROM ASIA MINOR]. AND I MARRIED ONE OF THEM [HELEN AFAGANIS]... YES, AND THE GOLIS’, AND THE DANGGAS’, MANY OF THE OTHERS WERE FROM ASIA MINOR.” SPEAKING ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE GROWING UP IN LETHBRIDGE WITHIN THE GREEK COMMUNITY, CHRISTOU SAID, “WELL, AS CHILDREN, WE DIDN’T WANT TO BE DIFFERENT. WE REALLY WANTED TO FIT IN WITH THE WASP [WHITE ANGLO-SAXON PROTESTANT] KIDS THAT WE LIVED WITH. [WE] DIDN’T LIKE, FOR EXAMPLE, HAVING TO SPEAK GREEK AT HOME AND GO TO GREEK SCHOOL. OUR PARENTS SET UP A GREEK SCHOOL FOR US. THERE WAS [A] STRANGE DOUBLE-SIDED-NESS TO IT, WHERE WE WERE VERY PROUD OF OUR CULTURE, AND DID LEARN GREEK VERY WELL (BECAME FULLY BILINGUAL), BUT THERE WAS DISCRIMINATION AT THAT TIME. WE WERE THE ONLY FOREIGN-SPEAKING PEOPLE, ON THE SOUTHSIDE OF LETHBRIDGE. THAT WAS A UNIQUE SITUATION OF THE GREEK COMMUNITY. ALL OTHER NATIONALITIES, WHO SPOKE ANOTHER LANGUAGE, LIVED ON THE NORTHSIDE. THE SOUTHSIDE WAS WASP-VILLE SO THERE WAS DISCRIMINATION AND WE FELT IT. WHEN I LEFT TO GO TO UNIVERSITY, AT 17 YEARS OF AGE, THE ONLY THING I WAS SURE OF, WAS THAT I’D NEVER COME BACK TO LETHBRIDGE BECAUSE OF THE DISCRIMINATION I FELT… THEY HAD A WAY OF LETTING YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE A SECOND-CLASS CITIZEN, AND THAT YOU REALLY BELONGED ON THE NORTHSIDE. THE INTERESTING THING IS THAT, WHEN I CAME BACK, AND I WAS ONLY COMING BACK FOR A YEAR, I FELL IN LOVE WITH HELEN. WE GOT MARRIED; BUILT A HOME ON FIFTEENTH AVENUE, AND THERE WAS NO DISCRIMINATION WHATSOEVER, IN ONE GENERATION.” AS STATED BY CHRISTOU, THE GREEK COMMUNITY BEGAN TO SHRINK IN SIZE AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR FOR VARIOUS REASONS: “AFTER THE WAR, IT WAS A DIFFERENT COMMUNITY ALL TOGETHER. THAT COMMUNITY WAS REALLY VIBRANT UP UNTIL THE SECOND WORLD WAR… BEFORE WE GOT THE UNIVERSITY HERE, MOST YOUNG PEOPLE WOULD LEAVE TOWN. VERY FEW STAYED. THE SPOULOS BOYS STAYED. I STAYED AND HELEN STAYED BECAUSE WE GOT MARRIED. HER BROTHER CAME BACK, BUT VERY FEW OTHERS. [THE COMMUNITY] GRADUALLY DIED OUT – JUST PASSED AWAY... WE ARE THE LAST REMNANTS – JIM SPOULOS AND I, HARRY AFAGANIS AND JIM’S SISTER, OLIVIA – ARE THE LAST REMNANTS OF THAT WHOLE COMMUNITY.” ACCORDING TO HIS OBITUARY, ACCESSED FROM THE MARTIN BROTHERS FUNERAL CHAPEL WEBSITE, PETO NICAS, THE DONOR’S FATHER WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE ON 2 JANUARY 1924. HE BECAME A LETHBRIDGE ENTREPRENEUR, LIKE HIS FATHER, OPENING MCGUIRE’S MEN’S WEAR FOR 50 YEARS. HE PASSED AWAY ON 20 DECEMBER 2016. AN OBITUARY PUBLISHED IN THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD ON 1 APRIL 1944 FOR ANDREW A. NICAS, STATES THAT HE WAS BORN IN ARGOS, GREECE, AND IMMIGRATED TO THE UNITED STATES IN 1900. IN 1911, HE MOVED TO LETHBRIDGE. A QUOTE FROM THAT OBITUARY STATES, “FEW RESTAURANT OPERATORS IN THE PROVINCE WERE MORE WIDELY KNOWN THAN A. A. ‘SHORTY’ NICAS, GENEROUS, GENIAL, AND HOSPITABLE.” HE PASSED AWAY IN LETHBRIDGE ON 1 APRIL 1944. ACCORDING TO THE OBITUARY OF AGNES A. NICAS, WIFE OF SHORTY NICAS, STATES THAT SHE WAS BORN IN GREECE, MOVING TO MONTREAL AND THEN TO LETHBRIDGE IN 1919 UPON HER MARRIAGE TO NICAS. SHE PASSED AWAY ON 3 MARCH 1988. FROM DR. VAN CHRISTOU’S OBITUARY, ALSO ON THE MARTIN BROTHERS FUNERAL CHAPEL WEBSITE, HE WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE ON 24 JANUARY 1926. HIS PARENTS WERE CHRIST (CHRIS) AND ANASTASIA CHRISTOU. IN 1948, HE GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA WITH A DOCTORATE OF DENTISTRY, AND LATER COMPLETED HIS POSTGRADUATE IN ORTHODONTICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER FROM 1948-50. HE RETURNED TO LETHBRIDGE TO PRACTICE GENERAL DENTISTRY AND LATER ESTABLISHED HIS OWN ORTHODONTIST PRACTICE. HE MARRIED HELEN AFAGANIS IN 1952 AND TOGETHER THEY HAD FOUR CHILDREN. HE PASSED AWAY ON 27 SEPTEMBER 2017. CHRISTOU PROVIDED A WRITTEN HISTORY TITLED “LETHBRIDGE’S GREEK (HELLENIC) COMMUNITY,” WHERE HE LISTED THE TEN PRE-WORLD WAR II GREEK FAMILIES LIVING IN LETHBRIDGE, INCLUDING THE CHRISTOU FAMILY AND THE NICAS FAMILY. A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE FROM 11 OCTOBER 1946 STATES THAT THE WHITE LUNCH CAFÉ WAS SOLD IN 1946. PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTIONS, THE WRITTEN HISTORY OF THE GREEK COMMUNITY, AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD RESEARCH.
Catalogue Number
P20170008000
Acquisition Date
2017-02
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail