Grainger Road (Canal Flats), Mount Grainger
The old Lascelles Ranch, turned Grainger property, located to the north of Canal Flats, was later in part developed into Eagles Nest Estates.
The Grainger family were long time residents of the Windermere Valley, particularly in Canal Flats, and even though they left a couple of times, they also kept coming back.
Douglas and Sarah Grainger
The patriarch of the local Grainger clan was Douglas Grainger, born 19 March 1857 in Jedburgh, Roxboroughshire, Scotland (very close to the border with England and Northumberland), to parents John Mair Grainger and Agnes Douglas.1
On 15 April 1876, Douglas married Sarah Hannah Ogden,2 born 29 January 1855 in Rochdale, Lancaster.3 At the time of the 1881 census, they were living in Oldham (north-east of Manchester) where Douglas was a tram car driver,4 and they were still in Oldham a decade later for the 1891 census, this time with Douglas being employed as a “licensed victualler” (a pub owner).5
Douglas and Sarah would have four sons, two born in England and two in Canada. The eldest was William Thomas, christened on 28 January 1877 in Blackpool, Lancashire.6 The last record I was able to find of William was on the 1891 census, at which time he was living with his family and working (at age 14) as a tram car guard.7 It is unknown if William joined the rest of the family in Canada.
Immigration to Canada
To the Windermere Valley
In April 1899, the Grainger family moved once more, this time across the mountains to Canal Flats, where Douglas took over the hotel.14 They remained there for about a year, then moved down the valley to Windermere where, in April 1900, Douglas opened a hotel in the former Government building.15
At the end of the year, Douglas was granted a retail license for “Selkirk House”, in Windermere.16 It remains unclear if this is the name he gave to his hotel in the old government building, or whether this was somewhere else – there was a Selkirk Hotel, built in 1899 by the Kimpton brothers, a half mile north of Windermere on what was later Hwy 95, which is close in name, but I also have no record of its sale to Grainger.
The Grainger family were still living in Windermere in time for the 1901 census,17 although they also retained ties with Canal Flat – Douglas enumerated the census that year in Canal Flat/Thunder Hill.
Back to Canal Flats
The Grainger family returned south again later that year (1901), moving to somewhere up Findlay Creek.18 They were joined there by extended family: in autumn 1901 Sarah’s nephew (the boys’ cousin), Harry Ogden came to visit. He was suffering from tuberculosis and it was hoped that the change of climate would help his health, but he unfortunately died on 8 April 1902. He is buried at the Windermere Cemetery.19
On a slightly more cheerful note, one of Sarah’s nieces, Nellie Ogden, also came to visit, and in March 1902 was married at Cranbrook to Findlay Creek rancher John Dannell (Jack) Spencer.20 Jack died sometime later, and in February 1916 Nellie remarried, this time to Hope Brewer.21
An (In)famous Abode
In early 1902, it was announced that the Graingers intended to move into the former residence of Hon Francis Lascelles, located on the east side of Columbia Lake on the north side of Canal Flats.22
The Lascelles place had a bit of its own history. Francis J Lascelles, a younger son from a second marriage of the 4th Earl of Harewood, had arrived in the valley in about 1892 where he was known as, “a well to do man, of very peculiar disposition and habits.”23 He reportedly acquired 66 acres of Lot 110,24 where he had built, “a beautiful retreat… [and] although Mr Lascelles does not trouble himself much about ranching he has a garden that would be a treat to the epicure… With boat, fishing rod, and gun he must lead a charming life.”25
On 29 May 1901, Lascelles, “Suddenly became insane,” and shot and killed his Chinese cook.26 He was arrested and committed to the New Westminster asylum for the summer before standing trial in October. His defense counsel brought in the medical superintendent of the asylum, who testified that Lascelles had been suffering from “Acute Hallucinatory Paranoia,” and after five minutes of deliberation the jury found him not guilty.27 He immediately returned to England, where he went on to be married in 1905, and would die in May 1925.28
Frank’s departure was the Grainger’s gain, and Douglas and Sarah settled into the old Lascelles place. In 1906 their side of the lake is described as having, “almost absolute sterility, except at Grainger’s ranch which seems a lovely little place.”29 They are reported to have sold the ranch in November 1911,30 although there is some indication that Hardwick acquired the property, so it may not have gone far.31 (The ownership of various property by the Graingers in Canal Flats remains quite unclear – I get the sense that the Lascelles place was not the only property they owned, so enough to say that the old Lascelles place was owned for some period of time by some members of the Grainger family, and that family members lived elsewhere in Canal Flats as well.)
A Steady Presence
Even after (possibly) selling the Lascelles ranch, Douglas and Sarah remained in Canal Flats. Back in July 1906, Douglas had been appointed as a Justice of the Peace there,32 and in July 1913 he took over as postmaster.33 In 1918, Douglas also represented the Flats for the Windermere District branch of the Canadian Patriotic Fund,34 canvassing to raise funds for the First World War.35
Following the war, Douglas would resign his postmaster position, in January 1920, and he and Sarah moved to a house in Invermere. The two youngest sons, Brett and Stirling, went with them, and all four are listed together on the 1921 census.36 Douglas would once again be appointed as a Justice of the Peace in 1923,37 and may have been briefly appointed as an observer for the forest service on Mt Swansea (keeping watch for fires).38
In early 1926, Douglas and Sarah moved again, this time to Alberta to join their son Brett after having visited him over Christmas.39 They auctioned off their household goods and put their home in Invermere up for sale,40 and by the time of the 1926 census in Alberta, Douglas, Sarah, Brett and Stirling were all living in Calgary.41
This move did not last, and they would all return to the Windermere Valley, although its also unclear how long they were gone. Brett returned in about 1930, so it is likely that Douglas and Sarah followed at around the same time, settling this time in Windermere.
In October 1932, Douglas and Sarah moved back to Invermere,42 but they had not been living there again for long when Sarah passed away, on 8 January 1933.43 Douglas followed three years later, on 25 October 1936,44 at which time all three of his sons, Hardwick, Stirling and Brett, were living in the district. Douglas also had one sister (a Mrs Leighton) living in Vulcan, Alberta.45
Both Sarah and Douglas are interred at the Windermere Cemetery (their graves are unmarked).
Hardwick Grainger, meanwhile, was making his own way. He had been employed as a stage coach driver (a teamster),46 when he was married on 30 June 1905 to Emily Frances Bown, then living in Windermere.47 Emily was the youngest daughter of Dr John Young Bown, a member of Canada’s first Parliament who represented Brant North, Ontario from 1867 to 1872.
Hardwick and Emily’s wedding was a private one, and, “it proved a surprise to even the most intimate friends of the happy young couple.”48
Following his marriage Hardwick quit his work as a teamster and instead took up cattle ranching,49 working a property up Findlay Creek (Lot 42) “about halfway between Santo’s [Thunder Hill] and Spencer’s” (where Hardwick’s cousin Nellie then lived).50
Unfortunately Emily suffered from ill health. She had an operation at the Golden hospital in September 1906, and another at St Eugene Hospital in Cranbrook in May 1907.51 By 1911 the couple were living in Canal Flats, close to Hardwick’s parents, with Hardwick listing his occupation as a farmer.52
In May 1917, Hardwick enlisted to take part in the war as a sapper with the Canadian Engineers.53 He served until January 1918 in Canada, then was in England from February until July, and finally France until March 1919.54 He was discharged on 7 May 1919.55
Following his war service, Hardwick returned to Canal Flats where he got a job as a Game Warden out of Canal Flats, first appearing in reports in 1921.56 By this time Douglas and Sarah had moved to Invermere, leaving Hardwick to take over their property and Emily to take over as postmaster in April 1920 (she served until June 1922).57
He also showed a more artistic side, composing lyrics for a song titled “Where the Columbia River’s Born.” In 1924 Hardwick sent these to a New York publishing house, which had the words set to music and copyrighted.60 The song was published in sheet form: I haven’t tried too hard to try and track this sheet music down, but if someone comes across it, please let me know!
Hardwick continued to work as a game warden in Canal Flats, and possibly in 1924 as a provincial police officer,61 until spring 1925, when he and Emily sold their home to Mr and Mrs Dennis Greenwood and moved to Invermere.62 (In another tragic footnote: Dennis Greenwood was later, on 5 July 1930, shot and killed in Canal Flats by a man he had previously charged with poaching.63)
Emily Grainger passed away at the young age of 49 in Cranbrook on 28 October 1928.64
Hardwick remained in the Windermere Valley, and was living in Wilmer when he passed away 4 December 1960, just ten days following the death of his youngest brother, Stirling.65 At the time he, “was found dead …in his shack by neighbours who had noticed no sign of activity.”66 He and Emily had no children.
Following Hardwick’s death, it was noted that Stirling’s ashes would be brought from Vancouver, and that it was “probable” that he and Hardwick would be interred in the Windermere cemetery as a double funeral (there is no evidence, however, of this happening).67
The eldest of the Banff born Graingers, Brett, moved from Canal Flats to Invermere with his parents in 1920. There he can be found in newspapers as a member of a curling rink organized following the war,68 and also as a prize winner for his costume at a Valentine’s Ball at Athalmer in 1922.69
Brett worked as an automobile mechanic,70 and was an early car owner, purchasing a Nash Touring Car in Cranbrook in 1923,71 which he presumably used to win an obstacle race as part of competitions and festivities on Dominion Day in 1924.72
Later in 1924, Brett moved across the mountains to either Calgary or Claresholm (records contradict), where he settled more or less permanently, “in connection with his work.”73 It was after Brett visited his parents in late 1925 that Douglas and Sarah decided to move to Alberta, and Brett can be found living with them on the 1926 census.74
Brett maintained connections in the Valley, however, and on 17 August 1927 he was married in Invermere to Grace Carson Stewart, a telephone operator then living in Invermere (Grace is also listed as attending that Valentine’s Ball back in 1922).75 At the time of their marriage Brett was living in Calgary, and they remained there until 1930, when they returned to live, “in the vicinity of Windermere.”76
Brett and Grace remained in the Valley for seven years, then moved again, this time to Kimberley. From there it was on to Vancouver, where Brett worked as a mechanic for Northern Construction Co until 1961.77 At the time of his death, Brett is also listed as having worked as an electrician until 1964.
Brett and Grace were living in Aldergrove (Langley) when he passed away on 10 May 1966.78 The couple had two children, Raymond and Catherine (later Mrs T Hamilton).79 Grace later moved to Kelowna, where she passed away on 5 December 1981.80
The youngest Grainger, Stirling, also followed his parents and older brother from Canal Flats to Invermere, and in early 1926 joined his family in Alberta. In between, his name can be found on a 1921 application for permission to prospect for coal just above the Canal Flats bridge.81 There’s no record that anything came of this. He was also, in 1923, appointed to a committee for the Windermere District Racing Committee (horse racing).82
Following the Alberta sojourn, Stirling, too, returned to Windermere, where he was working as a blacksmith at the time of his marriage on 4 July 1931 to Freda Elizabeth Burgess, a nurse.83
At the end of 1935 Stirling was sentence to three months jail in Nelson for supplying a First Nations man with alcohol.84
In his later years, Stirling lived with Hardwick at Wilmer, until about a year before his death when he moved to Vancouver.85 Stirling died in Vancouver on 25 November 1960.86 It’s unknown what happened to Freda, although the two do not seem to have had children.
A Note on the Property
The old Lascelles Ranch, turned Grainger property, located on the north part of Lot 110 at Canal Flats, was later in part developed into Eagles Nest Estates.87 The name “Grainger Road” remembers the presence of the Grainger family.
The name of Mount Grainger, located south-east of Canal Flats, was adopted on 6 November 1923, as suggested by Dr Charles Walcott of the Smithsonian Institute.88