Exploring British Columbia...

We said goodbye to Alberta and are continuing North.


Okay, so this was a must-see for Steve (the little guy in red). Wow! The Terex 33-19 "Titan" was a prototype off-highway, ultra class, rigid frame, three-axle, diesel/AC electric powertrain haul truck designed by the Terex Division of General Motors and assembled at General Motors Diesel Division's London, ON, Canada assembly plant in 1973. Only one 33-19 was ever produced and it was the largest, highest capacity haul truck in the world for 25 years. After 13 years in service, the 33-19 was restored and is now preserved on static display as a tourist attraction in Sparwood, BC, Canada.
Our only true stop today was in the quaint town of Fernie, the only city-class municipality in Canada that is fully encircled by the Rocky Mountains (which adds to its beauty).
While the slopes of the mountains are the present focus of economic activity (skiing is big here), in 1898 the residents of the area were more interested in the mountains' innards. The vast Crowsnest Coal Field lies just to the east of the city, and Fernie owes its origins to nineteenth-century prospector William Fernie, who established the coal industry that continues to exist to this day. After picking up the Heritage Walking Tour map, we strolled the streets to learn more of the interesting history, told through the buildings.
After a disastrous fire leveled much of the downtown core in 1904, the fledgling municipal government passed an ordinance requiring all buildings in the area to be built of 'fireproof' materials like brick and stone. Consequently, a new city center rose from the ashes sporting brick buildings along broad avenues that would have looked more at home in a sedate and refined Victorian city than a rough-and-tumble frontier coal town. They were short-lived, however, as a second, larger inferno swept through the city in 1908. The firestorm melted the 'fireproof' buildings and essentially erased the entire city in one afternoon. For a second time, once again, the people of Fernie created a stately brick downtown. Today, these historic buildings, most of which still stand, are true treasures.
Oh my, and the Court House... named one of BC's 'Best Buildings', the cost was enormous, close to $100,000 - a very costly project in 1909! Only minor alterations have been undertaken, and  it now stands as a monument to the town's rich architectural past.
This Romanesque Revival reflects the town's importance as a government center for the region (Customs and Post Office).
I'm drawn to alleyways. Here I found How Foon's Laundry, once a cafe, laundry and shoemaking business, with rental apartments upstairs. If you look closely, you can read the old painting advertising "shoe repair while you wait." So cool.
This was our favorite of all the buildings. It was built with rubblestone from the banks of the Elk River... gorgeous!
These signs were everywhere, warning us that coal trucks were coming on to the road. Notice the 'speed' lines to the rear of the truck.
Interestingly, this area has the largest concentration of big game animals in North America. These triggered lights let us know when there are critters on the road. This time is was a herd of bicyclists! 

I found this motto, on the back window of a car, quite poignant! "Live Inside The Postcard". Upon researching, I discovered it belongs to a pretty cool Paddle Board company. Here's their complete statement, "We are inspired by the same spirit that compelled the great navigators of history. They weren’t satisfied with tales of far off lands, so they went out and found them. We don’t settle for postcards, we make our own!"— Four Oceans. As we travel on, I really like that motto. So here's to all of us making our own postcards!

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2 comments:

Karen Booth said...

Steve looked like something out of "Honey I Shrunk the Kids". What was the story on the yellow/orange/red banded crosswalk? Was it a rainbow?

Aquí Ahí Allá said...

Live inside the postcard, or live inside the Terex. :) I like the motto too.
The truck is impressive. It must take skill to drive, if you don't want to run any little red guys over...
Fernie is pretty, especially the courthouse!
***

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