Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Winter 2020-21 Edition - Page 26

COMMERCIAL HERITAGE

THE TRITES-WOOD BUILDING

The fifth and final store featured a simple frontage and has stood on this spot since 1909
At 441 2nd Avenue is one of Fernie ’ s most notable commercial buildings . Not for its unassuming appearance , but for the history of the businesses at that site and the significance to Fernie ’ s commercial heritage . For over 120 years , the property has housed some form of general store .
In 1899 , Mr Amos Bliss Trites purchased a large portion of land along the west side of Victoria Avenue in order to establish his business in Fernie ’ s smart new downtown . The ‘ London & Liverpool ’ was established in 1898 as the first general mercantile in Fernie ’ s Old Town ( situated around Coal Creek , in what is now the Montane subdivision ) but Mr Trites was a modern man and clearly saw a bright future for his business at the new location . The new 3-storey wooden store was finished in 1902 . In 1903 , Trites addressed his concerns over the community ’ s company stores to the Crow ’ s Nest Pass Coal Company in Toronto . Along with his partner , Mr Roland William Wood , he purchased the merchant division of the company – including stores in Michel , Coal Creek and Morrissey – for approx . $ 125,000 and renamed the business the Trites- Wood Company Limited . The Fernie Free Press of 1902 reported that the new establishment had 10 departments of ‘ Eatonian ’ splendour and magnificence spread over two buildings , and the growth
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The Trites-Wood Company built a 3-story mercantile on Victoria Avenue when they moved their business from Old Fernie .
of the great department store from its humble pioneer roots baffled description .
The stores thrived and were regarded as ‘ the pride and boast of Fernie ’ s citizens ’ but on April 29 , 1904 , the building succumbed to fire with the loss of $ 120,000 in property and contents . A new store , this time with an ‘ impressive sandstone façade ’ was opened on November 5th , 1905 . Sadly , that building , too , was lost in the fire of August 1 , 1908 , this time at a cost of $ 200,000 . The owners quickly set about installing ‘ fireproof cellars ’ to store new stock , and a temporary wooden structure was built on the corner of Victoria Avenue , ( where the Fernie Museum is now located ) to allow for a new store in the former site . The new , simple storefront held Fernie ’ s largest
THE KTUNAXA Ȼ aqahak – THICK FOREST FEATURE BUSINESS Mt Fisher at Sunset by Blaine Burgoyne The Ktunaxa people have been in this area since Naⱡmuqȼin fulfilled his prophecy and placed the Ktunaxa people here to be the keepers of the land. At that time there was some disturbance caused by a huge water monster known as Yawuʔnik̓ , who killed many of the animals. It was decided that Yawuʔnik had to be destroyed. A war party was formed. Yawuʔnik̓ plied the Kootenay (wu·u ʔaqsⱡmaknik ʔakinmituk) and Columbia (Miȼ̓ qaqas) River System. When Yawuʔnik̓ was killed, and butchered and distributed among the animals, Yawuʔnik̓ ’s ribs were scattered throughout the region that now form the Hoodoos seen throughout the region. When the prophecy was fulfilled the spirit animals ascended above and are now the guiding spirits of the Ktunaxa. In all the excitement Naⱡmuqȼin rose to his feet and stood upright hitting his head on the ceiling of the sky. He knocked himself dead. His feet went northward and is today known as Ya·kⱡiki, in the Yellowhead Pass vicinity. Naⱡmuqȼin’s head is near Yellowstone Park in the State of Montana. His body forms the Rocky Mountains. 26 26 The Ktunaxa occupied the area now recognized as Ȼaqahak (Fernie) for thousands of years before the arrival of the settlers. The area was known to be a winter hunting area where the Ktunaxa would hunt mountain sheep, mountain goat, moose, elk deer and other animals. They would trap and fish, and harvest natural vegetation. The Elk Valley is within Qukin ʔamakʔis (Land of the Raven) and was known for its mineral coal. The Ktunaxa would carry the coal with them to start their fires as they travelled to the different encampments as they followed the seasons in their homelands. The Ktunaxa used a flint quarry near Ȼaqahak (Fernie) to make their weapons and tools. The Ktunaxa would also trade with other tribes from over the east mountain range now known as Alberta, the tribes being the Blackfoot and later the Stoney. The route used to join the tribes was the route the Ktunaxa used to hunt buffalo. ktunaxa.org/who-we-are/creation-story/ BLACK LODGE MUSHROOMS This magazine is all about culture in Fernie, and this new Fernie business is quite literally about cultures – mushroom cultures to be exact. Ric Behan started growing vegetables a couple of years ago in his backyard and was inspired to research what he could grow year-round. What could be simpler than mushrooms? Throw some dirt on the ground, add a few spores, shut the basement door for a few months and as folk would say in Behan’s native England, Bob’s your uncle, yes? Well, no. As with many things, he discovered there’s a whole science to growing mushrooms. The process begins with syringes of liquid culture from Vancouver Island which are transferred onto a sterilised substrate of whole oats, wood chips and soy hulls. Once established, the fungi are placed in the sensor-controlled growing chamber. The crop must be kept in the dark for the first few weeks simulating the process of being under ground before they are brought out and exposed to oxygen, humidity and light. Shiitake blocks must be ‘slapped’ before introducing them to the fruiting room, thought to imitate the tree falling down. Once introduced to the grow room conditions, harvestable mushrooms are ready in a week to ten days. Along with wife Rachel, Behan is now offering blue oysters, lion’s mane, reishi, shitake and chicken of the woods to the local community and restaurants. Contact him through Facebook to check when the next harvest is due and place an order. And while you wait, watch out for the couple performing around town. They are part of the creative forces behind The Hip Flexers, a local party band, and Hark Raving Sirens, an all- female singing trio. The pair also recently starred in the music video for Shred Kelly’s ‘Looking For.’ blacklodgemushrooms 27