Sunday, April 26

Barnyard Animals Run Wild

I have always been fascinated as to the rationale behind By Laws. I came across a ratepayer's meeting dated 14 April 1908 in which it was moved that no cattle, horses, pigs and poultry be allowed to run at large at any time of the year and that the Overseer be empowered to appropriate funds for the erection of a pound. First offence would be taken before the Justice of the Peace and second offence imprisonment. In the Cupar Herald 20 November of 1908 it was still a hot issue but the actual bylaw listed as By Law #2 was not passed until 18 May 1909. My imagination runs wild thinking of the terror of “the old west” and the desire to impose “ civilization”

Monday, April 20

Chinese Merchants in Cupar

According to The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan there were 41 Chinese in the province in 1901, and in 1911 there were 957. These immigrants were heavily discriminated against. The Federal Government imposed a head tax in 1885 of $50 and increased it in 1903 to $500 which was equivalent to 2 years wages. One exception were merchants. 

It is a bit of a cliche to say that many prairie towns had either a Chinese laundry or cafe owner. Very little is known about them and therefore it is difficult to appreciate the role they played and the hardship they endured having left their families behind.

In the Census for Cupar in 1916 I found a John Lee, Methodist, Laundryman who came to Canada in 1900. In the Cupar Herald of 1935 I found mention of Sam Lee doing hand laundry and Ben Lee proprietor of the Cupar Cafe.

Why did this come into my mind? Well, as we were reorganizing our displays at the museum we decided to put all our local cookbooks together in the kitchen exhibit. We found a very battered cookbook donated by Charlie Rein with a note saying “came from cafe maybe Jim Lee” 

 I found it sad, that it had been defaced and not treated as the treasure it was. It is more than a cookbook, it gives well used phrases in english and chinese for day to day use, and to this point appears to be the only artifact we have.

Wednesday, April 8

Online shopping - old school

Online shopping is becoming more prevalent. Soon we are told that drones will deliver items to our very door. Isn't that so 21st Century.  Is it all that new?  Some people may remember Eaton's. They  of course no longer exist. Sigh, a sign of the times, changing tastes and demographics. I found an ad for the various Eaton's Catalogues available in 1926-27.  You could buy most anything from groceries, bulbs for fall planting, plans for building a house and barns, radios, organs, clothes etc. I also found a 1955 catalogue and it was quite apparent who the company was catering to.