Salmonbellies a Fun Time for Families

The Salmonbellies are part of that whole New West tradition thing, and although I’m not a rabid lacrosse fan, I think it’s fun, fast paced, and a great way to spend a night in town. There are still a few home games at Queens Park Arena if you’re into catching a game, and tickets for a family are really reasonably priced. Check out Jason Kurylo’s photos from the recent game on July 7, which the Bellies took 10-9. The Bellies are currently top of the WLA standings.

Photo Essay: Tradition

Photographer Kevin McConnell is back for another photo essay, this time about our monthly theme, “tradition”.  These photos are of icons Kevin sees as part of the tradition of the city. Maybe these aren’t the icons you might think of, but we think these pictures tell part of the story of our city. Thanks Kevin, for your eye!

Anvil Salute Endures

The first time I was assigned to cover the Hyack Anvil Battery’s annual Victoria Day salute to the Queen, I heeded all the precautions from my photo colleagues; wear earplugs and keep my mouth open to help dissipate the concussion from the gunpowder blast. And prepare for the cacophony of car alarms from around the neighbourhood that answers every concussion.

The event itself perplexed and captivated me.

Any time people gather to blow things up, there’s the potential for great photos. Dress in bright red historical costumes, repeat the explosions 21 times and, well, that’s a good day for any photographer.

Over 25 Victoria Days at the NewsLeader, I missed only a handful of anvil salutes; usually when the spring holiday coincided with my own vacation.

The anvil salute is the perfect New Westminster tradition; steadfastly rooted in the city’s history, quirky in a modern context. Its origin was an improvised solution by the city’s fire brigade when a cannon wasn’t available for the annual salute to be fired on Queen Victoria’s birthday. One of the members, a former Royal Engineer, recalled seeing gunpowder placed between two anvils to create a cannon-type concussion.

Blacksmith Thomas Ovens, who would go on to become Mayor, donated a pair of anvils and members of the brigade set to work experimenting with the amount of gunpowder needed to create the desired explosions without blowing off anyone’s head or hands. The ceremony has endured ever since. Continue reading “Anvil Salute Endures”

Monthly Theme: Tradition

A black and white photo depicting children dancing the maypole dance in New Westminster in 1978

May Day ceremonies in 1978. The May Queen that year was Julie Smyth, a Herbert Spencer student. This photo is from a Herbert Spencer scrapbook (book 2) and is from the New Westminster Public Library collections, accession # 2790.

It’s May, and there is no other month in which I am reminded of “tradition” more than May in New West.

From the Hyack Parade (the Hyack Festival Association volunteers are great at parades), to the May Ball with Royal Lancers Dance (read this wonderfully researched post by Dale Miller at A Sense of History to understand the history of the Lancers), to the explosive and unique Ancient and Honourable Anvil Battery salute on Victoria Day, to the New Westminster Schools (officially no longer School District No. 40) May Day celebrations and activities… there are a lot of things here that are done year after year in May.

I didn’t grow up here (my hometown is really into sandcastles), and so the School District’s May Day celebrations are a bit foreign to me. Friends of mine who grew up here have all sorts of fond nostalgia for May Day. Some of them are past May Queen Suite or Royal Knights but some of them are just students who either watched it or danced in it and almost all of them tell me they love it. Continue reading “Monthly Theme: Tradition”