Saturday, September 15, 2012

Photos Discover Historic Hammond ride

Thanks to Ian McLeod of for guiding our ride today and sharing interesting facts about Hammond, and thanks to Leanne Koehn and James Rowley for the hospitality, the muffins and ice tea, and thank heavens we had a gorgeous sunny day! Here is Ian's blog post about the ride.

Ian gave us a bit of a history lesson today. It's hard to imagine now that the area just west of Memorial Peace Park once used to be pastures and orchards. The land owned by Japanese was seized from them during the 2nd World War. They were sent to the Kootenays, and few of them returned. They were never compensated. The building where the CEED Centre is now located used to be a Japanese school.

Start of the ride at the Blue Fountains at Memorial Peace Park
In Pitt Meadows, we rode the off-road multi-use path between Hammond and the Airport Parkway, and Ian, who was involved in the Golden Ears Bridge construction as public relations manager, told us that for this $1 billion project, this stretch of multi-use path was actually the most contentious of all the issues that they had to deal with. Residents whose houses this path backed onto were upset, claiming that cyclists would climb their fences and steal things out of their backyards. I know they've been complaining about flooding issues after the path was built, supposedly caused by the path, but I hope that they now see the benefits to the community as well and that most cyclists aren't such bad people after all.

While enjoying some delicious coffee at Stomping Grounds Coffee in Osprey Village in Pitt Meadows, Ian told us about the unusual government model of Barnston Island. Its 100 inhabitants are represented by a Director on the Metro Board and pay property taxes to the region, not to their own municipality. It's a great place to go for a bike ride. There's a free ferry from Surrey, from the bottom of 176 Street, and there's very little traffic on the road that goes around the island.

Great bike racks at Stomping Grounds Coffee were well used

Nice latte and great company at Stomping Grounds in Osprey Village!
We passed through the Katzie reserve. For cyclists the dirt road full of potholes is a convenient, but bumpy connection between Hammond and Osprey. The Katzie presently have only about 500 band members, and this is one of 5 reserves in the area that they own.

Wharf Street still has some industry, but it's obviously struggling. The Hammond Cedar Mill, once the biggest  employer in Maple Ridge, has downsized considerably.  There is no public access to the Fraser River in Hammond, and Hammond Neighbours would love to see some of the properties that are up for sale right along the waterfront to be turned into a park.

Riding through Hammond, we stopped at some of the older homes, like the original home of one of the Hammond brothers, who owned much of the land in the area and negotiated with the CPR to have a train station built in Hammond in 1883. Rail or boat was the only access to Hammond in the very early days. It would have been a very different kind of community back then. People would have walked or biked down to the store to buy what they needed. Most people of course worked locally at the Mill, or at the supporting local businesses.

Most of the older homes were built for mill workers. They're generally small homes and these days there's not much buyers' interest in them. Some have been remarkably well-kept though, and it's encouraging to see that there's a strong desire among the Hammond Neighbours to revive some community spirit and to fix up the whole area. It'll be interesting to see what's going to happen in the next few years in this area. It's got so much potential.

Tolmie Park in Hammond, named after a former BC premier

I thought the signs were kind of cute (it's a bit hard to read: "Hippies use side door" and "Beware: pickpockets and loose women"). This is an old telecommunications building beside the old Bank of Montreal

The old bank building, the first in Maple Ridge. 

Ice tea and muffins in Leanne and James' garden!

Leanne's home, built by her grandfather, and in the process of being restored and renovated. This is where Leanne's parents were Maple Ridge's recycling pioneers!

Another one of the older homes that makes this neighbourhood in Hammond so appealing.

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