Kaslo is one of our favourite places in B.C., one of many memories for Denis from before we met, and many more that we created over the years we revisited Kootenay Lake following its silver-mining story and exploring its wild rugged beauty.
|blame the tilt on the photographer, not the structure|
Last month we returned after five years away, to find Kaslo looking quite splendid, a determined and visionary town capitalizing on its fine architectural legacy, and its important history, to draw tourism and revenue.
It was great to see the old Langham Hotel, which was built in 1893 for the hoards of silver miners sleeping in shifts in the heyday of the mining boom, looking so fine. The ambitious frame hotel, once abandoned, had functioned over the years as a bank and a wooden boat factory, among other reincarnations. The ruined structure was narrowly rescued from demolition not long ago by determined citizens, and stands today, proud in its Victorian finery, as the award-winning Langham Cultural Centre, housing a gallery, museum and office spaces. The history of the building's almost unbelievable rescue is told here.
It's a powerful display, telling a forgotten chapter in our not so proud story of wartime fear, ignorance and prejudice.
In a curious coincidence, the other night I came upon this superb TVO documentary by Mitch Miyagawa, about the internment and other injustices in Canada's history, and the awkward attempts to redress past mistakes. The film-maker's father (like David Suzuki's) was wrongly interned as an enemy alien during the war.
|Geigerich Building 1894 - internee's school|
|The Kaslo Hotel (1896)- demolished 1951|
Recreated in 1955/2009
|Kaslo City Hall 1898|