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Kimberley Families

The Smyth Family
as told by Ivan and Jean

Ivan Smyth and his sister, Jean, have much to say about growing up in Kimberley. They say it was an excellent town to grow up in. Boys could be gone all day, get home after dark, and their mother didn't worry. They enj oyed their childhood in the freedom of the outdoors.

Samuel Smyth was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and the call of free land and new country beckoned so he took a homestead near Marengo, Saskatchewan, in 1910.He would live on the land and do improvements in summer and return to work in Hamilton for the winter.

He married Pearl Wicklum in Barrie in 1918 and brought her to Marengo. They had two children: Ivan and Jean.

After several years of heart-breaking unproductive crops, they gave it up. The only good crop in years could not be harvested as Mr. Smyth took sick and they lost it all.

In 1925. he came west to Kimberley and got work at the Concentrator. His family joined him later in that same year. Their first house was built by a Mr. Tait, manager of Burns Meat Market at that time, located where the Mom's Cafe now stands. The bridge across Mark Creek had not yet been built. Later, they moved to a home in Upper Blarchmont on Burdett Street. Their neighbors were-the McKims, Coulters, Boardmans and Gauthiers.

Some of Ivan's recollections were the walks to Marysville to swim in the river, how he and his pals would be gone all day, enj oying the outdoors. They always found plenty to keep them interested and occupied. In winter, they could sleigh ride from the top of Blarchmont hill to Marysville and never meet a car. Occasionally, they were lucky enough to get one driving to Kimberley and get a tow back up to town, but most times, it was walking, pulling the heavy bob-sleigh. There were open-air skating rinks and the new ski jump was near by.

Another past-time was daring someone to walk across the high trestle between trains. The industrial ore train ran every hour or so, and there were small platforms spaced along the side, where barrels of water were kept in case of fire. A few brave souls would chance standing in one of these, while the train rumbled by, shaking the trestle so much they would almost fall off. Ivan never did try this stunt as he was only six, but he knew a few who took up the dare.

They recall the July 1st. celebrations, the parade and the contests. He remembers Dave Honeyman running the twenty miles from Cranbrook to Kimberley. Nowadays, it's walk-athons. Another contest was between miners, to see who could shovel the most ore in the shortest time. They loved watching Dick Shannon, he was really fast.

In 1936, Ivan began working at the Concentrator before he was eighteen years old on a boys crew. He was then sent to Trail for two years. He joined the Air Force for two years, '41-'42. On his return, he went to work at the Concentrator and became a Journeyman Pipe Fitter. He retired in 1977.

His wife Ellen hails from Canmore, Alberta. She is the daughter of John Mackie. Her uncles are Art and Dub Mackie. Both played hockey for the Dynamiters. Her uncle Art, was the player that scored the very first goal for the Dynamiters in the newly built rink. She met Ivan on one of her visits to her uncles in Kimberley. They remember the many hockey games, held in the old arena, how the fans would line up all the way to Kavanaghs, a block away, waiting for the doors to open. When the games started, the vibration from the cheering could be heard down town, three blocks away. The cheering kept up for the duration of the entire game.

Ivan and Ellen have five children. Their three daughters live elsewhere now. Donna is in Nova Scotia, a professor at the Acadian University. Judy married Ray Faas and lives in Calgary and Jean married Terry Brock and lives in Parksville. Their two sons, Samuel and Roy, both work for the Company in Kimberley. Samuel is working on the outside crew at the Concentrator and Roy is a pipefitter apprentice.

Jean married Ritchie Walkley and they have three children: Jack, Bill and Janice.

Ivan retired in 1977and plans to remain here where so much of his life has been enjoyed.

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