Memories, friendships revived by visit to islands

  • Dec. 12, 2007 11:00 a.m.

By Alex Rinfret–Among the thousands of tourists who visited the Charlottes this summer was a quartet of former residents, who revived memories and friendships from when they had lived here 50 years ago. Ron Woolgar and Bob Hobson were young police officers just starting their careers with the RCMP when they were posted to the Queen Charlotte detachment in the late 1950s with their wives. They both went on to successful careers. Woolgar became an RCMP firearms instructor, won shooting titles in Saskatchewan and BC, and eventually became a national coach. He ended up working for the Ministry of the Attorney General in Victoria before retiring. Hobson spent his career at detachments throughout BC, including five years working for BC Premier Bill Bennett. Their posting in Queen Charlotte was one they remembered with fondness, and exactly 50 years later the two couples came here for a holiday. They spent four days on the islands, visiting old friends, checking out the new police detachment, and marvelling over what has changed and not changed about island life. Const. Hobson particularly remembered a journey to Slatechuck Mountain with Skidegate carver Rufus Moody and Dempsey Collinson. Mr. Moody told him he was the first white person ever allowed in the area. After a tortuous trek, the group spent several hours prying slate out of the ground, then each person’s pack was loaded for the return journey – Mr. Moody and Const. Hobson each carrying 94 pounds of argillite and Mr. Collinson an astounding 140 pounds. Const. Woolgar remembered arriving in Queen Charlotte with his wife Gaylene (the couple had just married a couple of months earlier) and their little Chihuahua, Cheeko. He said the community, which liked having the police detachment guarded by a chihuahua better than his predecessor’s German shepherd, enthusiastically welcomed them. Life was rustic, but they enjoyed their stay. Along with police duties, the Charlotte detachment acted as a sub-office of the Prince Rupert government agent, registering births, deaths and marriages, giving out fishing and hunting licences, and registering vehicles. One of the highlights of life here for the busy police officers was regular fishing trips to Tlell. “For a prairie boy, that was special,” he recalled. Ron and Gaylene Woolgar decided to celebrate their 50th anniversary this year by traveling to the Charlottes with the Hobsons. “Our tour started at Skidegate on Sept. 8 and we departed Sept. 11, exactly 49 years after the birth of our daughter at Queen Charlotte hospital,” he said. “We enjoyed the Graham Island hospitality.”

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii gets top spot in The World

It was already a nice Christmas present, but Keith Moore was really… Continue reading

McNeill fined again for illegal fishing

A local man with a long history of poaching has been convicted… Continue reading

Painting her way home

Janine Gibbons talks about all she learned illustrating Haida and Tlingit story books

Old Massett taps grassroots for community plan

Over coffee, kitchen tables, and community dinners, Old Massett is taking a… Continue reading

Subsea internet cable to link up Haida Gwaii

Cable to connect Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast with mainland network

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

A look at potential Canadian nominees for this year’s Oscars

The nominations are to be revealed Tuesday morning for the 90th Academy Awards

Complaint against Prince George RCMP in death of Wet’suwet’en man

Thirty-five year old Dale Culver died while in Prince George RCMP custody last summer.

B.C. expert weighs in on why kids are eating Tide pods for fun

Why are kids taking part in something completely pointless yet so risky?

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Most Read