As June marks the beginning of Be a Tourist in Your Own Town summer, I thought it would be interesting to take a tour of the history of one of the buildings that is an ever growing center for culture in Dawson Creek: the Calvin Kruk Centre. As I’m sure everyone knows, 2018 marks the 60th Anniversary of Dawson Creek becoming a city, but June is the 60th Anniversary of two more historical landmarks: the inauguration of a letter carrier service in Northern British Columbia, and the official opening of a new Federal Building.
On June 2, 1958, the new Federal Building was officially opened with the delivery of a letter. This letter was from William Hamilton, the Postmaster General of Canada, was delivered to Mayor Roger Forsyth on the steps of the new post office headquarters. It was the first letter to be delivered to mark Dawson Creek as the most northerly point to have house-to-house carrier service.
Upon delivery of the letter, Mayor Forsyth read it out to a crowd of 200 people before cutting the ribbon to officially open the Federal Building and declare the letter carrier service officially in operation. The original letter carriers in Dawson Creek were: Harold Fisher, Rudy Dwosky, Ed Green, Herb Nicodemus, D.W. Gammon, Jack Place, and W.A. Roberston.
Nearly fifty years after this historic event, when the building stood empty, the South Peace Historical Society Archives received a large envelope in the mail with memorabilia related to this very event. In the envelope was a note that said: “Please find enclosed some items I hope you will find useful for any historical display you may have on the Dawson Creek Post Office. These items were among my brother’s – William (Bill) Thomas Reid’s – keepsakes … He worked there [the Dawson Creek Post Office] for many years.”
In 1958, Bill Reid had moved from the post office in Wainwright, Alberta, to work in the newly opened Federal Building and post office in Dawson Creek. Reid’s pride and interest in his new position is preserved in this small collection which contains more than 20 small black and white photographs of both the opening and the facilities as they appeared in 1958, the official invitation to the event, and the First Day Cover marking the occasion. Each photograph, a few of which are showcased here, is carefully identified and dated documenting not only the public occasion, but the sorting and mail-handling facilities that the public would not have seen.
60 years after Reid took his detailed photos of his new workplace, the ‘new’ post office of which he was so proud is now the old post office. It is no longer empty, however, it is now the home of the new Calvin Kruk Centre of Performing Arts, or KPAC. Much like the Federal Building before it, KPAC is a multi-use building that not only has studios for dance and music, but hosts concerts and cultural events, houses the Kiwanis Daycare and, of course, the South Peace Historical Society Archives.