Research Topic: Historical Evidence of European Immigrant Railway Workers on the Kettle Valley Railway, 1910-1914
Research Location: Myra Canyon, BC
Research Supervisor: Dr. Richard Garvin
This research project explores the work camps used by the laborers who built the Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) in British Columbia from 1910 to 1914. The KVR is an historic rail line that spans the mountainous terrain between Hope, B.C. in the west and Midway, B.C. in the east. The Myra Canyon subdivision was the most difficult portion to construct, originally requiring two tunnels and 19 wooden trestles. By using this historically rich and diverse region as a launching point, I will investigate three of the work camps that were erected within Myra Canyon, with hopes of exploring the ethnicity and statuses of the railway laborers who occupied the camps. Ethnic markers in the archaeological record of the work camps will be of particular interest, as they will help to elucidate the cultural and occupational background of the railway workers. Additionally, archival materials relevant to railway construction in the early 20th century will be examined. The majority of current literature on the subject of B.C. railway laborers focuses on Chinese immigrants. Through my research, I will contribute to the undeveloped body of historical literature on European immigrant railway workers not only in B.C., but also Canada at large. Finally, by conducting personal interviews with family members of the men who worked on the KVR, I will provide a rich foundation for any subsequent archaeological and archival data. Investigating the lives of the European immigrant workers will expand the historical knowledge base of both Kelowna and the KVR.
Home Town: Kelowna, BC
Faculty/School: Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences
Why did decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I heard about the opportunity at Myra Canyon through a professor of mine, and it seemed like it would be an excellent fit for me. I love the outdoors, and I have a strong interest in both Archaeology and History. It just made perfect sense for me to pursue this project, and with it, obtain a graduate degree.
Why did you decide to study at UBC's Okanagan campus?
I chose UBCO because I had finished my Bachelor's degree here, and I loved the school. Growing up and living in the Okanagan Valley also helped to influence my decision. This is one of the most beautiful places to live, and being able to go to school here is an added bonus.
What impact do you hope your research will have?
I hope to expand our knowledge at least a little bit about the Kettle Valley Railway and our local history. Beyond that, if I can help to foster the interest of future academics in this field of study, I will be ecstatic.
What has been your most memorable Okanagan experience so far?
So far, beginning my graduate degree in my hometown has been my most memorable Okanagan experience.
Canadian Graduate Scholarship Master Program - SSHRC Graduate Scholarship
Last reviewed 9/18/2015 10:17:45 AM