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General Store Site 12294 Harris Road Pitt Meadows, B.C.

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Looking Back: Heritage: The Tie that binds,

Looking Back: Heritage: The Tie that binds

Looking back article from February 2019
Monday February 18th was Family Day for most British Columbians, but in the Museum Community many of us still think of it as Heritage Day and as the kick-off to Heritage Week in the province.  This year the theme for the week is “Heritage: The Tie that Binds” when we reach back in time to tell the stories of near and distant pasts to describe our present and foretell the future.  To this end, we are encouraged to talk to and gain knowledge from our elders to learn how complex and interconnected our world is. 
There are many such stories in our small community of Pitt Meadows, but what better one to tell today than that of the CPR as there is likely no resident, past or present, who does not have some story to tell about this company and its role in the Harris Road corridor.
Completed through Pitt Meadows in 1885, the CPR’s growth took off in 1914 when double tracking of the line through the area was completed.  At that time Harris Road was a narrow, graded dirt route from Hammond Road in the South and petering out after it crossed the Lillooet (now Alouette) River on the north.  There were no train yards back in that day, and according to stories in our oral history collection, only two trains per day passed through the community – one in the am and one in the pm – carrying both passengers and goods including mail.  These same histories also tell us local mail sent in the morning was sorted on the train and usually delivered later the same day.  A small shack and platform on the south side of the tracks and just east of Harris was what passed for a station in Pitt Meadows and mail came and went from that platform as did the milk cans destined for market.  Passengers came and went from the station in Hammond.
The building that now houses the Museum was strategically placed on this site in 1908 to take advantage of the railway, and the many occupants of the site over the years, including our Society, have had and have many stories to tell, from distant past to present day, about the railway’s impact on ourselves, on Harris Road and on this structure. 
We, the Museum and Museum Society, now also spend a lot of time attempting to foretell the future as it relates to Harris Road at the CPR crossing, and we do this as we are at ground zero for any development of an underpass or overpass at the crossing. 
Leslie Norman, Pitt Meadows Museum and Archives