The Great Migration

For our first show in the new space, we have chosen to feature 9 of the areas founding families.  All 9 of these families still have descendants here and played a pivotal role in the development of the area.  I’ve included a snippet about each of the families, but come on down and check out the rest of their story.


  • Monroe’s – arrived in the Robson Valley in 1911 (two years before the railway was completed through the area).  The family has participated in everything from forestry to politics,  hunting to farming, and flying to teaching.  Today, the 6th generations of Monroe’s still calls this area home.
  • Taggart’s – Ed Taggart (the patriarch of McBride Taggart’s), moved to McBride in 1911.  Ed formed a lumber company with a partner and together they built the first school and first hotel (The Yale Rooms).  He returned to the Isle of Man in 1914 to marry and fetch his sweetheart, Elizabeth.  The Taggart’s and their descendants opened several businesses, including a general store, and movie theatre.
  • MacKinnon’s – Jack and Maggie MacKinnon moved to Croydon in 1946.  Once there, they were staples at the school and social events in the area.  Son Alan (Ike) stayed in the area working for mills until he made the choice to move to Giscome.  It was in Giscome that he met his future wife Lillith.  They returned to the area to start their family.  Ike was the fourth person to put money in to the Bank of Nova Scotia when it opened its doors for the first time in McBride in 1955.
  • Pawloske’s – John Pawloske came to the valley in 1991, where he set up a sawmill in the area.  He travelled between the Robson Valley and his home in the Hay Lake, Alberta area for several years.  Neither John, nor his wife Lydia lived in the area full time, but Lydia had bought land their.  It was their son, Ed, who in 1928, was the first Pawloske to move out to the valley permanently.  The Pawloske men were industrious and never shirked from hard work, working on their neighbours farms, helping out in the mills, in their own market gardens and then converting their own land to fields for farming.  Ed’s son, Vernon, still lives on his grandmother’s original property.
  • McCarty’s – Wilma Lamming (nee McCarty) moved to McBride in 1943 with her parents, husband in in-laws to open a sawmill.  They had previously been in Rocky Mountain House, but with an increase in competition, they chose to re-locate.  In 1950, Wilma, wrote to her brother Melvin McCarty and asked him to move with his family to McBride in order to manage the new Lamming store on Main Street.
  • Lamming’s – in 1943, seven vehicles and their intrepid drivers caravanned from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta to McBride.  The Lamming’s purchase Adrien Monroe’s old mill, which had mostly been lost to fire.  Oscar and Nellie Lamming, Ernie and Wilma Lamming and five more Seventh-Day Adventist families crowded in to the little mill site houses.  Wilma’s parents, Marion and Myrtle McCarty lived in a tent for the summer.  Together the McCarty’s and Lammings built up Lamming Mills.  Today the town site is long gone and on private property, but in its heyday, the Lammings employed up to 150 people, and had numerous businesses within McBride and Lamming Mills.
  • Shovar’s – Bill (William Charles) Shovar and his wife Elizabeth moved to a farm near McBride from Jasper in 1934.  Bill, worked for CN as a conductor and was quite active in the local Farmer’s Institute and the Freemason’s in Jasper.  Bill’s son Jack spent much of his life in the McBride area and also went to work for CN.  Bill’s younger brother, Dorrell, moved to McBride in 1933 with his son Richard.  Dorrell was most well known as McBride’s first taxi and bus driver.
  • Rosin’s – Talitha Doran moved to Croydon with her parents in 1929.  It wasn’t until 1939 that Emile Rosin, Talitha’s future husband moved to the valley.  Emile wanted to help with the war effort, but was limited because of an injury he sustained as a child.  Instead he was sent to McBride to work at Sig Harstad’s mill, sawing wood for the war effort.  Talitha and Emile started the Rosin Sawmill, working predominately up the Cottonwood.  Following a fire, Emilie bought Woodley Motors, and started Rosin Motors.
  • Kolida’s 
  • Long’s – Bert and Ethel Long moved to McBride with 4 kids, 17 horses and 9 mules in tow.  The Long’s have farmed in the McBride area continuously since their arrival in 1937.  For a while, the Long’s ran a dairy, shipping their milk and cream on the train to Prince George, then selling it locally delivering three days a week to McBride and Valemount.  With big business moving in, Ray (Bert and Ethel’s second eldest son) and his wife Luella, made the hard choice to sell their milk quota and get in to beef instead.  The farm has grown over the years, but the Long’s have remained steadfast in their belief in hard work and healthy farm = healthy family.