Ironically, on my way to take pictures for the Maple Ridge Historical Society, I discovered that Albion Hall was half-way through being torn down.
Albion Hall, 1923-2011.
New Canadians and all community members are invited to the Maple Ridge’s Diversity Health Fair, May 28th between 12 and 4 at Thomas Haney Senior Secondary. Come explore health and wellness resources, and be prepared to participate. Wiggle your hips in belly dancing class, test your flexibility during a yoga session, learn a vibrant Mexican dance, taste delicious ethnic dishes, watch health cooking demos or visit the Health Kids Activity Zone. Translators will be on hand to assists.
May long weekend is upon us, and I’ve been wondering about May Day, Maypole and May Queens- a few things we don’t really celebrate anymore.
So what’s the history of May Day in Maple Ridge? Here’s a little blurb from Maple ridge Museum and Archives
Victoria Day is a celebration of the birth of Queen Victoria in London on May 24th, 1819. The loyal legislature of the United Canadas declared it a public holiday as early as 1845. Victoria became Queen in 1837, reigning until her death in 1901. In 1897, the year of Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the Queen’s birthday started to be observed in Canada as Empire Day. The first reference to May Day in the Maple Ridge Museum is a photograph of Maypole dancers in 1897 at Lillooet School on the corner of Dewdney Trunk Road and Lillooet Road (232nd Street). By the 1920s May Day had become a community event, with a committee to plan the festivities.
In common with many Fraser Valley communities, Maple Ridge chose a May Queen each year by picking the name of an elementary school girl from a hat. One or two girls were nominated from each elementary school in the district, and the rest of the girls not selected became maids of honour for the queen. Girls were chosen from Grade 6 so that the following year, the former queen would be in Grade 7 and available to pass the honour on.
Events on May Day came thick and fast. First there was the parade, with a cash prize for the best decorated automobile, floats created by school children, and decorated bikes and wagons. Then there were the school groups in elaborate costumes, and marching Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. In the afternoon came the crowning of the May Queen, speeches by dignitaries, and Maypole dancing. The May Queen and her princesses presided from their review stand in the Aggie Hall Grounds, where there was a variety of entertainment. Sports events, track and field, and a baseball game were the order of the day. In the evening there was a dinner in the Aggie Hall, and no less than two dances, the first for the children, the second for the adults.
May Day celebrations fell into non-observance during the Second World War, and were not revived. Our modern May festival emerged again in the late 1970′s with the short-lived Fraser River Raft Race. When the Raft Races ended, the local Home show — called Home-a-Rama — was combined with an arts and cultural festival and became the 10 day “Mountain Festival”. That festival ended when the modern Maple Ridge Home Show moved to the Albion Fair Grounds and away from the town core.
Enjoy the long weekend!