Back in Burkville,

my mother and L.B. picketed to try to stop the second runway being built in ‘Core O’Brown’, an area adjacent to the Fraser River close to MacDonald Beach. They brought T and me with them and we were on TV. The picket signs were that day’s craft project. We each had our own.

When I was first writing this I thought I was remembering the name of this area as a child might. Not quite hearing it properly.

Kind of how my son, when he was younger, called Lego instructions ‘constructions’ (very logical, I thought) and the TV remote was forever the ‘merote’.

The fact that I had remembered it wrong, was in fact, true, in a way.

I didn’t have the spelling quite right in the above place name, but I did a little research and I realized that there was indeed a subdivision near MacDonald Beach in Richmond called ‘Cora Brown’ after the original owner of the land.  (Pictured in the middle).

Cora Brown

Apparently, the Cora Brown subdivision was originally developed as part of the Veterans Land Act after the Second World War.

The original subdivision included 50 – 800 square foot 2 bedroom houses on an acre of land each.

Adjacent land was made available to veterans and the area grew to about 200 houses.

In the early 70’s it was decided by the federal government that this land would be ‘expropriated’ for an airport expansion.

The land had been left untouched and the foundations of the houses that stood there were still visible when I was growing up.

I remember the houses that stood there and I remember the empty foundations left after the house were torn down.

I also remember an old General Store that had existed at the turn of the last century from very early childhood.

This was indeed the Grauer General Store on Grauer and River Road.

The store had originally been part of an area (a small town – really) called Eburne that was located on either side of what is now the Arthur Lang Bridge.

Grauer Store

Just to be clear the BOTTOM picture is from my childhood, NOT the above!

Grauer Store

My mother and I must have walked there when I was very young. I just remember being outside and looking in.

They were not successful at stopping the expropriation and there were many stories of how people were sitting down to their dinners as the bulldozers came up outside their houses ready to bulldoze down houses with people still in them.

They were no injuries, but it was certainly dramatic.

My father was working as a designer/draftsman for Aviation Electric Pacific at the South Terminal (simply known as ‘Vancouver International Airport’ at that time) while his wife, children and neighbour were essentially protesting against his employers.

That might’ve led to interesting discussions over the dinner table if that kind of thing went on in our house.

Which it didn’t.

I think mother simply failed to mention the picketing to my father and was sincerely hoping that he wouldn’t notice her, L and us kids on the evening news.

Did I mention that they had made us our own picket signs? We were thrilled to be included!

That runway was eventually built in 1995, almost 20 years after the expropriation of the Cora Brown residents.