Mervyn & Yvonne Seow

Written by Canmore Museum

We, with our three children, arrived in Canmore in April of 1973. Merv had obtained a job at the Banff Centre. Prior to that we were in B.C. for about three years on the Hope Princeton Highway at Manning Park. Our home before that was Trinidad. Upon arriving in Canmore we found there was a real housing shortage. We lived in the Rundle Mountain Motel for a month as we searched for accommodation, either to buy or rent. Banff wasn’t much better. Although we were unfamiliar with trailer parks and mobile homes we were fortunate to acquire a temporary spot on one of the holiday trailer sites. After three months we were able to acquire a permanent place. A land draw was held for the first phase of a new subdivision. Since we had not lived here long enough, we had to wait for a draw on the second phase. Our name was the third one called so we had good choice. We then built our house in 1977 and is where we presently live. After the children left home and we retired, we started our bed and breakfast, “Aspen Homestead.” We like to serve “homemade” bread and jams. For recreation, we enjoy hiking and snowshoeing, reading and travelling. 


The youngest and eldest members of the family are in Toronto, the other is in Vancouver. Annabelle, who started school in Trinidad, was already reading by age five. In Trinidad children are permitted to attend school whenever they want. So she went to school at the age of four. Then she went to school in Manning Park, a oneroom school. She was almost immediately put into grade two because she was bored with grade one at the age of six. She finished school in Canmore. The other two children, Andre and Anthony, took all their schooling in Canmore. Annabelle is married to Michael Barnes and is expecting their first baby at the end of April 2000. Andre attended the Emily Carr college of art. Anthony attended Ryerson Institute and acquired a degree in journalism. 


As a young child I attended a convent school in Trinidad. Merv went to a boy’s school run by priests. One year that my family lived in Grenada, my mother arranged for us to be taken to school by boat on a daily basis. This was from Grand Anse beach to St. George’s, the capital of Grenada. Men’ had been working for BP Trinidad Ltd. (British Petroleum) and there was talk of them leaving. So we decided to leave and to Canada we came. Merv studied hotel, motel and food management at B.C.LT. in Burnaby, B.C.


One night on the long weekend in May, 1974, we had a bit of a scary incident involving a small plane flying very low over our trailer. After the plane flew over for the second time it seemed to be even lower. We switched on our outside lights then thought that wasn’t a good idea as the pilot might think it was a landing strip if everyone switched their lights on too. We immediately put on our coats and boots to run outside when we heard the siren blowing and were relieved we couldn’t hear the plane engine anymore. A nearby neighbour later told me that her husband was so scared he ran under their pickup truck parked outside. He thought it seemed like during the war. On the front page of the May 24, 1974 issue of the Banff Crag and Canyon was a picture of the airplane after it had landed.

Story from Canmore Seniors at the Summit, ed. Canmore Seniors Assocation (2000).

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