Monday, November 19, 2012

John "Jack" Renton

John "Jack" Renton was the head gardener at Essondale / Riverview he was responsible for a large portion of the plantings and layout on the site, that remain today. 

The picture is from the Riverview Museum, courtesy of Anna; he has both of his children in his arms ( I was told that they were both girls, but the one on the left appears to be a boy, and I have only been able to find records for two boys.)

Previous to Jack Renton was Edward Bence Stinchcombe, d. 9th of September 1929, Vancouver, 63yrs. b.  Gloucester, England. parents: Richard Stinchcombe and Emily Brooks
He  married Ruth Isabella Gamble, on October 9 ,1899 in New Westminster. She passed away on Oct 25, 1946, Vancouver, 83yrs., buried at Ocean View Cemetery, Burnaby, she was born on the 2nd of May 1863, Ireland. Parents: John Gamble and (Ann Jane Nixon?)

Ruth Isabella Stinchombe, death certificate

  Ed was overseer of Grounds and Works from 1903,("Woodlands", New Westminster)  until several months prior to his death in 1929.  John "Jack" Renton replaced him.   Ed was responsible for most of the early plantings, grounds layout some of which still remain.

In May of 1904 John entered Kew Garden for training, previous to this he was working at St. Fagan's Castle, Glamorganshire.

John "Jack" Renton  left Kew Gardens in December of 1906, and was  in  B.C. in 1907.
   The 1911 census listing for the family
In 1909 John is working and living at 1075 Harwood Street, Vancouver as a gardener for Samuel Gintzburger,(A),  a job he kept until 1919 when he was appointed supt. of the Provincial Nursery, Essondale [ Sources: Kew Guild ]
John Renton was born in Duns, Berwickshire, Scotland on the 4th of November 1882. He lived at 2245 Shaughnessy Street, Port Coquitlam after his retirement and was still living there at the time of his death on the 15th of August 1972, at the Royal Columbian Hospital, later he was buried at Burnaby Cemetery in the Masonic section.

John Renton home in blue, at 2245 Shaughnessy Street, Port Coquitlam
Google street view of 2245 Shaughnessy Street. The home with the green picket fence, unknown if this is the same home, looks newer, or remodeled to me.

 "Jack" retired in 1946, after 40 years in the gardening trade.
His parents were: John Renton and Elizabeth Shearlaw,(Shearlow)

John and Emily's Marriage Certificate
Married Emily Allison in Vancouver on the 12th of December, 1908
      Emily Allison, d.15 November 1965, New Westminster, 84yrs. bur. Burnaby Cemetery, Masonic section. b. 10 September 1881, Glasgow, Scotland.
                  Parents William Allison and Rebecca Fisher.
Emily Renton, death certificate
John Renton, Emily Renton and their son, John Alexander Renton are buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Burnaby, B.C.

Two sons:
(1)  John Alexander Renton, b. 21 October 1909, Vancouver.
                                                   d. on or about 18 September 1932, near Austin Avenue in Coquitlam, age 22. He died of a gunshot wound, unknown if the crime was ever solved. His death certificate

(2)  Maxwell Allison Renton,  b. 13th of June 1913 in Vancouver.
                      d. March 30, 1983 at the Royal Columbian Hospital, New Westminster at the age of 69.
 He was a psychiatric nurse living at 916-Fifth Street, New Westminster leaving a wife;  Jean Evelyn Jeffs.  His death certificate.

Jack Renton, was the Superintendent of the Provincial Nursery, Essondale from 1919 to 1929, then he was appointed, Outside Overseer of Essondale from 1930-1947,  he resided at Essondale. After his retirement he lived in Port Coquitlam and became a PoCo councillor for a short while in the early 1950's.
 I always hoped that there would be a nice picture of him in the PoCo city hall bureaucracy somewhere.  He was also mentioned in the newspapers a few times as being a judge at the various agricultural fairs.

 He gave his Renton Peach plants away to people in the area on special occasions  marriages,etc.,,. The present day Riverview Hospital grounds owe a lot to his plantings; most of the earlier plantings previous to Jack Renton's are long disappeared.

John Renton passed away; 15 August 1972 in New Westminster age 89, death certificate

I understood that John and Emily had at least one daughter, possibly two. I can find no records of them at this time though.


Peach Leaf Curl:  Leaves pucker and curl, developing reddish blisters early in the season. Distorted leaves eventually turn powdery grey and drop. The B.C. Integrated Pest Management, manual  recommends to plant resistant cultivars, such as "Pacific Gold", or "Renton" peach, and maintain vigorous trees.
 [ Mention at UBC plant forum; the link is from a few years ago. ]

There is a leaf curl resistant cultivar in moist mild coastal British Columbia called "Renton" In the 1980's it was sold by the David Hunter Garden Centres around Vancouver. They did not ship it though.
Brooks and Olmo (Register of Fruit and Nut Varieties 3rd edition, 1997) lists it as follows:
Renton -
Originated in Coquitlam, B.C., Canada by Jack Renton. Introduced in 1940.
Parentage unknown; discovered in 1926. Fruit: flesh yellow, semi-freestone; resembles Howard Fisher. Tree: more resistant to leaf curl than are other varieties.
Should possibly be available in B.C. and North Western states collections.

Howard Fisher -
Originated in Queenston, Ontario, Canada [Niagara Peninsula, zone 7a]
by C. Howard Fisher. Introduced in 1936. Plant patent 1937. Valiant mutation; discovered in 1934.

(A) Samuel Gintzburger,(1868-1927)
Samuel Gintzburger, 1926

Always seen with an orchid in his buttonhole, was one of the most prominent members of the early Vancouver Jewish Community. He and his charming wife Rosina, lived in a large estate at 1075 Harwood Street overlooking English Bay. President of S. Gintzburger Ltd., "Real Estate, Insurance and Financial Agents", West Vancouver councillor (1912-3), Swiss consul,(1913-) for B.C. and Alberta. His brother Maurice, was also involved in real estate, mining, speculation,etc.,

Samuel married in 1895, (marr. cert.) Rosina "Rose" Robinson,(1871-1946, d. cert. ) they had a daughter, Pauline Emma,(1896-1986, d. cert.) who married  Frank Farrar Taylor, date unknown.

Maurice Gintzburger,(1867-1922) who was Samuel's brother, married in 1898, (marr. cert.) Henrietta Robinson,(1874-1948, d. cert.) sister of Rosina Robinson.
The Robinson sisters parents were, Louis Robinson and Amelia "Minnie" Marcuse.
The Gintzburger's brothers parents were, Nephtali Gintzburger and Pauline Nordmau
Many of them are buried at Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver.
Henrietta was living at 1075 Harwood at the time of her death, not long after this the property appears to have been redeveloped, and Jack Renton's, ten years of work was probably destroyed in the process.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Glen Park

The locals are all disturbed that the "City of Coquitlam, Logging Company" has cut down a fair amount of the forest at Glen Park.
Glen Park trees coming down to improve safety — city
Just as this forest was starting to release itself,(open up naturally) the city cuts part of the nice little, and now locally rare forest at Glen Park. This forest was a nice place to go when it was very hot outside, and it contained a little garden of plants that are more common in the higher elevations, I always have attributed this garden to the Glen School, maybe some teacher made it a project in the distant past. Now Gone.
Few people would know that just over a hundred years ago now, the City of Port Coquitlam, received this property from the Government, for use as a cemetery; when they finalized their plans to separate from Coquitlam in 1913. A very well chosen site for a cemetery it was, because the ground is very well-drained, and dry.  This property was not mentioned as part of the transfer of properties that occurred at that time, but a few years later it was noticed. But there is no mention of it in the City council minutes; but at some time it must have been transferred. This property also went south across Lincoln Ave., the past site of the Fire Hall, but now it has been sold, and a proposal for a 33 storey tower is being proposed on this portion. Port Coquitlam is opposed; read the article in The Now: Highrise not OK, PoCo says.
 The Mayor of Coquitlam  "Dickie Stewart" mentions a Lincoln Station in this article, but according to the official website of the Evergreen Line, this pipe-dream is not on. It makes no sense at all to have another station so close to the others.
  Coquitlam has a long history of selling park land, a quick look at a map of the North road, Maillardville area, will show a lack of parks, that is because past councils sold them off.
The locals think that this is all part of a larger plan for the School Board to develop the old Glen School site into some grandiose scheme. Highrises are becoming almost cancerous around here the past few years.

And a letter from the Now Newspaper, by Jane Thomsing:  This isn't a park improvement

At least I am glad to have known and enjoyed this park for many years, and have the pictures to prove it.
Have a look at the Glen Park Master Plan (PDF)
This story has got some legs; from what the city is saying now, as usual a few vocal residents got their way in the planning process with this park. Although from what I have seen through the years, it does not matter what is said at the "public hearings" the city departments minds are already made up, and the "public hearing" is just a formality.
This The Now article elaborates on the story some more; Tree removal in master plan: city
I never felt unsafe there, very few issues with this park; although a few of the dog walkers should have been respecting the playing fields better. The forest was quite open on the ground, no place for anybody to hide or do their nefarious activities.  One thing that I have noticed through the years, is that part of the problem is that planners frequently appear to have never been to a site, and are just working from this blank map, on a screen in front of them, and use it to create their "vision" of a park, with no thought about how much disruption will occur to the existing site and its inhabitants.  The Disneyfication of Coquitlam's parks continues....
The saga continues; this park destruction has created a flurry of letters to the editors of the local papers.
Glad to know that others love this park, just the way it was.
Dog park and Glen Park too close to elementary school
Disgraceful destruction at park

More of the ongoing saga;  'Get a grip,' councillor tells critics over Glen tree loss
   I can think of one person who has lost some votes next "silly season"
Numerous replies to the "get a grip" quote;
April 18 - 2012, The Now: Councillors differ on Glen Park trees
Nice opinion piece by Mike McPhee of Douglas College; Glen Park forest was an oasis in Coquitlam
[[[       Here is some of the reports that Michael McPhee mentions in his opinion article:

City of Coquitlam; Request for Proposals, RFP No. 12-02-10, Tree and Stump removal, Diamond Head Consulting Ltd., Report. July 31, 2011.
  Ecosystem Overview Assessment of Glen Park, Diamond Head Consulting Ltd., November 11, 2009
             David Suzuki Foundation, Lower Mainland Natural Capital
The rest of the reports appear to be not online :(   ]]]

And the City parks manager doing some damage control, (reads like a press release):
   City responds to park criticism

March 1, 2011
Glen Park options don't include organized sport

NEW! September, 2012: Related story across the street on property formerly City owned, and was given to the City as a cemetery, park, many years ago.  National Tree Day not a good one for trees in Coquitlam

Coquitlam River endangered? or not endangered

Our new councilor, obviously has an IQ in the single digits.
Coquitlam River is not endangered: city councillor.

This river has been in trouble since the first dam went up in 1896.
I always find it interesting how a group that apparently is about the gravel operations and their impacts on the community, is always blaming the urbanization and natural events, something that should not be part of their mandate. It is obvious that urbanization is creating even more problems for the river, but the gravel operators are also making money by encouraging it. Natural events are not that common, and usually clean themselves up fairly quickly. The gravel operations on the other hand, have made great strides in attempting to control their effluent streams, but it is very difficult and very expensive to totally remove the colloidial, glacial silts, that the gravels contain in this area, these are, and always will be a problem. And when it rains, their ponds are all to frequently over-topped,, even the occasional pond failure has happened.   Still waiting for the day when an operator cuts into one of the many buried water bodies that thankfully are infrequent here, but are there, and a major slide event happens as the past history of gravel operations shows