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Page last updated September 13, 2016
© Michael Kluckner
Written/sketched in 2003: Burns Lake is one of the prettier villages along Highway 16 west of Prince George. As the highway goes through the town, rather than bypassing it, there isn't the sort of highway strip of commercial buildings that is sucking the life out of Vanderhoof or Smithers, for example.
The last "log house" in Burns Lake's downtown, at 22 Fifth Avenue – the corner of Government Street. At least, the main floor is log, the upstairs frame. It was boarded up in the summer of 2003 (I left out the boarding) and looked abandoned, for sale and perhaps awaiting demolition. The doorway structure on the right opens onto an enclosed outside staircase that ascends the far side of the building, providing access to an upstairs hall.
Note from Russ Brown: "I think that, for most of my growing-up years (1970's, early 1980's), that was the home of the high school principal and his family. My dad advises that indeed [it] was at one time the local high school. He doesn't know if it was the "first" high school, but he will speak to the former school principal about that house's history and let me know if he learns anything more. For what it's worth, the only book written on the history of Burns Lake ("Burns Lake and District", Pat Turkki, 1973 - you quote her son about the future use of the church) says: "In the late 1940's when the high school had outgrown Andy Anderson's old home, one division had used the basement of the Anglican Church and the other two divisions remained in the old building." The high school I went to was built in 1951."
Photo by a provincial government employee, c. 1950. Thanks to Russ Brown for locating it.
From Larry Reynolds, 2016: My Grandfather,
Byard Keddy helped Reverend Kerr build the Anglican Church in
Burns Lake. It was patterned after a church that was built in
Forestdale. The church in Forestdale was burnt down by some
unknown people. It had been vacant for many years. When my
mother was growing up in that area, the building was also used
as a school. Most of her siblings also went to school there.
From Shirley Ruda, 2016: I was born @ Burns Lake but was adopted out – I was born 1952, I was hoping to find a photo of hospital.
From Erik Andersson, Sweden, 2013: I found
your interesting web page about Burns lake. I have tried to find
out things about the place and its surroundings but it seems to
be very hard. The reason why I write you is that I have family
over there. My grandfather's brother was a man called Oscar
Leonard Anderson (1907-1964) and he resided in Forestdale from
around 1926/1927 and later in Burns Lake.
I have some information about his life and family
and in recent years I got in contact with one of his daughters,
Lorraine Boychuk, b. Anderson. She sadly passed away because of
cancer recently. But there is one thing that I never have heard
of and that is that Oscar was a hotel proprietor in Burns Lake.
Do you know anything about that I is it possible that the hotel
is still there?
2004: The old manse for St.
John's Anglican Church on First Avenue at Centre Street, with
the church on the slope below and the roofs of the downtown in
the middle distance. The building is a very nice "kit"
Craftsman, probably 1920s vintage and built from plans in a
pattern book, on a well-treed lot. According to realtor Gordon
Shanks, the building has been rezoned commercial and used for
a coffee house and boutique. For sale now, $87000 asking
price, with a 73 x 110 foot lot, call 692-3115. The church
itself has, I was told, been taken over by the town and is to
be converted into some kind of public meeting space or other
2012: with assistance from
Marilyn Burrows, Wayne Brown of the Process 4 Circle Arts
Gallery, at Highway 16 and 3rd Avenue in Burns Lake, 250
692 3434, printed a good-quality reproduction of this
watercolour, which is available through his gallery.
Note from Michael Turkki, clerk of the village of Burns Lake: "The municipality purchased St. John's Anglican Church from the Diocese of Caledonia last year. The church is a municipal heritage building and will be preserved. Its usage is now the responsibility of a municipal heritage committee. The committee was established only a month or two ago, so it hasn't had its first meeting yet. We envision the church being available for rental (weddings, etc.). "
Note from Russ Brown, 2004: "Most of the material from a previous Anglican hall (built around ten years earlier) was re- used, but the roof was new (made of fir from the west coast). In the church building itself, the windows were shipped from a Toronto parish (Church of the Messiah, at the corner of Avenue Rd. and Dupont, if you know Toronto), the stove came from a local hotel, and the church bell was donated by the CNR from one of its old trains."
Note from Valorie Fehr, new owner of the manse, 2006: The manse (now the Heritage Inn B & B) was built in 1922, The Church was built in 1927 and the hall much later. I am restoring the house to its original state. Finding all sorts of great treasures (fir flooring, heat register covers stamped and date 1908, etc...)
Written 2003: The building at 23 Third Avenue, now the offices of the Lakes District News, gives away its parentage as a provincial government building by its jerkin-head roof and off-centre front stoop. Since well before the time this picture was taken, about 1952 by Pete Anderson, the building was the Provincial Police headquarters for Burns Lake, with the small windows on the sidewall supposedly being for jail cells (at least it is likely the back two were). The design is a variation on the Henry Whittaker model that appears to have been developed for returned soldiers' housing in South Vancouver just after the First World War and also appears in the DOT-Forestry compound near Ashcroft Manor. Plans in BC Archives, Department of Public Works Records GR-0071, Box 6 file 103, show that the "Burns Lake lock-up" was built in 1926. This Dutch Colonial style of architecture has continued, at least in the roof form, for numerous forestry service and ambulance buildings all over the province. Thanks to Laura Blackwell, publisher, for the tour of the house/office and the use of the photograph. See also the Yahk lock-up page for a contemporary building in an even smaller community.