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Posted: July 30, 2022

Son of former residents trying to have questions answered

Letter to the Editor

My grandfather and my father came in 1924 (I think) to Canada from Belgium and lived in Cranbrook until 1936. They went back to Belgium in October 1936 because my mother’s grandfather was dying; my father was 12-years-old then. However, she survived and I saw as a child my grandfather dying with his old mother next to him. My father’s name was Marcel Vande Lanotte, my grandfather’s name was Leopold Vande Lanotte and my grandmother’s name was Bertha Vande Lanotte (Vanderhaeghe).

On August 2, I will come to Cranbrook with my daughter, her husband and their three children. They don’t want to lose this part of the family history.

I am still looking for some information. I must say that I got good help from David Humphrey, a citizen of Cranbrook, who gave useful information and whom I want to thank for that. I will see him on August 2.

However, still some questions remain. I asked for information to the Mayor of Cranbrook also, but he did not answer. Pity.

Here are my questions.

My grandparents’ house was located on Kootenay Street. I don’t have the exact number. I also don’t know if the name of the street is still the same. The house was sold in 1936 to Harry Kemball.  I tried to find out where this house exactly was located, but it is not easy to be sure. And as I said, the municipality did not answer.

My father had two special friends. One was Rino Bigatinni, who was killed in Belgium in the Second World War. I noticed that his father Egisto moved to Rutland (Kelowna). I wonder if there would be some relatives in the neighbourhood of Cranbrook still present, although I doubt? Rino is buried in Stekene, Belgium, I paid him my respects.

The second friend was Harry McKowan. He often referred to him as Teddy Mckowan. We know there were and probably still are family of him in Cranbrook, but there can be some confusion because it seems there are quite a lot of people with that name.

The Harry McKowan we are talking about was in the same class (Grade 4, first term, December 1934), so he must been born also in 1923 or 1924 I guess. If there would be some relatives we could get the coordinates from (so we could get some information about him), that would be very nice.  We would try to see them also on August 2 or 3.

My last question is about the sawmill. My grandfather worked there several years. He told us that a lot of people worked there. If I understood well, they got half of their salary paid and half was invested in constructing a house. That is what my grandfather said. He also said that after the house was paid off most people left the sawmill. He stayed for a longer period. If it could be possible to have some information about this sawmill, that would be wonderful.

Johan Vande Lanotte,


Editor’s note: If you think you can answer some of Johan Vande Lanotte’s questions, please email him at the following address: [email protected]

Lead image: A portion of Kootenay Street. e-KNOW file photo

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