Ginger Goodwin was a Yorkshire lad. Canadablog #4

I often bang on about the good people we meet when we’re on our travels and it’s the same the world over. There’s more good than dickheads; it’s just that the dickheads tend to make the most noise.

We’d taken the ferry from Gabriola to Vancouver Island and were heading to Cumberland for a gig at the Cumberland hotel. The gig had been set up by Diane, a lady we’d never met, but she’s active on the local folk scene and has been helping organise events and volunteering at festivals etc for many years. Diane had phoned and said that she wouldn’t be at home when we arrived but she’d left the door open. “Just make sure you introduce yourselves to Parker the dog.” Which is what we did. Parker sniffed us suspiciously but after a few soothing words and then giving his back a good scratch he decided we were okay and went to sleep on the couch.

After Bob’s email (see #3) I’d I been intrigued to find out about Albert “Ginger” Goodwin. I hopped onto Diane’s WiFi and googled him and Wikipedia led the way.

Ginger was born in Yorkshire, emigrated to Canada aged 23 in 1910 and found work as a miner, eventually settling in Cumberland. He was an activist for social change and fought hard to improve the lot of the mine workers which resulted in him being blacklisted by the mine owners.

Ginger was also a conscientious objector and fled to the hills with others to avoid being conscripted in 1918. It was while there that he was shot dead in suspicious circumstances and his death sparked the first Vancouver national strike. Check out the whole article here

It’s amazing how many people take for granted things like annual leave, sick pay, healthcare etc etc. Very few of these benefits are gifts from generous employers. They were hard fought for by those who withdrew their labour (it was the only bargaining tool they had). Many were jailed, beaten up on picket lines, vilified in the press and plenty, as with Ginger, paid the ultimate sacrifice. None of those benefits would have come about without sacrifices made by the likes of Ginger and many many more and there’s plenty in this world would like to see them taken away.

Diane came home and we let her in and made her welcome – it was the least that we could do in her own house and she seemed to appreciate it. As you’d expect from someone who opens her doors to strangers, she was great company with plenty of stories to tell and, as is nearly always the case, we found out we had friends in common.

The gig at the Cumberland ran from 7pm to 9pm which was very civilised and by 9:30pm we were in the bar with Diana watching the locals perform on Karaoke. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world it’s always “entertaining”.

The next day we had a gig back down the coast in Parksville. We had plenty of time so we decided to take the scenic coastal road. After about 20 kilometres we found barriers across the road and no diversion signs. We turned around and headed back to the highway, where the view was less scenic and coastal, but it did take us to Parksville.

That night we were at The Ground Zero Acoustic Lounge, which is an unusual venue to say the least. From the front it looks like an industrial unit with a double garage roller door, because that’s what it is. But when you go in, it has a stage, with PA and lighting rig and the walls are decorated with paintings, musical instruments, posters, old albums and all manner of things (see the pics below). We didn’t get much of a crowd, but it was a smashing night. Bill the sound engineer was a delight as were the ladies who manned the door and welcomed those that came. They were all volunteers and did it because they love the music there.

Thanks to Jack Harynuk for this photo, check out his website by clicking on the photo.


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