Artist Jeff Downer and former host of CBC Radio’s BC Almanac Mark Forsythe are exploring connections between Forythe’s book The Trail of 1858 and Downer’s photography exhibit Gol Nu Get Mote.
On Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., Forsythe will host a presentation at Fort Gallery, where the Gol Nu Get Mote exhibition is currently running until Feb. 15.
For the bulk of 2020, Fort Gallery is exploring the importance, sustainability, and beauty of the Fraser River; kicking off with Downer’s work, which documents lengths of the Fraser from the Lower Mainland to Boston Bar.
The Trail of 1858, a 2008 non-fiction release coauthored by Greg Dickson, combined historical research and contributions from CBC listeners to highlight colourful personalities from that period in B.C.’s history.
“The gold rush was pivotal in the creation of modern day B.C. — the colony was declared that same year here at Fort Langley when thousands of American miners flooded in from the south,” Forsythe said. “Historian Jean Barman encouraged us to do a book because the sesquicentennial was a good opportunity for a new generation to discover the gold rush story with its many fascinating elements.”
Profits from The Trail of 1858 benefited the British Columbia Historical Federation and was a B.C. best seller and has generated more than $10,000 in royalties.
“I’ll have a few copies on hand,” Forsythe assured.
Forsythe first joined CBC Radio at Prince Rupert in 1984, moved to Kelowna to help establish a new CBC bureau, joined CBC Vancouver in 1989, and hosted CBC Radio current affairs programs, including B.C. Almanac for 18 years.
Forsythe now resides in Fort Langley where he volunteers with the Langley Heritage Society and hosts Valley Voices, a history-based radio program that airs Wednesdays at 11 a.m. on CIVL 101.7.
The author and historian said he didn’t know Downer or his exhibition, and stumbled on the connection coincidentally.
“I just stopped in at the Fort Gallery to have a look at his Fraser River exhibit and started chatting with one of the volunteers about some of the places he’d photographed — like the Alexandra Bridge — and their connection to the gold rush. She said, ‘well, you should do a talk’,” Forsythe explained.
“I hope to share a few nuggets – forgive me – about the gold rush, talk about important figures like James Douglas and Judge Matthew Begbie, and how the Fraser River was the main highway to the diggings at Hill’s Bar near Yale,” he continued.
Forsythe also said he hopes to get the chance to ask Downer about some of his photos, and stories he’s telling through his images.
The gallery is additionally putting out an open call for submissions on exhibitions it hopes to host between June 2020 to Dec 2021. The deadline is March 16, 2020.
People can reach Alysha Creighton (exhibitions committee chair) at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the call for submissions.
Fort Gallery is located at 9048 Glover Rd; open Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
More information can be found at www.fortgallery.ca.
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