edward mallandaine + jean ramsay

Edward Mallandaine

Edward, the first son of Edward Mallandaine and Louisa Townsend, was born in Victoria on 1 June 1867. Edward was educated in Victoria, and along with his brothers, was very active in the James Bay Athletic Association. He left school at the age of 14 and joined his father on a trip to New Westminster which was then the capital of the colony.

His father was meeting a CPR Survey party and he hoped to find Edward a job in a cannery but no job was to be found so Edward accompanied his father on the survey party for several weeks before returning home to Victoria. On his return, he took up carpentry working first in Victoria and later in Portland, Oregon.

In 1885, Edward set off for the town of Farewell, later called Revelstoke, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. In his book of reminiscences, Edward’s father states that Eddy, as he was known to the family, left in the summer of his 18th birthday with the hope of earning $4.00 per day carpentering in Farewell but the more popular story is that Eddy set off to fight in the Riel Rebellion in Manitoba. He set out for Yale and from there a friend of his father’s helped him reach Savona on the Onderdonk construction train. He boarded William Fortune’s old lake steamer the Lady Dufferin and proceeded to Tranquille, where he transferred to the old sternwheeler, The Peerless, to Kamloops. The next day he continued by steamer to Eagle Pass Landing and travelled on foot for the final 47 miles to Farewell. The last leg of the journey took him to the town of Donald where as the story goes, he heard that the Rebellion had been put down.

“In November 1885, Canada was forged into a nation by the
completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway.”

He made his way back to Farewell, which at that time was a construction camp for the Canadian Pacific Railway, and he was able to find work carrying the mail and other goods between Farewell and Eagle Pass Landing. It was a profitable business but as the railway neared completion, the workers slowly drifted away and the construction camps became deserted ghost towns. With business all but gone, Eddy decided to stay in the area to witness the driving of the Last Spike. On 7 November 1885, he boarded the last construction train for Craigellachie and having made his way through the crowd of construction workers and dignitaries, Edward Mallandaine stood behind Donald Smith (later Lord Strathcona) and became one of the central figures in what was to become one of Canada’s most recognized photographs, the Driving of the Last Spike. In later years, Edward recalled ‘as soon as the ceremony was completed, the spike was pulled out and cut into bits and handed out as souvenirs.’

Edward returned to Victoria and for the next 10 years worked as a draughtsman, architect and engineer. In 1897, he was engaged as an assistant engineer on the construction of the Bedlington & Nelson Railway which ran from Bonner’s Ferry, Washington to Kootenay Lake and it was on this survey party that Edward first visited the Creston Valley. He was immediately taken with the area and, in partnership with F.G. Little, chose the present site of the town of Creston, at the head of Kootenay Lake. When the Canadian Pacific Railway completed the Crow’s Nest Pass line in 1898, Mallandaine and Little presented a half share of the townsite to the CPR and the railway line was later extended and passed through the town of Creston.

On 13 August 1904, Edward married Jean Ramsay in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Jean was born in Airdrie, Scotland on 19 January 1873 and she was the daughter of Sara McAllister and Joseph Ramsay, a coal mine engineer and pioneer of Nanaimo. Edward and Jean were married at the Ramsay home on Selby Street in Nanaimo. Jean visited Creston prior to her marriage in 1904 and taught school there for several months. Following their marriage, they moved to Creston and Edward began work as a Land Agent for the Canadian Pacific Railway where he was responsible for the Kootenay District and had charge of the timber limits and the location and operation of tie camps and mills operated by the CPR. He was based in Cranbrook but travelled often to the CPR office in Calgary.

He was also involved in the Canadian Militia, serving as a Major in the 107th East Kootenay Regiment. In January 1917, Edward enlisted as a Captain in the 230th Battalion of the Forestry Corps, part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia on board the SS Justica on 3 May 1917. He was posted first to Sunningdale in Berkshire, England and later to the 41st Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps in Orleans, France. In 1918, he was appointed Acting Major of the company before transferring back to England on 17 December 1918. He sailed home for Canada in January 1919 arriving a month later. Following the war, he remained active in the militia and continued to serve as a reserve officer in the Kootenay Regiment. In September 1928, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and for many years afterwards, was referred to as Colonel Mallandaine.

Edward and Jean

Edward was very active in the development of the community of Creston. He was elected President of the Board of Trade in 1908 and was the town’s first Postmaster, Coroner and Justice of the Peace. He was instrumental in the formation of the Canadian Legion branch and served as Reeve of the Village of Creston from 1936-47. Following the war, he was employed as manager and chief engineer of the Invermere Irrigation Project in the Windermere District and in Creston, he operated the Goat Mountain Water Works with his wife Jean for many years before selling the operation to the village of Creston in 1940.

Jean died of heart failure on 11 December 1943 at their home on 4th Street in Creston. She was survived by four sisters — Mrs. Irvine of Calgary, Mrs. McKay, Jessie Ramsay and Margaret Ramsay, all of Vancouver — and one brother in Nanaimo. She was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Creston. Edward followed his wife on 3 August 1949 and he was survived by his sister, Louisa Burrough, three nieces and two nephews — all living in Vancouver. He was buried next to his beloved Jean in the Pioneer Cemetery.