THE story of the Minions family parallels that of West Vancouver.
There are other families like theirs, families that survived the Depression and the Second World War, whose hard work built our community. For some families, their stories are still within living memory. For others, their history has been recorded and preserved for future generations.
The value of these stories is not confined to individual families. They represent the cultural and social history of a community.
Everett and Edna Minions and their six-month-old son Ross arrived in West Vancouver in 1920 from Brandon, Man.
Daughter Norma was born in 1923 and son Mack in 1924. These were early days in the history of our community, yet they are still within the living memory of Ross and Norma. Mack took his memories with him when he died earlier this year.
As West Vancouver changed over the years, the homes, occupations and fortunes of the Minions family changed with it. Everett and Edna started with a dairy farm on a piece of land bounded by Inglewood and Lawson avenues between 15th and 17th streets, formerly the Mather Holly Farm. Land to the west cleared by Everett for a cow pasture would become the site of West Vancouver secondary, established in 1927.
By then, the dairy was gone and the family was living in a house Everett built on Clyde Avenue. He later traded that house for two trucks and started up West Vancouver Supply, installing business and family on Marine Drive. He also drove a truck and later went into real estate with C.J. Archer.
Edna was a seamstress at Woodward's. She caught the early ferry every morning, returning home for dinner prepared by Norma. Norma remembers that her mother also helped out at The Pantry, their grandmother's restaurant at 14th Street and Marine Drive, just up from the ferry terminal and the pier where she and Mack (supervised by Ross), would fish, delivering the catch of the day to the restaurant.
Young but enterprising, Ross created West Vancouver's first, and only, miniature golf course in the backyard of the house on 17th Street. The course was illuminated with strings of Christmas lights so neighbours could golf at night, at 25 cents a round.
The Minions family continually found its way into West Vancouver's story: Norma, the family historian, was West Vancouver's sixth May Queen in 1936. Mack was an usher at the Hollyburn Theatre. Ross, choir soloist and member of Arthur Delamont's West Vancouver band, was class president and voted Best Dancer.
Ross worked as a carpenter after high school graduation. In 1942, he married his high school sweetheart, Sheila Edwards, and joined the army, assigned to work on military installations in Tofino and on the Queen Charlotte Islands, as they were known then.
After the war, Ross contributed his skills as a finishing carpenter to the expansion of West Vancouver. He worked with the Tearoe family company and with his brother Mack's MG Builders, building houses all over the North Shore. Ross worked on the Safeway store on Marine Drive, the Grouse Mountain Chalet and eventually on buildings throughout the province.
Ross and Sheila raised son Chris and daughters Sue and Terry, first in a house on Argyle Avenue and later on an acreage near Capilano View Cemetery.
The story of the Minions family continues. This part of their story is a collaboration of family, friends and neighbours, one of whom suggested a profile of Ross on the occasion of his 94th birthday on Aug. 10.
The West Vancouver Historical Society named its annual summer barbecue "Minions Day" in recognition of the family's contribution.
Norma provided details and photographs from the family history she is writing and Everett and Edna's grandchildren and greatgrandchildren were equally generous. Thanks to the Minions and to all the other families who created the community of West Vancouver.
Laura Anderson works with and for seniors on the North Shore. Contact her at 778-279-2275 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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