Hal Wright in Sandon: A Salt Spring Island Connection
Way back in the mid-1980s I worked with Hal’s parents in the Gulf Islands School District. I remember him driving the grade seven class from Fernwood School up to Mount Washington aboard his real bus (not school bus). It was a great trip and one in which Hal didn’t just drive the bus but kept involved with the kids.
I remember all kinds of sliding devices in use at night once the lifts had closed. Not one to be left out of the fun, Hal hurried back to the bus and returned with a big aluminum shovel…and proceeded to race the kids down the hill aboard his shovel.
While heading from New Denver to Kaslo, we stopped in at Sandon, where Hal operates the Sandon Hydroelectric Station. This is the oldest continuously operating hydro-electric plant in western Canada (since 1897). Sandon is now a ‘ghost town’ but Hal and area residents seem to have great plans for restoring the town and the great many collected items (somehow Hal’s acquired and moved a 1908 CPR Locomotive (261 000 pounds) and many Vancouver electric buses).
We missed Hal the day we visited Sandon as he was on the road to Idaho. What we didn’t miss though was a crazy mountain road leading to an exhilarating great hike to Idaho Peak. Lots more on that tomorrow.