In 1914, my grandpa Harold Monks left industrial Lancashire for new adventures as a rancher on Vargas Island near Tofino. He later served overseas as signaller with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. From the 1920s-1950s, Harold was well-respected Tofino resident. He was a lifeboat crew member, commercial fisherman and marine gas station operator. Harold saved all of his documents, diaries and photographs. For several years, I have been organizing Harold’s materials, researching and writing about various aspects of his life.
My research has been cited in Tofino and Clayoquot Sound: A History by Margaret Horsfield and Ian Kennedy. Selections from Harold’s fishing diaries were featured in Western Mariner (January 2016). Monks family information was used by Tofino Clayoquot Heritage Museum in tours of the Monks family property. Harold’s WWI materials were also featured in a spring 2019 Tofino Clayoquot Heritage Museum focus on WWI and Clayoquot Sound.
I’ve also expanded focus to look at the experiences of my grandmother Katie Hacking, who grew up in Vancouver. Katie taught school in Tofino and was active in local “vaudeville” productions. I’m also looking at the family story into the experiences of Harold and Katie’s children and their experiences growing up in Tofino in the 1940s and 1950s.