Harold and Katie get married

“Katie had left the school at Tofino but later took the school at Clayoquot where she used to visit us at weekends…and it was during this period that she and Harold Monks became engaged.” (Frank Garrard’s memories)

Harold Monks and Katie Hacking first met in fall 1929, when Katie came to Tofino to teach school. She boarded with the Garrard family, who were great friends with Harold Monks. Over the next 4 years, Harold and Katie became close. But this was the Depression and Harold’s financial position as a fisherman was uncertain. Katie left Tofino for the 1932-1933 school year, but returned for the next year to teach at Clayoquot School on Stubbs Island. In early 1934, change was in the air.

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In spring 1934, Harold bought John Grice’s Imperial Oil marine gas station and house for $4000. Katie recalled in an oral history interview that he had “scrimped and saved” to come up with the money. He could now propose to Katie. One weekend, when Katie was over in Tofino staying at her and Harold’s mutual friends the Garrards, Harold proposed.

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Katie Hacking’s letter to her parents announcing her engagement.

Clayoquot, BC
March 25, 1934

Dear Mother and Dad,

This is really quite an important letter to inform you that Harold and I wish to announce our engagement. He will write soon but I wished to tell you people first. I hope you will be as pleased with our decision as I am for I could never consider anyone else and I have known him long enough to know that I wouldn’t ever be happy without him.

The Garrards are very pleased about it. Mrs. G is writing to Mother this boat and also to Mrs. Monks. So far we have not mentioned it to others but probably shall after you people reply.

Harold is doing very well in his new business. He does not feel know, as in previous years, that he hasn’t a decent position to offer, for fishing was far too indefinite. He has a very nice house almost completely furnished, and likes nice things about so I am sure we will be very comfortably fixed.

Harold is very quiet and unassuming but everyone here thinks a great deal of him. I am sure you won’t need ever to wonder about a buried past, the people here keep a frightfully close check on and are unable to find anything wrong. He is a very good living fellow. I am sure we will have a nice home together.

His work keeps him very much tied down from about March to October [the fishing season] so we hope to be married immediately after that he is free. It is not to be a wedding, just go and be married very quietly and privately. We don’t want to impose on friends in the way of wedding gifts or have any fuss or bother that goes with formal affairs.  If there were any chance we would like to get married earlier, for he is not enjoying batching since he has never done so much living alone for some time and finds he has…[illegible]

The Garrards weren’t surprised. They were very kind about it and after he left that night, informed me that they had another daughter. Of course they always speak of Harold as their son and seem to think more of him than the rest of their family (if possible).

I am going to tell Evelyn, but am asking her not to speak of it to those who may speak of it up here because there is no need to broadcast it. However, there is really little hope of keeping it a real secret for Mrs. G. is so anxious to tell people and wishes to as soon as I write to you. We hope she won’t until after her holidays. [she went on holidays May 9 1934 – 3 weeks in Victoria Vancouver Port Alberni]

We are all going to Harold’s for supper. Mrs. G has made currant scones. I am to go down early to prepare supper but haven’t any idea of what it will be.

Harold is working hard at the garden, he is anxious to have a nice place and although Mrs. Cooper left a nice garden he is not satisfied. He has lost about 15 lbs after taking over the place. If this keeps up, soon there won’t be enough left to bother marrying.

Will you like such a small person in such a large family? We will be rather like Jack Sprout and his wife. Everything I have must be outsize and his under.

The inspector visited me about a week ago. I received a short but satisfactory report. I am not going to put in an application for a Vancouver school.

I am coming over here next Thursday evening and on Tuesday following will go to Lennard Island for four days. I decided to not go there earlier for Leighton is giving a dance on Easter Monday which I would like to attend.

The Garrards will probably see you on their holidays. Evelyn would like to be in Vancouver when they are there. Could you ask her over for a day or so then? She intends to get her teeth fixed and a permanent.

There isn’t much more to say only I shall be expecting a reply. Please write to Tofino next time for I shall be here. I am going to Clayoquot this evening.

You will probably be tired before long about hearing me rave about him. We are both rather sensible about it all and stand little chance of looking absurd. Sometime I may send on a snap of him so you may show it to others. I don’t think you will ever have any excuse but to be quite proud of your first son-in-law.

Mrs. G thinks I ought to commence my hope chest but will get a few things together. He has nearly everything. This boat we are getting dishes and will decide on the pattern this evening.

I hope you will be quite pleased.

Much love to all,


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Harold Monks’ letter to Mr and Mrs Hacking

P.O. Box 32
Tofino BC
April 12, 1934

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hacking

I feel I should write a few lines to you by this “Maquinna” to thank you very much for your approval of the engagement of Katie, also for your acceptance to have me join your family circle. I am sure Katie and I will get along well together and will be a great help to each other. Re the wedding we want it to take place in Vancouver sometime this coming fall, as my busy season will have ended and Katie will have finished her year’s teaching over at Clayoquot. We are both looking forward for the day of days to come around and it cannot come too quickly.

This is not a very lengthy letter so please excuse more for now, and thanking you very much for your good wishes which you have extended to both of us. My very best wishes to you all.

Yours very sincerely,


An announcement appeared in the Vancouver newspapers.

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Closer to the date, Katie’s Vancouver friends and neighbours held a “miscellaneous” wedding shower in her honour. Directories show that most of these ladies lived in the neighbourhood around 45th Avenue or were friends from her former address at 21st Avenue (like the Follis girls).

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“The Day of Days” came on November 14 1934 at St. James’ Anglican Church.

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Snapshot taken at the wedding reception

Frank Garrard later recalled: “Harold and Katie were married in Vancouver, from her parents’ place and the Imperial Oil representative was able to take them sightseeing all over the neighbourhood of Vancouver and vicinity, then returned to Tofino to begin their married life there”: This notice appeared in the The Daily Colonist on November 23 1934. “Among the passengers aboard Princess Maquinna northbound were Mr and Mrs Harold Monks, nee Miss Katie Hacking, of Vancouver, whose marriage took place in Vancouver recently, and who were en route to Tofino, where they will make their home. He is associated with the Imperial Oil Company in Tofino.” 

Harold and Katie began to operate their business together. During the day Harold, worked as the Life Boat station wireless operator, and Katie was on call at the house for any boats that needed gas. Then Harold come back to man the station during the busy time while the boats came back to harbour, while Katie made dinner. They continued operating the business until the mid-1950s. Harold and Katie had two children, Harold Frank and Lois.

Harold and Katie Monks and their children Harold and Lois in 1955.