Mural Monday – Swiss Guides (Golden BC)

A week ago we returned from a trip to Alberta. On our way down (September 26th) we again stayed in the town of  Golden, B.C. We arrived in mid-afternoon, checked into our motel, and then went for a walk, as is our custom after a day of driving.

This time instead of walking the path that follows the Kicking Horse River, we decided to explore the downtown area. One of the first sights we came to after crossing the traffic bridge was the beautiful mural: “Swiss Guides.”

"The Swiss Guides" - Mural, Golden BC

“Swiss Guides” – Mural, Golden BC – Artists: Mockman (Mark) Chen & Greg Leckie (Photo © 2013 by Violet Nesdoly)

"The Swiss Guides" Golden BC, mural detail

“Swiss Guides” Golden BC, mural detail (Photo © 2013 by Violet Nesdoly)

"Swiss Guides" Golden BC mural credits

“Swiss Guides” Golden BC mural credits (Photo © 2013 by Violet Nesdoly)

In preparation for posting it today I did a little research into those Swiss guides and came across the fascinating story  of how mountain guides were imported from Switzerland beginning in 1896.  After working for a while in various settlements in the Rockies (like Field B.C.), a group of them settled in Golden (1899). Here is part of their story (from the article “The Golden Age: the story of the Swiss mountain guides in Canada”):

The period between 1899 and 1954 is known in Canada as the Golden Age of Swiss Guides. Canada’s entire mountaineering culture grew out of this period. Of the 56 first ascents of mountains greater than 3,000 metres, as much as 50 of these were performed under the guidance of Swiss mountaineers.

[…] “What’s astounding about this time is that the guides accomplished all this with little more than a hemp rope and some hiking boots. Even more astounding is that in the more than 50 years of Swiss mountain guiding (thousands of climbs), there was not a single fatality.” (Read the entire article.)

What a fascinating part of B.C.’s history. I love it that it’s told with murals!

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6 thoughts on “Mural Monday – Swiss Guides (Golden BC)

  1. Thank you, Tracy! Don’t feel bad about not knowing this these things. The business of these Swiss guides was all news to me too. I had no idea about it until I saw this mural and was prompted to do a little research. Which goes to show that even a silly hobby like photographing murals can have educational benefits.

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