When Richard Brooks, veteran of the epic Monkman Pass days of the 1930s, visited Tumbler Ridge recently, he was struck by the small Leake exhibit of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation in the Community Centre. Reg Leake was the official photographer of the Monkman Pass Highway Association, and his photos form time-honoured treasures. The photos currently on display are mostly copies of those in possession of Janet Hartford.
Mr Brooks knew that his uncle, Bert Watson, had accompanied Leake on these photographic expeditions, and remembered that an album of photos had been passed on to his cousin, Donald Watson of Wembley. Soon copies of this priceless portfolio were sent to TRMF, with the originals to follow, with permission to use them in historical displays. TRMF will scan these and enlarge and print them to at least 36″ x 24″ size (and enlarge those currently on display). Soon the new, enhanced Leake exhibit will be prominently displayed, and will be a further attraction for heritage-minded residents and visitors.
The photos tell a timeless tale of fortitude and perseverance in the face of great odds. The Monkman exhibits will form a crucial stop on the proposed Monkman Pass Memorial Trail project, spearheaded by the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society. TRMF gratefully acknowledges the support and vision of Richard Brooks and Donald Watson.