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Voices of the Past

Recorded stories about business, industry, work, occupations and employment

Provided by the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS) - preserving family histories in Greater Victoria, BC, Canada

ALBERT HARWOOD - Radium Processor

TIMEFRAME ~ circa 1940
LOCATION ~ Ontario, Canada
DURATION ~ 06:13 minutes

Press the "play" (triangular) button above
to listen to the audio clip.

Albert Harwood joined the Army
after working in the radium refinery

Albert Harwood had just started high school when the war broke out, and he gladly joined the call for factory workers.  He worked for 13 months in the Crane factory but the low wages had him looking elsewhere.

Albert was then hired by the Eldorada nuclear plant as a pure radium processor. In this era, no one knew how dangerous it really was working with radium, but they knew enough to provide their workers with weekly medical exams and a much higher wage. 

Be sure to listen to Albert's story about his experiences, his wages, his health and the conditions in the radium refinery, and how he was able to still join the army afterwards.

Visit our military theme page for another story by Albert Harwood.

ALBERT HARWOOD - Working with Circus Elephants

TIMEFRAME ~ 1930s & approx. 1960s
LOCATION ~ Port Hope, Ontario & Victoria, BC, Canada
DURATION ~ 5:35 minutes

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to listen to the audio clip.

Victoria Police officer Albert Harwood and his motorcycle
Victoria Police Office Albert Harwood
and his  motorcycle
(click photo to enlarge in another window)

When Albert was about 12 years old a circus had come to town, and he and his brother were hired to water their elephants. Listen to Albert explain what he learned about elephants that night.

Albert’s second story about elephants takes place many years later when he was employed by the Victoria Police Department. A circus had come to town and Albert decided he and a reservist should check on the elephants during their rounds one night. Listen to Albert as he explains what transpires at the Victoria Curling Club where the elephants were being kept.

You'll be sure to enjoy these humorous stories of working with elephants.

(Click on the small image on the left
to open an extended version of it in another window.)


TRUDIE DUXBURY - McGill & Orme History

TIMEFRAME ~ since 1930
LOCATION ~ Victoria, BC, Canada
DURATION ~ 11:37 minutes

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to listen to the audio clip.

McGill and Orme Prescriptions - 1930s
McGill & Orme Prescriptions - 1930s
(click photo to enlarge in another window)

McGill and Orme has been a fixture in the Victoria business community since 1930, when pharmacist Mac McGill moved  from Vancouver to open a prescription business on lower Fort Street just off Broad Street.  In spite of the hard times of the Depression and then the war years, Mac McGill and his partner Cyril Orme made a success of their business where others failed, by working hard and bringing innovation to the industry.

Recounted by Trudie Duxbury, Mac McGill's daughter, this is an enlightening inside look into this enterprising family and Victoria business.

(Click on the small McGill & Orme Prescriptions image
to open a larger version of it in another window.)