Origins of Hallowe’en

All Saints’ Day, formerly All Hallows Day, is November 1st each year. The night before was called All Hallows Even or Eve now shortened to Hallowe’en. Hallow is a variation on the word “holy.” All Hallows or All Saints is a feast day to honour all Christian saints. What started as a spring event was changed in 835 by Pope Gregory IV to November 1st and coincided with the Pagan ritual called Samhain where it was said the boundaries between living and dead thinned. This made it easier for the souls of the dead to visit the living, not unlike the Dia del Muerte, the Mexican Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 2nd. The costumes, the candy and carving a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern came from the Samhain tradition. Also, the Church’s practice of souling, going from home to home asking for cakes in return for praying for the souls in the house, was probably the precursor of our present day trick-or-treating.

I Remember When…

The Point Grey Bakery was on Dunbar Street

Angus McIntyre

The woman on the right was Dorothy, and the taller one, who had a British accent as I recall, was named Flo’. As it turns out I happen to have the cash register in the photo! When I told them that I had lots of rhubarb in my yard, they said I could bring it in and they could make pies with it, and as payment I got one of the pies gratis. 

In the next photo there is a sign above the door with a little chef’s head and hat. The sign read: LOAFING DEPT. Of course there was always a ginger snap or small cookie handed to the children that came in with a parent. Beside the cash register is a tape dispenser. It had a brush built in that wet the gum on the tape, and that tape was used when the bread was wrapped in light-brown paper. Flo’ lived in the 1950’s apartment building at 16th and Highbury.

I wrote to my neighbour Dave Kileen about the photos, and he responded with his memories. They made a very good malt bread, and also Hovis. I think we should do a little research and list all the bakeries on Dunbar in 1980, and include a short piece on the Ideal Bakery, the oldest one, and currently still a “toney” bakery, which maybe should also be mentioned as the last one standing.

Here’s what Dave said:

The Point Grey Bakery was where my mother would go, often with me, to purchase our bakery items. This is where all my birthday cakes in my early years came from. I remember both of those ladies, the shorter of the two I knew as Mrs. Skinner. She was the primary customer-service person, and my favourite; while the other, also pleasant, was either her sister or sister in law and seemed to take the roll of a backup person during busy times. I have often thought of those ladies, but hadn’t given much thought to the interior of the bake shop, but those interior pictures brought everything back to me immediately, those display cases and especially that faux log cabin back wall with its shingle roof. Mr. Skinner was the baker, but in all the years I went there, I never saw him. I remember that there once was a serious fire in the rear of the building, that required closure of the shop for many weeks, but it was all repaired and continued in business for many years after. There was of course another bakery one block North, on the same side of the street, but while we would look in their window as we walked past, we never went inside and I don’t know why.

Thanks for the pictures, I never thought I’d see them again.

Apple picker

Those apples are way up at the top of your apple tree and you do not want to climb a high ladder to get them! I have a “day loaner” apple bag picker with a very long light aluminum handle! You are welcome to use it! There is also an alternative contact that being the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society Vancouver Fruit Tree. Let’s try not to waste good food.