There aren’t too many people around town who can still tell you what Golden was like back in the 1950s, so Stan Lim decided to share some of his stories.
Some of you may know Lim, and some of you may even sit outside the Bean Bag with him, talking the day away while the town walks by.
But did you know that since coming to Golden in 1951, Lim has been involved with minor hockey, the Chamber of Commerce, Town Council, the Hospital Foundation, and was integral in bringing Golden water and sewer, and the the hockey arena and curling rink through the Centennial project?
“I came to Golden from Invermere in ‘51 for the railway. I worked for CP, I was a systems agent,” said Lim. “When I first came to Golden I thought ‘boy oh boy.’ It was pretty cold. I had never spent such a cold winter in my life. The house had no insulation, wood heat only. You’d load up the heater at night, then everyone went to bed. When you got up in the morning it was just as cold in the house as it was outside. Some days, 35 below.”
Back then there were no hotels, and it was difficult to find a place to stay. He was fortunate enough to find lodging with an CP friend from Invermere. Lim admittedly never planned to stay in Golden, but after a few stints elsewhere, he found himself back here.
“I went to Salmon Arm for a while, and then I came back. I went to work in the Okanagan once or twice, and I didn’t like it there. At 6 p.m. everything was dead, so I used to take night courses,” he said. “I enjoyed it here, but I thought to myself, ‘why would I stay here?’ And it was because I liked the people, really nice people.”
Meeting his wife here, whom he describes as “the greatest woman he’s ever met,” probably had an impact as well.
Lim has seen a lot of changes in Golden. When he got here there was no water and sewer (which he and council brought into town just before the opening of the Trans Canada Highway), the roads weren’t paved, and there maybe two gas stations, and no arena. The opening of the highway changed a lot of that.
“I found it very interesting when the highway opened, there weren’t any parking spots in town, so cars were lined up all over,” said Lim with a chuckle.
But eventually the roads were paved, and hotels started being built. In fact, the year after the highway was built, Golden had the most new building permits of anyone in the Kootenays. The community even starting building on Canada’s oldest pastime.
“I used to play hockey. And these little boys came up to me and said ‘Mr. Lim, when do we get to play hockey.’ So I phoned Jack Thornly up, the principal at the elementary school, and asked him to put a notice on the board for us… So all these kids show up. I was trying to get some help, but none of these parents had time. Tom Sime gave us a hand, and he was an excellent coach,” said Lim.
“So we got out there, and the kids really appreciated it. And at the time I told them that maybe in a couple years we could get an indoor skating rink. As it turned out, we did.”
The Golden Star will be telling the stories of the people who helped make Golden what it is today. Check back every week to see more “Golden Moments.”