Turning Back the Pages: Henry Durand leaves a legacy behind

The following article about Henry Durand and can be found in its entirety in 2000 Golden Memories, a copy of which can be purchased in the gift shop at the Golden Museum.

Henry Maurice Durand was born in 1890 and died on May the 11, 1976 at the age of 86. He moved to Montreal at age 14, and within a few years, went into business with a partner managing an apartment building. Together, they also ran a children’s movie theatre on weekends, charging 10 cents a show. Then they stayed open on Sundays, but had to charge 15 cents a show. The extra nickel went to pay the fine which was levied upon them for operating a theatre on Sundays.

Henry was wounded at Vimy Ridge in World War One and lay in the trenches for two days before being moved. He was taken to a hospital in England where he remained for two months and from there he was brought to Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Hospital. He stayed in the hospital for two years, during his stay the doctors tried everything they could to save his leg. It was in vain, and eventually he lost it. He was then transferred to a hospital in Calgary where he was fitted with an artificial leg. In Calgary, Henry opened a barber shop and began to invest his money in various stocks and bonds.

During the war, Henry made a friend in Douglas McBeath who had a farm at Nicholson, B.C. Henry decided that he liked the Valley and eventually moved here from Calgary, and built himself a small log cabin on the McBeath property. He lived there on the property for many years.

Henry had a trap line 15 miles south of Golden and built a shelter on it that he stayed in while he was trapping. Because of his peg leg, he never had to carry a gun in the bush. The noise his leg made kept the animals away. When Mr. And Mrs. McBeath passed away, Henry lived with Mr. and Mrs. Hill. When the Hills passed away, Henry continued to live in their house. Finally, Henry became ill and was taken to a hospital in Calgary where he suffered a severe heart attack and died.

A big hearted man who loved his community, Henry set up a scholarship fund to assist high school students who wished to further their education by attending an outside university, college, or vocational school. The scholarship consisted of $50,000 only the interest on the investment is used to assist graduates. The principal amount is a perpetual amount.

In his will, he left his entire state of some $450,000 to the local Lions Club. Such funds were to be used solely for the construction of an intermediate and personal care home in Golden. The citizens of Golden and the district who knew this man are very proud of his generous and caring nature. He is buried in the Golden cemetery. His gravestone would be hard to miss, as it’s the largest one there. His epitaph reads, “he left his entire estate for the benefit of his community.”

Unfortunately, the man whose contribution to the long term care of Golden’s citizens never had the opportunity to stay there, but we are forever grateful for his contribution.

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