Peggy Chalmers stands in front of Moon River Gallery in downtown Golden

Peggy Chalmers stands in front of Moon River Gallery in downtown Golden

Golden Moments: Week-long trip turned into a lifetime in Golden

Peggy Chalmers visited Golden in 1977 for what was supposed to be a week-long trip to visit a friend. That trip turned into a lifetime.

Peggy Chalmers visited Golden from her home in Edmonton in 1977 for what was supposed to be a week-long trip to visit a friend. That trip turned into a lifetime and she hasn’t left the area since.

On that trip Chalmers met her husband Paul and the couple recently celebrated their 33rd anniversary together.

“He was just too adorable,” Chalmers said of what attracted her to Paul. “He was totally unlike the guys I was used to.”

Not long after they met, the couple took a trip down to Mexico in Paul’s yellow convertible.

“We had this little Triumph Spitfire. It was like a magician’s act because we’d pull up to the beach and if there was anyone around their mouth’s would drop. He’d pull out a tent, sleeping bags, pots and pans…it was a lot of fun,” she laughed. “I knew that at the end of it either we wouldn’t be able to stand each other or we’d be a lot closer.”

One of the things that Chalmers enjoyed the most about Golden was that everyone was friendly and got along well with each other.

“In the city you have white collar bars, blue collar bars and student bars,” she said. “If you come to Golden you sit at a table with a teacher, a lawyer, a logger and a couple of unemployed people and nobody cares. You’re not defined at all by what you do.”

Chalmers has an education degree and worked as a teacher in Edmonton but worked in a few different fields in Golden outside of teaching, including a stint as a reporter at The Golden Star.

Chalmers was also heavily involved in establishing the Women’s Resource Centre.

“I was lucky enough to love all my jobs but the one that was probably dearest to me was at the Women’s Resource Centre,” she said. “When I arrived there was a lot of misunderstanding about feminism and a certain amount of fear and mistrust and so I found some like-minded people and we started the Women’s Centre.”

Chalmers, as a director of the centre, later started the Safehome System, a unique system at the time that helps women flee from dangerous and violent domestic situations.

Peggy and Paul opened Moon River 32 years ago. The store began in a location in an alley behind where Moon Cafe used to be before eventually moving to where Red Tomato Pies is now. Finally, Moon River moved to its current location next to Higher Ground Mountain Sports. The store originally sold stained glass that Paul made, but it now sells a wide variety of gifts and specialty products for both tourists and locals.

In her free time, Chalmers has a simple list of hobbies that she enjoys.

“Three of my favourite things are gardening, cooking and eating good food,” she said. “They really compliment each other.”

Chalmers continues to enjoy living in the area and her opinions of Golden haven’t changed since that first trip to the valley.

“I had no intention of staying longer than a week when I arrived,” Chalmers said. “Golden just seemed so real, I’m still in love with it.”