During World War II the former Wood Valance Hardware Store on Baker Street filled its windows with photos of the local soldiers fighting overseas.

Nelson At War exhibit opens Saturday at Touchstones

The exhibit will feature historic photos and news clippings from the Touchstones archives and artifacts from the Permanent Collection

It’s 1942, and Canada is at war. If you were on Baker Street, standing in front of what is now Coldwell Banker, instead of real estate listings you may well have seen in the window photos of over 160 young people (mostly men) who were serving in the military.

Then it was the Wood Valance Hardware Store, and the display was intended to spur the sale of Victory Bonds in support of the war effort. That number would have been just a small portion of the nearly 1000 Nelson and district men and women that would be sent to the forces by the end of 1943.

Food, liquor and tires were being rationed, and people anxiously read the paper or listened to the radio for the latest news of the war in Europe. Nearby, a series of internment camps had recently been set up in neighbouring communities to house Canadian citizens of Japanese descent who had been forcibly removed from their homes in the Lower Mainland and other coastal communities.

Nelson At War will offer a glimpse into Nelson’s involvement in World Wars I and II, as well as the Boer War. The exhibit will feature historic photos and newsclippings from the Touchstones Nelson Archives, as well as artifacts from the Permanent Collection, such as a scale model of the HMS Formidable, the aircraft carrier from which Hampton Gray flew his final ill-fated mission in the dying hours of WWII.

The exhibit will run from Saturday, September 14 to Sunday, November 24. The gallery will also be open by donation from 11 to 3 p.m. on Remembrance Day (November 11), with all donations going to the Nelson Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History is located at 502 Vernon Street. For information call 250-352-9813.

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