One of the lesser-known but very interesting tidbits about the Quarry Road area of Burke Mountain was the fact that from the period of 1957 through to 1965 the Silver Valley Trout Farm operated just a short distance to the east of Quarry Road, partway between Minnekhada Park and the Munro Lake Trailhead. Back in 1957, Hans Otto Lehmann and his wife, Mimi, purchased a twenty-acre parcel located on the east side of Quarry Road, partway between what is now the northern boundary of Minnekhada Park (to the south) and the Munro Lake trailhead (to the north). Taking advantage of one of the many creeks in this area, they soon opened up a trout farm from which they fostered trout populations, selling fresh trout to Vancouver restaurants and eventually expanding to run a local trout fishing spot for many Vancouver-area fishing enthusiasts. This latter endeavour was so successful, it was eventually showcased in the popular, 1960s sportsman show, “Tides and Trails”. By 1965, though, the Lehmanns had moved their trout farming operations from Quarry Road further east, to the Mission and Hatzic Lake areas.
Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to interview the two sons of Hans and Mimi: Bernie and Hans Jr. Together, they provided many insights into their family operations on Quarry Road, including some great photos and even an opportunity to view the tape of the “Tides and Trails” program that highlighted their parents’ Quarry Road trout farm.
About a month ago, I was able to walk around and explore that one-time Silver Valley Trout Farm. As expected, with the passage of a half-dozen decades, I found it to be very much overgrown. With careful inspection, though, there were still some telltale clues that remained to tell of the story that had once unfolded there: a depression in the earth where a one-time pond had existed, some water piping and a water trench complete with a concrete-framed gate. Other than that, what remained were only a few boards from a one-time building, long since collapsed, and an assortment of metal items. The forest, as always, has a way of reclaiming what man has made.
The Silver Valley Trout Farm will make for an interesting addition to Volume Two’s narrative, including some great photographs contributed by the Lehmann brothers.