Courtesy: Rob Swan
At Home in Harvey Station
I am very proud to call Harvey Station, N.B., my home. I was born and raised here—like my father, his father before him and, yes, his father before him. With fewer than 400 residents, our hamlet is situated about 35 kilometres southwest of Fredericton and, primarily due to its rich history and the people who have called Harvey home since the mid-1800s, it is close to many hearts around the world. Originally settled by immigrants coming from the Scottish Borders region in 1837, our first settlers carved fields out of the forest and built homesteads out of the trees they harvested to make Harvey Station their home. That steadfast determination to make a prosperous life here still exists today.
If you ever visit, you’ll find that people here are proud of their history and eager to show you what life in Harvey has to offer. (Drone enthusiast Eric Goggin rises to new heights of creativity as he captures the beauty of New Brunswick from above.)
If you walk up the hill from the post office, you’ll probably run into my mother and father. I love them both dearly and they, more than anyone, have taught me to take pride in where I come from.
My father has lived in Harvey for about 85 of his 89 years and he would gladly tell you what life was like in Harvey during that time period. At the age of 14, he found employment driving a cream truck for the Harvey Creamery; after that, he earned his keep logging with one of the McLean boys, an established family in the industry, and he later owned and ran his own car repair garage. So, yes, my dad has seen and done a lot right here in Harvey, and has plenty of stories to share about the early days. My mother, coming from Tweedside, just outside of Harvey, is equally entertaining with her stories of “back in the day.” One family tale she likes to tell involves a turnip being thrown at my grandmother while the crops were being harvested—the culprits being her and her sister! Mom also recounts how the family just loved to sit around and listen to her Uncle Don play the fiddle. You might know him, too—Don Messer of Don Messer’s Jubilee, a native son of Tweedside and Harvey Station.
Early Harvey was a bustling place with many businesses, farms, hardware stores and even a couple of hotels. Some businesses from those early days are still alive and doing well in Harvey. Briggs and Little Woolen Mills has began producing some of the finest yarns in the world since 1857; the W.W.E. Smith food market and general store has been operating out of the same location since 1852; and Watson’s General Hardware has been doing business in the Harvey area since the late 1800s. The Harvey Creamery started up in 1934 and quickly gained a reputation for producing some of the finest butter and cheese in the land. After the creamery’s closure in 1974, Candlelight Furniture moved in to produce furniture from the same location. And we have had many other successful commercial ventures over the years, including an antimony mine located a short drive away.
An outdoors enthusiast’s dream, you will find many lakes for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming or just lazing around beside the fire pit and enjoying life like it is meant to be. The fall brings many people out of the house and into the woods for hunting season in some of the prime hunting territory of the province. In winter, you can find great trails for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, or you can try your hand at ice fishing. If you’re more of an indoor person, you can try the bowling alley for some fun, bingo at the local Lions Club every Monday, or one of the many card parties hosted at one of the local halls.
For me and many other like-minded locals, the most fun takes place at the Harvey Curling Club. The club got its start in 1961 when a few gentlemen from the area got together and built a nice two-sheet rink from the ground up. In the early years, before an ice plant was bought, the coolant was piped over from the nearby Harvey Creamery to keep the artificial ice in top shape. But like so many grassroots curling facilities in Canada, our little club is showing its age and badly needs some renovations. So, in 2014, I started “Curling Across the Nation,” both literally and figuratively. I set out to curl 100 games in 100 different curling clubs across Canada as a way to raise funds for our club to start renovating. I ended the season with 103 games completed. I’m back at it for a second year in a continuing effort to help my hometown curling rink and hopefully to give a boost to curling everywhere I visit.
As you can tell, I love living here and calling Harvey Station my home. The people here make living in Harvey very easy; they care about you and what’s going on in your life, and will lend a hand whenever needed. We’d love to show you what our town is all about, so don’t be shy about paying us a visit. The Harvey Community Days, held on the second weekend of August, is a great time to do precisely that!