British Columbia will never truly recover from the Great War, not in a decade… nor even a century. To many, one of the most grievous pains is the knowledge of what may have been.
For more than thirty years there had only been growth and prosperity. Roads and railroads were built and towns appeared in the wilderness, all destined to be great, rich cities, each one grander than the last.
No dream had been too big, no investment considered unwise.
Elegant sternwheelers had plied every waterway, serving prosperous towns birthed by gold or silver or gleaming tracks of new railroads.
Now those glorious days are only a memory and have left a string of unfulfilled dreams in their wake. The magnificent hotels of the GTP will never be built and most of the towns that were built along its tracks will pass away into obscurity.
In the south, the genteel English villages in the Okanagan and the Lake’s District are forsaken. The Gold Rushes are only a memory and the Silvery Slocan is a barren wasteland of ghost towns as young men enlist in droves from British Columbia, ‘the most British of all the provinces of Canada’.
In the north, Fort George has become Prince George, and Billy and Jessica have their wedding on New Year’s Day and begin their new life together with her daughter Sarah. The construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway from Vancouver has been delayed until the end of the war, but the BX and the BC Express are still required to work on the Fraser River so Billy can continue his dreams while Jessica and Natalie join the Woman’s Rights Movement and fight for womens’ suffrage.
In Hazelton, Dustin has begun to believe that the war will not be ending anytime soon and his indecision is not aided by Jonathan’s advice to ‘just wait and see’. His pride, his heart and his patriotism will not agree together on any choice and he worries that he will always have regrets no matter which path he chooses.
Talk of Prohibition threatens Jeff and Lily’s Timberland Inn in New Hazelton and Lily must stand up and fight for what she believes in.
In London, Jonathan continues working towards his pilot’s license at the RFC’s training school, but he grieves at the frequent Zeppelin bombings of that great city and at the deaths of his countrymen on the Western Front and is especially saddened by the death of one England’s most famous sons that September.