The name of Kask is a familiar one in Burnaby, and rightly so - it's been part of the fabric of the community for nearly 90 years.
Kask Bros., which supplies concrete throughout the Metro Vancouver region, is now a division of Lafarge Canada Inc., but it began as a rugged camp in the early pioneer days in Burnaby, sitting on what was then known as Barnet Road, along the shores of the Burrard Inlet.
The land was bought by William Kask Sr. in 1925, and workers from the nearby Barnet Mill rented cabins on the land, which became known as Kask's Camp.
In all, about 30 cabins were built on the site.
The Burnaby city archives include dozens of photos, textual records and more for the Kask family that give a glimpse into the family itself but also to what the city was like in its earliest days. Photos show family members, including photos of William Kask Sr. and images of the family home (a modest wood cabin with a small porch surrounded by forest).
One photo, dubbed "View from Kask's Camp" shows a photo of a flat-topped hill, with the following information attached: "Photograph of top of the hill moved by William Kask, Sr. at the request of Jenny Korhonen Kask, who wanted a better view of Burrard Inlet and the islands from her house in Kask's Camp ... . Mr. Kask had the top of the mountain shave (sic) off with a bulldozer."
The same notation indicates that a Vancouver Sun headline about the change to the landscape was titled "Man moves mountain."
Over the years, the Kasks opened up a general store and a filling station to serve the needs of the lumber crews who rented from them. They even built steam baths for the many Finnish workers who lived there.
Later, the family expanded into lumber and concrete, with the lumber store location opening on Curtis Street.
The history of the Barnet area, including the Kask family's role in the early city, is detailed in a book written by Jim Wolf and Harry Price, called In the Shadow by the Sea: Recollections of Burnaby's Barnet Village, published by the City of Burnaby in 2004.
Kask Bros. now supplies concrete for residential, commercial and industrial projects through contractors and to homeowners.
See www.kaskbros.com for more. Follow reporter Christina Myers on Twitter, @ChristinaMyersA.
The photo of a Kask Bros. truck being driven by an unidentified man is estimated to have been taken between 1950 and 1954. Those years were the peak of the population boom in Burnaby: by 1954, the population had grown to 75,000. After the Second World War, Burnaby's large pockets of undeveloped land became a big attraction for developers looking for room to build homes, businesses and more. From 1950 to 1953, the Reeve (or mayor) of Burnaby was William R. Beamish. In December 1950, the first Canadian troops arrived in Korea. In 1952, W.A.C. Bennett became premier of B.C. and Queen Elizabeth came to the throne after the death of her father.
© Copyright 2013