This portion of the interview is about Maureen Olofson’s parents immigration to Saskatchewan, her mother Kerstin in 1912 and father Axel in 1928, Maureen’s birth on a trip to Sweden in 1938, and her family’s move to Burnaby in 1942 and the start of their mink ranch, the GAK Fur Farm, near Curtis Av…
This portion of the interview is about Maureen Olofson’s parents immigration to Saskatchewan, her mother Kerstin in 1912 and father Axel in 1928, Maureen’s birth on a trip to Sweden in 1938, and her family’s move to Burnaby in 1942 and the start of their mink ranch, the GAK Fur Farm, near Curtis Avenue in the old Hastings Grove subdivision on Burnaby Mountain.
Recording is of an interview with Maureen Olofson conducted by Kathy Bossort. Maureen Olofson was one of 23 participants interviewed as part of the Community Heritage Commission’s Burnaby Mountain Oral History Project. The interview is mainly about Maureen Olofson’s memories of growing up on her parent’s Burnaby Mountain mink ranch between 1942 and 1950 and about the operation of the farm. She also talks about her parents’ history, her teaching career, and her thoughts about the beauty and value of Burnaby Mountain’s natural area.
Maureen Olofson was born 1938 in Glote, Harjedalen, Sweden, to Axel (1906-1998) and Kerstin Margareta (1906-1980). Axel and Kerstin Olofson, who had separately immigrated to Canada in 1928 and 1913 respectively, married in Canada and then returned to Sweden where Maureen was born. They moved to Burnaby in 1942 with their daughters Maureen and Anita Lea, and bought land and a mink ranch on Burnaby Mountain with their partners Gus Skofteby and Karin Ericksson (Kerstin’s sister). The GAK Fur Farm, located in the old Hastings Grove subdivision on 4th Avenue near Curtis Street, was one of the largest mink ranches in BC, an award winning operation with over 1200 mink animals. In 1950 the partners sold the land and the Olofson family moved to rented homes on Sperling Avenue. In 1952 Axel sold the last of his minks and opened a sporting goods store on Hastings Street. In 1954 the family moved to North Vancouver where Axel Olofson reestablished his sports business. Maureen attended Sperling Avenue School from Gr. 1 to Gr. 8 and Burnaby North High School to Gr. 11, completing school in North Vancouver, before going to UBC where she trained as a teacher. She returned to Burnaby in 1977 to teach, retiring in 1997. She is a volunteer with the Swedish Canadian Rest Home Association and the Dania Homes Society. Maureen continues to enjoy activities on Burnaby Mountain and works toward preserving the natural beauty of the mountain.
Kathy Bossort is a retired archivist living in Ladner, BC. She worked at the Delta Museum and Archives after graduating from SLAIS (UBC) in 2001 with Masters degrees in library science and archival studies. Kathy grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and, prior to this career change, she lived in the West Kootenays, earning her living as a cook for BC tourist lodges and work camps. She continues to be interested in oral histories as a way to fill the gaps in the written record and bring richer meaning to history.