*Please note this post is graphic and not well written. It is an irate rant! I have since spoken with one of the owners and they assure me the head is not from a black man but a Russian (seriously? – so that makes it all better?), they say they had no knowledge of this display and suspect a visitor must have changed it.
I have lived in British Columbia most of my life and am thankful, that whoever created this display is the exception and not the rule!
Please know I considered removing this story but have decided to leave it public. Even though I struggled with that decision I feel it is best to keep it posted for numerous reasons. If you have discovered anything that you found discriminating or derogatory in your travels in Canada please pass it along to me – I am curious to see if Tasteless Tourism happens elsewhere.
Today was supposed to be spent filming landscape at Mount Revelstoke National Park in British Columbia. Short on time due to congested Alberta traffic, my daughter and I ate lunch at an over priced Italian restaurant in Revelstoke, did an about face and decided we would attempt the project on another day.
Rather than allow circumstance to dampen our spirits we decided to stop, on our way home, at the stunning property of the Three Valley Gap Lake Chateau and Ghost Town; and I wish we hadn’t!
I intended to write a marvelous story about this world renowned attraction and share some fabulous imagery; but in light of what I discovered there, I can’t bring myself to say anything positive at all. In fact, I shouldn’t even be writing this because it will draw attention to them – but I have to because I am appalled!
I approached the ticket booth, explained to the gentleman attendant who I was and my intent. He was quite happy to have me promote the property, explained stops we should make during the tour of the town; smiling wryly as he explained to my daughter she may discover ‘spooks’ on the Ghost Train in the Round-house.
My daughter and I contemplated his use of the word and chalked it up to his age as we entered the belly of a glamorous property that is home to one of the most horrifying displays I have ever encountered in my life.
As I entered the spooky exhibit meant for children, I was greeted by a Halloween prop – no harm, nothing jumped out and startled me as expected and the display seemed nothing a Canadian child hasn’t seen before.
As I made my way down the length of the Ghost Train the props became increasingly morbid and I wondered why a disclaimer hadn’t been posted warning parents with small children.
I was becoming disturbed just thinking how a small child would feel in this dark, spooky, claustrophobic train – when I heard the couple in front of me say “Do you see that? It’s the KKK,” just as my eyes came to rest on a staged scene of a child with bound hands and a gagged black child!
Let me tell you I was sorely unimpressed as I muttered my way around the next dark corner to see what the woman was talking about. You can’t even imagine my horror and shock! The room was so dark I lit it with my camera flash and in that split second a Clansmen’s robe glowed in the light – but my mind caught something my eye didn’t see and I lit my lighter to be sure I was registering what I thought I saw.
I did, and I was utterly livid. Appalled! Disgusted! Freaking mortified! This was the icing on the cake to the bound and gagged children.
This graphic display wasn’t funny or scary and I don’t believe it was in jest. Most certainly not acceptable off-the-cuff-humor. I found no mention of historical significance and had tears as I tried to justify it away, thinking irrationally that perhaps the owners were against racism and cruelty and attempting to portray that in this display.
Even if this were so, there was simply no need to display a decapitated black man, whose hands had been severed at his piano and whose head, with the most painful expression on his face rested on the blood spattered keys; the robe of a Clansman towering over him in superiority.
This was not a Ghost Train but a Racist Train, and a very tasteless tourist attraction!
This little secret, hidden in the annals of a luxury resort speaks volumes of disrespect to African Americans who were pivotal in building this Province, those who are tourists, those who survived slavery and those who did not. It is a blatant slap in the face and uncalled for, and I pity the small children who will have nightmares here-after.
On behalf of us British Columbians who have a heart, and there are more of us that do than don’t, I apologize for this blatant disregard and ignorance! And hope, that the owners of this property burn that crap before they do more harm!
Please share this post and write to the owner’s on their facebook page so we can put a stop to Racism and Tasteless Tourism in our province!
As an African Canadian, I am absolutely appalled, horrified and dismayed. I will be sharing this with every single person I know. I’ll post until I’m blue in the face. This is despicable and needs to be removed. IMMEDIATELY. Thank you so much for posting this. Let the campaigning begin.
AMEN! And thank you!
I’ve posted on their Facebook Page, and I’ll be Tweeting, talking, blogging, SHOUTING about this all day. In fact, I’m writing to the media RIGHT NOW. Who ever will listen.
Disgusting. I am appalled! !
I wonder how many people were disturbed but remained silent?
Many I think…and I can’t imagine if an African American/Canadian tourist saw this – it just makes me sick in the heart!
It is certainly not something beautiful British Columbia or Canada wants to be known for. I can’t imagine taking children there and trying to explain…
Absolutely and thank God these people are the exception and not the rule!
I also was appalled at the sites on that train. Most disrespectful to all of us who saw it. I stayed at the 3 Valley Gap once, but never again.
I am so sorry you saw that! They assure me now they will be shutting it down and it can’t be soon enough.
It is sad that you had such an experience at Three Valley Gap . It truly is a magnificent achievement and testimony to what can be created with imagination and hard work spanning many years , And it also is situated in a spectacular scenic place .
I have known the owners personally for many many years and can safely say without hesitancy, there would be no racist intent or harmful intent created by these people. Obviously what you saw offended you and as people we are all open to interpretation that is personal and with substance based upon our individual situations or beliefs.
I will say with 100% accuracy the owners at Three Valley are folks that innocently in the quest to create something scary have simply made what you saw with what was available at the time prop wise. Any thought to offend anyone as a customer to Three Valley or an individual on a personal basis would be something they would never even imagine doing….They are salt of the earth folks and I say that with all sincerity having known them as long as I have.
John Morrison : Resident of Revekstoke
Perhaps this is the case and I offer the benefit of the doubt. However, in the world of tourism there is no excuse for amateur business owners – especially a business this established and well known. I accept their apology (which I will be posting) and appreciate the display will be removed.
British Columbia is an amazing province with little tolerance on this subject as we have seen by the viral response to this post. This one little act of negligence could have been very costly on an economic level and seriously detrimental on a personal.
I thank the owners of the 3 Valley Gap for acting immediately.
In regards to this part of your comment: “Obviously what you saw offended you and as people we are all open to interpretation that is personal and with substance based upon our individual situations or beliefs.” I would like to point out, I am Caucasian, from BC. My concern was for those who may see this and take it VERY personally, not based on beliefs, but on history(!) and how it could potentially affect tourism in my province and the lives of a poor unsuspecting visitor.
I WILL NEVER GO THERE
We were there not long and some of those questionable images weren’t there, so I believe their story about being tampered with.
As well, there WAS a sign advising people that some images may not be suitable for children.
Thank you Beth
“Obviously what you saw offended you and as people we are all open to interpretation that is personal and with substance based upon our individual situations or beliefs.”
This is a rather inflammatory statement, and it’s insulting. There is little to interpret with a KKK clansmen robe standing in the midst. As an African Canadian, I don’t want to hear excuses. Salt of the earth or not, the individual who set up this display was doing so for an international community, and if you don’t have the gumption to know that the use of a white robe, with a red cross emblazoned across it and a pointed hood was associated with a world renown racist organization (I mean REALLY world renown), you should not be charged with such a task. If the choice is to use the resources you have (one being symbolic of a horrible stain in Black history) or nothing at all…I’d choose the latter.
This article was not an attack on the individuals of this resort, but a call to draw attention to an attraction on their property, one that they promote and invite visitors from around the world to view. Vandalism or not, it is their responsibility, as a business, to ensure that they are not racially offending or alienating their guests, purposefully or not! And if that means doing a simple walk around the property to ensure that there is nothing that represents a scene from Mississippi Burning, then so be it!
While I strongly agree that the display is tasteless, I don’t understand why some people, as soon as it appears that something not nice involves someone who appears “non white”, have to scream “racism!!”. Would anyone in the world have screamed “racism!!” if the mannequin had appeared to be “white”? And yet…
The KKK robe, representative of one of the most racist groups in history, along with the graphic scene, implied something quite different. It was not taken out of context in that regard. The words “something not nice”, used to describe slavery and white supremacy is a serious understatement of the facts.
The overall theme of the Ghost Town, was history; plain and simple. All of the props on the train, minus this one, were simple Halloween garb.
This scene was staged to imply something, period, regardless of who staged it. No comments or perceptions were made in haste or out of line.