On Saturday July 20 as part of the TD Paint In on Moss Street (to support the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria) the first of the Beaverwood Sideshow Oddities tent was set up. The event featured a sideshow tent, banners, souvenir paintings and a healthy dose of carny magic. Yes, the Terror of the North was a Beaver with a knife, but that is pretty darn terrifying! A departure in some ways, or perhaps a return to my earlier art shows which often were more 'show' than art. This will be the first of the Beaverwood Sideshow series that will explore TRUE 'type' stories of the Beaver wood Family. Here is the story of Thomas Wilson Beaverwood, his portrait below.
Thomas Wilson Beaverwood, & the Beaverwood Circus Sideshow
In 1909, Thomas Wilson Beaverwood ventured to the Yukon on his bicycle to find his fortune as a trapper. His ambitions were halted when he came face to face with the 'Terror of the North', and lost both his arm and a leg in the ensuing battle. Dragging his bloodied body back to civilization, he fell into a den of Yukon Fur Vipers, (furrure septentrionalem regulum). The venom of the snake, which causes blood to coagulate, didn't kill Thomas, but instead saved his life and renewed his faith. Upon his recovery, he founded the Yukon Snake Church, preaching weekly to those who would listen until 1919, when the outbreak of the Spanish Flu banned public meetings. Thomas, always inventive, created the 'vacuum/exhaust sound machine' so that his parishioners could hear his sermons in the privacy of their homes. The church ultimately failed, but the patent from the 'vacuum/exhaust sound machine' made Thomas a wealthy man. With his earnings Thomas bought 5 boxcars on the Tuktoyaktuk Railways and created the Beaverwood Circus Sideshow, touring for over a decade. The great Northern Blizzard of 1933 swallowed the Tuktoyaktuk Railway & the Beaverwood Circus Sideshow. No trace of either has been found to this day.