How to Use This Site
The goal of this site is to provide students and other users with an experience of historical research. Like the other sites of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project, this one is mainly made up of primary sources. The material is organized in thematic sections.
The sources to which you have access on this site are authentic documents from the time. They were re-transcribed and digitized, but the content is identical to the original documents. Even the typographical errors and the spelling mistakes have been kept. You will therefore see these documents in the same way as historians do, but without the sometimes-difficult problem of traveling to and seeking out the originals. So, physically, it’s relatively easy for you to do detective work by examining, comparing, and analyzing the various documents. The challenge is to discover what exactly happened early on the morning of October 29, 1924, along the remote Kettle Valley Line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Explosion on the Kettle Valley Line: The Death of Peter Verigin is divided into seven main sections. The title of each section is found on the blue horizontal bar situated beneath the site's title. The sections are the following: Home, Context, The Explosion, The Suspects, Aftermath, Interpretations and Archives. Each of these titles corresponds to a clickable button. By selecting one or another of these buttons you can navigate freely from one section to another. The button indicating the section in which you are will be highlighted.
When you click on one of the sections, its contents will appear on the left of your screen. In the centre will appear either an introductory text or the list of documents relevant to this section. For example, if you click on the button Home, you see the following menu on the left: Welcome, How to Use This Site, Teachers' Guide, About This Site, Reviews and Feedback. As you are currently reading the text How to Use This Site, this title appears in bold characters.
If you click on another section of the main menu (on the top horizontal bar), for example The Explosion, the left menu indicates Press Accounts, Investigators’ reports, etc. When you click on Press Accounts the text in the centre of the screen will change and present you with a list of sources to consult. When you click on a source, it will appear, still in the centre of the screen. At the beginning of the text, you will see the icon About this Source. In clicking on this icon, you can access an explanatory text on the nature and the origin of the document in question. This icon is available for all sources.
This site gives you access to a wide range of primary sources, in particular from the newspapers, police reports, government correspondence and inquests of the time. In order to make your task easier, we have undertaken some contextual work for you, the results of which (Timeline, Cast of Characters, etc.) appear in the Context section.
This information can be quite useful, but you should devote most of your effort to studying the original documents. You can access them in two ways. First, the sections, Context, The Explosion, The Suspects, and Aftermath group together documents according to content. Read for yourself the police reports about the explosion that killed Peter Verigin and put forward your own theories as to the cause of it. In addition, you can access the full range of sources via the Archives section, which is organized according to the types of documents appearing on this site.
Finally, in the Interpretations section, you will have, at the end of your journey, the opportunity to read short essays specially prepared for this project by three specialists in Doukhobor history and one post-blast explosives expert. Here you are invited to compare your ideas with those of the specialists. However, in order to access them, you’ll need to ask your instructor for the password.