Hollywood in Hammond

If you were walking by this little yellow house in a quiet neighbourhood, what kind of people would you suppose lived there?

Yesterday, we found out how one film production would answer that question.

An upcoming Movie titled “Little Pink House” starring Catherine Keener swung through Hammond and filmed on no less than 7 front porches. According to the notice from the locations department, “Scenes to be filmed are of a woman gathering signatures for a petition at the front doors.”

Hammond, also known as Port Hammond Junction, is a cute little hamlet filled with modest heritage homes built mostly to house the workers at the Hammond Cedar Mill which, under Interfor’s management, is still the largest cedar mill in the world.

Here is a photo of Alex and Elaine, a real-life couple who played the owners of the Little Yellow house in the movie. These are the type of people you might expect to live here. Not a young(ish) middle-class couple like us (we bought the property when I was 37).
Is it really so surprising that Leanne and I and our two kids own this house?

I guess so. We wouldn’t be here if not for my mother-in-law’s unusual decision to hang on to these two houses and then make it possible for us to buy the property from her. My parents also chipped in and helped us buy our first home, a townhouse in Burnaby, that we then managed to hold on to as a rental property when we moved to Hammond because of our good mortgage with my in-laws. Without our families, friends and neighbours we would not be in a position to preserve these two beautiful houses and retrofit them to combat climate change.

However, even we don’t know how we’re going to afford it!

How many people in their forties do you know who own their homes? Paul Kershaw has studied this demographic and he calls us Generation Squeeze. We work and study more to end up with less than previous generations.

Our current federal government seems to think this situation is just fine. They keep emphasizing programs that “benefit all Canadians equally”. It sounds good, but when we have a larger and larger gap between rich and poor, these programs make the problem even worse. Wealthy people are more likely to sock their income away in a bank account whereas poor people have no choice but to re-inject any money they get back into the economy.

It’s the difference between sharing equally and sharing fairly.

Leanne and I know we’re lucky; we’re healthy, we’re caucasian and we live in Canada. I think it’s the least we can do to help our community, preserve our heritage, reduce our carbon footprint and try to make it easier for other people to do these things.

We have had a couple of films use the main house (the Whitehead Residence) as a film location, but never the Little Yellow House until now.

Hammond Forever House' 15 minutes of fame
Hammond Forever House’ 15 minutes of fame

Here is the plot summary of The Little Pink House from the Internet Movie Database (IMDB):

A small-town nurse named Susette Kelo emerges as the reluctant leader of her working-class neighbors in their struggle to save their homes from political and corporate interests bent on seizing the land and handing it over to Pfizer Corporation. Susette’s battle goes all the way to the US Supreme Court and the controversial 5-4 decision in Kelo vs. City of New London gave government officials the power to bulldoze a neighborhood for the benefit of a multibillion-dollar corporation. The decision outraged Americans across the political spectrum, and that passion fueled reforms that helped curb eminent domain abuse.

It sounds a good fit for Hammond doesn’t it? The City of Maple Ridge is focussing its attention on creating an Area Plan called #MyHammond which may include a Designated Heritage Area. Stay tuned!

P.S. if you’re interested in submitting your home for consideration as a film set contact the Maple Ridge Film Liaison at 604-467-7488 or go here.

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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